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The Mozilla Thunderbird email client is generally quite nice, but recently I have been plagued with many, many duplicate messages. After some Googling I discovered that there is an Add-on which will remove duplicates. It does have me seriously considering a new client but first I'd like to see if the real cause of the problem is understood and whether is lies with Thunderbird or with the server (Dovecot/Fedora 10 in this case).

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Are they really duplicate messages or just lots of spam messages all the same? UPDATE Is there any pattern to the duplicated messages? Do they have the wrong date stamp set in the future?. If so it could be that the server and/or Thunderbird thinks they're still new messages as they were "received" after the last time it checked. – ChrisF Oct 28 '09 at 15:18
They really truly are duplicates and the add-on really detects and gets rid of them. Leaving the messages on the server is the whole point of using IMAP, at least for me since I use multiple machines daily, frequently simultaneously. And it is only SOME messages, i.e. some SPAM messages and some non-SPAM messages. – pmr Oct 28 '09 at 15:25
Since you're using IMAP you can try another client - do you have webmail access to the server, or can you try Outlook Express or something else? Use it for a while, just long enough to see if it's Thunderbird that's causing the problem. – Randy Orrison Oct 28 '09 at 15:32
As for the obvious, assuming you have webmail access as well: in the webmail you only see those messages once, right? (If there's no dedicated webmail then you could see the messages using, for example, – Arjan Oct 28 '09 at 15:44
If you have the "leave messages on server" option enabled, they may register as duplicates even though you've already downloaded them into the local folders. – Omegacron Dec 22 '14 at 19:14
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Stupid timeout + retry behavior, the IMAP server I'm administering just got folders with 3 days old messages duplicated over 600 times...

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