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How can I find TB subfolders lost on reload

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hershmab

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Post Posted September 7th, 2012, 5:23 pm

After a Windows 7 crash, I had to reinstall all my applications. All the old files had been preserved in folder C:\Windows.old. I restored Thunderbird by copying the folders of (a)program files, (b)program data, and (c)profiles into the corresponding [new] folders in C:\.

I had four separate accounts. All their settings and all their standard subfolders - inbox, sent, drafts, deleted, and junk - were correctly restored. But only one of the four accounts had its full complement of subfolders; the other 3 had nothing else.

I checked the copied profiles against the restored originals and they seemed to be the same. The <profile>\Thunderbird folder\ contained many .sbd folders that TB did not show at all and those folders contained many .msf message files that did not show.

How can I complete the reloading of these missing subfolders and messages?
Brian Hershman,
Clonakilty,
Ireland

DanRaisch
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Post Posted September 8th, 2012, 4:01 am

* Which version of Thunderbird? Check Help>About for the version number.
* What kind of mail account - POP, IMAP?

hershmab

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Post Posted September 8th, 2012, 5:09 am

DanRaisch wrote:* Which version of Thunderbird? Check Help>About for the version number.
* What kind of mail account - POP, IMAP?

Thunderbird 14.0
All POP
Brian Hershman,
Clonakilty,
Ireland

hershmab

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Post Posted September 8th, 2012, 5:28 am

I have just updated to TB 15.0; it made no difference.

In case it is relevant , my Local Folders tree is one of those that has no subfolders except the built-ins.
Brian Hershman,
Clonakilty,
Ireland

phineas fogg
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Post Posted September 8th, 2012, 5:54 am

the clearer the picture we have , of what the Backup consists of, the easier it would be to suggest steps to take, to restore

DanRaisch
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Post Posted September 8th, 2012, 5:58 am

First backup your profile -- http://kb.mozillazine.org/Profile_backup but do not compact folders as recommended in that link.
Close Thunderbird and navigate to your Profile Folder ( http://kb.mozillazine.org/Profile_Folder ). Find the files with the extension msf, such as Inbox.msf. Note that there will be sets of two files with the name but only one of these will have the MSF extension. Delete the files with the MSF extension. Restart Thunderbird, compact all folders, and see if things are back to normal. Note that the MSF files do NOT contain your messages. They are, for lack of a better term, an index file and will be recreated by Thunderbird as required.

If this procedure provides no improvement, see this link -- http://kb.mozillazine.org/Recover_messa ... upt_folder

Also see this URL - http://kb.mozillazine.org/Keep_it_worki ... derbird%29

hershmab

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Post Posted September 8th, 2012, 6:01 pm

Hi Dan,

I thought that the .msf files to be deleted were the ones in the Profile subfolder named "Thunderbird Folders"; I deleted all of those and reopened/compacted Thunderbird only to find that nothing seems to have changed! Have I done any harm to the profile?

I then noticed that the Profile subfolder named "Mail" had a whole group of subfolders named according to the email provider (i.e. account), and that there were large numbers of .msf files there.
  • Are those the ones I should have deleted?
  • If so, should I restore the backed-up profile first?
Brian Hershman,
Clonakilty,
Ireland

DanRaisch
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Post Posted September 8th, 2012, 6:44 pm

hershmab wrote:Are those the ones I should have deleted?


Yes.

hershmab wrote:If so, should I restore the backed-up profile first?


I don't think that's necessary.

hershmab

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Post Posted September 9th, 2012, 5:37 am

I deleted the .msf files in the \Mail\ subtree and they were successfully recreated by TB. But they did not include any of the missing subfolders. So I am still no better off.

There seem to be .msf files in many different subfolders of the Profile. The ones that I thought I deleted yesterday in the \Thunder Folders\ subtree were clearly not deleted after all as they still exist with their original creation dates.

  • Will TB recreate all .msf files wherever they are?
  • Should I try to delete all of them, wherever they are?
  • I created a new account a few months ago and transferred a large number of subfolders from one of the old accounts to the new one.
    • Is that likely to have caused complications?
    • Where can I find out how the TB account structure is reflected in the file/folder structure?
Brian Hershman,
Clonakilty,
Ireland

DanRaisch
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Post Posted September 9th, 2012, 5:46 am

hershmab wrote:Will TB recreate all .msf files wherever they are?

Yes

hershmab wrote:Should I try to delete all of them, wherever they are?

Yes

hershmab wrote:I created a new account a few months ago and transferred a large number of subfolders from one of the old accounts to the new one. Is that likely to have caused complications?


It's not impossible but it is also not very likely.

hershmab wrote:Where can I find out how the TB account structure is reflected in the file/folder structure?

They are pretty much one for one. You should find sub-directories with names like pop3.live.com (for a Hotmail account) or pop.gmail.com (for a Gmail account) below the \Mail directory. Those sub-directories will contain the files associated with the corresponding accounts.
There may also be a directory named \IMAPMail at the same level in the directory tree as \Mail and which contains the files associated with any IMAP type accounts you have in Thunderbird.

hershmab

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Post Posted September 9th, 2012, 11:09 am

I tried again, this time succeeding in deleting all the .msf files in the Profile. On starting TB and compacting, the position was still the same as ever. I analysed the contents of the Profile tree and found that:
  • All the missing message files and folders are in the \Thunderbird Folders\ subtree.
  • None of the .msf files there had been recreated.

It seems to me that TB ignores or has no use for the \Thunderbird Folders\ subtree. In fact I cannot find any trace of such a subtree in any old backups. So should I move/copy all the folders and files from there into the relevant account-related subfolders of the \Mail\ subtree?
Brian Hershman,
Clonakilty,
Ireland

DanRaisch
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Post Posted September 9th, 2012, 12:59 pm

\Thunderbird Folders\ is not a normal part of a Thunderbird installation so I can't say I know what it represents. And that is probably why it's not being access by TB.

See this article and try to import message data from the files in that sub-tree -- http://kb.mozillazine.org/Importing_folders

hershmab

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Post Posted September 12th, 2012, 8:29 am

I still have no idea why my emails got lost or were placed in the \Thunderbird Folders\ subtree, but I have at least recovered most or all of them. The process I followed was, briefly:
  • Backed up my profile (again)
  • Deleted all the .msf files in the \Thunderbird Folders\ subtree
  • Copied the remainder into a profile folder called <profile>\Mail\mail.utvinternet.com (one of my ISPs)
  • Reopened TB and compacted
  • Hey Presto! Success

The folders were not in the right place in the TB structure, but that is easily corrected!

Many thanks for your help, Dan.

Forum note: the BBCode for numbered lists does not seem to be recognized
Brian Hershman,
Clonakilty,
Ireland

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