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How To Delete Hidden Email In Gmail

Published May 27, 2010

All Mail GmailSix weeks ago, I wrote a blog post on my personal blog named Beware of Gmail's All Mail : Eats Up Space. In short, I used up all my Google Apps capacity and had to delete mail to make sure I did not go above my quota. In light of a customer having the same issue yesterday, I figured I re-post that blog post here, just in case you have not seen it or I need to reference it over here.

Over the past few weeks, my Gmail storage has been dwindling down. It didn't really make sense to me, since I only stored my inbox on the Gmail server, plus 30 days of my sent and deleted mail. I thought I did my best to download my email off Gmail and onto my local hard drive . Yea, I know- not completely in the cloud, but honestly, I don't think I want all my email threads in Google's hands at all times.

In any event, the other day I reached 97% of my storage with Google. I was about to buy more space but since it is Google Apps, the only way to do so is to upgrade all the accounts, not just one - and there was no need for that. So I dug around and found tons of email in my "All Mail" folder in Google. Emails dating back to when I first moved my email to Google Apps.

I clicked on all mail within the web based email view of Google Apps and saw these messages. So what I did was manually archive my inbox, sent items, draft items and so on and then did a select all and delete all. Then I emptied my trash can on the web interface and freed up 7+GB of space.

I then put the saved messages back to where they belong and started almost fresh with Google Apps mail. I am now down to only 150MB used or so, it's a nice feeling.

Here is more information about the all mail feature in Gmail and note, deleting imap email does not always delete them from Google's servers - it usually archives them, which can make you run into space issues.

I should note, six-weeks later, I am now using 14% of the 7GB. So this is something one should check in their Gmail or Google Apps account on a routine basis.

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Barry Schwartz is the CEO of RustyBrick, a New York Web service firm specializing in customized online technology that helps companies decrease costs and increase sales. Barry is also the founder of the Search Engine Roundtable and the News Editor of Search Engine Land. He is well known & respected for his expertise in the search marketing industry. Barry graduated from the City University of New York and lives with his family in the NYC region.

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