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Personal folders not visible in Thunderbirds after migration to new computer

  • 9 vastust
  • 4 on selline probleem
  • Viimati vastas Netwon

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I moved my Thunderbird profile to a new computer (and edited profiles.ini to point to the backed-up profile. Now in Thunderbird on the new machine I have the Local Folders Inbox, Sent, Trash, but the Personal Files folder with my saved and categorized mail sub-folders is not visible in the left-hand panel. It appears to be intact in the /Mail/Local Folders/Personal Folders.sbd/Archives.sbd folder, just not visible when I run Thunderbird.

What do I have to do to get these folders and their subfolders back again.


Valitud lahendus

Did you store the mail belonging to 'one folder for each email account' within the profile?

In other words, did you change the 'Local Directory' setting for those accounts?

Loe vastust kontekstis 👍 0

All Replies (9)

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Thanks for your answer, but sorry, no relief. My Personal folders are still in the profile file (if I view them from Windows explorer) but do not show up in the Thunderbird left panel.

When I first re-installed Thunderbird ion my new computer, I used the "Modify profiles.ini to point to the new location" procedure. This clearly didn't work: hence this question thread. After your answer, I tried the "Create a new profile and copy the old one over it" method. I ended up with a profiles.ini that referred to two profiles, the new one and the old one. I don't know what it means to have two profiles named in profiles.ini, so I deleted the one I thought was useless. No option seems to get me the right results.

What am I missing?

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you can have a lot of profiles, probably in the order of 30 thousand or so and profiles.ini should just cope.

in your explorations, each folder you have discovered should have two files in it's parent with the same name.

The SDB folder are basically telling Thunderbird the folder "in Thunderbird" has sub folders. The actual mail is contained in a file named with the same name and no file extension and the index also is names the same but with an MSF extension.

Try closing Thunderbird and deleting the file foldertree.json from you profile folder. It will be recreated when Thunderbird starts.

That did not fix it? Try deleting panacea.dat and restarting.

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Hi Matt, Thanks for your persistence.

What you write about subfolders is exactly what I see in the folder structure of the saved profile:

(the profile).default

 - some files
 - "Mail" folder
   - one folder for each email account
   - "smart mailboxes" folder
   - "Local folders" folder
     - Some fiies, including Sent, Inbox etc
     - "Personal folders.sbd" folder
       - "Archives.sbd" folder
         - All the subfolders that I created and saved messages in.

But when I start Thunderbird, the left-hand panel only shows:

- Local folders

 - Inbox
 - Drafts
 - Sent
 - Junk
 - Trash
 - Red-Tagged (a programmed folder that shows messages I have tagged "red")
 - Tagged (a programmed folder that shows messages I have tagged any color)
-- Outbox

Deleting foldertree.json or panacea.dat makes no difference to this behaviour. I desperately need those saved folders: it's my complete email work history. Anything you can do would be really appreciated.


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Valitud lahendus

Did you store the mail belonging to 'one folder for each email account' within the profile?

In other words, did you change the 'Local Directory' setting for those accounts?

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Thanks for your reply. Local directory for each account points to the profile, so I didn't change any of them.

But the folders that are not displayed are stored in Local folders -> Personal folders -> Archives, as I indicated above. I don't think "Local folders" is associated with a particular email account, right? It seems to be configured separately under "Tools -> Account settings".

I may have created this "Personal folders" heirarchy when I set up my config 5 years ago, importing the folders using Mozbackup, but frankly I've forgotten how it all got set up. I was hoping that it would all just appear magically when I moved the saved profile over to the new Thunderbird installation.

It's frustrating that I can see the subfolders in the profile using Windows explorer but Thunderbird seems to ignore them on startup.

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You're right about Local Folders.

Just in case make sure you do have a backup of your profile folder.

What happens when you create a folder 'Personal Folders' underneath 'Local Folders' in Thunderbird and restart Thunderbird?

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Well I finally solved my problem. (First of all, there was no problem creating a Personal folders in Local folders.)

Here's what I did:

I went back to my various profiles backups and used ImportExportTools to pull the folders back into Thunderbird. Because I've been doing incremental file backups, I needed to reconstruct the latest folders hierarchy by importing the latest full backup and then importing individually each of the folders that had been updated since then -- being careful not to import multiple copies of the same message.) Note that Mozbackup didn't help because it doesn't deal with anything below the granularity of "emails".

It was a lot of time and painstaking effort, but I think I'm back in a current working state for all my folders, with current inbox & sent emails as well. Now I just need to reconstruct my "virtual" folders that display messages based on Tags.

I believe there's a bug in Thunderbird with respect to opening profiles, but I wouldn't know how to construct a simple test case that proves it. (I have thousands of emails files in various folders: far too messy for effective analysis.)

Thanks to Matt and Christ1 for coming to my aid.


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I had the same problem, and believe I found the solution. I was transferring a profile from one computer running Win XP to a new computer running Win 7.

I could see the file folders evident, as you did, using Windows Explorer to look in the profile folder, but they were not showing in the left hand pane of Thunderbird when it was running as they did in the XP machine.

I went to the "Tools" menu, selecting "Account Settings," and then clicked on "Local Folders" in the left portion of the dialog box. Then in the right portion of the dialog box under "Local directory:" I selected the "Browse" button. I then browsed down into the "...AppData\Local\Thunderbird\Profiles\xxxxxxxx.default\Mail\Local Folders\Outlook Express Import.sbd" ( in my case - the very last portion of yours might be different but should probably still be a ".sbd" file, and of course, the eight x's would be the random name Thunderbird assigns to your Profile file. ) I then clicked the "OK" button at the bottom of the dialog box. ( I believe the program then informs you it must close and restart. ) Anyway, go ahead and close Thunderbird and restart at this point.

When it restarts, my old folder structure appeared as it did on the earlier machine, and all the files were intact.