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doveadm-batch - Execute multiple commands for multiple users


doveadm [-Dv] batch [-S socket_path] -A sep command sep command [...]
doveadm [-Dv] batch [-S socket_path] -F file sep command sep command [...]
doveadm [-Dv] batch [-S socket_path] -u usermask sep command sep command [...]


The command doveadm batch is used to execute multiple doveadm(1) commands sequentially for multiple users. This is primarily an optimization where Dovecot can do all the mailbox operations for the same user at once, instead of having to go through the users multiple times.

In the first form doveadm(1) will loop over all users, defined in the configured user_db(s), and execute the sequence of commands for each of them.

In the second form doveadm(1) will loop over all users, listed in the given file.

In the third form the commands will be executed for each user matching the given usermask.


Global doveadm(1) options:

Enables verbosity and debug messages.
Overrides the configuration setting from /etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf and from the userdb with the given value. In order to override multiple settings, the -o option may be specified multiple times.
Enables verbosity, including progress counter.

Command specific options:

If the -A option is present, the command will be performed for all users. Using this option in combination with system users from userdb { driver = passwd } is not recommended, because it contains also users with a lower UID than the one configured with the first_valid_uid setting.

When the SQL userdb module is used make sure that the iterate_query setting in /etc/dovecot/dovecot-sql.conf.ext matches your database layout. When using the LDAP userdb module, make sure that the iterate_attrs and iterate_filter settings in /etc/dovecot/dovecot-ldap.conf.ext match your LDAP schema. Otherwise doveadm(1) will be unable to iterate over all users.

Execute the command for all the users in the file. This is similar to the -A option, but instead of getting the list of users from the userdb, they are read from the given file. The file contains one username per line.
The option's argument is either an absolute path to a local UNIX domain socket, or a hostname and port (hostname:port), in order to connect a remote host via a TCP socket.

This allows an administrator to execute doveadm(1) mail commands through the given socket.

Run the command only for the given user. It's also possible to use '*' and '?' wildcards (e.g. -u *
When neither the -A option, nor the -F file option, nor the -u user was specified, the command will be executed with the environment of the currently logged in user.


Any doveadm(1) command, with arguments and options — except for the -A, -S and -u options.
A single character used as command separator, e.g. ':'. Be careful, unquoted characters, like ; or &, may be interpreted by your shell and doveadm(1) will never see them.


In this example we move seen mails, older than one month, for all users to the alternative storage under /nfsmount:

mail_location = mdbox:~/mdbox:ALT=/nfsmount/%h/mdbox

The second command will remove messages with refcount=0 from the primary storage.

doveadm batch -u \* : altmove seen savedbefore 30d : purge


Report bugs, including doveconf -n output, to the Dovecot Mailing List <>. Information about reporting bugs is available at:



2015-05-09 Dovecot v2.3