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Thunderbird - inbox disappeared

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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?
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