VM User's Manual. Node: Starting Up

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Chapter 1: Starting Up

The first time VM is started in an Emacs session, it attempts to load the file specified by the variable (vm-init-file), normally `~/.vm'. If present this file should contain Lisp code, much like the `.emacs' file. Since VM has well over one hundred configuration variables, use of the `~/.vm' can considerably reduce clutter in the `.emacs' file. You can reload this file by typing L (vm-load-init-file) from within VM.

M-x vm causes VM to visit a file known as your primary inbox. If the variable (vm-auto-get-new-mail) is set non-nil, VM will gather any mail present in your system mailbox and integrate it into your primary inbox. The default name of your primary inbox is `~/INBOX', but VM will use whatever file is named by the variable vm-primary-inbox.

VM transfers the mail from the system mailbox to the primary inbox via a temporary file known as the crash box. The variable vm-crash-box names the crash box file. VM first copies the mail to the crash box, truncates the system mailbox to zero messages, merges the crash box contents into the primary inbox, and then deletes the crash box. If the system or Emacs should crash in the midst of this activity, any message not present in the primary inbox will be either in the system mailbox or the crash box. Some messages may be duplicated but no mail will be lost.

If the file named by vm-crash-box already exists when VM is started up, VM will merge that file with the primary inbox before retrieving any new messages from the system mailbox.

M-x vm-visit-folder (v from within VM) allows you to visit some other mail folder than the primary inbox. The folder name will be prompted for in the minibuffer.

Once VM has read the folder, any spool files associated with the folder are checked for new messages if vm-auto-get-new-mail is non-nil. See Spool Files. After this, the first new or unread message will be selected, if any. If there is no such message, VM will select whatever the selected message was when this folder was last saved. If this folder has never been visited and saved by VM, then the first message in the folder is selected.

M-x vm-mode can be used on a buffer already loaded into Emacs to put it into the VM major mode so that VM commands can be executed on it This command is suitable for use in Lisp programs, and for inclusion in auto-mode-alist to automatically start VM on a file based on a particular filename suffix. vm-mode skips some of VM's startup procedures (e.g. starting up a summary) to make non-interactive use easier.

The variable vm-startup-with-summary controls whether VM automatically displays a summary of the folder's contents at startup. A value of nil gives no summary; a value of t always gives a summary. A value that is a positive integer n means that VM should generate a summary on if there are n or more messages in the folder. A negative value -n means generate a summary only if there are n or fewer messages. The default value of vm-startup-with-summary is t.

  • Spool Files Linking folders and mailboxes.
  • Getting New Mail Retrieving mail from spool files.
  • Crash Recovery Recovering changes after Emacs or your system dies.
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