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Auto Compacting Folders doesn't actually do anything

Discussion of bugs in Mozilla Thunderbird
Uni1991
 
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Post Posted July 18th, 2013, 9:12 am

I'm using Thunderbird 17.0.7 while at work we're using version 16.
Anyway I've noticed that the files stored in the imap folders in the profile aren't being compacted and are growing to very large sizes. At work one grew to 768mb which causes problems as they only have a 1gb of filestore. In theory folders are supposed to be compacted when 20mb of space can be recovered. This doesn't work or doesn't work in the way one expects.
For example I have folder called security which is empty. In the profile folder it was just under a gig in size.
My inbox was also very large so checked cleanup inbox on exit. No change what so ever on exit and restart.
I then installed compact menu extension told it to compact the whole lot which again produced no difference. I then manually selected the inbox and then security folders and told it too compact and low behold these huge files shrank to 4600kb and 888kb respectively.
However shouldn't Thunderbird have done this automatically anyway? At least I've got a gig of space back on my drive at home.
Last edited by Uni1991 on September 5th, 2013, 5:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

DanRaisch
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Post Posted July 18th, 2013, 3:32 pm

Unless you have a need to access messages off-line, you may be able to significantly reduce the space taken up on the local hard drive by switching off the synchronization of the IMAP account to the local system. Use menu path Tools->Account Settings->Synchronization & Storage and unselect "Keep messages for this account on this computer". After doing that, you can close Thunderbird and navigate to the Profile Folder and to the directory associated with that IMAP account. There you can delete the files with no file name extension. For example, you will find two files named Inbox and Inbox.msf. Deleting the file Inbox will eliminate the synchronized data and free hard drive space.

Uni1991
 
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Post Posted July 18th, 2013, 10:15 pm

Well I can do that yes and since it's imap you can delete the files anyway and it will simply pull them off the server again.
However the point is shouldn't thunderbird do this automatically anyway?
Also for work this isn't a solution as there's no way thousands of staff will remember to compact folders.
anyway thank you for your ideas but we need tbird to do this automatically.

DanRaisch
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Post Posted July 19th, 2013, 4:09 am

You missed an important point. Thunderbird will compact automatically, but with the option set to "Keep messages for this account on this computer" each computer is locally storing a complete set of all undeleted messages. Compacting will not reduce the storage space required for those messages. If you are working on desktop systems and have no need to access those messages off-line (when no Internet access is available) turning off that option and deleting the mbox files (those with no file name extension) will reduce the local storage space requirements.

Uni1991
 
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Post Posted July 22nd, 2013, 12:05 am

DanRaisch wrote:You missed an important point. Thunderbird will compact automatically, but with the option set to "Keep messages for this account on this computer" each computer is locally storing a complete set of all undeleted messages. Compacting will not reduce the storage space required for those messages. If you are working on desktop systems and have no need to access those messages off-line (when no Internet access is available) turning off that option and deleting the mbox files (those with no file name extension) will reduce the local storage space requirements.


Well ticking or unticking the option doesn't make any differance by the way.
Anyway so what you're saying Thunderbird will not compact the local storage regardless of whether the corrasponding folder is now empty or has had a large amount of files removed. As long as the sync folders option is ticked. The mbox will continue to grow.

DanRaisch
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Post Posted July 22nd, 2013, 4:16 am

No, I didn't say "regardless of whether the corresponding folder is now empty". Note that I said "locally storing a complete set of all undeleted messages." If the IMAP folder is empty, the mbox file on the local system should also be emptied by the synchronization. Did you manually trigger the compacting of message folders after all messages were removed

Uni1991
 
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Post Posted July 22nd, 2013, 11:01 am

I had to do it manually despite closing and restarting Tbird the mbox remained at 768mb in size.

DanRaisch
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Post Posted July 22nd, 2013, 2:12 pm

What is the directory path to the mbox file?

Uni1991
 
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Post Posted July 24th, 2013, 7:42 am

The profile will be under C:\Users\<Windows user name>\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\<Profile name>\
The behavior is the same on several machines and different users.

DanRaisch
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Post Posted July 24th, 2013, 2:47 pm

That's not enough of the directory path. I'm looking for the levels after what you reported. Something like "C:\Users\<WinUserName>\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\Profilename.default\ImapMail\imap.PROVIDER.com".

wsmwk
 
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Post Posted July 29th, 2013, 11:39 am

What the user describes is exceedingly rare. I've encountered only a couple people in the past year where automatic compact failed, and manual compact worked. And only a couple people where manual compact completely failed to worked.

If manual compact works, then path/path length should have nothing to do with automatic's failure. Suggest looking for other causes.

Uni1991, have you ALWAYS had this problem? And if not, can you approximate when it started?

DanRaisch
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Post Posted July 29th, 2013, 2:48 pm

WSM, I wasn't suggesting the length of the directory path as a cause of a failure. I was just indicating that the posted path was not a normal/valid path for a Thunderbird profile.

wsmwk
 
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Post Posted August 3rd, 2013, 5:22 am

Personally, I think the important point is that compact failed. And that it might be useful to get the user's system back to proper behavior - so you can actually solve the problem for the next user who comes along with the same problem, and isn't willing to turn off sync.

Uni1991
 
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Post Posted August 27th, 2013, 9:14 am

Sorry for the delay the profile is C:\Users\win7642\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\x287w9m1.default\ImapMail\imap.gmail.com etc since there's more than one account.
Compacting failure isn't rare as the machines at work show the same trait by the way.
I only noticed it when looking at somebody else's Thunderbird which had eaten up the network storage at work.
Out of interest I've just looked at my the allmail mbox and thats 1.8gb in size and growing. Not bad considering I only have 55mb in there.

wsmwk
 
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Post Posted August 27th, 2013, 9:50 am

Uni1991 wrote:Compacting failure isn't rare as the machines at work show the same trait by the way.

Thanks for saying that. I wasn't suggesting that you weren't seeing this frequently. I was saying that it's rare for other users to report this.

Uni1991, refresh my memory please. Is your issue that automatic compact is failing, but manual compact works?
Can you change the topic please to more closely reflect the condition you are seeing? I deal with hundreds of problems, so a better subject will help keep things straight. Thanks.


DanRaisch wrote:WSM, I wasn't suggesting the length of the directory path as a cause of a failure. I was just indicating that the posted path was not a normal/valid path for a Thunderbird profile.

Thanks for clarifiying

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