Using Telnet to delete POP3 e-mail

by Johannes Helmig [Published on 20 Feb. 2000 / Last Updated on 20 Feb. 2000]

You have an Internet e-mail address via a POP3-account,
you most probably use Outlook Express as e-mail client,
but now somebody has filled up your e-mail mailbox with HUGE messages
( MegaBytes of garbage ).

For Outlook Express to delete these messages in the mailbox on the POP3
server, you first have to download them ( if you use an e-mail client like
Pegasus Mail", you could make "File, Selective Mail Download" allowing you
to delete messages while they are still on the POP3-eMail server)

a possible solution: use TELNET (one of the utilities installed by all Windows versions
together with the TCP/IP protocol)
, start it up by typing "telnet" in the RUN-menu:


To see what you type
yourself, select in the
menu: "Terminal" the
"Preferences" and
put a checkmark on
"Local Echo"
Then, to connect to
your POP3 email server,
select from the menu:
"Connect", then
"Remote System",
define as Host-name the
name of your POP3
-eMail server (as given
to you by your ISP)

and enter as port "110"
after a short delay, your
POP3-email server
should reply with
"+OK" and a welcome

Enter now:
"user <userID>", where
<user-ID> is YOUR
email User Identification.
Enter then:
"pass <password>",
using your e-mail

using the command "list", you can see for each e-mail the size of the message.
Typing the command "retr x", where "x" is the message number, displays the
e-mail message in the telnet window, the command "top x y" will display for
message "x" only the message header and the first Y lines of the message.
With the command "dele x", you can delete a message from the e-mail server.
Type "quit" to terminate the connection.

The Author — Johannes Helmig

Dr.Johannes Helmig is working as Director, Technical Knowledge Management in the Belgium office of Gerber Technology where he is involved in Customer Service and internal training, with special interest in Networking.

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