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2 year old Email only shows time, not date

User Help for Mozilla Thunderbird
bex1210
 
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Post Posted November 6th, 2019, 11:08 pm

I have Thunderbird 60.9 running on Windows 7 Pro SP1. I recently did a 'Repair Folder' on one of my primary accounts. I thought it might fix a problem I was having, but it did not.

However, 4 of my messages in one thread that are 2+ years old now only have a time in the Date column, rather than a date and time. So when I sort by date, this old thread appears at the top of the list. The messages contain some important information, so I don't want to delete them.

I have done a search of T-bird help, plus this forum, and cannot find anything that addresses the issue. Restarting Thunderbird does not fix the problem.

Is there any way that I can manually add a date to these messages so then that thread will sort correctly?


Harry

DanRaisch
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Post Posted November 7th, 2019, 5:52 am

That sounds as though the header data for those messages has become corrupted. While viewing one of those messages, press Ctrl+U to open the message source display. Look for the first "Date" field. You can press Ctrl+F to open a "Find" field and enter "Date" to locate things more easily. What is displayed in that Date field?

bex1210
 
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Post Posted November 7th, 2019, 11:05 am

DanRaisch wrote:That sounds as though the header data for those messages has become corrupted. While viewing one of those messages, press Ctrl+U to open the message source display. Look for the first "Date" field. You can press Ctrl+F to open a "Find" field and enter "Date" to locate things more easily. What is displayed in that Date field?


I checked all four messages as you suggested. There is NO 'Date' field in any of them.

I also have Thunderbird on my laptop. Those four messages display the correct date on it. So the problem is with the messages only on my desktop.


Harry

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Post Posted November 7th, 2019, 3:26 pm

It does sound as though those messages became corrupted on the one machine. You could export them from the good installation, delete the bad copy on the other system and then import the messages from the good machine. https://freeshell.de/~kaosmos/mboximport-en.html

bex1210
 
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Post Posted November 8th, 2019, 1:07 pm

DanRaisch wrote:It does sound as though those messages became corrupted on the one machine. You could export them from the good installation, delete the bad copy on the other system and then import the messages from the good machine. https://freeshell.de/~kaosmos/mboximport-en.html


I installed Import Export Tools on both computers. That was the easy part.
I read the 'instructions', but they meant nothing to me.

I opened ImportExportTools. There is an Export directories tab. I selected 'Export selected messages', and clicked Browse. I went to my Profile folder, selected ImapMail, and then imap.aol.com (which is where the 4 files in question are located). But no files show! Only Archive.sbd and Trash.sbd related folders.

When I open that Profile folder in Windows Explorer, there are also files named Inbox.msf, Inbox, sent.msf, draft, draft.msf, Trash, Trash.msf, etc.

So what do I set on the Export Directories tab? Also, in the 'Export of all messages' section, which do I select? And once something is exported, how then do I select the 4 files that I need, and what do I select on my other computer to import them?

Sorry to be so dense, but I don't want to mess this up.

Harry

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Post Posted November 8th, 2019, 2:09 pm

OK, the first thing to do is to Copy (NOT Move) those four messages on the laptop to a new sub-folder under the Local Folder structure of Thunderbird on that machine. That will place them on the local drive. (To create the new sub-folder, right click on the name "Local Folders" in the left hand pane and select "New Folder".) You can then use the ImportExportTools to export the folder. That process will create a file with the name you select and with no file name extension. That is, if you name the outgoing data "Exported" you will find a file in the target directory named Exported. That file can then be copied to the problem machine and the utility used to import the file. Before starting the import process in Thunderbird, be sure to select the "Local Folders" structure in the left hand pane. That way the imported messages will appear as a new sub-folder of Local Folders, which will contain the good version of the messages. You can then delete the bad versions from whatever folder they were in and move the good version to that same folder.

bex1210
 
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Post Posted November 8th, 2019, 3:30 pm

DanRaisch wrote: You can then use the ImportExportTools to export the folder. That process will create a file with the name you select and with no file name extension. That is, if you name the outgoing data "Exported" you will find a file in the target directory named Exported. That file can then be copied to the problem machine and the utility used to import the file.


I'm obviously a very slow learner! I got the 5 messages placed in a new sub-folder named BadFiles under Local Folders. But now I am stuck. If I open ImportExportTools ->Export Directories tab,No matter which of the 3 Export directories I choose, I am taken to imap.aol.com folder, with 5 sub folders, such as archive.sbd, trash.sbd, etc. I chose one at ramdom and clicked Select. I have no idea what happened. I was not given an opportunity to specify a file name, etc. When I checked with Explorer, no new file was added.

So again, I need some more details.


Harry

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Post Posted November 8th, 2019, 5:00 pm

I don't see any reference to Export->Directories in the ImportExportTools menu displayed below. Instead, click on the "Export folder" option highlighted in the image below AFTER selecting (clicking on the name of) the new sub-folder of Local Folders.

Image

bex1210
 
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Post Posted November 8th, 2019, 10:33 pm

DanRaisch wrote:I don't see any reference to Export->Directories in the ImportExportTools menu displayed below. Instead, click on the "Export folder" option highlighted in the image below AFTER selecting (clicking on the name of) the new sub-folder of Local Folders.


What is the old saying: "A picture is worth 1000 words."? Certainly true here.

I had never seen that screen. So I opened up the write-up about ImportExportTools on the TBird Add-ons Manager, and I saw it was on the Tools dropdown Menu,->ImportExport Tools.

I had been going to Tools->Add-on Options->ImportExportTools. Then clicking on Export Directories.

I'll follow your instructions tomorrow.


Harry

bex1210
 
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Post Posted November 9th, 2019, 11:44 pm

Dan:

First, it is a good thing that you provided instructions as to the exact procedure (clicking on the sub-folder of Local Folders first), etc. There is no way I could have determined that reading the author's instructions.

On my laptop I put in a Local Folder the five files that have the correct date on my laptop, but are corrupted (has today's date) on my desktop. Then I selected that folder and chose ImportExportTools->Export Folder. I put the file that was created in a unique folder. Then I copied that file to my desktop.

Then on my desktop I created a unique folder in Local Folders. Then I highlighted that local folder and chose Import mbox file. Was that correct?

If it was, then of the five files that were imported, 3 retained the correct date (I check with Ctrl+U to be sure), and the other two were assigned today's date. Then I copied the three files with the correct date to my Inbox.

In my Inbox, they now have today's date, and Ctrl+U indicates that the date line has been stripped from the files.

What is going on here?

Harry

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Post Posted November 10th, 2019, 3:38 pm

"and the other two were assigned today's date. "

Did they initially have today's date after you copied them , or just a time? The difference matters.
Check on them 24 hours or more after they were copied and see if they now have a invalid date such as 12/31/1969 . Thunderbird defaults to that when there is no date: header (the exact date depends upon the time zone).

I'm wondering if 2 of the 5 messages were corrupted and because they were copied to a new folder (that you did not repair, which would make it rebuild the *.msf file from the mbox files contents) Thunderbird interpreted them as new messages. If so, it might not react to the missing Date: header until after 24 hours because it normally shows just the time for the first 24 hours. That s not the way it used to work, (it used to show 12/31/1929 right away) but it might have changed.

"Is there any way that I can manually add a date to these messages so then that thread will sort correctly?"

Yes. If you are using version 60.* the easiest way would be to edit the message source using the Header Tools Lite add-on at https://addons.thunderbird.net/en-US/th ... te/?src=ss . That will let you create a edited copy of the message with a Date: header. You could copy & paste a Date: header from another message.

Otherwise I would use a text editor to edit the mbox file you created in the "unique folder". This should work because you're using a folder in "Local Folders". If you edited a mbox file used by a IMAP account the edit would get removed when the folder is sync'd.

If the 2 messages were part of a conversation enabling view -> sort by -> threaded rather than unthreaded should sort them as part of a conversation, despite missing the Date: header. See http://kb.mozillazine.org/Stop_threading_by_subject

bex1210
 
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Post Posted November 11th, 2019, 5:59 pm

tanstaafl wrote:"and the other two were assigned today's date. "

Did they initially have today's date after you copied them , or just a time? The difference matters.
Check on them 24 hours or more after they were copied and see if they now have a invalid date such as 12/31/1969 . Thunderbird defaults to that when there is no date: header (the exact date depends upon the time zone).

I'm wondering if 2 of the 5 messages were corrupted and because they were copied to a new folder (that you did not repair, which would make it rebuild the *.msf file from the mbox files contents) Thunderbird interpreted them as new messages. If so, it might not react to the missing Date: header until after 24 hours because it normally shows just the time for the first 24 hours. That s not the way it used to work, (it used to show 12/31/1929 right away) but it might have changed.


I checked all five of the messages on my laptop. Before I did anything, all displayed a date. When I created the file on my laptop, one of the 5 showed the current date [I checked this 2 days after my last post, so the date is also displayed]. After I followed the procedure and moved that file to my desktop, two showed the current date.

"Is there any way that I can manually add a date to these messages so then that thread will sort correctly?"

Yes. If you are using version 60.* the easiest way would be to edit the message source using the Header Tools Lite add-on at https://addons.thunderbird.net/en-US/th ... te/?src=ss . That will let you create a edited copy of the message with a Date: header. You could copy & paste a Date: header from another message.


I installed this add-on. I first tried 'Edit full source' on these messages and I never could get anything to work. Then I tried 'Change header details', and they all got changed correctly. That was yesterday. Today they still are changed, AND the message on my laptop that displayed the current date is now fixed {I assume that happened when I Got Mail.}.

In going through all of this, I think I may have found the basic problem. Before T'bird, I used Agent, which was a POP3 system. [I use IMAP witn Tbird.] I then transferred all 6472 of those Agent messages to a folder in the Local Folder section of Tbird, and then copied the key messages to the appropriate Tbird Account. [I haven't gone back to see exactly how I did that, but I think someone on an Agent forum that uses Tbird showed me how.]

In any case, when I looked at several of the Agent messages with Ctrl+U, NONE of them have a date field, although each of them display a date in the Tbird date column. ! I don't really know how Tbird handled all this initially, but everything was displayed with the correct dates and in chronological order until I performed the 'Repair Folder'. But why only 5 of the ~ 20 messages in the thread were affect, I have no idea.

But everything seem fine. Thank you so much for being a great, and patient, teacher. Sorry you had such a dumb student.


Harry

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Post Posted November 11th, 2019, 6:42 pm

You're doing fine.

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