ARCHIVEMAIL(1)                                                    ARCHIVEMAIL(1)

       archivemail - archive and compress your old email

       archivemail [ options ] MAILBOX ...

       archivemail is a tool for archiving and compressing old email in
       mailboxes.  By default it will read the mailbox MAILBOX, moving messages
       that are older that the specified number of days (180 by default) to a
       mbox(5)-format mailbox in the same directory that is compressed with
       gzip(1).  It can also just delete old email rather than archive it.

       archivemail supports reading  IMAP, Maildir, MH and mbox-format
       mailboxes, but always writes mbox-format archives.

       Messages that are flagged important are not archived or deleted unless
       explicitely requested with the --include-flagged option.  Also,
       archivemail can be configured not to archive unread mail, or to only
       archive messages larger than a specified size.

       To archive an IMAP-format mailbox, use the format
       imap://username:password@server/mailbox to specify the mailbox.  You can
       omit the password from the URL; use the --pwfile option to make
       archivemail read the password from a file, or alternatively just enter it
       upon request.  If the --pwfile option is set, archivemail does not look
       for a password in the URL, and the colon is not considered a delimiter.
       Substitute 'imap' with 'imaps', and archivemail will establish a secure
       SSL connection.  See below for more IMAP peculiarities.

       archivemail has some support for being run as the root user on user
       mailboxes. When running as root, it will seteuid(2) to the owner of the
       mailbox it is reading, creating any archive files as that user.  Warning:
       this automatic seteuid feature is insecure and deprecated.  It will be
       removed from later versions of archivemail.

           -d NUM, --days=NUM
              Archive messages older than NUM days.  The default is 180. This
              option is incompatible with the --date option below.

           -D DATE, --date=DATE
              Archive messages older than DATE.  DATE can be a date string in
              ISO format (eg '2002-04-23'), Internet format (eg '23 Apr 2002')
              or Internet format with full month names (eg '23 April 2002').
              Two-digit years are not supported.  This option is incompatible
              with the --days option above.

           -o PATH, --output-dir=PATH
              Use the directory name PATH to store the mailbox archives. The
              default is the same directory as the mailbox to be read.

           -P FILE, --pwfile=FILE
              Read IMAP password from file FILE instead of from the command
              line.  Note that this will probably not work if you are archiving
              folders from more than one IMAP account.

           -F STRING, --filter-append=STRING
              Append STRING to the IMAP filter string.  For IMAP wizards.

           -s NAME, --suffix=NAME
              Use the suffix NAME to create the filename used for archives.  The
              default is _archive. For example, if you run archivemail on a
              mailbox called exsouthrock, the archive will be created with the
              filename exsouthrock_archive.gz.

              NAME is run through the python(1) time.strftime() function, which
              means that you can specify any of the following special directives
              in NAME to make archives named after the archive cut-off date:

              · %a Locale's abbreviated weekday name.

              · %A Locale's full weekday name.

              · %b Locale's abbreviated month name.

              · %B Locale's full month name.

              · %c Locale's appropriate date and time representation.

              · %d Day of the month as a decimal number [01,31].

              · %H Hour (24-hour clock) as a decimal number [00,23].

              · %I Hour (12-hour clock) as a decimal number [01,12].

              · %j Day of the year as a decimal number [001,366].

              · %m Month as a decimal number [01,12].

              · %M Minute as a decimal number [00,59].

              · %p Locale's equivalent of either AM or PM.

              · %S Second as a decimal number [00,61]. (1)

              · %U Week number of the year (Sunday as the first day of the week)
                as a decimal number [00,53]. All days in a new year preceding
                the first Sunday are considered to be in week 0.

              · %w Weekday as a decimal number [0(Sunday),6].

              · %W Week number of the year (Monday as the first day of the week)
                as a decimal number [00,53]. All days in a new year preceding
                the first Sunday are considered to be in week 0.

              · %x Locale's appropriate date representation.

              · %X Locale's appropriate time representation.

              · %y Year without century as a decimal number [00,99].

              · %Y Year with century as a decimal number.

              · %Z Time zone name (or by no characters if no time zone exists).

              · %% A literal "%" character.

           -S NUM, --size=NUM
              Only archive messages that are NUM bytes or greater.

           -n, --dry-run
              Don't write to any files -- just show what would have been done.
              This is useful for testing to see how many messages would have
              been archived.

           -u, --preserve-unread
              Do not archive any messages that have not yet been read.
              archivemail determines if a message in a mbox-format or MH-format
              mailbox has been read by looking at the Status header (if it
              exists). If the status header is equal to 'RO' or 'OR' then
              archivemail assumes the message has been read. archivemail
              determines if a maildir message has been read by looking at the
              filename. If the filename contains an 'S' after :2, then it
              assumes the message has been read.

              Do not mangle lines in message bodies beginning with "From ".
              When archiving a message from a mailbox not in mbox format, by
              default archivemail mangles such lines by prepending a '>' to
              them, since mail user agents might otherwise interpret these lines
              as message separators.  Messages from mbox folders are never
              mangled.  See mbox(5) for more information.

              Delete rather than archive old mail. Use this option with caution!

              Copy rather than archive old mail.  Creates an archive, but the
              archived messages are not deleted from the originating mailbox,
              which is left unchanged.  This is a complement to the --delete
              option, and mainly useful for testing purposes.

              Normally messages that are flagged important are not archived or
              deleted. If you specify this option, these messages can be
              archived or deleted just like any other message.

              Do not compress any archives.

              Warn about duplicate Message-IDs that appear in the input mailbox.

           -v, --verbose
              Reports lots of extra debugging information about what is going

           -q, --quiet
              Turns on quiet mode. Do not print any statistics about how many
              messages were archived. This should be used if you are running
              archivemail from cron.

           -V, --version
              Display the version of archivemail and exit.

           -h, --help
              Display brief summary information about how to run archivemail.

       archivemail requires python(1) version 2.3 or later.  When reading an
       mbox-format mailbox, archivemail will create a lockfile with the
       extension .lock so that procmail will not deliver to the mailbox while it
       is being processed. It will also create an advisory lock on the mailbox
       using flock(2).  archivemail will also complain and abort if a 3rd-party
       modifies the mailbox while it is being read.

       archivemail will always attempt to preserve the mode, last-access and
       last-modify times of the input mailbox. However, archive mailboxes are
       always created with a mode of 0600.  If archivemail finds a pre-existing
       archive mailbox it will append rather than overwrite that archive.
       archivemail will refuse to operate on mailboxes that are symbolic links
       or create tempfiles or archives in world-writable directories.

       archivemail attempts to find the delivery date of a message by looking
       for valid dates in the following headers, in order of precedence:
       Delivery-date, Date and Resent-Date.  If it cannot find any valid date in
       these headers, it will use the last-modified file timestamp on MH and
       Maildir format mailboxes, or the date on the From line on mbox-format

       A conversion from other formats to mbox(5) will silently overwrite
       existing Status and X-Status message headers.

       When archivemail processes an IMAP folder, all messages in that folder
       will have their \Recent flag unset, and they will probably not show up as
       'new' in your user agent later on.  There is no way around this, it's
       just how IMAP works.  This does not apply, however, if you run
       archivemail with the options --dry-run or --copy.

       archivemail relies on server-side searches to determine the messages that
       should be archived.  When matching message dates, IMAP servers refer to
       server internal message dates, and these may differ from both delivery
       time of a message and its Date header.  Also, there exist broken servers
       which do not implement server side searches.

       archivemail's IMAP URL parser was written with the RFC 2882 (Internet
       Message Format) rules for the local-part of email addresses in mind.  So,
       rather than enforcing an URL-style encoding of non-ascii and reserved
       characters, it allows to double-quote the username and password.  If your
       username or password contains the delimiter characters '@' or ':', just
       quote it like this:
       imap://"":"password"  You can
       use a backslash to escape double-quotes that are part of a quoted
       username or password.  Note that quoting only a substring will not work,
       and be aware that your shell will probably remove unprotected quotes or

       IMAP servers supporting subfolders may use any character as a mailbox
       path separator, that is, as an equivalent to the slash character on Unix
       systems.  If you are archiving an IMAP subfolder, first archivemail will
       try to open a given mailbox name unchanged; if this fails, it will
       interpret any slashes in the URL as path separators and try again.

       To archive all messages in the mailbox debian-user that are older than
       180 days to a compressed mailbox called debian-user_archive.gz in the
       current directory:

       bash$ archivemail debian-user

       To archive all messages in the mailbox debian-user that are older than
       180 days to a compressed mailbox called debian-user_October_2001.gz
       (where the current month and year is April, 2002) in the current

       bash$ archivemail --suffix '_%B_%Y' debian-user

       To archive all messages in the mailbox cm-melb that are older than the
       first of January 2002 to a compressed mailbox called cm-melb_archive.gz
       in the current directory:

       bash$ archivemail --date'1 Jan 2002' cm-melb

       Exactly the same as the above example, using an ISO date format instead:

       bash$ archivemail --date=2002-01-01 cm-melb

       To delete all messages in the mailbox spam that are older than 30 days:

       bash$ archivemail --delete --days=30 spam

       To archive all read messages in the mailbox incoming that are older than
       180 days to a compressed mailbox called incoming_archive.gz in the
       current directory:

       bash$ archivemail --preserve-unread incoming

       To archive all messages in the mailbox received that are older than 180
       days to an uncompressed mailbox called received_archive in the current

       bash$ archivemail --no-compress received

       To archive all mailboxes in the directory $HOME/Mail that are older than
       90 days to compressed mailboxes in the $HOME/Mail/Archive directory:

       bash$ archivemail -d90 -o $HOME/Mail/Archive $HOME/Mail/*

       To archive all mails older than 180 days from the given IMAP INBOX to a
       compressed mailbox INBOX_archive.gz in the $HOME/Mail/Archive directory,
       quoting the password and reading it from the environment variable

       bash$ archivemail -o $HOME/Mail/Archive imaps://user:'"'$PASSWORD'"'

       Note the protected quotes.

       Probably the best way to run archivemail is from your crontab(5) file,
       using the --quiet option.  Don't forget to try the --dry-run and perhaps
       the --copy option for non-destructive testing.

       Normally the exit status is 0. Nonzero indicates an unexpected error.

       If an IMAP mailbox path contains slashes, the archive filename will be
       derived from the basename of the mailbox.  If the server's folder
       separator differs from the Unix slash and is used in the IMAP URL,
       however, the whole path will be considered the basename of the mailbox.
       E.g. the two URLs imap:// and
       imap:// will be archived in
       subfolder_archive.gz and folder.subfolder_archive.gz, respectively,
       although they might refer to the same IMAP mailbox.

       archivemail does not support reading MMDF or Babyl-format mailboxes. In
       fact, it will probably think it is reading an mbox-format mailbox and
       cause all sorts of problems.

       archivemail is still too slow, but if you are running from crontab(5) you
       won't care. Archiving maildir-format mailboxes should be a lot quicker
       than mbox-format mailboxes since it is less painful for the original
       mailbox to be reconstructed after selective message removal.

       python(1), gzip(1), mutt(1), procmail(1)

       The archivemail home page is currently hosted at sourceforge

       This manual page was written by Paul Rodger <paul at paulrodger dot com>.
       Updated and supplemented by Nikolaus Schulz <>

SP                              07 November 2007                  ARCHIVEMAIL(1)