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Thunderbird appears to be removing "ALL Mail" on Gmail server

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  • 1 has this problem
  • Last reply by Nodakman

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Gmail account is empty on Gmail server. When I go to Gmail "All Mail" folder it's empty, no mail received or sent found in "All Mail" folder. Where do look for a setting(s) that are clearing everything, is it in Thunderbird configuration or Gmail server settings or both?


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I'm presuming you are using a gmail Imap mail account in Thunderbird. So tell me different.

Gmail keeps all emails in the 'All Mail' folder and offers a more standard folder view by applying 'labels' to those emails, so they appear in other folders. If just a label is removed then email will disappear from eg: Inbox, but will still reside in the 'All Mail' folder. If an email is deleted and put into the gmail 'Trash' folder then when Trash gets auto emptied by gmail, those emails are fully deleted from the 'All Mail' folder.

So, this means either emails were deleted directly from the 'All Mail' folder or deleted via emptying 'Trash'.

Possible reasons: You manually deleted emails via Thunderbird, webmail or another device accessed the server eg: phone. You archived emails or moved emails out of folders and off server into eg: Local Folders mail account or another storage. You have an automatic setting to delete emails over x age. Anti-Virus software 'fixed!' files rendering them empty then those files synchronised with server, which also emptied the server. If the AV 'fixed' only the one 'All Mail' file, then you would lose everything from all folders because if 'All Mail' is empty on server then there are no emails. Another device accessed the server eg: phone, downloaded emails and removed copy on server, but you would expect this to only effect incoming mail.

In gmail webmail account there are settings to state what to do if you 'Pop' emails. One of those options is to delete the messages. If phone connected using pop then it might explain missing emails.

Check Anti-Virus to see if has quarrantined a thunderbird file. Strongly advise you do not let AV software scan any Thunderbird file or at least change the settings to ask you before doing any fixing, then do not allow a fix.

Do you normally have the 'All Mail' folder visible in Thunderbird? Most people do not bother to subscribe to the 'All Mail' folder as it is just a duplicate of emails in all other folders.

In Thunderbird check some settings: Right click on gmail imap mail account folder in Folder Pane and select 'Settings' Select 'Synchronisation & Storage' Under 'Disc Space' section Ideally select 'Don't delete any messages' But if the settings is 'Delete messages more than X days', then this might explain why loads of emails went missing.

Also check the retention policy on the 'All Mail' folder. Right click on 'All Mail' folder (assuming it is subscribed to be seen) and select 'Properties' Select the 'Retention Policy' tab. Usually, you would select: use my account settings or uncheck that option and select 'Don't delete any messages'

Please note Gmail says this - for future reference: Starting June 1, 2021, if you remain inactive or go over your storage quota for 24 months or longer, all of your emails may be deleted.

If you do not have a backup of profile, then I suggest you contact gmail: Under section 'Most of my emails are missing': If emails are missing from your account, someone may have access without your permission. We can help find your missing emails and secure your account. There is link to recover emails of last 30 days.


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Thank you for your response.  

Quick background I've used Thunderbird email and Gmail for years with no issues.  I leave all my incoming and outgoing on the Gmail server (All Mail folder) doesn't cost to leave them there.

I was helping someone in the Dominican Republic via Teamviewer who is also using is Thunderbird and Gmail and found their Gmail server "All Mail folder" empty.  I could find no difference in setting between mine and theirs, but you just hit on something I'll bet is the cause.   "In gmail webmail account there are settings to state what to do if you 'Pop' emails. One of those options is to delete the messages. If phone connected using pop then it might explain missing emails.,,,"

I'll bet the culprit is a setting on one of their iThingy's (phone or tablet) settings that's emptying their Gmail "All Mail" folder.



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