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Address book not accessible after upgrade to Thunderbird 78

  • 20 replies
  • 7 have this problem
  • Last reply by Marco Lopes

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Thunderbird has been upgraded to 78 over the weekend. Now my address book is empty, i.e. all my contact information is gone. It seems, that Thunderbird is not able to access or read my abook.sqlite. As a consequence, I do not see message headers of incoming messages (i.e. from, to, reply-to etc. addresses and even the subject) are displayed. If I try to send a message, the Send-button stays greyed out, which makes it completely impossible to send messages. Any advice is highly welcome.

Attached screenshots

Modified by NoahSUMO

Chosen solution

My patience seems to have paid off. I have downloaded 78.1 today and it looks as if the problem has disappeared. Thx

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Thanks for the hint! As of now, I created a new profile and copied my abook.sqlite from the existing profile to the new one. This brought back my contact information. So it seems, that indeed the problem was, that Thunderbird just could not find the information in the existing address book. Copying all my mails to the new profile is not possible in my case since my existing profile sits on a different hard disk and there is not enough space left on C: to copy everything into the AppData directory, where Thunderbird created the new profile. Btw - could this be the issue? Databases in AppData are accessed correctly while there difficulties with Databases in other locations (just trying a guess)?

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There are some options: in the new profile, add the accounts and point the Local directory to the mail folders on the other disk, as described here. Can't say for sure, but having the entire profile in a non-default location might be more of an issue than just moving the mail location, which is the major storage component anyway.

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My profiles have been moved to an alternative location a few years ago according to the documentation here. Maybe the current situation will require an update of this page. I will follow your recommendation and move my profiles back to AppData. This will require a few days. It will also require a change in my backup strategy since MozBackup will not backup everything if profiles and mails are stored in different folders. I'm planning to use Mozbackup for moving my profiles and thus I hope that I don't need to recreate all my accounts manually and re-install all add-ons. I will let you know how it goes.

Thanks for your advice!!

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Where are your profiles stored. On a disk on the local machine or some other device?

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Hi Matt, my profiles are stored on a built in hard disk other than C: My configuration is as follows: I'm running Windows 7 (yes, still!), I have a Disk C:, which is an SSD and therefore space is very limited on C: Apart from this SSD I have two rotating built in 1TB disks which are configured as a RAID 1 (mirrored) and mounted as D: (hence size of D: is 1TB). All my data is stored on D: including 4 different Mail profiles for 4 different family members, who are using this PC. The pathnames to my profiles are like D:\Docs\Thunderbird\<profile_name> I'm not a TB guru (but I have some decades of experience with programming, installing an configuring software). I could imagine that there is some issue with getting the correct profile pathname from profile.ini somewhere during Thunderbird startup.

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re :I'm planning to use Mozbackup for moving my profiles.

I would like to draw your attention to what the author of that program says. MozBackup is not being developed anymore. There are known issues and there is no time on my side to fix all issues and develop new features. Use MozBackup only on your risk. Thanks for understanding.

No work/update etc has been done on this program for 8 years. I personally would not advise you use it.

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Hi Toad-Hall, thanks for this hint! I wasn't aware, that support for MozBackup had ceased such a long time ago. Fortunately, I haven't encountered any issues so far. Not sure, if I'm going to use it in the future. Are there any tools or strategies for backing up Thunderbird data and settings, that you can recommend? ImportExportTools NG ?

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ImportExportTools NG does offer the following:


  • - Export complete profile or just the mail files
  • - Import profile
  • - Auto profile backup with schedule on shutdown

However, you could do a manual backup as well, but make sure you exit thundrbird first.

Thunderbird, by default, stores profile here:

Windows OS:

  • C:\Users\<Windows user name>\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird

Exit Thunderbird and then copy the Thunderbird as shown above as this would have 'profiles.ini' etc. Normally it would also contain all the profile names, accounts, emails, address books etc etc.

In your case you would also need to copy the 'Thunderbird' folder in this location :

  • D:\Docs\Thunderbird\<profile_name>

As it contains all the profile name data, thus accounts, emails, filters, address books etc.

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Hi Toad-Hall, Thx, will act accordingly

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It Looks like you have to do a lot of manual work to bring back your address book (and potentially all your mail). I would think that this issues should have been taken care by the developers. Never heard of any application being upgraded to a new version and not being able to see ALL old info. I guess I'll have to wait for later releases of 78 until all the bugs are fixed (and in my view it's a bug!)

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Chosen Solution

My patience seems to have paid off. I have downloaded 78.1 today and it looks as if the problem has disappeared. Thx

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78.1 has solved most, but not all, of my problems as well. See my post at Email header is back, and I can send emails. The address book is also back, but not being accessed when I'm addressing emails.

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Is autocomplete enabled in Options/Composition/Addressing? If so, are the addresses in the Email field in Address Book?

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Ah ha! No, I forgot I had disabled that when trying to sort out the send/address book issues, and had not re-enabled it. Now that it is back on, that's fixed too. Thank you, sfhowes! The LDAP directory server is still not accessible, but at least my local address book is.

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I'm running Linux Debian. During the upgrade to v10 (Buster), TB was upgraded from 68 to 78. None of my configuration and data came with it. It created a new, empty profile. No amount of messing with profiles either manually or with Profile Manager got me anything that worked. Since I use only Imap, mail was easily recovered by defining the accounts again. However, the address books changed from mab to sqlite. Conversion programs didn't work. So, I came up with a "hack" based on a manual process that another person used. This will work on any Unix derivative, i.e. Mac, Linux, etc. The core idea is to use the Sent folder. So, I did the following: 1. "Save As" all the messages in the Sent folder as text files in a file system folder. 2. Use Unix utilites (cat and grep) to combine the files and extract the To: header lines, saving to a file. (e.g. "cat * | grep '^To: ' > toLines.csv"). 3. Optionally, use other utilities to remove duplicates (e.g. "sort toLines.csv | uniq > uniqueLines.csv"). 4. Edit the text file. (or use 'sed')

   - Search for "To: "and replace with blank.
   - Search for lines that contain only one word and insert a comma (,) at the 
      front of the line.
   - Search for and replace both "<" and ">" with blank, i.e. nothing, 
     not a space.
   - Look over the file. Remove lines with more than one    
    address and addresses you don't want to keep.
    - Save the file. Make sure the name ends with ".csv" so Thunderbird can 
      find it on import.

5. Import the file into Address Book specifying (csv,ldif...). When the field map comes up, the first field is the display name. The second is the Primary Email. Line up the fields accordingly and uncheck all the others. An error message may show up at the end of the import. Ignore it. 6. Check the new address book to make sure it has the contacts. If it has fewer than expected, maybe the error mattered, after all. 7. Move the contacts to the Personal Address Book, if you want, and throw away the one that the import created.

This will retrieve the contacts that you would have had if you had TB collect addresses from outgoing mail. It won't get contacts that were entered manually, but for me it was better than nothing.

Modified by user3118799

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I had exactly the same problem with mac osx catalina. I created a new profile and everything was solved, but 2 weeks later the problem appeared again and I am unable to send any message from Thunderbird. I have updated to the latest version but it didn't help. Any ideas? Thanks!

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I UPGRADED today to TB 78!

It MESSED UP my address books!

I LOST few address books (NOT converted!)

The ones converted have a .bak original MAB!

I always make backups, but was stupid enough not to make today!

I tried UPGRADING again using the MAB files / BAK files, at no avail... it's an ugly BUG :\

CAN I DOWNGRADE to 68 having ALL my profile info backup on 68 (using the mail data from 78?)

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Tried all that i can think of Exported and imported address books... converted to 78... same problem! Don't know what else to do :\ Can't revert to v68

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I gave up!

I EXPORTED all the address books on v68 (CSV) UPGRADED to v78 DELETED all the address books from the UI RESTARTED DELETED few new empty address books from the UI (there was something really wrong after de update!) IMPORTED all the address books (CSV) All address books were created in order (SQL version)

NOTE: had to review ALL the mail RULES, because they were messed up (when the books were deleted)

A guess that's the best approach. I will keep the latest version.