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[solved] Folders disappeared? Solution: Look for prefs-1.js

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chrizoo

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Post Posted October 11th, 2008, 12:47 am

Hi folks.

I started TB and my "folders pane" was completely empty. No inbox, no trash, nothing. I also was welcomed by some extensions' dialog boxes, alerting me that I'm running the extension(s) in question for the first time and asking me to set the settings. I also noticed that the extensions still seemed to be installed somehow, but all or part of their settings gone, since the icons were not at the places, where I put them, the extensions displayed some information in the status bar, like they would by default and not the way I told them to display, etc.

I never experienced any problems whatsoever for 3+ years now with TB. My HDD is working fine. And I did not change my configuration or install any extensions in the last weeks. I left everything untouched.
I also checked and the files, that include my emails, are still in my profile folder.

I checked the KB and the forums, but the cases I found were all slightly different than mine (some had either HD failures or the inbox and trash were still there but empty, etc.). And I absolutely don't want to do anything wrong ...

What I've done so far: I backuped the profile folder. Then I ran TB in save mode => folders still not there. Then I started the profile manager and it showed me only one profile: "default".

That's basically where I stand. I'm not sure, but I think I've read somewhere that I could create a new profile and import the settings from the old profile to the new one, but actually I want to avoid that, because I'm afraid that some important information might not get transferred during the importing process.

I would be incredibly thankful for any advice/assistance. Thanks guys.
Last edited by chrizoo on October 11th, 2008, 7:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

tanstaafl
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Post Posted October 11th, 2008, 2:16 am

Check the local directory setting in Tools -> Account Settings -> Server Settings points to your accounts directory. The directory is named after the mail server. http://kb.mozillazine.org/Empty_folders

You can use the ImportExportTools extension to import your folders (mbox files). They're named after the folder, but have no file extension. http://kb.mozillazine.org/Importing_folders

http://kb.mozillazine.org/Transferring_ ... hunderbird explains how to salvage parts of a profile and transfer it to another. You might find it safer to create a new profile using the profile manager and transfer your mail, addons, saved passwords and address books to it than to try to fix your existing profile. In your case you don't want to transfer prefs.js (its corrupt), so you'd have to create the accounts again and tweak the settings to suit your preferences.

If you suddenly saw the new account wizard when running Thunderbird I'd point you to http://kb.mozillazine.org/Recovering_a_ ... isappeared . But it sounds like you still have accounts (even if some of thier settings are wrong) and the address book.

chrizoo

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Post Posted October 11th, 2008, 6:58 am

Thanks so much for your help, tanstaafl! I'm really glad, I'm not alone with this...
From my (certainly not so illuminated) perspective,

method 1: does not apply, since my account settings window is completely empty, they have all gone.
method 2: sure, would work for my mail folders, but I would loose all my settings (and I configured my TB quite a bit)
method 3: yes, as a last resort, I'll try this (copying sets of files one by one and see where/if it breaks)
method 4: I've just tried this. It sounded most promising to me as it described exactly the situation I am in. I copied my profile folder to a new location, created a new profile and set the path to the copied folder. That's what I'm supposed to do here in method 4, right? But unfortunately, that didn't work either.

I make a better checklist of what's broken and what is not, maybe this helps you evaluate my situation better?
  • folder pane: empty (no inbox, no trash, nothing)
  • accounts: all accounts (news+mail+RSS) are all gone, the account settings window is empty
  • TB starts with the account-wizard.
  • some extensions pop up with their first-run dialog asking you to choose settings
  • icons: it's exactly the icons I had before and they are at the location I always had them, so that's not broken, but:
  • some extensions display the default icons/text,
  • I have different background colors for my folders pane and my address book (AB) pane, and they are still there
  • the "collected addresses" still display in my AB (and the AB pane for that matter), but the personal AB is empty and my other ABs are missing.

I was hoping that given those facts, you might have a clue as to what's wrong. Any ideas?

chrizoo

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Post Posted October 11th, 2008, 7:14 am

Hihi, I'm so happy I got it working. Actually, it was a lot easier than *any* of the methods above.

What happened: Apparently TB decided it didn't want to use prefs.js any longer, so it decided to dump its content to prefs-1.js and use a default version of prefs.js instead. I find this behaviour incomprehensible. TB should instead warn the user, for example like this: "TB could not initialize correctly, possibly due to a faulty prefs.js file. Do you wish to use a standard prefs.js file instead (TB will save a backup as prefs-1.js) ? Yes/no".
(or a more user-friendly message maybe).

Solution (obviously): I renamed prefs-1.js back to prefs.js

Maybe this should be added at an appropriate place somewhere to one of the four pages you linked me to, Transtaafl ?
And thanks again for helping!

makaiguy

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Post Posted October 11th, 2008, 10:34 am

I expect what happened was that prefs.js was in use by another program at the time Firefox Thunderbird tried to write to it, such as when you shut down FFox Thunderbird. When that happened, Firefox Thunderbird wrote to prefs-1.js instead so that your settings would not be lost. A likely other program that might have locked up prefs.js might be an antivirus program that was doing a scan of it.
Last edited by makaiguy on October 11th, 2008, 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Doug Wilson, "The Makai Guy"
Win7 Home Prem (64bit): FF 37.0.1, TB 31.6.0║ Android 4.2.2/4.4.2: FF 37.0.1, no TB available, dammit!
What a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away - Doobie Brothers

Freee!!

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Post Posted October 11th, 2008, 11:34 am

makaiguy wrote:I expect what happened was that prefs.js was in use by another program at the time Firefox tried to write to it, such as when you shut down FFox. When that happened, Firefox wrote to prefs-1.js instead so that your settings would not be lost. A likely other program that might have locked up prefs.js might be an antivirus program that was doing a scan of it.

This is about Thunderbird, so why are you writing Firefox?

tanstaafl
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Post Posted October 11th, 2008, 1:54 pm

Thanks for the detailed description. The last article I pointed you to mentioned renaming prefs-1.js to prefs.js in "If this doesn't work:" but with your information I think I know enough about it to give it its own section.

makaiguy

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Post Posted October 11th, 2008, 1:58 pm

Freee!! wrote:This is about Thunderbird, so why are you writing Firefox?

I read messages via a link that shows all new posts since last visit, which shows all forums. Lost track of which forum this post was in.

Same effect with both programs. Fixed my post.
Doug Wilson, "The Makai Guy"
Win7 Home Prem (64bit): FF 37.0.1, TB 31.6.0║ Android 4.2.2/4.4.2: FF 37.0.1, no TB available, dammit!
What a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away - Doobie Brothers

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Post Posted November 25th, 2009, 6:09 pm

Chrizoo!!

I was following the move folders advice (my Thunderbird had been down for 2 months 8-[ I thought I'd messed Vista up as Firefox and a couple of other programs went bananas at the same time, and wanted to install Win 7 rather than reinstall Vista before putting the effort in - looks like it was a coincidence) Spotted the prefs-1.js, it seemded odd, Googled it, this came up, saved me hours of effort!!!

Thanks!!! =D>

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