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One Last Try before Bidding Goodbye to Thunderbird. And unable to unsubscribe gmail folders. Freezing and locking up PC for almost 3 years.

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  • Last reply by johnegenes

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I have had the same issues with TB freezing and locking up my PC that many here have had. For me, this has now gone on for almost 3 years. I have done everything I can think of, and everything I have read about online to deal with the constant freezing. I have: --upgraded countless times (now on Ver 102.9.0, 64 bit, Win 10, 32GB RAM, 3TB hard drive) --reinstalled Thunderbird many times --deleted various profiles and created new ones, deleted various config files as suggested. --reinstalled Windows 10, upgraded all associated files, drivers, etc. --started Windows in Safe Mode --disabled all add-ons and extensions in TB --reset all toolbars and controls in TB --started Thunderbird in Troubleshoot Mode --gave an exception to TB in my Windows Defender [and turned off Defender entirely] --ran MANY virus scans --disabled ALL virus software

Thunderbird is the ONLY piece of software on this PC that locks it up. It exhibits the same behavior that many here are seeing: freezes when I try to click on something; freezes when I try to reply to an email; freezes for no apparent reason. I can't MAKE it freeze up... it just seems to do it at random, constantly. Right now, it's open on another screen and has been frozen for about 3 minutes, and just unfroze. Most of the time, it freezes so that I cannot shut TB down. It is completely unresponsive. Sometimes it will freeze the computer so that I cannot do ANYTHING... I cannot open Task Manager and force a shutdown. Eventually, it releases and works again, only to freeze up a few minutes later.

I'm pretty much out of ideas, but I continue to browse online, looking for answers. As I said, three years of this is enough, and I see complaints about this going back even further. I love Thunderbird. I'm a longtime user and have not found any email client that comes close to the way TB works for me, so I'm VERY reluctant to leave. But I'm really tired of being a beta tester. And yes, I have donated many times over the years, and I'm happy to do so. I'm not concerned with the money. I just want it to work like it used to. If you have any fresh ideas, I'm very open to hearing them. But a warning, that I have likely already tried the fixes offered. I appreciate any input, in any event.

So, unless a miracle comes along, I reckon I'll have to cut bait and find a replacement for Thunderbird. Thanks for allowing me to blow off some long-held frustration.

best,

--john

I have had the same issues with TB freezing and locking up my PC that many here have had. For me, this has now gone on for almost 3 years. I have done everything I can think of, and everything I have read about online to deal with the constant freezing. I have: --upgraded countless times (now on Ver 102.9.0, 64 bit, Win 10, 32GB RAM, 3TB hard drive) --reinstalled Thunderbird many times --deleted various profiles and created new ones, deleted various config files as suggested. --reinstalled Windows 10, upgraded all associated files, drivers, etc. --started Windows in Safe Mode --disabled all add-ons and extensions in TB --reset all toolbars and controls in TB --started Thunderbird in Troubleshoot Mode --gave an exception to TB in my Windows Defender [and turned off Defender entirely] --ran MANY virus scans --disabled ALL virus software Thunderbird is the ONLY piece of software on this PC that locks it up. It exhibits the same behavior that many here are seeing: freezes when I try to click on something; freezes when I try to reply to an email; freezes for no apparent reason. I can't MAKE it freeze up... it just seems to do it at random, constantly. Right now, it's open on another screen and has been frozen for about 3 minutes, and just unfroze. Most of the time, it freezes so that I cannot shut TB down. It is completely unresponsive. Sometimes it will freeze the computer so that I cannot do ANYTHING... I cannot open Task Manager and force a shutdown. Eventually, it releases and works again, only to freeze up a few minutes later. I'm pretty much out of ideas, but I continue to browse online, looking for answers. As I said, three years of this is enough, and I see complaints about this going back even further. I love Thunderbird. I'm a longtime user and have not found any email client that comes close to the way TB works for me, so I'm VERY reluctant to leave. But I'm really tired of being a beta tester. And yes, I have donated many times over the years, and I'm happy to do so. I'm not concerned with the money. I just want it to work like it used to. If you have any fresh ideas, I'm very open to hearing them. But a warning, that I have likely already tried the fixes offered. I appreciate any input, in any event. So, unless a miracle comes along, I reckon I'll have to cut bait and find a replacement for Thunderbird. Thanks for allowing me to blow off some long-held frustration. best, --john

Modified by Wayne Mery

Chosen solution

Update: Thanks for all your tips and advice. They really helped. Here's what I've done:

I ran chkdsk for the umpteenth time and this time, it said I had 4 bad sectors on my main hard drive. I ran various software apps (EaseUS, AOMEI, Seagate, Windows Disk Mgr, etc), but could not fix the bad sectors. I had an extra 2TB hard drive so I formatted it and cloned my C: drive to it. That took a LONG time. None of the programs could do it successfully, and all failed after getting to about 96% finished. This was maddening and very time consuming. Finally, I was able to do a sector-by-sector clone using good old Windows Disk Manager. Once I had migrated my Windows 10 and everything to the new drive, I made it the C: drive and all was good. I backed up my original C: drive to an extrernal drive, just in case. My computer has 3 drives on it, so I swapped a few things around and managed to get all three reformatted and running smoothly, with all my data intact and backed up.

And Thunderbird seems to be back to its original self, running smooth and quick! This is a real blessing, as I have tried a few email clients as alternatives, but none of them did what TB does for me. So, I'm happy again.

I wouldn't have thought that just 4 bad sectors on a 1TB hard drive would have wreaked that much havoc, but they must have been in a critical spot, because they certainly caused a lot of headaches. I'm still not sure why they didn't show up all the other times I ran chkdsk, but at this point I don't care.

Thanks again for all the help and suggestions.

best, --john

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All three years on the same hardware?

And also reproduces with Windows 10 started in safe mode? https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12376/windows-10-start-your-pc-in-safe-mode

If the answer is yes, then my first guess when be hardware issue, despite no other applications having problems.

On the other hand, you haven't stated whether you have gone through https://wiki.mozilla.org/Thunderbird:Testing:Memory_Usage_Problems

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@Wayne Mery: Yes, reproduces problem in Windows Safe Mode. Also in Thunderbird safe mode.

I did go through those Testing Memory Usage Problems a while back, but in looking at them again, I see that I can not unsubscribe to Gmail's "All Mail" folder. My "Local" folder (and subfolders) is essentially the same as my "All Mail" folder/subfolders. I've wondered about this, and again, in following the directions, there is no choice to "unsubscribe" from the All Mail. Also, I have 5 gmail accounts (though 4 are now set to NOT log on and get mail). I understand how the All Mail folder works, but I cannot see how to unsubscribe from it. The directions say:

"The safe way to unsubscribe and free the related disk space is: Uncheck it in Synchronization & Storage -> Advanced"

The problem is, NONE of my Gmail accounts has "Synchronization & Storage" listed anywhere. My other non-gmail (IMAP) accounts do. There's no place to unsubscribe to "All Mail" in any of them, though.

Thanks.

--john

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It sounds like you skipped to the "All Mail" section of http://kb.mozillazine.org/Gmail. That would be incorrect.

The directions to unsubscribe are precisely at http://kb.mozillazine.org/Gmail#Subscriptions. Perhaps a better description is https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/thunderbird-and-gmail#w_subscribing-to-or-unsubscribing-from-folders-labels

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@Wayne Mery: Hi, Yes, those are the directions I followed. I did not skip ahead to the the All Mail section, but it was there that I noticed I couldn't actually unsubscribe to All Mail. I went back into each of my Gmail accounts, using a browser, and checked my settings for "Forwarding and POP/IMAP" and set them this way, as per the instructions:

POP Downoad:

  • Status: POP is enabled for all mail that has arrived since 7/20/08
  • When messages are accessed with POP: archive Gmail's copy
  • Configure your email client (I have followed instructions, and client is retrieving/sending emails okay)

Status: IMAP is enabled

  • When I mark a message in IMAP as deleted: Auto-Expunge on - Immediately update the server. (default)

I went to the 2nd link you posted (thanks for that), but my version of TB (the latest, 102.11.2 64 bit) does not have the windows/message boxes shown in that link. I am able to go to: FILE->SUBSCRIBE and I can subscribe/unsubscribe to various folders, but ONLY for my accounts that are NOT Gmail ones. The Gmail accounts do not show up there. I went ahead and unsubscribed to everything in all of those accounts, and I'll see if that helps any. But still, I cannot see a way to unsubscribe from my Gmail's "All Mail", or any of the folders in it. I have right-clicked everything under the sun, and still no luck.

Thanks again for the tips.

--john

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Just an update here. I have done everything I know, and everything that has been suggested here, but still no joy. I continue to update the software, but it is still freezing, locking up the computer, etc. I'm not going to insult the good folks here by asking about an alternative to Thunderbird, but I am actively trying various other platforms. So far, they all have worked without freezing, but none has given me the workflow that TB has, so I'm still reluctant to quit it (I think in some circles they call this "self-flagellation" [grin].

Thanks for the help and suggestions. I'll keep looking for an answer but at this stage I'm not holding my breath. All the best.

--john

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  • Have you run a hard disk scan to check for physical error on the drive? https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/disk-check-windows-10-chkdsk/c1f2fb49-7b71-409d-b713-6c10a28c9e51
  • Have you rebuilt the global database? (a principal cause I my issues, I have to rebuild it often. I find Thunderbird determining what messages to index in the activity manager for inordinate amounts of time for something residing on an SSD.) https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/rebuilding-global-database
  • Have you disabled windows search integration? I removed some 100,000 files (mozeml) and the folders they were stored in from my profile folder manually after I disabled this rather pointless option. I do not look for emails in windows search. So each new mail was only written to disk once now instead of twice. Having a hundred thousand files in a single folder offers it's own issues even on an NTFS drive. The index and journal on the drive becomes somewhat unwieldy as the file numbers get very large. I have seen suggestions that degraded performance can be seen on NTFS on p[latter disks with as few as one thousand files in a folder. I also modified the file properties in the windows file explorer to remove the profile folder from windows search indexing entirely, not only from within Thunderbird. This also reduced random hangs. So I assume the overehead of he windows seach indexing was part of the issue I had.
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John, you are quite the trooper. (Note, he also details at https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1413058#answer-1583661)

The disk check is a good idea. Then assuming he's gone through most of the checklist at https://wiki.mozilla.org/Thunderbird:Testing:Memory_Usage_Problems, which covers the second and third item above, what remains is to create a profile using https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profiling-thunderbird-performance and post the URL here.

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Matt and Wayne: Thanks very much for your suggestions. @Matt: I have run a disk check many times, using Chkdsk and other software. No real issues there. The HD seems to be fine. I have 32 GB RAM and am running 3 hard disks (desktop computer). The main "applications" drive is 1TB, and the other two are 3TB each. No problems with them. I use one for backup, and the other for most of my data from various programs. I run programs (including TB) from my main C: drive (either in "Program Files", or "Program Files (86)" ). My Thunderbird data is all stored on the main (C:) drive.

I did NOT, in fact, see the "rebuild global database". I renamed the "global-messages-db" file to ".OLD" . It was 100MB in size. I restarted TB and it created a new db file, which is now 1.2MB. So, a significant difference there. And yes, things seemed a lot speedier. But after a few minutes, it froze again. I've restarted a few times, rebooted the computer, but it's now freezing again, especially if I attempt to write an email. I've opened the Activity Manager, but it shows nothing going on.

My sense is that it's searching/scanning emails and files somewhere, but I can't get a handle on that. I have made sure the Windows Search is not connect to TB (or anything else.... I've disabled it).

@Matt: when you say you deleted 100,000 files, exactly where did you find them? I can find my emails, folders, etc within my profile, but I'm not sure whether they're necessary or just copies. I've been trying to figure this out. I have my "Local Folders", with all the subfolders, and my mail is stored there. But I also have "All Mail", and that contains the same set of subfolders. I have reset all my email accounts to point to the "Local Folders", but I don't know if the program still scans "All Mail". As far as I can tell, Gmail uses that to sync, but I certainly could be wrong about that.

Also, I just discovered that the file used to launch TB is in the "x86" Program Files (32 bit) folder: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Thunderbird\thunderbird.exe" There is no folder for Mozilla TB or Thunderbird in my Program Files (64 bit) folder. In the program, I checked the "About" and it says it is: "102.13.0 (64-bit)" I've stayed current on the updates, so I reckon I do have the 64 bit version. Just not sure why it never installed into the Program Files directory. Thanks again.

--john

Modified by johnegenes

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johnegenes said

Also, I just discovered that the file used to launch TB is in the "x86" Program Files (32 bit) folder: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Thunderbird\thunderbird.exe" There is no folder for Mozilla TB or Thunderbird in my Program Files (64 bit) folder. In the program, I checked the "About" and it says it is: "102.13.0 (64-bit)" I've stayed current on the updates, so I reckon I do have the 64 bit version. Just not sure why it never installed into the Program Files directory. Thanks again. --john

We don't need to care about where it is installed for this discussion. But neither the OS nor Thunderbird cares into which "Program Files" directory it is installed - but there is a reason, an implementation detail, for it being where it is.

Your performance profile should help give us some direction.

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@Wayne: Here's the performance profile link: https://share.firefox.dev/3Q8aIoQ

Okay, I recorded the performance and managed to get it to freeze while composing a test email. When I captured the recording, it locked up again. Not sure if those events are listed in the performance profile, since I have no idea how to read it. Thanks again for this. best, --john

Modified by johnegenes

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THanks. In the 65 seconds of capture, in what time span is your slowness?

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A bit here and there, and definitely more toward the end. In fact, it froze and I tried to shut down the capture. Don't know if it cut it off, but it eventually unfroze and the capture completed. So, it's quite possible that this performance capture isn't very reliable.

Modified by johnegenes

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Which brings up a question: Is it possible to automatically launch the Developer Tools and start a Performance Profile capture when I open TB? Half the time, the program freezes as I'm trying to open up the developer and start the capture. Would be nice if it just opened automatically, or if I only had one or two clicks to do. Just a thought.

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Still researching, but there are two twenty second chunks where it is loading fonts, which is insane. The early theory is disk corruption.

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The font expert also concludes there are two separate, clearly defined issues which independently point to disk IO being slowness. I'll quote it below, but the summary is, either something on your system is badgering Thunderbird as an application, or IO activity. Normally, Windows safe mode should cause those types of issues to be suppressed.

"Looking at the profile, there's definitely something bad in the font world, though that's not the only issue: taking a couple of seconds just to open the places DB is also excessive.

In all the bad jank sections, it looks like the time isn't primarily being spent in our code, it's deep inside Windows APIs. During the 2.1s places-opening jank, there's nothing happening in the TB processes; we're just calling CreateFileW to open a file, and it's taking two seconds to come back to us. That's....awful. *Something* about disk access is really, really slow.

The font-related jank, then, is similar: we make a simple API call such as IDWriteFontFamily1::GetFont, but this causes DirectWrite to open the underlying font file, and if that takes seconds instead of milliseconds, we're stuck.

So the question is why these file-access operations are so painfully slow, and I don't know what the answer to that is. Corruption? Contention? Malware?

I wonder if the user has some kind of virus-protection or similar "security" software, or some system-administration tools, that could be causing every disk access to be intercepted and checked -- so that when we try to open the places DB, for example, something steps in and blocks that call until it has scanned the entire file. And likewise when we cause each font file to be opened -- even though we're only reading a small amount of metadata, maybe each of the entire multi-megabyte CJK font files gets painstakingly scanned by.....something.

The other thing that occurs to me is to wonder if TB is subject to some sort of "protection" like this because it's not "trusted" in the same way as other Windows applications? I don't know anything about Windows app management, but if we're somehow flagged as coming from an unknown source, maybe that results in everything being intercepted by a "security" module somewhere?"

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John,

More info ... "it looks like dwrite is mmaping the font file and then running into errors while reading"

Please check Windows Event Viewer program, and check the application and system log categories for activity occurring during slowness.

I would also suggest looking at installed programs and post here the list of non-windows applications.

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Here's my latest chkdsk log from the Event Viewer. Will check my installed programs for non-windows apps.

Modified by johnegenes

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The chkdsk process took about 3 hours.

Modified by johnegenes

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Sorry, my Wininit file was glitched. It said the process only took 21 minutes, and had the wrong date/time, etc. So, I'll try again this evening. I expect it'll take another 3 hours to complete. Will likely upload the log file tomorrow sometime.

In the meantime, I have backed up my hard drive and am formatting another one, with the idea of migrating my C: drive to a new hard disk. --john

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Beware Windows Update. It can and will replace/mess up drivers for the hardware on which your files reside. I've seen the same behavior you describe affecting FF, Thunderbird, Edge the same. The only thing they have in common is storage location on an external USB 3.2 drive. Just buggy as all get out, especially after waking up from sleep.

I'm hoping having disabled Windows power management on the USB hub to which the drive is attached solves the problem.

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