Merging Thunderbird back-up files
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preserved all the e-mails from the time of the disk failure, despite the fact that the back-up was actually two days out of date.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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