I want Thunderbird 3.1.1 to automatically move old messages to archive. The definition of "old" should vary by folder. E.g., messages in the "Meeting minutes" folder should get archived after 7 days, messages in "newsletters" can get archived after 2 days, but messages in a folder for a course I am taking should not get automatically archived, because I am going to manually move the entire folder to archive once the course is over.

I tried making a filter which moves all messages older than 7 days to an archive folder. It worked when I ran it manually. But I don't know how to make Thunderbird run it automatically once a day on the folder "Meeting minutes".

Any ideas how to do it, with or without filters?


The filters only run automatically for any new incoming mail.

For those that are already sitting in your inbox, you'll have to manually select the folder and run the filters for them.

Try setting up some kind of hotkey for the action, or test out the Run Filters on Folder add-on.

The "Age in Days" filter isn't used for existing sitting mail, but for when the sender has their email timestamps some time in the past or future. It's handy for when you're away on vacation or similar black holes of time and when you get back to your email, you don't want to bother dealing with anything sent during the time you were incommunicado.

So if you got back after a month and can't be bothered reading anything older than yesterday, this is where that "Age in Days" filter comes in handy as the emails being downloaded are filtered away leaving only yesterday and forward to deal with right now.

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  • Thank you for the information. But I am still wondering, if it cannot be done properly with a filter, is there another solution? An addon maybe? – rumtscho Nov 23 '10 at 17:40
  • Try something like addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/13101 to at least create a button you can click instead. Haven't found one that does it for you automatically though. @rum – random Nov 25 '10 at 4:25

No matter this is old question, it appears in search results.

And for some time, there are addons for that.

  • Awesome Auto Archive – more advanced, with filtering capabilities. Though UI design is rather rubbish, functionality is unmatched. I'm using it and recommend it to others. Despite addons.mozilla.org claims it only works with Thunderbird 24.0 - 32.0, for me it works with Thunderbird 45 and probably will with later ones.


  • AutoArchive – Oldest one, only archives from Inbox, and has separate age settings for starred and labeled mails. Does not work for me on recent Thunderbird versions (addons.mozilla.org says it works with Thunderbird 3.0 - 24.*, and indeed it stopped working for me with ver 38.*).
  • AutoArchive Reloaded – modified one, archives from all folders of configured account (not configurable), have additional age setting for unread mails (additional to starred and labeled settings of AutoArchive). Updated to work on later Thunderbird versions.
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Alternatively you could right click on the folder in question, click properties and under retention policy select to delete messages more than 30 days old.

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    Ouch, Delete != Archive :) – LogicDaemon May 15 '14 at 8:22
  • :) The way I use this is by duplicating all mails into a big bucket of stuff (with a 30 day ttl), plus a permanent copy stored in a smaller folder (filtered by sender). – J0hnG4lt May 15 '14 at 9:49
  • Oh, archive copy on arrival.… ok then :) – LogicDaemon May 15 '14 at 16:50
  • Fair point re original question. – J0hnG4lt May 16 '14 at 16:30

I managed to do run filters on read emails automatically by assigning a shortcut key to the Run Filters on Folder menu item with the Keyconfig and DOM inspector add-ons in combination with a simple AutoHotkey script running a timer.

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  • 2
    can you share more specifically, what exactly have you done? Otherwise your answer is just food for thought and another research (DOM, Keyconfig setup, AHK language and general programming learning). – LogicDaemon May 15 '14 at 8:21

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