Thunderbird - inbox disappeared

Posted on 2012-08-14
Last Modified: 2012-08-14
Thunderbird v.14, Windows XP Pro

Thunderbird performed its predictable "compact folders" routine, and when it was done, the emails in my inbox (but not the subfolders) were gone.

Is there someplace where that file might be located under a different name? Or can I consider that after putting off cleaning up my inbox for who knows how long that the emails are gone forever?
Question by:ericpete
    LVL 17

    Expert Comment

    Are you using IMAP or POP3? Also, normally compacting only physically removes deleted files from the server ...
    Did you try the "repair folder" function? (right-click the inbox, properties) Possibly only the index is broken ...
    If you're using IMAP, you could create a new server connection with the same server, username and password, which would then be populated with the data from the server ...
    LVL 15

    Author Comment


    "Repair folder" had no effect. I did do a search of the drive to find any files or folders beginning with "index" -- and it showed the folder as being there, but with nothing in it except for the subfolders.

    I'm beginning to think I might have to pull it from the backup disk... which will be a hassle, but is better than losing more than a few days worth of mails.
    LVL 17

    Accepted Solution

    If the local directory is more or less empty (note: older Thunderbird versions kept all the mails in one single large file in mbox format - check the inbox directory for any files in there), then I'm afraid there's not much you can do - maybe apart from trying some undelete-tool to recover the files if it hasn't been long and not many new files were written on the drive.
    LVL 15

    Author Closing Comment

    This is an entirely accurate solution; I had to restore the files from a backup, which means I did lose about a week's worth of email, but at least I didn't lose a year or so. I just extracted the files, and then copied them into the appropriate folder, and everything was there.

    Thanks for your help, Garry!


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