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TB 38.5 Missing subject and strange characters

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BretMan
 
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Post Posted July 3rd, 2017, 2:11 pm

Hello,

All the messages in my work inbox had suddenly lost their subject lines and the From: and To: emails for each message. In the list of emails, the subjects still remained. The characters of the messages turned into an undecipherable font that looks something like Wingdings. I regularly compact all my folders about once a week whenever TB suggests to.

I looked for a fix and the toolbar's Edit>Folder Properties>Repair Folder window, General Info. tab showed about 3k messages and 1.1GB size. "Include messages in the this folder in Global Search Results" was checked. In the Retention Policy tab, "Use my account settings" was checked with "Don't delete any messages" selected. Back at the General Info. tab I clicked "Repair now" button and in a few seconds all but 5 of my email messages disappeared, still showing Size 1.1 GB.

I'm trying not to panic. How do I get those messages back, then back to their original state?

Many thanks.

tanstaafl
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Post Posted July 3rd, 2017, 9:29 pm

If it was just a problem with a corrupted folder listing pressing the repair now button would have fixed it. I'm worried that your folder is corrupt and that compacting it trashed it (because it couldn't find the end of the "deleted" message it was physically removing) , but if that happened I'd also expect the total folder size to get smaller. Back up your profile immediately. See http://kb.mozillazine.org/Profile_backup if you don't know how to do that.

Are you using a IMAP or POP account? The reason I ask is it effects what to do next.

After this problem is resolved one way or another see http://kb.mozillazine.org/Keep_it_working_-_Thunderbird . Its not a good idea to keep 3k messages in your inbox.

BretMan
 
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Location: Miami, FL

Post Posted July 4th, 2017, 2:41 pm

Thanks very much for your quick reply and suggestions.

I did as you said and backed up TB immediately first with KLS Mail Backup 4.0.0.3 of just TB, then again with MozBackup v1.4.10 (MB). I also happen to have another KLS backup of both TB and FF together dated 6-26-17, plus a System Restore point dated 6-29-17. I may still have older backups with KLS or MB.

I'm optimistic about what you said about the size on disk remaining at 1.1G after the repair. During the backups today, the progress bar zipped quickly through the sub-folders which have less messages in them but many more messages than the remaining 5 in this particular Inbox. When it got to this Inbox during the backups, the progress bar really slowed down, suggesting it was backing up many more files then just 5. Since then I've received a couple more messages so now have 7 in that Inbox .

One worrisome note, is that when I performed the MB by system crashed and rebooted. I tried again and the backup stated it completed. However these were after the successful KLS backup. Also I checked the destination folder for the MBs and the first MB try did result in a .pcv file 4,194,305 kb and the second try resulted in the same file of the same size. So it's possible the system crash was not because of MB. Today's KLS backup resulted with a zip file of 4,674,511 kb. Lastly, I now opened TB and went to that Inbox folder then Edit>Folder Properties>Repair Folder window, General Info. tab and it stated 7 messages Size on disk 502 kb. -Oh no!

Please advise. Should I recover the oldest backups I have first or do something else to confirm what I have first? When a recover is done, does that recovery file delete? Also, will the recovery just insert what may be missing and leave any later messages alone?

tanstaafl
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Post Posted July 4th, 2017, 3:10 pm

Unfortunately recovering messages from a corrupted large folder stored on your hard disk isn't simple.

The Mozbackup recovery is not meant to be merged with an existing profile. I think the same applies to KLS Mail Backup. Mozbackup creates a *.pcv file with your data. Its really just a renamed .zip file so nothing prevents you from renaming the file, unzipping it and copying/importing files as needed. See http://kb.mozillazine.org/Importing_folders and http://kb.mozillazine.org/Moving_addres ... n_profiles . For now, I suggest you leave the backups alone. They're really so that you can recover from any mistakes you make in trying to recover stuff from your existing profile. Restoring the backup won't fix any problems.

I'm going to assume you're using a POP account. Have you checked to see if some of your messages are still on the POP server due to enabling "leave messages on server" in the accounts server settings? If you delete the popstate.dat file in the accounts "local directory" it will forget what messages have been downloaded and try to download everything left in the inbox on the POP server. Its also possible to have both a POP and IMAP account for the same mailbox, at the same time. I think it would be easier to add a IMAP account and copy any remaining messages to a folder in Local Folders, and then merge them after you tried to recover messages from the mbox file (see below)

See http://kb.mozillazine.org/Recover_messa ... upt_folder . I suggest you start with using the Cut MboxD program to break the mbox file for the inbox folder ("inbox.") into multiple mbox files that each have 500 messages. It knows how to fix some types of minor corruption, and if you have just one or two messages that Thunderbird can't identify where they end you may recover big blocks of messages by breaking the file into several files. Then import the mbox files it created into a child folder in "Local Folders" per http://kb.mozillazine.org/Importing_folders .

BretMan
 
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Post Posted July 5th, 2017, 7:16 am

Ok given your latest suggestions, which will take me a lot of time to learn first, let me give you some more info..

I do have both POP and IMAP. My ATT/bellsouth email server is set to delete the Inbox messages 30 days after being downloaded. The real important messages I've had are older than that and go back a couple years.

I may have a useful tool, if you agree, in a second PC I only use for travel. Could I try out a restore of the backups I did of the TB in may main PC into the TB of the travel PC first to see what I get, then if that Inbox file is complete, transfer just that Inbox content back to my main PC? Also, if the TB backups I did will disappear once I initiate a restore, can I create duplicate copies of them so I'll still have more to try out?

tanstaafl
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Post Posted July 5th, 2017, 3:47 pm

I wouldn't expect a restored backup on your second PC to fix anything. I'd be surprised if restoring a backup destroys the backup file. If you're worried create a copy of the *.pcv file beforehand (by copy and paste in windows explorer etc.).

http://kb.mozillazine.org/MozBackup

BretMan
 
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Post Posted July 6th, 2017, 2:33 pm

Ok, as you said, I guess step one is to see if what I had can be recovered and if so, then fix the issue with the characters.

I followed the link to Cut MboxD and FF gave a warning about the site with the "Get me out of here" option. I braved on, trusting you, and read about Cut MboxD. First, back at the "Recover messages ..." page, it says not to compact the folders until after the recovery is tried. Well, after I did the backups I did get a "Compact now" request and went ahead. Did that ruin any hope? Second, the Cut MboxD description states "It is strongly suggested not to run this program on files in the Thunderbird profile, but only on copies in other locations as Thunderbird will pick up these files. " Does this mean I should create a second TB profile on my same PC, then recover my latest backup into it, then run Cut MboxD in that profile? Not knowing what to expect with Cut MboxD, will it allow me to select just the Inbox with issues and work with that one only? Do you know of Cut MboxD use instructions with screenshots?

tanstaafl
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Post Posted July 7th, 2017, 5:08 am

Compacting was a mistake as its possible it physically deleted stuff it shouldn't have because it got confused where messages ended. Step 1 in http://kb.mozillazine.org/Recover_messa ... upt_folder was "Do not compact the folder again. It can make things worse. If you're still running Thunderbird, exit it. " Can you give me some suggestions on how to make that clearer? I'm not being sarcastic, how to get somebody to read all of the instructions in a KB article is a frequent problem.

The author of the Cut MboxD program is not suggesting that you create another profile, just that you copy the mbox file to another directory and run the program on that copy. I suspect you could get away with not doing that though I think its a very good idea to copy the mbox file to a empty directory and then run the program on it. Its safer and less confusing to do that. AFAIK it doesn't support any command line arguments and will split any mbox files it finds in the current directory.

I don't know of any other instructions for that program.



I don't know of any other instructions for that program. It assumes you know how to create a console window (DOS box)

BretMan
 
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Location: Miami, FL

Post Posted July 17th, 2017, 6:35 am

"AFAIK" ???

I read the Cut MboxD info. and I'm really not understanding much about it. As I understand it, it seems emails are stored all running together one after another. I guess that's to save disk space but what a mess to try and find something misplaced.

Some good news. It was hard to find a clean version of TB 38.5 but I found it here: http://www.filepuma.com/download/mozill ... 5.0-10452/ and installed it in the new PC. I tried the TB migration restore with MozBackup 1.4.1 several times and it failed every time. The knowledge base didn't mention any updates to v1.4.1 and says it's unsupported. I then tried KLS after I found they had just updated it, so it's still supported, yet it failed too. I then stumbled upon an update to MozBackup : http://mozbackup.jasnapaka.com/, to v1.5.1. It worked and was able restore the backup I had. I did an email count check of every subfolder from original to restored profile and it's a perfect match. However, I'm still missing the same missing inbox messages as before.

I have an older backup which may have most of the missing emails which I can get by with. If I create a new TB profile "Default2" and restore the older backup into that profile, would it be a simple matter of just cut/pasting the inbox from Default2 into the current profile?

tanstaafl
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Post Posted July 17th, 2017, 7:15 am

"I read the Cut MboxD info. and I'm really not understanding much about it. As I understand it, it seems emails are stored all running together one after another. I guess that's to save disk space but what a mess to try and find something misplaced."

The mbox format seems very error prone to me. Too much depends upon parsing the file to recognize where messages begin and end. Thunderbird supports a lite version of the maildir format which avoids those problems because it stores each message in a separate file. Its not as mature/debugged though. A few things still fail. The biggest risk seems to be that its not used by enough people. (that effects how many bugs are found, and how much incentive there is for developers to deal with maildir issues)

See https://wiki.mozilla.org/Thunderbird/Maildir . That is out of date though as recent versions of TB now let you select maildir using the user interface (implies the developers think its improved enough for normal use).

"It was hard to find a clean version of TB 38.5 but I found it here: http://www.filepuma.com/download/mozill ... 5.0-10452/ and installed it in the new PC"

In the future see http://kb.mozillazine.org/Go_back_to_an ... hunderbird if you want to download a setup program for a old version.

"I tried the TB migration restore with MozBackup 1.4.1 several times and it failed every time. The knowledge base didn't mention any updates to v1.4.1 and says it's unsupported. "

http://kb.mozillazine.org/MozBackup states: "Use Mozbackup 1.5.2 Beta 1 (there is a download link for it in the News section) rather than the version available at the normal download link. Mozbackup 1.5.1 usually works fine but a few users have had problems where it doesn't backup everything it is supposed to. The beta doesn't seem to have that problem. While Mozbackup is extremely popular in the forums, it's no longer maintained. Its recommended that you verify that you can restore a backup it creates before relying upon it. "

http://kb.mozillazine.org/Profile_backup states: "While Mozbackup is extremely popular in the forums, it's no longer maintained. Its recommended that you verify that you can restore a backup it creates before relying upon it. Use Mozbackup 1.5.2 Beta 1 (there is a download link for it in the News section) rather than the version available at the normal download link. Mozbackup 1.5.1 usually works fine but a few users have had problems where it doesn't backup everything it is supposed to. The beta doesn't seem to have that problem."

I have no idea why you used version 1.4.1. The authors web page defaults to 1.5.1 in its download link. I checked a few major freeware sites and they all default to either version 1.5.1 or 1.5.2 Beta 1

"I have an older backup which may have most of the missing emails which I can get by with. If I create a new TB profile "Default2" and restore the older backup into that profile, would it be a simple matter of just cut/pasting the inbox from Default2 into the current profile?"

You could do that. I'd recommend pasting it into the ..\Mail\Local Folders directory and then merging the two folders contents (I'm assuming you are not using a global inbox). That way you don't run the risk of losing recent mail. See http://kb.mozillazine.org/Importing_folders if you have more than one folder you want to salvage.

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