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Unable to restore a Thunderbird profile

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I have been to every page without success. I have followed every suggestion given for restoring a profile to no avail. My win8.1 (64 bit) crashed (not the hard drive). I had to wipe the drive clean necessitating a download of latest Thunderbird. I had saved my profile on a backup hard drive. I have tried restoring with Mozback, manually replacing the files in my old profile, editing the profile.ini file...nothing has worked.

I've been using Thunderbird since v 1.1 and have emails that old. I even tried uninstalling and reinstalling the older v.24 since that was what is on my old computer and it works. I know the mail has migrated from a pop account to imap and thought that might be the problem. That's why I tried several different older versions. I did manage to get my address books back with v.31 but no mail. I cannot express my level of frustration. I thought backing it up was the answer. Obviously not.

Can anyone help me to get my mail back?

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moved to the Thunderbird questions queue