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The size and content of the profiles file

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Can anyone let me know the 'shape' of a correct profiles file. I have a relatively small number of emails in the system (perhaps 1000 or so??) but my profiles file is a gigantic 4.5Gby with 63k files in 83 folders. I feel this can't be right. There are hundrends of 'mini files' that are meaningless to me. This large file seems to be giving Tundebird indegestion at times when it says that it can't transfer a file from one folder to aother. I guess I could scrap it and start again but that would obviously mean l lose all my emails and addresses. Is there any way to 'clean' the profiles file and reduce the size. The compact facility doesn't seem to do this for me.

Thanks, Terry

Can anyone let me know the 'shape' of a correct profiles file. I have a relatively small number of emails in the system (perhaps 1000 or so??) but my profiles file is a gigantic 4.5Gby with 63k files in 83 folders. I feel this can't be right. There are hundrends of 'mini files' that are meaningless to me. This large file seems to be giving Tundebird indegestion at times when it says that it can't transfer a file from one folder to aother. I guess I could scrap it and start again but that would obviously mean l lose all my emails and addresses. Is there any way to 'clean' the profiles file and reduce the size. The compact facility doesn't seem to do this for me. Thanks, Terry

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If you would post a screenshot of the profile, plus one of the Mail folder (for POP and local folders) and the Imapmail folder, I'm sure someone here could give some suggestions.

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You wrote: "Hi David, Thanks for the reply. I'm not clear what you are asking - what are you meaning by 'screenshot' of the profile - it is 4.5Gb. And similarly the mail folders, Thanks, Terry "

I meant to go to windows file explorer and create a picture of the folder such that the contents are visible. That would show which files or folders have the large size. Seeing all three would present a full description of the issue.

And, for questions on the forum, please reply via the forum to keep the thread consistent.

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Hi David, Trying to answer your question. But because of the contents of my profile file I'm hoping this might be a useful alternative way of going about it. Looking at the file the 'rubbish' elements appear to be called:

AlternateServices.xxtxt all but one only 0KB and 89 of them folderCache-xx.json three with 8KB and the rest 0KB there are 1138 of them prefs-xx.js the vast majority 0KB and there are 9682 of them!!! SiteSecurityState-xx.txt all but the first 0KB there are 47 of them virtual folders-xx.dat a few with 1KB and there are 72 of them.

I'm tempted to just delete all of the 0KB files - would that be a sensible first thing to do? Your comments much appreciated, regards, Terry

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Yes, you can delete those files. Firs, rename prefs.js to prefsHOLD.js. The, for prefs--xx.js, locate the highest numbered one that has content and rename it to prefs.js.

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Hi David, Thank you for that information. I've done that and pleased to say that Thunderbird still opens and seems to be OK. I've now looked in more detail at what files are left as the total size is still shown as more than 2 GBY (Still far too big??) The file MAIL has subfolders containing a lot of files. The subfolders are called mail.btinternet.-xx.com. There are 9 of them and the first three contain more than 4000 files (each) called popstate.dat. (The titles make sense because of my ISP and I use POP3) The other subfolders with similar names also contain 3000+ files (each) called msgFilterRules - xx.dat This is very surprising as I don't use any rules.

Clearly this is a complete mess!!

Shall I just go in and delete all but the latest file in these cases??? I do appreciate the help you are giving me on this. If I do manage to get the profile more tidy how do I stop it building up again??? Thank you, Terry

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From my experience, I delete all but the latest and rename back to the original name. However, if in doubt, you might rename the ones to be deleted to something that TB will ignore. That ensures that, if you missed something, the data could be recovered. Then, if all looks well, delete those unwanted files. On your question, I think that happens when there are update problems (but I am not sure of that at all.) My protection strategy is to periodically do backups and to review the profile contents.

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Dear David, I've been working though some of the files in the profile as you suggested. Sorry but I would still welcome further advice. I have managed to delete a lot of files and Thunderbird still opens OK. I have attached 3 jpgs of some of the files. 'filedetail00' shows part of the profile folder itself and I have concentrated on the 'mail' folder. This is shown in 'filedetail01', The interesting folders here are the mail.btinternet-x.com ones. I have tested these using STOP (They are apparantly not needed) and found that when deleted and I re-open Thunderbird it replaces them with similarly named folders!! Yet there is nothing of obvious use in them. The contents of one of the mail.btinternet.com files (as replaced by Thunderbird) is shown in 'filedetails02' This particular one has more than 4000 files in it and as far as I know they are all empty. Not all btunternet folders contain the same but I don't seem to be able to delete any of them!!

Inspite of all this Thunderbird still seems to be working reasonably well. The only effect so far is a flood of duplicate emails coming in - some from quite a while ago. Probably because I like to use POP3.

As I said before my installation seems to be a mess. If I could be confident of being able to copy off all my emails and addressbook and reload them perhaps I should just delete the profiles file and (presumably) Thunderbird will create a new clean one? (All this a result using Thunderbird for very many years?)

I appreciate the help you are giving me. Thanks, Terry.

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If mail.btinternet is an active account, you could delete all but the most current and rename it without the dash number. The popstate.dat file is used to manage POP downloads to prevent duplicate downloads. If you are getting duplicates, it is because the file was deleted or otherwise corrupted. You can delete all of those except the most current and rename to popstate.dat. My guess is that some of the mail.btinternet folders may hold duplicate messages.

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Hello David, Thanks again. Some progress but very interesting.

I have deleted the mail.btinternet.com files as you suggested - but they have all come back again (6 of them + the un-numbered one). HOWEVER apart from the un-numbered one they are all small folders with about 6 files each. So that is progress. The un-numbered one (which also came back by itself) has about 4000 folders in it and as far as I can tell every folder is empty (I haven't checked every one individually!)

I also run a gmx account and have a (single) pop.gmx.com folder. This has about 3700 file pairs. The pairs are popstate-xx.dat and popstate-xx.dat.msf with the same number. Any thoughts on these? Many thanks again, Regards, Terry

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Well, all you can use is one popstate.dat per account, so the challenge is locating the current one and delete the rest.

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The image which you say contains the contents of the 'Mail' folder should only contain 'Local Folders' mail account and all pop mail account folders. All the other mbox files and index files should be in either the correct pop mail account folder or in the 'Local Folders' mail account.

So, lets start off by finding out some information about your set up.

How many pop mail account do you see in 'Account Settings'? Do you only have one btinternet email address and one gmx email address?

Let's start with the btinternet account first.

  • In 'Account Settings':
  • Select 'Server Settings' for the pop btinternet account.
  • Look bottom right for 'Local directory:'
  • Make the window wide enough to see all the information it contains.
  • Copy all the text and post the info - ideally post an image showing what it says.

This will tell us where that account is actually pointing to. eg: mail.btinternet.com or mail.btinternet-2.com etc This information is important.

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Dear Toad-Hall, Thank you for entering the discussion. I think the following should give you the information you were seeking: I have 6 btinternet accounts and one gmx account.

I have checked the link between the btinternet accounts and the files and all the bt ones link with a 'mail.btinternet - x.com' folder. One of these folders has thousands of rubbish entries and 5 have just 6 or so entries.

The gmx account links with the folder 'pop.gmx.com' and also contains thousnnds of rubbish files. (Referring back to an earlier email of mine I tried to delete all the rubbish but it just came back again when I fired up Thunderbird the next time.)

I was wondering if it might be worth trying to remove the two accounts that correspond with the rubbish contents ad then re-install them???

Thanks for your help. Regards. Terry

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OK, so you have six different btinternet email addresses and each one has been created as a mail account in it's own right.

re :One of these folders has thousands of rubbish entries

I presume 'mail.btinternet-3.com' is the mail account with 'rubbish' entries as per first image. The 'rubbish entries' refering to 'popstate-n.dat' files where 'n' is a number.

That account should have one 'popstate.dat' file - without a number. It contains a record of what emails have been downloaded. You have dozens of them. This is because your popstate.dat is corrupted and it keeps needing to recreate it.

  • Access your profile folder, click on 'Mail' and then click on 'mail.btinternet-3.com' to see contents.
  • Exit Thunderbird now before you proceed.
  • Delete all the 'popstate.dat' files as clearly they are not functioning correctly.

Then post an image showing all the remaining contents of 'mail.btinternet-3.com' so I see if there are any other files which need sorting out.

How will this effect that account? It means Thunderbird has no idea what has been previously downloaded, so when you restart Thunderbird, a new empty 'popstate.dat' file will get created and Thunderbird will access server and download anything which is in the server 'Inbox'. So yes, you may end up with duplicates if you keep copies on server. Note: One way to prevent that duplicate download would be to access the webmail account for that btinternet email address via a browser and move all previously downloaded emails out of the 'Inbox' and into another folder for storage and do this before you start Thunderbird.

Why are you getting so many corruptions? Do you have any product like 'CCleaner' or 'Wisecleaner' or even an 'Anti-Virus' which has access to scan your Thunderbird profile folder or clean up files ? If yes, I strongly suggest that you stop any of those products from scanning your Thunderbird profile because they can delete session, password or temp files or attempt repairs on files and mess things up. Make your Thunderbird profile folder (and any files/folders it contains) exempt from scanning or access to clean up. C: Users/T/Appdata/Roaming/Thunderbird

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Dear Toad-Hall, I've done the following to the btinternet account with the rubbish: 1. Using the website access I've removed all stored emails in all folders. Actually there were only about half a dozen there as I don't use this account much. 2. After closing Thunderbird I've removed all pop files from the corresponding profiles file (the popstate.dat and the .dat.msf ones) 3. A screenshot of what is left is attached. 4. On opening Thunderbird the folder seems to remain 'clean' - that is to say thousands of pop files haven't appeared.

Are there other files to be deleted? I've not yet tackled the other rubbish file as this is on Google nor the Anti-virus matter.

Thanks again, comments welcomed. Regards, Terry

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Image for 'mail.btinternet-3.com' folder looks good.

re: The gmx account links with the folder 'pop.gmx.com' and also contains thousnnds of rubbish files.

Access 'pop.gmx.com' folder. Exit Thunderbird now if it is running.

Perform the same action as before - delete all the 'popstate.dat' files. Then post an image showing what is left in that 'pop.gmx.com' folder, so I can advise on what else needs to be done in that account folder.

Access the webmail account for that gmx email address via a browser and move all previously downloaded emails out of the 'Inbox' and into another folder for storage and do this before you start Thunderbird to prevent a load of duplicate downloads.

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Need Info: In the profile 'Mail' folder, you should have 'Local Folders' mail account and all other mail account folders. In your case there are also a load of mbox and index files and also an Archives.sbd and an 'Outlook Express ImportSTOP.sbd' folder. I can see that one of the files is called 'Unsent messages'. This tells me there is good chance all those files should be in a 'Local Folder' mail account. All of those files and folders are in the wrong place and need to be put back into a Local Folders mail account, but which one?

You currently have two 'Local Folders' mail accounts.

Questions: What do you see in the 'Local Folders' folder? post an image. What do you see in the 'Local Folders-1' folder? post an image. Which one are you currently using?

  • In 'Account Settings'
  • Left pane - select 'Local Folders'
  • On the right look for 'Local directory:'
  • Make window wide enough to see all the text.

Is it pointing to 'Local Folders' or 'Local Folders-1' ?

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Dear Toad-Hall, Thanks for the two emails and your continued support. I've done the business with the gmx account that had the thousands of entries. Cleared the website (little used actually) and the Thunderbird file. The contents of the file are in picture 07 - I think this might be clean now?

You asked for details of the Local folders files. Local Folders is picture 06 and Local Folder - 1 is picture 05 You asked which folder Thunderbird is using and I'm not sure. You will see from picture08 that it points to the 'mail' folder and not either of the subfolders. Should I change this to Local or Local -1  ?? Thanks, Terry

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The image of the gmx account looks good. Remember to exit Thunderbird first.

In profile: sqhv71mf.default > 'Mail' folder

'Local-Folders-1' is not being used. So if it exists in that sqhv71mf.default > 'Mail' folder. It can be deleted. 'Local-Folders' was being used back in january 2021 - so this is the one to use - but hang on.

There is something which is a concern and I need some more info. The 'Local Folders' mail account is actually pointing to ...\Profiles\Mail folder The 'Profiles' folder should only contain profile name folders. It should not contain a 'Mail' folder. Is that the image you provided much earlier - It's not really an image of the real file - it says this at the top ' the mail folder of the profiles folder'. If that really is the image of the ../Profiles/'Mail' folder then please do the following:

Move all the mbox files and .sbd folders from the ../Profiles/'Mail' folder - see image below put them into ...Profiles/sqhv71mf.default/Mail/'Local Folders' folder. You can overwrite the files because it seems you have much more stuff in the files that in the wrong place.

Then 'move' that Profiles/'Mail' folder out of the 'Profiles' folder and dump it temporarilly on the desktop.

Start Thunderbird

Account Settings > Local Folders 'Local directory:' please click on 'Browse' and then locate and select this 'Local Folders' folder in this location:

  • C://Users/T/Appdata/Roaming/Thunderbird/Profiles/sqhv71mf.default/Mail/Local Folders

Click on 'Select Folder' 'Local directory should now show that line above.

Then restart Thunderbird and report on results.

Изменено Toad-Hall

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Hi, Thanks again. I've done as advised resulting in four comments. 1. To get the local folders' folder into 'Mail' I had to copy it across from the desktop. Is that what you intended? 2. My normal mail folders in Tunderbird now have a vast listing of very old emails 2011 - 2015 in one case and 2017 - 2018 in another. Most of my current mails seemsed to have got lost. 3. All my regular mail folders apart from the main 'inbox' are now sub-folders to one called 'deleted'. 4. In that sub list I now have another inbox shown.

There may be other issues but this is a quick response.

So - perhaps I've done something wrong but I'm in rather a mess!!! Your help much appreciated, Terry

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Hi, Further update. Sorry to say I do have a significant mess. The profiles file sqhv71mf.default now contains hundreds of files I've never seen before. I can send an image but there will have to be many of them to cover all the different and odd file types.

Also in my normal set of folders for mail (in the usual working screen) I've lost some important ones. Folders that have appeared have hundreds of very old files and usually no up to date ones. The only folder that seems to be working reasonably well is the inbox one. This collected a modest number of old files but does work OK in showing new emails.

Sorry to report problems but that's how I'm placed. regards, Terry

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