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I do not see my emails in my "Roaming/Profiles/...default" folder where they are supposed to be. Where are they saving to?

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  • Last reply by Toad-Hall

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I read help articles on where Thunderbird is supposed to save my emails on my local computer. I went to that folder in my "AppData" and my email folders are there, but the messages are not in the folders. They show up in the Thunderbird program, but not in the "Profile" folder where they are supposedly stored. I have also noticed that when I am offline I cannot access most of my emails, even if I had moved them to a local folder in the Thunderbird program. I also have used the "File - Offline - Download/Sync" selection in the Thunderbird program that I read is supposed to sync the emails, but that doesn't seem to do anything. Anyone know how I can save folders and emails to my local computer? Is there something in settings that enables/disables messages from being available offline?

I read help articles on where Thunderbird is supposed to save my emails on my local computer. I went to that folder in my "AppData" and my email folders are there, but the messages are not in the folders. They show up in the Thunderbird program, but not in the "Profile" folder where they are supposedly stored. I have also noticed that when I am offline I cannot access most of my emails, even if I had moved them to a local folder in the Thunderbird program. I also have used the "File - Offline - Download/Sync" selection in the Thunderbird program that I read is supposed to sync the emails, but that doesn't seem to do anything. Anyone know how I can save folders and emails to my local computer? Is there something in settings that enables/disables messages from being available offline?

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If you cannot see mbox files (no extension) in profile imap mail account folder, then emails are not downloaded. You will only see .msf files which are index files. You cannot see them in offline mode because emails are not saved on computer. You can see them in online mode because this allows you to connect to server where the emails are stored. When you select an email, it is downloaded to a temp cache to facilitate viewing, it is not stored in Thunderbird profile. It sounds like the emails that were copied to 'Local Folders' were only headers not full copies, hence you cannot read them.

Please check the following setting for the IMAP account.

  • Right click on imap mail account name in Folder Pane and select 'Settings'
  • Select 'Synchronisation & Storage'

Message Synchronising

  • select checkbox 'Keep messages in all folders for this account on this computer'
  • click on 'Advanced...' button
  • make sure all the folders are selected for download.
  • click on OK
  • Click on OK to save and close Account Settings.

Restart Thunderbird to ensure those settings are being used in current session.

Test download for Inbox:

  • Right click on 'Inbox' folder and select 'Properties'
  • Select 'Synchronisation' tab
  • Checkbox 'Select this folder for offline use' should be auto selected.
  • click on 'Download now'
  • click on OK

It should state the activity in the bottom Status bar.

Check Profile to see if there is now a 'Inbox' mbox (no extension) file. It should be in this location:

  • C:\Users\<Windows user name>\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\<Profile name>\ ImapMail\imap account name folder


General download for offline:

  • Menu app icon > File > Offline > Download/Sync Now
  • Select 'Mail Messages'
  • Select 'Work Offline once download and/or synchronisation is complete.'
  • click on OK.

If you can read emails in offline mode then a full copy has been download. Whilst in Offline mode, to prevent further synchronisation whilst doing a lot of copying of emails, suggest you get 'copies' of required emails into the 'Local Folders' mail account. I say 'Copies' not 'Move' because that would take email off server and it is better to ensure you actually have a copy before deleting off server.

Once you have full copies downloaded and all is sorted, exit Thunderbird and get a backup of the 'Thunderbird' folder: C:\Users\<Windows user name>\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird

copy it to an external drive of suitable size. You cannot rely on imap folders as a copy/backup because those folders synchronise with server, hence why I suggest getting the download and then performing a backup.