Thunderbird email missing


I have a client who's Thunderbird email suddenly disappeared, as when they logged in one morning, Thunderbird asked them to create a new account.  I would like to be prepared in finding a solution to their problem, and the only other listing i saw was 5 years ago, and I;m certain on another version.

Below is a listing of answers to questions i asked them to detail:

1) Thunderbird Version pr (20100408)

2) The first instance  of missing email was after a reboot.  When opening Thunderbird, the Wizard came up to set up and new account/profile.  After that was done, all the old folders and emails did not appear (but those on the server were downloaded).

3)Used the ImportExportTools extension to try to reimport the folders and mail.  However, this did not work.  The extension, which is an addon to Thunderbird, can be found here:

The client also followed the instructions under Is your profile intact? found here:
Apparently, Thunderbird does seem to have a problem with disappearing profiles.

Any additional ideas to locate and recover the lost email will provide a great assist.


Mark LitinOwnerAsked:
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My friend what you have to do is recreate the profile and import your mails in it. The standard path of mails for various Operating systems as follows:

Windows Vista:                Users\<UserName>\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird
Windows 2000, XP:       Documents and Settings\<UserName>\Application Data\Thunderbird
Windows NT                       WINNT\Profiles\<UserName>\Application Data\Thunderbird
Windows 98, ME               Windows\Application Data\Thunderbird
Mac OS X                       ~/Library/Thunderbird
Linux and Unix               ~/.thunderbird

The above path are the standard but if you have any custom path set for Thunderbird then you have to search it by using search facility of windows and manually locate this folder in Thunderbird's new profile. For future reference i would also suggest you to kindly place a check mark on "save a copy of mails on server" by this you are on minimum risk.

and if you want to manage more then one profile kindly look into the link
Marc ZCommented:
ark, how comfortable are you with your clients knowledge on reading and following instructions?  Have you gone through his computer yet to search for his old data?  Has he/she rebooted again yet?  have you looked through the mozillazine KB page that you noted?  There is SO much info there, you really need to have your hands on the computer to confirm whether or not he/she did everything or understand how to do it properly.
There are even Bugs listed at the bottom of the page regarding having mail stores located on Network drives.
So, consider the location of the mail stores. (where are they SUPPOSED to be located?)
Did they log into the correct Windows user account?   Did they Show Hidden Files and Folders? Do a search for abook.mab and look at the Folder location it's in, going up a level will show you any profile that TB is finding.

Keep in mind, that TB does have newer versions, however I would not recommend upgrading until AFTER locating the emails, confirming nothing is actually lost, cleaning out what you can AND COMPACTING all email folders after getting it running again in the current version.
Marc ZCommented:
Also, very important. Make sure TB is closed and not running in the background, while you are working in the Profile folder(s)
Mark LitinOwnerAuthor Commented:
The solution was simole, as it turned out.  Somehow, when the user created a new profile to replace the missing one, it created an empty directory structure to occupy it.  I simply pointed the profile to the existing old data set, which after TB restart, opened as if nothing had happened, and followed up by importing the emails that had populated the other profile's data that was in use for a few days.

Thanks for your prompt and helpful input.

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