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All my emails stored in my IMAP Email that were stored in my Thunderbird "Profile" are not loading in my Thunderbird Account.

  • 12 replies
  • 10 have this problem
  • Last reply by Matt

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All my emails that were stored in Thunderbird in IMAP don't not load into my Thunderbird Account anymore.

Although I do not use IMAP anymore, and have not used IMAP for the past 7 months (only use POP), all of my old IMAP Emails would automatically load in my Thunderbird Email Software. Several days ago all the IMAP emails not longer are there. I only get a message saying: "

"Alert from account harrison@---------com: full IMAP support is NOT enabled for this account"

My question is ... I haven't been using IMAP for the past 7 months, and everyday all my previously old emails from IMAP was stored in Thunderbird. Now they are gone. Can you help me retrieve my emails. Perhaps they're still saved in my Thunderbird IMAP Profile on my hard drive? ??? I need help retrieving them!! Please help,

Best Regards,


All Replies (12)

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What do you mean with 'have not used IMAP for the past 7 months'?

As long as your IMAP account is set-up in Thunderbird, it is being 'used', i.e. Thunderbird syncs messages with the server.

The error message sounds like something bad happened on the server. Have you checked with your email provider?

When logging in via webmail, do you still see the messages on the server?

Do you have synchronization enabled in Thunderbird for your IMAP account?

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I canceled my IMAP service 7 months ago. After cancellation, I only unused POP Account from my email service provider. My IMAP emails no longer continued to sync from their Server, "although" all of the IMAP Emails continued to be stored in my IMAP Thunderbird Inbox, Sent, Drafts, etc..etc.

Every time I've logged into my Thunderbird Email Software for the past 7 months, ALL of my previous emails continued to be stored in Thunderbird application within my IMAP Inbox, Sent, Draft, within Thunderbird although I didn't have IMAP service from my email provider and my IMAP account within Thunderbird no longer synced with my email account server. I just assumed that all my previous IMAP emails were being store in a IMAP Folder on within Thunderbird that was stored on my Hard Drive. This must be the case because I was clearly able to view and edit only .... all my IMAP emails everytime I logged into Thunderbird for the past 7 months...... after I canceled my IMAP service 7 months ago

3 days ago I logged into Thunderbird and for the first time.....all of my IMAP emails were gone! 2 years of emails totally disappeared.

Please look at attachment which shows in my Thunderbird the two accounts. The very top Inbox is my IMAP account that used to populate with all my previous 2 years worth of IMAP emails. The second Inbox below is my POP Email account that began to populate once I canceled IMAP services 7 months ago. The IMAP Inbox used to be filled with 2 years worth of emails...along with a Sent, Draft folder. Now there's nothing.

I called my Email Provider ( They told me what I already have known for the past 7 months....that I don't have IMAP service and they stopped storing my IMAP emails on their server once I canceled my IMAP service 7 months ago. I know that because everytime I've logged into my email service online after I've canceled IMAP 7 months ago ...not all of my previous IMAP emails were not on the server anymore, yet All of my previous 2 years worth of IMAP emails continued to be stored in Thunderbird.

So something must've happened 3 days ago with Thunderbird's Profile/Archive/Inbox folders on my computer either being corrupted or deleted in some way. Can you help restore or recover these emails????

I've attached another screenshot of my IMAP account settings "Synchronization & Storage" settings. Please take note that that I've always had the option "Don't delete any messages" checked. Meaning that all of my IMAP emails that were synced to my Thunderbird Email Software should've never been deleted.....thus the reason I was able to maintain all of my IMAP emails within Thunderbird's software although I no longer used IMAP. All of my IMAP emails continued to be stored within Thunderbird even though I didn't have IMAP service. That was possible until 3 days ago.

Please advise.

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I believe that GoDaddy IMAP accounts need to have an Unlimited package. They say that "folders created in a POP account will need to be recreated in your IMAP account following the upgrade", presumably this also works in reverse, folders created in an IMAP account do not show up in normal webmail access when you change from IMAP to Pop. This maybe a question worth asking GoDaddy.

Try to contact GoDaddy to see if they stil have a copy of the folders that were on the IMAP account and ask if they can be placed into the Pop account. Then move those emails into Inbox and download to Thunderbird.

IMAP offers a remote viewing of all folders on your Unlimited webmail account. The emails are not stored on your computer unless you actually get copies into Thunderbird Local Folders. when you view the folders' contents, a copy is downloaded to a temp cache to enable quicker viewing of emails. The emails are not being downloaded and stored permanently on your computer because it is an IMAP mail account.

The supplied images show that you actually have the account set up in Thunderbird to connect and synchronise with those folders on the server. If the account was closed with the server and access completely removed then you would not be able to access any of the folders in the IMAP mail account. So you not see any of the emails held in those folders.

If you were actually able to see emails in the those folders / move them about etc, then that IMAP account was either a) active or b) Perhaps you had folders set up to sychronise for offline use. Those folders would have a copy stored on your computer, so enabling you to keep viewing those folders. Normally, these offline folders resynchronise with the server when you go back to online mode and so are not a reliable source of backup due to the constant changing/updating.

I do not know what the policy is with godaddy, but maybe they left it active for a period so allowing you time to get those emails onto your computer. Maybe they just didn't actually deactivate it until recently. Maybe you were using Offline folders or normal IMAP folders which finally sychronised to empty folders and then the account was totally deactivated.

The error message from the server states that it is no longer available. If that IMAP account had actually been deactivated and access denied due to deactivation, then you would have received that message ages ago when you tried to connect the IMAP account with the IMAP server.

Pop mail accounts connect with server, but can only look at the Inbox. Emails are downloaded and stored on your computer. If you have settings to remove from server after downloading then that will occur. Pop mail accounts need to be backed up on a regular basis. Folders need to be compacted on a regular basis.

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I notice you have a Folder in Local Folders called 'Inbox Backup'. What have you stored in that folder? Is that the IMAP backup?

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I have only 3 past emails in the folder "Inbox Backup".

I followed the link you provided:

Please see picture attachment. Notice ...In the folder, there are several .msf files. I believe that's were all my emails were stored. But when I check to see the size of those files....the file sizes are very small. Can you see anyway to retrieve my lost emails? Perhaps they're not lost but somewhere within this folder.

Please assist. Thanks

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All the .msf files are indexing files. They are not files that store emails.

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My question is... how was Thunderbird able to load and store all of my IMAP emails within it's software, where I could clearly review all the IMAP emails for the past 7 months without having IMAP service?

I had the option checked off in the IMAP account settings to store all emails within Thunderbird.

Thunderbird most definitely was able to store those emails.

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I did in fact see that error message stating that I no longer have IMAP service within Thunderbird....but I was still able to view my previous IMAP mails although I no longer had the service.

I called Godaddy...they stated that they do not keep IMAP data on there servers. That data was wiped off as soon as I stopped using the IMAP service 7 months ago.

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Based on the information you provided it appears you had synchronization enabled for your IMAP account. Synchronization means Thunderbird downloads an offline copy of the messages on the server. That is probably the reason why you were able to access those messages until disaster struck.

I can only speculate what may have happened. The most likely scenario would be that for whatever reason Thunderbird did sync with the server. In your case that means to remove all messages from your local disk, because none were on the server anymore.

Just for the records, leaving messages in that IMAP account was extremely thoughtless. You should have moved all your messages off of the server prior to the 'Local Folders' account prior to canceling the IMAP account. In addition accumulation messages in Inbox for several years isn't best practice.

That obviously won't get your messages back. I guess there isn't much you can do, unless you do have a recent backup of your profile.

Have you checked the file Inbox underneath ImapMail/<account name>? That's were your messages are supposed to be. What's the size of the file? If you haven't compacted folders yet, the deleted messages may still be in there. You can open it with a text editor to check. Make sure to create a backup copy of that file before doing anything else.

More information in this article.

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The file sizes are only 4kb. Not large enough to hold 2 years worth of emails. Unless there's some type of compression that I'm not aware of.

I left them on IMAP with Thunderbird because the Sychronized Option was check to store all emails within Thunderbird and I was still able to use the emails for 7 months... I didn't think it was a problem...but obviously I see now that that wasn't the case.

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did you get the message that MSF files are index files and the other file of the pair with no file extension is the mbox file