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after update to version 78.5.0 (32-Bit) nearly all my contacts are deleted. please help!!!

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  • Last reply by tassos1

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hallo like the tile say "after update to version 78.5.0 (32-Bit) nearly all my contacts are deleted." please help me, how do I get them back, a step back before update is not more possible saw it to late. there was to much updates last week.

also funny is that there is a list with no named folder in the adressbook list you see left on the screenshot.

my last saving of the adressbook is also to old, forgot to save them last year :(

would be great to hear from someone.

Attached screenshots

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PART-1: (Regain Previous Data)

Thunderbird = TB.

it appears that, v78+ series new-TB failed to convert correctly your address book file abook.mab, etc !


instruction may appear complex to some user, who are not very familiar with these. perhaps reading multiple times will help you to understand each steps more easily. IF YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND SOME WORD OR STEP AT-ALL , THEN AN OPTION IS, SEARCH IN YOUTUBE FOR A VIDEO RELATED TO THAT , THAT TYPE OF VIDEO WILL HELP YOU TO GET MORE/BASIC KNOWLEDGE+CONFIDENCE ON THAT.


IF INSTRUCTIONS ARE (STILL) NOT CLEAR TO YOU , THEN DO NOT FOLLOW THESE STEPS.

INSTRUCTIONS ARE NOT FOR THOSE USERS WHO DO NOT KNOW OR HAVE ANY BASIC KNOWLEDGE OF FILE-BROWSER OPERATIONS, ETC , WINDOWS OPERATING SYSTEM BASIC INTERACTIONS, ETC.


new TB (v78+ series) uses a new profile folder: goto new TB main-menu > Help > "Troubleshooting Information" > about:profiles > write-down the "Root" & "Local" profile's folder PATH/location(s). we will call it "new-TB-profile".


( if you dont want TB to auto-update again, then follow instruction shown inside Disable update or auto-update in Thunderbird , please upvote Q+A there if its helpful )


DO NOT DELETE ANY FILES/FOLDERS FROM YOUR PC/MAC , AND DO NOT DO/RUN "EMPTY RECYCLE BIN" , UNTIL ALL IS BACK TO NORMAL . AND TRY TO DO ALL OF THESE WITHOUT RESTARTING THE PC/MAC . All pc/mac computers now have much larger storage, and much larger online-storage in online based mail-account , so do not delete any files+folders, so, FIRST THING YOU MUST HAVE TO DO IS : MAKE A BACKUP COPY , MEANS MAKE ATLEAST ONE COPY OF ENTIRE "Profiles\" FOLDER SHOWN BELOW , IN YOUR "DESKTOP" OR "DOWNLOAD" FOLDER. When You have To Delete, Then Either Move It Into "Backup" Folder, Or Copy (Before Delete) Into "Backup" Folder. Before Making a Backup/Copy , You MUST Do These : Enable Viewing/Show ALL FILES in File-Browser (Windows-Explorer) , and Also Set/Enbale Option To Show File-Extensions , in Windows SEARCH box type "Explorer", in result item "explorer" should appear, Right-click on it & select Other/More-Options > Run It As Privileged/Administrator Type Of User > Then choose to run it with such an user in your computer, then use that specific (privileged) Windows-EXPLORER to copy the "Profiles\" folder , (when you copy in this way, then ALL files will be copied, otherwise some files may be skipped). Same way as earlier in windows SEARCH box type "cmd.exe" or "Command Prompt", you will see "cmd.exe" or "Command Prompt" item appeared , Right-Click On "Command-Prompt" & select Other/More-Options > Run It As A Privileged User ( it means run it as an admin type of user) , Keep This (privileged) "Command-Prompt" Window Running. In Below Instruction When You Will See Instruction To Run a Command , Then Run That Command Inside That Privileged "Command-Prompt", OR , Open "Run" box ( if you type "Run" in windows SEARCH, then "Run" will appear, select Run to run it. ) By using the "Run" box You Can Also Run Command.

When all is back to Normal, that is, all is working+running fine in TB=Thunderbird , without any problem, then you can DELETE the BACKUP COPY whenever/if you want.


it appears (and i'm assuming) you're using Windows (64bit), and TB (32bit),

instructions are for Windows 64bit, TB 64bit & TB 32bit.

old & new TB's "profile" folders are inside this sub-folder, here:   %APPDATA%\Thunderbird\Profiles\   (in the windows RUN box, type above & press enter, then Windows-Explorer will show Contents of that "Profiles\" sub-folder) find a sub-folder under/inside it, that has name like this: "xxxxxxxx.default-bak" , "xxxxxxxx.default-release" etc. the "x" in "xxxxxxxx" actually is a random alpha-numeric character, then ends with a .profile-name, like: "default", "default-release", etc, etc . we call these folders "profile" folder. you MUST make backup copy of above mentioned "...\Thunderbird\Profiles\" sub-folder (including all files+folders inside it) & so that you can get a backup copy of important files when+if you make mistake during fixing the issues . if you are super-expert & do this type of activities daily/frequently, then you don't need to make backup copy . you must configure your file-browser to show+copy ALL files & go into privileged user/admin mode to make backup-copy . when all is back to normal in TB & running fine, then you can delete the backup copy (to save space), when you want to. go inside each "profile" sub-folder & look for "abook.mab" or "abook.mab.bak" file(s). it must be inside one of those "profile" sub-folders. for-example if your old/previous TB's "profile" folder was "xxxxxxxx.default-bak" then we will call it in short "old-profile".


this mab (mork) based address-book can only be used by TB v68 series & older versions. More info on Address-book. newer TB v78+ series converts the mab into sqlite format, and uses sqlite. ( but in your case it could not do so . May be you've used too much customized fields,etc that conversion process failed, now i don't know exactly why v78+ series failed to convert the mab file , but it looks like conversion program (used by TB) cannot anticipate sufficiently the various changes that various users may+can do on "contact" data. )


If you had multiple "Profiles", then you may see number after "abook" like these: "abook1.mab.bak" , "abook2.mab.bak", etc , these need to be revert back to "abook1.mab" , "abook2.mab", etc.


please see LIST of FILES inside "PROFILE" sub-folder used by TB = Thunderbird, here:   http://kb.mozillazine.org/Files_and_folders_in_the_profile_-_Thunderbird various things have changed in TB v78+ series, so user have to re-search in TB site, what new file is now used by newer TB and for which functionality.


inside "old-profile" if you find/see other TB files with .bak file-extension, then those will also have to be revert back to actual previous file-name . see the LINK that shows the LIST of files inside TB "profile" , then you will know what to look for.

some settings MAY need to be fixed also inside the "pref.js" file.


sometime newer-TB moves files (*.mab, etc) from "old-profile" folder into the "new-TB-profile" folder , then converts the *.mab, etc files into *.sqlite, etc files , then changes the *.mab,etc files into *.mab.bak,etc files , so DO NOT DELETE "new-TB-profile" , you may have to get/copy *.mab.bak, etc files from "new-TB-profile", and paste/place into old-profile folder ( if the old-profile does not have *.mab or *.mab.bak, etc files).


users who have Calendar issue ( if you cannot access Calendar, after updating into v78+ series TB ) , then those users have to additionally recover this below file: storage.sdb is internal calendar data (in SQLite format) if you use the Lightning extension , it has been replaced by local.sqlite file and it is still maintained for compatibility in case a user switch between different Thunderbird+Lightning versions . if it was renamed into storage.sdb.bak, then rename back to storage.sdb inside old-profile.


AV = Anti-Virus . FW = Firewall . SS= Security-Suite . TB = Thunderbird.


at this point OPTIONS for Windows users: (option-1) downgrade : first disable your AV/FW/SS software's mail-protection feature only, (do not disable ALL features of AV/FW/SS), and ALSO add+allow mail-server-addresses inside your AV/FW/SS software's web-content inspection EXCEPTION / EXCLUDE LIST, etc . Then restart TB , see if that helped to solve your problem or not . See Details in this answer (on AV/FW/SS & AT&T-Yahoo accounts in TB). if problems did not solve, then, FIRST, Make Backup Copy Of Thunderbird "Profiles\" sub-folder & all contents inside it (detail is shown above, also in link at-end of this section) , then uninstall newer-version (v78+ series) TB , obtain old version Download Thunderbird Installer , fix mab,etc files (that is, Rename it , see details above, and also see details inside the link at-end of this section) , install old-version TB , run installed TB first-time with --allow-downgrade' commandline option , then run it again second time with with -P --allow-downgrade option, & select "old-profile" . More info on TB downgrading: here <- Link.

user who did not found old contacts (in address book) working (in new TB) , after TB updated automatically , those users, need to fix their contact (in address-book) entry format in old-version (v68 series) TB, as it is running now . if contact (in address-book) has default & simple format, then new version TB can convert them (mab,etc files) easily into sqlite files. and then, IF USER WANTS TO, CAN again update into newer TB v78+ series/versions , or, if USER wants-to can update+use newer version second-TB .


( other options are in next post : PART-2 )

Modified by atErik

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PART-2: (Regain Previous Data)

TB = Thunderbird . P-L-TB = Portable Thunderbird Legacy (Portable Legacy Thunderbird).

another option for Windows users, (option-2): use second-TB for the old-profile to access old/previous data: some TB function can only be used in a specific version or in a second TB, for such reason/purpose use this option-2 , and for other purpose where using this option is correct . For-example : if you want to keep your default TB in your OS system uptodate & latest with new-version TB , then you can use a second-TB that is older-version, when you must need to use a older-version TB for specific functionality. install PortableThunderbird-LEGACY-v68 version , then use the entire old-profile folder & all contents under it , with this PortableThunderbird-Legacy (v68) edition (after you make a copy of "old-profile" folder) , as your "old-profile" folder was also for v68 it should work fine with v68 P-L-TB . Copy the entire "old-profile" so that original remains intact, once everything in PortableThunderbirdLegacy is working, then you can delete extra copies. Bit More Detail Info: Create a folder for portable apps first here: C:\PortableApps\ Then install P-L-TB inside above folder , generally it will look like this: C:\PortableApps\ThunderbirdPortableLegacy\ Copy the C:\PortableApps\ThunderbirdPortableLegacy\Other\Source\ThunderbirdPortable.ini file into here: C:\PortableApps\ThunderbirdPortableLegacy\ThunderbirdPortable.ini & edit this ini file, and set the value to true, for the line that has AllowMultipleInstances in that ini file, Then you can either go Here to find more info on how to use a second/third profile with PortableThunderbird (instruction also valid for P-TB, & P-L-TB), or, use the settings mentioned here to specify "old-profile" folder's PATH location into the "PortableThunderbirdLegacy" app's ThunderbirdPortable.ini file manually by yourself.


then manually transfer (copy-paste, etc) your Contacts (address book entries), etc from this portable-TB (second-TB) into your v78+ series TB, if you want to transfer.


option-3: sometime only some specific DATA or items from old-TB-profile needs to be moved/transferred/copied into new-TB-profile, in such cases follow this option-3, and for other purpose where its correct option. find your TB's profile storage folders:   https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profiles-where-thunderbird-stores-user-data   http://kb.mozillazine.org/Profile_folder   ( "xxxxxxxx.profile-name" <- "profile" ) you MUST MAKE atleast one backup copy of all sub-folders & files inside "%APPDATA%\Thunderbird\Profiles\" subfolder , so that if you make mistake, you still have one intact + full backup copy, to fix mistakes . if you're super expert & frequently do this type of activity then no-need to make backup copy . when all is back to normal as before & working fine, then you can delete backup copy when you want to. FILES LIST that are inside your TB's "profile" folder:   http://kb.mozillazine.org/Files_and_folders_in_the_profile_-_Thunderbird TB renames various "*.file-extension" files into "*.file-extension.bak" , so carefully revert by removing the ".bak" portion . if another exists (with same name, then do not delete that), then add "*.file-extension.2.bak" with existing file, & then rename backup "*.file-extension.bak" into "*.file-extension". in TB, info on your "Local Folders" (and if you created specific sub-folders or sub-items inside/under "Local Folders") is here:   http://kb.mozillazine.org/Local_Folders so, items inside/under the "Local Folders" (that are not-connected to specific "mail-account"), are here : TB "profile" folder > "Mail" folder > "Local Folders" folder > each item (as a file) is inside/under "Local Folders" . so copy all (files & folders) item(s) from old "profile" into new "profile". some user uses settings to download+keep emails ONLY in local folder after obtaining them from remote-server, so emails are deleted from remote-server & are kept inside local folder, in such case, you will have to transfer items from correct "mail-account" in old "profile", into correct "mail-account" of new "profile". but new "profile" (used by new-version TB) & old "profile" (used by older-version or previous TB) very likely do not use same account-ID,etc for "mail-account" name internally or in their sub-folder name , as mail accounts are created in different order, etc , so user will have to manually place old items into correct "mail-account" sub-folder . see inside linked pages, try to understand how "mail-account" names are stored, then you can (understand what ID/name used in old & what ID/name used in new profile) copy into correct account and that is safer+secure way to do it. another option is just put/transfer old "profile" mail-account items into any mail-account in new "profile", restart TB, so TB will show you all old items but they will be in wrong accounts , so to fix it , create atleast one new temp (temporary) sub-folder under each "mail-account" in new "profile" , inspect few old emails in "mail-account"(s) , see "From", "To", etc data fields , and you will know if it is in the correct or incorrect "mail-account" , now you can manually select all emails & transfer under/inside the temp sub-folder of correct "mail-account", etc. different mail-account(s) sub-folder are located here: : TB "profile" folder > "mail-account" sub-folder > local folder (kept as a file). if you have selected advanced option to keep each mail as file (to assist in AV/SS app scanning), then some of the mentioned item in above which are kept as file , will actually be a sub-folder in your case. etc.

AV = Anti-Virus . FW = Firewall . SS = Security-Suite software.

TB support website also has detail data on above (spread on multiple webpages), look into them as well.

Modified by atErik

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Where do I get my IT degree to sort this out? I'm sorry but I don't have the ability to follow these suggestions. Is there a way I can undo the 78.5 update & revert to the previous version?

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Hallo Eric,

tyvm for all this instruction, I try to understand all that, but my english is not good enough, to fullfill all that. but ty agin, so I copy this out and wait till a friend of mine have time for me.

wish you have a great advent time and enjoy with yours.

tc & stay safe, tassilo

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Alan There is a particular set method to being able to go back to a previous version ..

Need to set updates to ask, possibly change the address book depending upon what version you are going back to, uninstall current version, then download old and reinstall, but do not auto start. Then use command line to force a backwards compatibily allowance.

In the 78 version:

  • Menu app icon > Options > General
  • Scroll down to 'Updates' section
  • select 'check for updates, but let me choose whether to install them'


If needing to go back to a 68* version then fix the address books: In Thunderbird

  • Help >Troubleshooting Information.

Under Application Basics section about 8 down in list see 'Profile Folder'.

  • Click on 'Open Folder'

A new window opens showing the contents of your profile name folder.

  • Exit Thunderbird


In the profile name folder - you will find the old address book files with extension .mab.bak - those files (abook and history) you need to:

  • -rename them to .mab (so remove the .bak part) eg: 'abook.mab.bak' becomes 'abook.mab'
  • -rename abook.sqlite and history.sqlite by adding .bak to the name. eg: abook.sqlite.bak
  • Do same for any other address books you created.


Now uninstall Thunderbird program. You could just delete the Mozilla Thunderbird folder from here:

  • C:\ Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Thunderbird
  • then empty the computer 'Recycle Bin'

Then get download from here: This is for version 68.12.1

This is for version 78.5.0

Run the downloaded .exe file to install. On the last step of the installation do NOT select to start TB because you will need to run a command to allow you to downgrade.

Windows OS:

  • In search type : Run
  • Select the 'Run' app
  • Type: thunderbird.exe -P --allow-downgrade

note there is a space before and after -P

  • click on OK

Profile Manager starts select the desired profile name click on 'Start Thunderbird'.

Modified by Toad-Hall

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Thanks for the Sophos suggestion ! I enter https://mail.google.com/ as web exception but TB still does not retrieve emails from GMAIL.

I would try to follow the directions to downgrade back to 68. Hope it works out.

Thanks for your help !

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Whatever you do, do NOT destroy xxxx.mab.bak files in your Thunderbird profile, they will be needed by developers to determine why your addressbook is not working properly

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@atErik, that's impressive instructions, but far too much complexity

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thank you all, for your descriptions! I will try out and follow your info, step by step. will do it next days with my friend.

thx a lot for all the help and have a fabulous advent time.

I will send as worked out.

hagd & tc

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TB email-client app uses port 993/imaps or 995/pop3s or 465/smtps, web-browser app (or web-browser tab inside TB email-client) uses port 443/https.

AV = Anti-Virus . FW = Firewall . SS = Security-Suite software . TB = Thunderbird. ( these software will use different WORDS/NAMES for same functionality. )

MORE INFO ON AV/FW/SS is here.

what to do selection LOGIC: first try to find out if your AV/FW/SS has "mail-protection" option or not, if AV/FW/SS does-not-have such option, then follow steps 2 & 3 in below. if AV/FW/SS does have this ("mail-protection") option, then find out if it has a sub-option to add "EXCEPTION"/"EXCLUSION",etc. if sub-option ("Exception") does-not-exist, then follow steps 2 & 3, & disable "mail-protection" option. if sub-option ("Exception") exist, then keep "mail-protection" option enable, & follow step 1 only. and then follow "TB configuration for malware scanning".

DIFFERENT AV/FW/SS WILL USE DIFFERENT WORDS INSTEAD OF "MAIL-PROTECTION", etc.


step-1: AV/GW/SS software usually has a separate & specific option to enable/disable mail-protection , that MUST be disabled when it does not have sub-option to add Exception/Exclusion. when "mail-protection" option has "EXCEPTION"/"EXCLUSION" sub-option, then do not disable "mail-protection" option, (this sub-option is most important for us). to reach into that specific "mail-protection" option , user have to SEARCH (via DuckDuckGo/Bing/Yahoo, etc) in internet documents, also goto AV/FW/SS software/developer website's support section. different AV/FW/SS keeps this option at different location/position. there are many many AV/FW/SS software. when "mail-protection" option has "Exception"/"Exclusion" sub-option , then add mail-server address as exception, then AV/FW/SS will not interfere in communication with mail-servers: add (imaps) srvr exclusion : imap.gmail.com:993 add (pop3s) srvr exclusion : pop.gmail.com:995 add (smtps) srvr exclusion : smtp.gmail.com:465 you may skip step 2 & 3. if TB still fails to communicate with remote mail-servers, then follow step 2 & 3 & disable "mail-protection" option in AV/FW/SS.


step-2: some AV/FW/SS app may have an option web-content, in it there is a sub-option EXCEPTION / EXCLUSION LIST, add+allow mail-server addresses with port # in that list. "web-content" usually refers to & handles port 80/http & 443/https, by-default, when a port is not specified, and it is used for protection from harmful website(s) & web-service(s) & web-components, etc. so you add+allow these, for example: add+allow (imaps) site/URL : imap.gmail.com:993 , or imap://imap.gmail.com:993/ add+allow (pop3s) site/URL : pop.gmail.com:995 , or pop://pop.gmail.com:995/ add+allow (smtps) site/URL : smtp.gmail.com:465 , or smtp://smtp.gmail.com:465/ ( if you add+allow only imap.gmail.com then that here means, only port 443 & 80 based traffic are allowed , so imap/pop3/smtp mail-server connections would still fail via some AV/FW/SS )


step-3: some AV/FW/SS also has another EXCEPTION / EXCLUSION LIST for global/"system-wide" protection, there, by default it usually assumes any/all PORT ( port # from 1 to 65535 ) when a port is not specified, so we have specify specific port, for-example: add+allow (imaps) server-adrs : imap.gmail.com:993 add+allow (pop3s) server-adrs : pop.gmail.com:995 add+allow (smtps) server-adrs : smtp.gmail.com:465 ( if you add only imap.gmail.com then that here means allow ALL/ANY port based traffic , that is too much permission , avoid doing that )


usually doing above ( step 2 & 3 ) is not-needed, as all outbound traffic is usually allowed by default, from general (non-server) computers/devices. (ofcourse for super security, a user can enable control/management of outbound traffic).


if you find-out that, after disabling AV/FW/SS, TB begins to work, then you need to do above exceptions ( step 2 & 3 ).

AND then follow the steps shown in bottom side of this answer in "To make sure all emails are scanned by AV/SS,..." or "TB configuration for malware scanning" section.


mail-protection (in AV/FW/SS CLIENT APP/SOFTWARE) that uses SSL/TLS proxy/gateway based "protection" ... useful for some cases , but ISSUE is, this can be ABUSED to STEAL (private) data from people (aka: SPY on people, person, etc) , (mail/email, attachments, etc which are private data, for specific person & from specific person). so such SSL/TLS based proxy/gateway MUST be avoided , there are other solution & other way to scan for malware in mail without loosing Privacy+Security , shown inside above link.


users who decided to access via "OAuth2" auth-method , for that, bit more info is here ( info on: mail server web-access via their basic-html site , and mail-server imap/pop3/smtp port , and allow cookie from specific URLs to access mail over web-service , and allow cookie from specific URLs to allow OAuth2 verification ) . i'm still updating that page . (please upvote if its useful/helpful).

Modified by atErik

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Thank You for your responses It will take me a while to try the different suggestions

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do you speak german too? my english to describe some things is not enough :(

so I am back and have to say, thats too much specifacted to handle that for me and my friend dont have time like it looks like, have to work in the mountains.

Is there a possibility to copy the profilfolder, uninstall the version 78.5.0 and and install an older one again and put the profilfolder in the right folder again?

or what happen, when I uninstall thunderbird, do it delete the profilfolder as well?

because thats real horror, I want my adressbook back.

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Edited: Make a copy of the 'profile name' folder because it is just handy to have a backup copy. Do not delete the profile name folder, it is not necessary. Then follow the instructions as they are more simple to follow. As you are using Version 78.5.0 and do not want to go back to another version - see if forcing it to rerun on the profile works, but you need to alter the sqlite files back to a mab first.

Start computer in 'Safe Mode with Networking' - this will stop any AV interfering. Start Thunderbird. In the 78.5.0 version:

  • Menu app icon > Options > General
  • Scroll down to 'Updates' section
  • select 'check for updates, but let me choose whether to install them'


fix the address books: In Thunderbird

  • Help >Troubleshooting Information.

Under Application Basics section about 8 down in list see 'Profile Folder'.

  • Click on 'Open Folder'

A new window opens showing the contents of your profile name folder.

  • Exit Thunderbird


In the profile name folder - you will find the old address book files with extension .mab.bak - those files (abook and history) you need to:

  • -rename them to .mab (so remove the .bak part) eg: 'abook.mab.bak' becomes 'abook.mab'
  • -rename abook.sqlite and history.sqlite by adding .bak to the name. eg: abook.sqlite.bak
  • Do same for any other address books you created.


Start thunderbird.

Modified by Toad-Hall

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Rather than going BACK I would rather go FORWARD into the future. I'll just wait for the TB geniuses to fix this in some upcoming release. I'm sure it will happen, and I will be patient. After all, I was only trying to get Gmail to work for the first time, and the world won't end if it doesn't work immediately. Have safe and happy holidays. --Bob

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riden Not entirely certain whether your comment has any relevance to this question. It certainly does not offer any help to the person asking the question. The question is all about an update not updating/converting mab files correctly.

re:After all, I was only trying to get Gmail to work for the first time I suggest you create a new question and state clearly what OS you use, version of Thunderbird, whether trying to create a pop or imap account or whether you have created the account but are experiencing issues. Tell us if you are getting any error messages. In the meantime make sure you have allowed cookies in 'Options > 'Privacy & Security' because Imap accounts cannot work if this is disabled.

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tyvm for all your hints and tipps.

nothing worked and adressbook is still empty. I installed new and put the profil folder into the right place again.

still see my mails, but no more adresses. going back is not possible, because cant export the adressbook in the old version.

realy hard that a update from thunderbird makes so much problems.

tyvm again for all your help. wish you all a great and happy new year. I see it at closed no.

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