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Mystery of the Disappearing Folders

  • 4 replies
  • 2 have this problem
  • Last reply by bearcatnat

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My Thunderbird program at work updated itself in early November to version 78.5.0 (32-bit, installed on Windows 10). Right after the update, I noticed that all of my folders, old messages, and address book entries were gone! Basically it looked like a clean install.

I was able to find that my old folders and messages were still intact inside the AppData/Roaming/Thunderbird/Profiles folder. I immediately backed up this folder. I then installed the ImportExportToolsNG extension. I was able to use this to import my old .mbox files and .msf files, which restored all of my older files and folders. The only problem was the folders were all jumbled up. For example, I might have 10 folders inside of a folder called "01_Wholesale". All folders were now listed alphabetically with no nesting.

So I spent almost an hour sorting the folders back into the properly nested format. Lo and behold, after closing and restarting my computer the next day, most of my folders were gone again!! When I check the storage folder, I can see that the folders and messages are all there, but many of them do NOT show up in Thunderbird. If I try to recreate a missing folder in Thunderbird, it will give me a message that the folder already exists. (See attached screenshots of how my Thunderbird program looks versus the file list in Windows.)

What in the world is going on, and how can I fix this mess?? I've already tried creating a new profile. I have the same issue with the new profile.

Attached screenshots

All Replies (4)

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No one else encounter this?


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I finally managed a work-around of importing all the old MBOX files using the ImportExportTools NG extension. Then I had to create new folders with slightly different names, copy the messages from the old folders into the new ones, and delete the old folders. Finally, I restored the old folder names by renaming each.

I'm wondering if the update corrupted my old folders somehow. Very frustrating!


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re :My Thunderbird program at work updated itself in early November to version 78.5.0

Thunderbird can check for and install updates, however, this may be being done by an Updater Software product. Do you know if the update was initiated by Updater Software on the computer ? Anti-virus products may also have the ability to check for updates for various programs, so is Thunderbird in the list to check for updates ? If Thundrebird is in list then make it exempt.

In Thunderbird Menu app icon > Options select 'General' Scroll down to 'Updates' section Which option is selected? - Auto install updates.... or Check for updates, but let me choose.... Suggest the latter as you would be informed and can then allow Thunderbird to perform the update. Is the following checkbox selected? 'Use a background service to install updates' If yes, then uncheck that option.

Restart Thunderbird.

Please supply feedback on update settings and whether you needed to uncheck 'Use a background service.....' and whether you discovered Thunderbird was being updated by Thunderbird itself or induced by another Updater program.

Modified by Toad-Hall


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Thanks for the reply. The options for Automatically Install and Use a background service to install were both checked. I changed it to Check for updates, but let me choose, and unchecked the option for background services.

I have Avast installed for anti-virus. The option to update programs is not enabled.

Modified by bearcatnat


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