My archive was wiped by Thunderbird! How can I recover this?
Hi, so here's what happened...
1) My file server was full so I moved all my IMAP inbox emails that were older than 1 year to a local folder subcalled "Archive - firstname.lastname@example.org"
2) I then setup my emails to automatically archive to this local folder. When I did this, TB changed the layout of my local archive folder. Instead of leaving it in the "Local Folders" directory, it moved it up into the "Archives" directory and created an archive subfolder called "Local - Archive - email@example.com" - everything going well up until this point.
3) I already had an archive sub folder called firstname.lastname@example.org (which was empty) so now I have two archive directory located sub folders for the same email account. One is called "email@example.com" (empty), the other is called "Local - Archive - firstname.lastname@example.org" and contains all my local email archives.
4) I tried to delete the archive folder called "email@example.com" but it wont allow me to do this so I'm stuck with multiple archive folders.
5) I test my new archive setup. I press "archive" on an email in my firstname.lastname@example.org inbox but instead of archiving to the local archive directory location that I setup ("Archive - email@example.com" which TB changed to "Local - Archive - firstname.lastname@example.org"), the email archives to the original archive sub folder "email@example.com".
6) I checked the auto archive settings to make sure they were pointing at the correct folder. The settings were setup correctly and yet the auto archive was still sending emails to the firstname.lastname@example.org archive folder (rather than my new local folder), I gave up trying to auto archive to the local folder.
7) What I did next, and in what order, I am unsure... As I now had two archives (one local that couldn't backed up to) and another that was online and would soon fill up my file server, I believe I tried to either: a) drag and drop emails from the online archive (or the entire email@example.com archive folder) into the "Local - Archive - firstname.lastname@example.org". b) or the other way around... I dragged emails or the folder "Local - Archive - email@example.com" into the online archive "firstname.lastname@example.org"
During the process of moving emails I closed Firefox down and when I came back later I found that Thunderbird had totally removed my archived folder called: "Local - Archive - email@example.com" and all my emails within it but there were no emails added to the other archive. Rather, the emails have disappeared altogether. I do not know where all my emails within this folder have gone or how I can recover them...
Did I break this somehow or did Thunderbird?
If anyone understands what happened, and where my emails may be stored, please help me recover them. They are business emails that my business relies upon for ongoing sales and as tax records etc.
Additional System Details
- User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; Win64; x64; rv:69.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/69.0
I'm trying to understand exactly what you did.
Most people with Imap mail accounts will have an imap subscribed 'Archive' folder which is within the imap mail account. So in effect, all emails are still stored on server, but they have been moved into a different folder called 'Archives' which may have subfolders perhaps by year.
It is also possible to archive emails to a folder outside of the imap account and storing them in your 'Local folders' mail account which is now storing them on your computer. This has the effect of deleting emails off the server.
You would need to set this up in the 'Account Settings' for the imap account.
- Right click on imap mail account in Folder Pane and select 'Settings'
- select 'Copies & folders'
Message Archives section
- click on 'Archive Options' button
- Select relevant options
eg: Yearly archived folders If you want to keep your current folder structure, then select the option 'keep exisitng folder structure of archived messages' This means if you archive emails from eg: 2018 and some are in the 'Inbox' and some are in 'Sent', then Archives folder will look like this: Local Folders > Archives > >2018 > > > Inbox > > > Sent
If you selected 'A single folder' and 'keep existing folder structure' Then you may see something like this: Local Folders > Archives > > Name of folder
- click on OK.
- Select 'keep message archives in:'
- Select 'Other' and choose 'Archives on Local Folders'
- Click on OK
From then onwards when you select an email and click on 'Archive', the email is moved to the designated folder.
Please note that in a gmail account by default Archive means remove all labels and keep email in the 'All Mail' folder. The 'Archive Options' button in Thunderbird will be deactivated.
It is a good idea to make sure you have full copies of emails already downloaded / full synchronised and up to date in folder before archiving to a location outside of the imap account.
When ever you move emails from one imap folder to another imap folder or out of the imap account to Local Folders mail account, there is a load of communication going on with server to accomplish this. This is because the imap folders are synchronised with server folders - they are in effect one and the same. If you have an Anti-Virus product that scans files when opened or scans internet uploading/downloading of files then this can cause a slight slowdown in communication. You cannot move a 'folder', but you can move emails off server to 'Local Folders' mail account and back again. Closing Thunderbird whilst communication is occuring is not advised as emails may be in transit.
Re: canot delete a folder in an imap mail account: You need to unsubscribe from seeing server folders. You cannot delete any default folder. Other folders can be deleted, but in some cases you need to unsubscribe from seeing them and then delete them via webmail account.
Your explanation sounds like you move a 'Local Folders' folder to somewhere it could not go and whilst Thunderbird was trying to process this, you closed the application.
You could check to see if there is anything in the 'Local Folders' mail account. In thunderbird Help > Troubleshooting Information click on 'Open Folder' button
a new window opens showing the contents of your profile name account - when you create backup, this is the folder you would have been backing up to an external location.
The 'ImapMail' folder will contain your imap mail accounts.
But you want to check 'Local folders' so.... click on 'Mail' folder click on 'Local Folders' mail account name folder There should be an 'Archives.sbd' folder and it contains the 'Archive' subfolders. mbox files have no extension and they contain emails. Any .msf file is just an indexing file and does not contain emails. mbox files can be opened using a text editor program like Notepad++. Emails are written to the file in the order downloaded, so oldest is at the top. If you make sure you have the window set as 'View > details', the you can enable the 'Size' column and this will help to show you what files have a good size.
Modified by Toad-Hall