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Merging Thunderbird back-up files

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A suspected hard disk failure left me with my files, including several year’s worth of Thunderbird e-mails, marooned on a back-up disk.

The opportunity was take to replace my ageing Linux Mint Maya computer with a new one, running Mint Sylvia. The current version of Thunderbird was then installed with the expectation of then transferring my archived e-mails to it. Much to my surprise, however, when I went on line, roughly the previous fortnight’s e-mails appeared in my inbox. I can only assume that they were cached in on my ISP’s server, even though they had already been downloaded. Between them, the disk back-up and the new version of Thunderbird, on the replacement computer, had laudably preserved all the e-mails from the time of the disk failure, despite the fact that the back-up was actually two days out of date. Not quite so commendable is the fact that my e-mails are now split between two different file systems, on different media, with a degree of duplication – useful proof that nothing has been lost but an added headache when trying to merge the archives into a single Thunderbird file set on the new computer.

At first I decided to keep the archive on the old computer using the backed-up data. Eventually this would become superannuated enough to discard, along with the computer. However, after a few days of running, the fault returned, showing it to be the computer, rather than the hard disk, that had failed. Luckily, not only did I have a back-up but I had not yet dumped the original system disk. Unluckily, I no longer had anything to run the latter on.

File merging on the new computer is probably now the only practical solution but I am concerned by the risk of data loss. My archive files are, I believe, in ../Home/Me/Thunderbird on the back-up, and the original system, disk, whereas that same folder on the new computer contains all the files originating from around the 1st of July – about two weeks before the crash on the older machine. I have been trying to work out how best to meld these records but am in need of some advice. I cannot replace one ../Thunderbird folder with another or I would only have the files in the replacement. I must also wonder whether all the files and sub-folders in the older ../Thunderbird folder now need, or even ought, to be transferred to the new computer, which clearly has a new, even if identical, profile.

One of the problems with restoration of Thunderbird files is that it is primarily a manual operation. Linux is is not very forgiving of manual mistakes.

A suspected hard disk failure left me with my files, including several year’s worth of Thunderbird e-mails, marooned on a back-up disk. The opportunity was take to replace my ageing Linux Mint Maya computer with a new one, running Mint Sylvia. The current version of Thunderbird was then installed with the expectation of then transferring my archived e-mails to it. Much to my surprise, however, when I went on line, roughly the previous fortnight’s e-mails appeared in my inbox. I can only assume that they were cached in on my ISP’s server, even though they had already been downloaded. Between them, the disk back-up and the new version of Thunderbird, on the replacement computer, had laudably preserved all the e-mails from the time of the disk failure, despite the fact that the back-up was actually two days out of date. Not quite so commendable is the fact that my e-mails are now split between two different file systems, on different media, with a degree of duplication – useful proof that nothing has been lost but an added headache when trying to merge the archives into a single Thunderbird file set on the new computer. At first I decided to keep the archive on the old computer using the backed-up data. Eventually this would become superannuated enough to discard, along with the computer. However, after a few days of running, the fault returned, showing it to be the computer, rather than the hard disk, that had failed. Luckily, not only did I have a back-up but I had not yet dumped the original system disk. Unluckily, I no longer had anything to run the latter on. File merging on the new computer is probably now the only practical solution but I am concerned by the risk of data loss. My archive files are, I believe, in ../Home/Me/Thunderbird on the back-up, and the original system, disk, whereas that same folder on the new computer contains all the files originating from around the 1st of July – about two weeks before the crash on the older machine. I have been trying to work out how best to meld these records but am in need of some advice. I cannot replace one ../Thunderbird folder with another or I would only have the files in the replacement. I must also wonder whether all the files and sub-folders in the older ../Thunderbird folder now need, or even ought, to be transferred to the new computer, which clearly has a new, even if identical, profile. One of the problems with restoration of Thunderbird files is that it is primarily a manual operation. Linux is is not very forgiving of manual mistakes.
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Wayne Mery
  • Top 25 Contributor
  • Moderator
543 solutions 5072 answers

Sorry, I'm not going to read the whole thing in detail. If you still have an issue, bottom line, briefly, what is the current main problem or question?

Sorry, I'm not going to read the whole thing in detail. If you still have an issue, bottom line, briefly, what is the current main problem or question?
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