I belong to a listserv that sends me copies of messages I send to the list address. When I delete the messages from my inbox, GMail also deletes the message from my sent folder. I'm aware that the whole deal with GMail and tagging is that you only have one copy of a message and if you delete it from one place it's gone. However, it doesn't seem like that should be the case with Sent mail.

Is there any setting or add-in I can use that will prevent emails I delete from other tags from being deleted from the Sent messages?

(I use both the GMail web client and Thunderbird; solutions for either one are welcome.)

2 Answers 2


Don't delete it from your inbox. Archive it.

Seriously it is that simple.

You can put a label on the email if you want. When you archive the email the inbox label is removed. If it has no other label it will still be in "All Mail" and in "Sent Mail".

  • Thanks! I guess I didn't think of that because I tend to multi-select and delete all the messages after reading them. I'll just have to remember to archive the ones I've sent before deleting the others.
    – EmmyS
    Feb 14, 2012 at 23:25
  • Never delete, always archive. Archive just removes the "inbox" label from the conversation. Feb 14, 2012 at 23:42
  • 1
    Well, "always archive" is kind of a sweeping generalization. There ARE messages I truly want to delete - as in, not have anywhere in my mail at all.
    – EmmyS
    Feb 15, 2012 at 15:18
  • If you send an email, and then gmail sees the response as part of the same conversation, gmail will delete the entire conversation when you delete the message. I have run across a number of longtime gmail users who never understood how archive worked. Feb 15, 2012 at 15:50

Gmail automatically links related messages together as a 'conversation'. This includes the messages you send and all replies received, your replies to those replies, and so on. It's a handy feature.

If you open any message in the conversation and click the 'delete' button at the top, the entire conversation gets deleted.

But if you open a particular message in the conversation and click the drop-down arrow at the top right of that message (next to 'Reply') and select 'Delete this message', only that one message gets deleted, while the rest of the conversation remains unaffected.

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