Thunderbird Inbox full - many emails missing

Posted on 2009-12-16
Last Modified: 2012-05-08
A user got the error message that his inbox was full and he couldn't receive any more mail.  I checked the mail folder and the inbox was listed at 4.2gb (he gets a lot of mail with a lot of attachments).  The # of emails in the inbox was 3500.  I compacted the folders, which understandably took a long time.  When it was done the inbox was still full and still listed at 4.2gb.  

He was running Thunderbird 2 so I downloaded and installed thunderbird 3.  Upon starting thunderbird 3 for the first time it indexed all the folders.  When it was done the inbox was still full but there were only 1800 emails in the inbox!  Everything after mid-September had disappeared.  I tried deleting the inbox.msf file but no luck.  I renamed the inbox to oldinbox and it recreated the inbox when I next started the program and he is now able to get new email, but he still can't get at the missing emails in the oldinbox.

I moved all the visible emails from the oldinbox to new folders and re-compacted but the missing emails are still missing and the size of oldinbox is still 4.2gb.  Any ideas on how to get the missing emails?
Question by:glennmgray
    LVL 12

    Accepted Solution

    Thunderbird has a bug with IMAP accounts. I'm trying to solve it right now with the developers, you can add your story.

    The emails should be still there, stored on the server. The problem is that Thunderbird can't parse his own format he stores emails from IMAP accounts (missing newlines between emails).
    LVL 12

    Expert Comment

    I'm speaking about Thunderbird 3.

    Author Comment

    Sorry I forgot to mention that it is a POP3 account.  I tried to copy the oldinbox file to our fileserver so that I could try accessing it on my laptop which is running Thunderbird 2 but got an error message after copying about 80% of the file:  "cannot copy oldinbox: data error (cyclic redundancy check)".

    Is there any way to fix the file or is it hopeless?
    LVL 30

    Assisted Solution

    If you can get a good copy (maybe local, not on network, obviously you'll need an ntfs disk to copy it to) you might be able to use a file splitter to get it down to usable size and then open those file(s) in a text editor that can handle the size of the split files.  I've got links on another question regarding Inbox too big.
    LVL 30

    Expert Comment

    Here you go. Hope it helps.

    Author Closing Comment

    The file was too badly corrupted to copy.  I ended up restoring all the emails the user received since September.  Thanks for the effort.

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