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Ver 91.4.1 was installed automatically and now my folders, all messages, contacts everything is gone!!!

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  • 4 have this problem
  • 320 views
  • Last reply by Toad-Hall

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When I tried to open my email this morning everything was gone!! No folders, no inbox, no contacts NOTHING. Then it started down loading messages from six years ago. What is going on? As of right now I HAVE LOST EVERYTHING! HELP!!!!!

When I tried to open my email this morning everything was gone!! No folders, no inbox, no contacts NOTHING. Then it started down loading messages from six years ago. What is going on? As of right now I HAVE LOST EVERYTHING! HELP!!!!!

All Replies (20)

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zamar27 said

Toad-Hall said

Using a beta is specifically for people who are not novices

I disagree with your comments. In most cases betas are current package versions with many past bugs fixed and code components updated, while releases may be 2-3 years old for many programs, including Tbird. And... did your comments actually helped the OP? If not, they're irrelevant as well.

Sorry to digress in the Reporter's problem report, but zamar27 your overall assessment is incorrect.

You are correct that betas have code fixes.

But:

  1. Most of code fixes DO get into the newest version (currently 91) within a few weeks of being on beta.
  2. Betas always contain much new experimental code that does not get into a release, and therefore is not advisable for normal users unless they have a serious problem which has resisted all reasonable attempts at resolution using the normal release. Also, lost profiles is a specific situation which will, in my estimation, never be helped by a beta.

Regards, Wayne One of the Thunderbird release managers

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What does this have to do with MY problem?

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Travelingelk said

What does this have to do with MY problem?

It is relevant in that I confirm Toad-Hall's assessment that you shouldn't attempt to use beta as a solution. The statement that version 91 is obsolete is absurd.

As for the rest of your problem, I leave you in Toad-Hall's capable hands.

Modified by Wayne Mery

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Wayne Mery said

Betas always contain much new experimental code

My understanding is Thunderbird code follows behind Firefox code updates, so you call it experimental, but in fact it may be in bulk just a regular code of latest Firefox release? I don't see much problems using Tb beta 96, while implemented bug fixes may help the OP. You say "a few weeks behind", but I see some bugs in the tracker acknowledged but not fixed for 20 years. :)

Modified by zamar27

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zamar27 said

My understanding is Thunderbird code follows behind Firefox code updates, so you call it experimental, but in fact it may be in bulk just a regular code of latest Firefox release? I don't see much problems using Tb beta 96, while implemented bug fixes may help the OP. You say "a few weeks behind", but I see some bugs in the tracker acknowledged but not fixed for 20 years. :)

Please top spamming the person who asked this question with your views that are not relevant nor helpful. They have been advised that beta version is not going to resolve their issue. This is not a Chat Forum.

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Travelingelk said

Good Morning - I did fine with your first post of today about the copy of the files from my laptop. However, I ran into a problem with your second post of today when you said "... access C://Program Files and delete the 'Mozilla Thunderbird' folder." The is not a Mozilla Thunderbird folder in the Program Files directory! There is a Mozilla Firefox and that is the only Mozilla. Should I continue assuming I deleted the Thunderbird folder?

'Mozilla Thunderbird' may be in C://Program Files or C://Program Files(x86) OR use the computer uninstall method by typing 'Programs' into search and selecting 'Add or remove programs' Locate 'Mozilla Thunderbird' and click on 'uninstall'

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Whew! OK, I followed the instructions in your post of 12/30/2021,11:33 AM and everything went very smoothly. Everything seems to be there EXCEPT the messages that were saved in various folders are no longer there. The only messages in any of my folders are the ones that are marked Unread. ALL of the message that had been marked as Read are gone. Some of those messages go back several years and were important but, what the heck - I am better off now than I was this morning. If you come up with any ideas where those messages might be, please let me know.

Toad-Hal, I certainly appreciate all of the time and effort that you put forth in helping me get back on-line. I have an additional question. Is there a procedure in Thunderbird where a person can periodically backup the contents of all of the folders? How long does the system folder All Mail stay active and does it periodically purge itself?

Anyway, thanks again for your dedication to helping some of use that don't seem to know what we are doing. I have over 40+ years working in the computer industry and 90% of that was pre-Windows. My expertise were in DOS Assembly Language programming and Network Security. I still find myself going to the Command Prompt to get something done.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AND YOUR COHORTS!

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Toad-Hall, Another quick question, if I may, concerning this same incident. Being as all of my folders containing their messages are still on my laptop, is there any way to recover them to the new Thunderbird version now on my desktop? Thank you.

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re :ALL of the message that had been marked as Read are gone.

Possibly you have a filter operating. Please check setting: View > Folders > select 'All' View > Threads > select 'All'

Also make sure no filter is selected on the 'Quick Filter Bar' and that includes the 'pin' icon.

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re :How long does the system folder 'All Mail' stay active and does it periodically purge itself?

Are you taking about a Gmail Imap account ? If yes: I'm not sure how much you know/understand how gmail works, so forgive me for eleborating.........

Gmail stores all your incoming and outgoing and archived emails - basically everything - in the 'All Mail' folder. It is permanently active. But, gmail understand that this is not helpful when viewing messages, so gmail invented something they call 'Labels'. Those 'Labels' have names like 'Inbox', 'Sent Mail' etc. When a 'Label' is applied to an email stored in 'All Mail', it means that email can also be seen the 'Folder' of same name as the applied 'Label'. This means all new incoming mail will automatically be given the 'Inbox' label, so it can be viewed in the 'Inbox' folder, but anything that could be 'spam' will get the 'Spam' label. Any emails you send will get the 'Sent Mail' label. The benefit of applying 'Labels' means you can see emails in a more traditional manner - aka in Folder form.

When you remove a 'Label', it means that email is removed from that folder, but it does not necessarilly mean the email has been removed from the 'All Mail' folder.

When you 'Archive' an email, it means gmail removes all labels and stores email in 'All Mail'.

If you delete an email, but do not have that email put into the Gmail 'Trash' folder, then only the label is removed. Gmail treats this the same as archiving. Email has no labels and is stored in 'All Mail' folder.

If you delete an email and it gets put into the gmail 'Trash' folder then gmail will periodically empty any Trash email which has been in the Trash for 30 days. When this occurs, the email is fully deleted from the 'All Mail' folder. Of course you can also choose to empty the gmail imap Trash folder which will have the same effect.

If you delete an email from the 'All Mail' folder then it has gone - it does not exist on server and it will not appear in any folder.

I strongly advise that you do not consider your imap account as a separate independent copy from the server, as imap folders synchronise with server and can only display what is on the server. They are to all purposes one and the same. You can choose to synchronise all folders and download full copies to all folders, then exit Thunderbird and create a backup copy to store on an external device. You can also choose to copy an important email into your 'Local Folders' mail account. Please make sure you are copying a fully downloaded copy and not just headers. Any email copied to 'Local Folders' is now a copy on your computer and is totally independent of the server.

There is no good reason for subscribing and seeing the 'All Mail' folder in Thunderbird gmail imap account, because it just means you have a complete duplicate if everything. The space used for emails is doubled and everytime you move, delete, send etc, it's not just those folders that communicate with server, the server then updates the 'All Mail' folder and that then needs to update the copy in Thunderbird, so you are using a lot more bandwidth than necessary.

If you can see the 'All Mail' folder in Thunderbird, I would advise you to stop subscribing to see it. You can then make it not available for Imap via the gmail webmail account accessed using a browser. It will be in the 'Settings' under 'Labels'. There is the option to allow/stop imap access to specific 'labels' / Folders.

Whenever you move or delete an email in an imap account, that email is hidden and given a 'mark as deleted' tag. This means you will see email in the folder you moved it into, but the original copy is still in the original folder - just hidden. Periodically you would need to compact the folder to remove those previously 'marked as deleted' hidden emails and tidy up the file storing the emails. It is good housekeeping maintenance to compact folders as it helps to keep a healthy Thunderbird. Imap accounts can select to automatically compact/purge the 'Inbox':

  • Account Settings > Server Settings
  • under 'Message Storage'
  • select 'Clean up (Expunge) Inbox on exit'

General info on compacting:

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re:Is there a procedure in Thunderbird where a person can periodically backup the contents of all of the folders?

You can do it manually, which creates a complete backup which includes the entire 'Thunderbird' folder. that includes 'profile.ini' files and 'address books', message filters etc etc. Personally, I perform this manually because it is just so quick. I use Thunderbird to access the Profile folder, exit Thunderbird, go up three levels to Roaming folder and copy the Thunderbird' folder to a suitable storage location.

but if you use an imap account, make sure you have selected all folders to download full copies - not just headers - and then get them all up to date - fully synchronised before performing a backup. File > Offline > Download/Sync Now You can choose whether you want to go offline or not, if intending to create a backup manually then it is best to exit Thunderbird anyway.

There is an addon which can be handy if you just want to backup only the profile name folder or just backup specific folders as mbox files. This means you do not have to exit Thunderbird, but I would advise you go into Offline mode to prevent any server activity/interaction with files that being backed up. ImportExportTools NG

Although a complete backup of profile will include address books, I would advise you manually keep a separate backup. You may not need to do this quite so often, but having a separate backup has proved useful, this is particulary important if you have created additional address books. In Address Book, select name of address book (not the 'All Address Books' as that is just a virtual folder) Tools > Export Export as LDIF or CSV as these are easier to import.

I do not use Windows OS schedule as I would want to ensure fully copy download and Thunderbird being exited before it occurs. It only takes me about 2 minutes to do it manually, so not a big deal.

Modified by Toad-Hall

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Happy New Year Toad-Hall - One more question and I'll put this novel to bed and accept my loss. Being as all of my folders, with their messages are still on my laptop running Thunderbird 38.x, is there any way to retrieve them and incorporate them to Thunderbird 91.x on my desktop? There is some really important information contained in e-mails in those folders; some of which cannot be obtained otherwise! Thank you so very much. - Hal

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There is something I'm not totally sure about -

You have just said : all of my folders, with their messages are still on my laptop running Thunderbird 38.x I thought you were running 78.x - is that just a typo ?

You mention The only messages in any of my folders are the ones that are marked Unread. You also mentioned 'All Mail' Do you see the 'All Mail' folder in the Folder Pane ? If yes, it implies you are now running a gmail IMAP mail account - is that correct ?

However, earlier you said when I try to send a msg I receive the error that the pop.gmail has timed out.

The point is - I previously gave you instructions on how to get an identical copy of profile on laptop onto the desktop - I'm not sure sure you did that.

I think you have a gmail POP account on the old laptop But what have you created on desktop? a new gmail IMAP or POP account ?. I'm not sure at this point. So post some info: On desktop:

  • Right click on the mail account name in Folder Pane and select 'Settings'
  • Account Settings window opens
  • select 'Server Settings'
  • Top right - 'Server Type' what does it say ? POP or IMAP mail server
  • Server Name: what does it say ? imap.gmail.com OR pop.gmail.com


If you have recreated a POP account on desktop: and tried to get a fresh download then it will not show all the old emails perhaps because you have not told gmail what to do. Maybe gmail does not have the correct settings.

Logon to the gmail webmail account using a browser. Click the gear icon in the top right. Select 'Settings'. Click 'Forwarding and POP/IMAP'. Click 'Enable POP for all mail (even mail that's already been downloaded).' Click Save changes.

In Thunderbird Select account and click on 'Get Messages'

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Previous question: Possibly you have a filter operating. Please check setting: View > Folders > select 'All' View > Threads > select 'All' "All" is selected. Also make sure no filter is selected on the 'Quick Filter Bar' and that includes the 'pin' icon. "Quick Filter Bar": No filter is selected. I do not see a 'pin' icon anywhere.

From this post:

Server Type : IMAP Mail Server
Mail Server:  POP.gmail.com

I'll get to the second part of this post shortly and add the results.

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OK, I'm back. I open gmail using my browser and

1. Status: POP is enabled for all mail Enable POP for all mail (even mail that's already been downloaded) Enable POP for mail that arrives from now on Disable POP

I clicked on the first option and the little circle (not shown) filled in black. I then went to the bottom and selected "Save Changes". I then opened Thunderbird and clicked Get Messages. No messages were downloaded into any of the folders, Inbox or All Mail. I went back to the browser gmail and looked at the setting. The "Enable POP for all mail (even mail that's already been downloaded)" was no longer selected even though I had previously saved it. What did I do wrong?

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I see a major issue here. IMAP accounts have an all mail folder with gmail. POP account don't.

You have an all mail folder, ipso facto your account is configured as IMAP.

BTW the setting to mail from now on is what you want to use for POP.

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Account Settings window opens select 'Server Settings' Top right - 'Server Type' what does it say ? POP or IMAP mail server Server Name: what does it say ? imap.gmail.com OR pop.gmail.com

In response to the above question, you said:

This mean you are NOT using a POP type of account. You have an IMAP account as suspected. You are using the wrong mail server. IMAP accounts must use the imap server settings. Your server settings are not correct. Thunderbird auto creates those settings and it never mixes up wrong server with wrong type. This had to be a manual setup and you got it wrong.

To proceed with an IMAP type of account, you have to alter the server settings. It will allow you to see the emails you store on the server - those email and those folders you otherwise can see via webmail.

If this is what you want then you must do the following:

Before you alter the server setting you need to make sure cookies are enabled.

  • Menu app icon > Preferences
  • Select 'Privacy & Security'
  • Select 'Accept cookies from sites'

Fix the IMAP account so it uses imap server settings:

  • Right click on the mail account name in Folder Pane and select 'Settings'
  • select 'Server Settings'

Make sure you have the following: Server TYpe: IMAP Mail Server

  • Server Name: imap.gmail.com
  • Port: 993
  • Connection Security: SSL/TLS
  • Authentication method: OAuth2
  • Reselect the name of account in left pane - just above 'Server Settings'

Bottom right it will state 'Outgoing Server (SMTP)' It should typically say: Google Mail smtp.gmail.com

  • Click on 'Edit SMTP_Server..' button

Make sure you have the following:

  • Description : Google Mail
  • Server name: smtp.gmail.com
  • Port: 465
  • Connection Security: SSL/TLS
  • Authentication method: OAuth2
  • User name: this should be your full gmail email address.
  • click on OK

Exit Thunderbird and wait a few moments for all background processes to complete. Restart Thunderbird.

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Back at ya Toad-Hall, I followed your instructions to the letter and restarted Thunderbird. What was supposed to happen? If something was supposed to happen - it didn't. All of the folders remained the same with no new entries. Tomorrow I am going to try and forward some of my critical folder items from my laptop using my outlook mail account and see if I can recover any of them that way. I have got to do something to recover some of those messages. What else can I try as far as Thunderbird is concerned? Thanks.

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On Laptop running Thunderbird 78.14.0. You can use an addon or do this manually. Using an addon called ImportExporttools NG You need to use version 10.0.4 because it Works with Thunderbird 68.0 - 78.*

How to install addon:

After installing addon: Right click on folder and select 'ImportExporttools ng' Choose either 'Export folder' OR if applicable 'ExportFolder with subfolders (with structure)' Select where to save them - external drive. Repeat for each folder.


Manually: I'm assuming you had a POP gmail account on the laptop. In Thunderbird

  • Menu app icon > Help > More Troubleshooting Information
  • Under 'Application Basics' - locate 'Profile Folder' and click on 'Open Folder'

A new window opens showing the contents of your 'Profile name' folder which is located here: C:\\Users\User Name\Appdata\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\'profile name'

  • Exit Thunderbird now.
  • Click on 'Mail' folder
  • click on POP gmail account name folder to see contents.

You should see files which have the same name as folders. The files you need are the mbox files. These files do not have any extension. You need to copy all of those mbox files to an external device so you can move them to desktop computer. If you see any folders with a .sbd extension then you need to copy those as well. I'll post an image showing an example.

Next comment tells you what to do on desktop.

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On Desktop running current version: Either Manually or using addon ImportExporttools NG

Using Addon This time you need to use the same addon but a different version Version 11.1 Works with Thunderbird 91.0 - 94.0

You can only import the mbox files into 'Local Folders' mail account. Right click on 'Local Folders' folder and select 'ImportExportTools NG' > 'Import mbox file' Select either one of following depending upon whether you had folders with subfolder exported. 'Import directly one or more mbox files' 'Import one or more mbox files with it's/their subdirectory.....' click on OK You will then need to select where you saved those exported files. Choose file and click on Open.


Manually: In Thunderbird

  • Menu app icon > Help > More Troubleshooting Information
  • Under 'Application Basics' - locate 'Profile Folder' and click on 'Open Folder'

A new window opens showing the contents of your 'Profile name' folder which is located here: C:\\Users\User Name\Appdata\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\'profile name'

  • Exit Thunderbird now.
  • Click on 'Mail' folder
  • Click on 'Local Folders' folder to see contents

Access the external drive and Copy all the mbox files (and if applicable - all folders with .sbd extension). Paste them into the 'Local Folders' folder.


Start Thunderbird. You should see emails in the 'Local Folders' mail account.

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