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Thunderbird account is replaced by a new account set up page - only contacts remain

  • 11 replies
  • 1 has this problem
  • 93 views
  • Last reply by PhilG

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I have just started Thunderbird and my long time account is replaced with a new account set up page. I closed it and reopened it a couple of times but can't get my old account back. There is no sign of the account that I have used for many years. How can I get access to my old account and emails. My account was fine when I switched off my computer last night and was gone when I switched on today. I haven't done any software changes in weeks and the last was a regular windows update.

I have never had this problem before so don't know what to do.

Everything is gone from my Thunderbird account except my Contacts. Thunderbird 78.9.0 (32-bit) is now showing.

Later.... After reading a couple of other questions it seems I may have to do something with a profile so I have attached screen prints of my Thunderbird profile file list: . C:\Users\Acer\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\faaknuww.default

There is a folder named Thunderbird profile 2016 elsewhere but it was last modified in Jan 2017. There are no recent files or folders in it. I don't know where to go from here.

Attached Thunderbird profile folder and file list.

I don't know where to go from here.

I have just started Thunderbird and my long time account is replaced with a new account set up page. I closed it and reopened it a couple of times but can't get my old account back. There is no sign of the account that I have used for many years. How can I get access to my old account and emails. My account was fine when I switched off my computer last night and was gone when I switched on today. I haven't done any software changes in weeks and the last was a regular windows update. I have never had this problem before so don't know what to do. Everything is gone from my Thunderbird account except my Contacts. Thunderbird 78.9.0 (32-bit) is now showing. Later.... After reading a couple of other questions it seems I may have to do something with a profile so I have attached screen prints of my Thunderbird profile file list: . C:\Users\Acer\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\faaknuww.default There is a folder named Thunderbird profile 2016 elsewhere but it was last modified in Jan 2017. There are no recent files or folders in it. I don't know where to go from here. Attached Thunderbird profile folder and file list. I don't know where to go from here.

Modified by PhilG

Chosen solution

The last image you posted showing 'about:profiles', looks like there is only the one default profile name folder and it looks like the original.

re :The files are not recognisable by email address prefix. Names like imap.mail.yahoo-13.com.

'Mail' folder will have pop accounts and the 'Local Folders' mail account. 'ImapMail' will have imap accounts.

Those pop and imap account folder will not have email address prefix, they will have names like : imap.mail.yahoo-13.com. They are the imap and pop account name folders. So the fact that you reported seeing folders with those types of names means it is likely all those accounts are still there.

What is very noticeable is the size of the 'prefs.js' file; it is only 14kb which indicates it is a new 'prefs.js file and does not contain much info, so it is likely it does not contain all that account and identity info so Thunderbird has no knowledge about the accounts themselves.

You have two older 'prefs.js' files and they have been given an additional number eg: 'prefs-1.js and 'prefs-2.js'. Both have a good size, but 'prefs-2.js' is the previously used one and it has a good size of 48kb.

Please do the following:

  • Exit Thunderbird.
  • Access the appdata/Roaming/Thunderbird/Profiles/faaknuww.default folder so you can see the all the various 'prefs.js' files.
  • Please rename the 'prefs.js' file to say 'prefs-5.js'
  • Please rename the 'prefs-2.js' file to say 'prefs.js'

Basically, you are forcing Thunderbird to use the previously used prefs.js file.

Now start Thunderbird.

Please report back on results. If all is good, then mark this comment as the 'Chosen solution'.

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All Replies (11)

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Do I set up my Thunderbird account again and if I do how do I find my emails saved in Thunderbird only and no longer in original Yahoo or Gmail email accounts.

Modified by PhilG

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re :There is a folder named 'Thunderbird profile 2016' At some point in the past you/someone created that folder because it is not a standard Thunderbird profile folder and it should not be in a profile name folder. It looks like perhaps you/someone did a backup years ago and put that folder in that location for some unknown reason.

The first image lists files and folders. It would help to always use 'View' > 'Details' so the files and folders are listed showing Type, Modified Date and Size columns. I notice you have more than one 'prefs.js' file, but as the Details / columns are missing in the display, I do not know when the last one was created or what size it contains.

Could you please repost that first image showing that column data.

How many accounts did you have in Thunderbird and were they POP or IMAP accounts ?

The 'Mail' folder would contain your pop mail account folder and also 'Local Folders' mail account folder. If you used a pop account, can you still see it in the 'Mail' folder and does it contain files etc? if yes, then post an image showing contents of the pop mail account name folder.

The 'ImapMail' folder would contain your imap mail accounts. If you used an imap account, can you still see it in the 'ImapMail' folder? Imap account can easily be added again as emailas are stored on server, but it would be useful to know what you see.


What is not known is whether Thunderbird is even looking at this particular profile or whether another one has been created. Please check: In Thunderbird Help > Troubleshooting Information Under 'Application Basics' section - near the bottom look for 'Profiles' and click on 'about:profiles' this opens in a new tab Make sure all the contents are visible and post an image of that window.

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Toad-Hall Thank you for replying.

Thunderbird Profile 2016 may have been a copy of a profile I didn't want to lose or be overwritten when I was having problems years ago. I changed computers back in late 2016 so it could be my old profile from my previous laptop. I'm sure the location was my preference.

The current Thunderbird profile in Troubleshooting, Application Basics is called faaknuww.default so it's not using the 2016 one. See screen snip attached. Should I delete the 2016 one or move it elsewhere to avoid confusion. I have connected a little used Yahoo.com email account to Thunderbird as I couldn't see a way of Troubleshooting in a blank account.

I have 3 Yahoo/Ymail and 2 Gmail accounts linked to Thunderbird. Following a Yahoo security notice sign in to Thunderbird all my email accounts linked to Thunderbird are iMap. You helped me sort them out last year. The iMap folder contains mostly Yahoo files and a few Gmail ones. The files are not recognisable by email address prefix. Names like imap.mail.yahoo-13.com.

I hope I have covered all your questions and am now attaching 5 screen snips, an expanded view of the files covered in the first screen snip on my original question plus the Thunderbird default profile.

Modified by PhilG

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Toad-Hall Thank you for replying.

Thunderbird Profile 2016 may have been a copy of a profile I didn't want to lose or be overwritten when I was having problems years ago. I changed computers back in late 2016 so it could be my old profile from my previous laptop. I'm sure the location was my preference.

The current Thunderbird profile in Troubleshooting, Application Basics is called faaknuww.default so it's not using the 2016 one. See screen snip attached. Should I delete the 2016 one or move it elsewhere to avoid confusion. I have connected a little used Yahoo.com email account to Thunderbird as I couldn't see a way of Troubleshooting in a blank account.

I have 3 Yahoo/Ymail and 2 Gmail accounts linked to Thunderbird. Following a Yahoo security notice sign in to Thunderbird all my email accounts linked to Thunderbird are iMap. You helped me sort them out last year. The iMap folder contains mostly Yahoo files and a few Gmail ones. The files are not recognisable by email address prefix. Names like imap.mail.yahoo-13.com.

I hope I have covered all your questions and am now attaching 5 screen snips, an expanded view of the files covered in the first screen snip on my original question plus the Thunderbird default profile.

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I kept getting an error when I was posting all the attachments with the message. I will try posting the attachments now.

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just go to the account settings part of the troubleshooting information on the help menu. Is your account shown there. It might not help, but if they are shown there the problem is different to if they are simply gone and the continued appearance of your contact would indicate that the profile has not been "lost"

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I don't understand. ALL my accounts linked to Thunderbird had gone and only a new account set up page remained plus contacts. I know I can set them all up again but I don't want to lose the saved and archived emails in the lost accounts nor the settings to divert or block mail.


If you don't mind I would rather wait for Toad-Hall to reply. I'm able to access my mail by logging into each account so I'm happy to wait.

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Chosen Solution

The last image you posted showing 'about:profiles', looks like there is only the one default profile name folder and it looks like the original.

re :The files are not recognisable by email address prefix. Names like imap.mail.yahoo-13.com.

'Mail' folder will have pop accounts and the 'Local Folders' mail account. 'ImapMail' will have imap accounts.

Those pop and imap account folder will not have email address prefix, they will have names like : imap.mail.yahoo-13.com. They are the imap and pop account name folders. So the fact that you reported seeing folders with those types of names means it is likely all those accounts are still there.

What is very noticeable is the size of the 'prefs.js' file; it is only 14kb which indicates it is a new 'prefs.js file and does not contain much info, so it is likely it does not contain all that account and identity info so Thunderbird has no knowledge about the accounts themselves.

You have two older 'prefs.js' files and they have been given an additional number eg: 'prefs-1.js and 'prefs-2.js'. Both have a good size, but 'prefs-2.js' is the previously used one and it has a good size of 48kb.

Please do the following:

  • Exit Thunderbird.
  • Access the appdata/Roaming/Thunderbird/Profiles/faaknuww.default folder so you can see the all the various 'prefs.js' files.
  • Please rename the 'prefs.js' file to say 'prefs-5.js'
  • Please rename the 'prefs-2.js' file to say 'prefs.js'

Basically, you are forcing Thunderbird to use the previously used prefs.js file.

Now start Thunderbird.

Please report back on results. If all is good, then mark this comment as the 'Chosen solution'.

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Toad-Hall

Thanks for providing such a detailed replies and an explanation as to why I have to do something. I followed your instructions and I now have all my emails connected and working in Thunderbird.

One last question. This event which lost all my Thunderbird email connections, would that have been heralded by "Thunderbird is already running but is not responding" error messages that have cropped up every week or so. Could that explain the three 'prefs' files.

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If you start Thunderbird and get a "Thunderbird is already running but is not responding" error message, it can mean Thunderbird did not shut down properly the last time it was used or computer shut down before Thunderbird has properly exited or perhaps computer crashed. So that a lock is still operating in Thunderbird, so it thinks Thunderbird is technically still running. This means you need to 'unlock' Thunderbird to get it up and running again.

Assuming it is not running and this is confirmed by checking the Task Manager, then deleting the 'parent.lock' file (located in the 'profile name' folder) and then starting Thunderbird usually resolves the issue.

When you exit Thunderbird, a load of writing to files in the 'profile name' folder occurs in the background prior to actual shut down. If this process gets interupted, then issues can occur. In your case, in latest instance, a new default 'prefs.js' file was created.

If you have any cleanup program like CCleaner then please make the Roaming/Thunderbird folder exempt, so CCleaner cannot get access. Note: some Anti-Virus product can also offer this type of cleanup service. I would also check your Anti-Virus product as it may also be able to scan those Thunderbird files. It would advise you do not have anything scanning Thunderbird files. If AV started to scan because setting might say scan files when opened, it could be causing the interruption.

I would strongly recommend that you create a backup of your 'profile name' folder or just backup/create copy of the entire 'Thunderbird' folder : User name/Appdata/Roaming/Thunderbird. As 'prefs-5.js' (which you renamed) is of little use, it would be ok to delete that file. Remember, Thunderbird program must not be running when you create the backup. Keep the backup copy in a safe location, usually on an external hardrive, so if anything occurs with computer itself then the backup will be ok.

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Toad-Hall

I have copied the whole Thunderbird folder onto a USB stick and deleted prefs-5.js file leaving two prefs files, prefs.js (29 kb) and prefs-1.js (43 kb). I have also copied the Firefox folder.

I only use Windows 10 inbuilt antivirus software but about every three to four months I run CCleaner if my computer is running a bit slow. My Acer is over 5½ years old and has lasted longer than any of my previous laptops. I have been careful to avoid introducing any viruses but the number of files is weighing it down. I think I will give CCleaner a miss for the remaining life of this laptop.

Thanks a lot for your help and I will check Task Manager in future to ensure I have closed Thunderbird before closing down.

Cheers and goodbye.