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"Sync Most Recent" Not Working

User Help for Mozilla Thunderbird
johnywhy
 
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Post Posted March 8th, 2013, 4:09 pm

Hello, I have Thunderbird email accounts set to "Sync most recent 15 days".

But it's still downloading thousands and thousands of emails, going back several years.

How can i stop Thunderbird from downloading thousands and thousands of emails, going back several years?

Thunderbird takes ages to download all this old stuff which i do not need. During these interminable downloads (i have 6 email accounts, so it takes forever), the whole app slows to molasses.

It also eats up my internet bandwidth, slowing down web-browsing and anything else that uses the network connection. In my opinion, this is a very inefficient and user-UNfriendly behavior. This behavior causes me to uninstall Thunderbird and go back to outlook express every time I try the latest version of thunderbird.

I only want to download most recent 15 days headers, and NOTHING prior-- unless I request some sort of on-demand download. For example, is there some way to download older headers only when i scroll down below the headers already downloaded?

How to do that?

Also, isn't there any way to stop background syncs when i'm trying to download or send a specific message? How to do that?

Please help, thanks.

DanRaisch
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Post Posted March 9th, 2013, 5:28 am

Just to be sure that your expectations are in line with Thunderbird's functions, "Sync" does not refer to accessing messages when Thunderbird is on-line. It refers only to the downloading of copies of messages that will be available when Thunderbird is off-line, that is when there is no Internet connection or the user selects menu path File->Offline->Work offline. When Thunderbird is in on-line mode (and the account is set up for IMAP access) all messages in the server folders subscribed to will be displayed in Thunderbird.

Is that what you are referring to?

johnywhy
 
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Post Posted March 9th, 2013, 12:44 pm

DanRaisch wrote:"Sync" does not refer to accessing messages

what does your word "accessing" mean? Reading?

i'm referring to whatever thunderbird is doing when it freezes up, and you can see one or more progress meters (eg a spinner on the upper left, or a horizontal bar at the bottom of the screen) doing some sort of process that takes several minutes. I believe that tbird is downloading headers of remote messages during that time, but it might also be downloading entire messages bodies for offline reading. Not sure.

either way, the the process locks up the app for a minute or longer, preventing me from navigating, reading, composing, etc.

DanRaisch
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Post Posted March 9th, 2013, 5:32 pm

Accessing means reading as in Thunderbird reading the messages from the server to display them to you.

Use menu path Tools->Account Settings->Synchronization & Storage and uncheck the option to "Keep messages for this account on this computer".

tsuchan
 
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Post Posted December 29th, 2013, 2:39 am

I'm having the same problem Dan described, and I haven't understood the answer he received.

I'm using Thunderbird 24.2.0.
I have several IMAP accounts connected, and have customised them all to download exactly what I need:
Account 1: Keep messages=Yes, Advanced->Deselected particular folders, Synchronise: Most recent 30 days.
Account 2: Keep messages=Yes, Advanced->Deselected particular folders, Synchronise: Most recent 30 days.
etc.

Am I right to think that the first option "Keep messages for this account on this computer" is subordinate to the folder rules in "Advanced..." and the "Disc Space" rules set below it in the same tab?

After checking these settings, I selected File -> Offline -> Work Offline; and was asked if I wanted to synchronise before going off-line, to which I replied "Yes".

So I was expecting that 30 days worth of e-mails (which should total less than 500) would be downloaded. Instead, Thunderbird gave me messages in the status bar, showing that it was downloading all messages from all folders:
- Tens of thousands of messages: all the messages in all the mailboxes
- All the folders: Thunderbird specifically told it was downloading messages from the folders to which I had un-subscribed, and how many it was downloading.

I was monitoring Thunderbird's downloads with NetLimiter, a bandwidth monitor and throttle. It showed that Thunderbird was downloading over 350KB per second for over 15 minutes, which amounts to over 300MB of data.

Is this an un-fixed bug? The only alternative proposition I can imagine is that the checkbox "Keep messages for this account on this computer" should be unchecked, with the "Advanced" and "Disc Space" options kept, to achieve my objective of synchronising the last 30-days' e-mails of specified subscribed directories. (That behaviour wouldn't correspond with the explanations... it would need to say "Keep all messages..." and below it have a title "Exceptions", for such a meaning to be clear.

Thanks in advance for your help.

johnywhy
 
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Post Posted December 29th, 2013, 2:57 pm

DanRaisch wrote:Use menu path Tools->Account Settings->Synchronization & Storage and uncheck the option to "Keep messages for this account on this computer".


it IS unchecked. Tbird is still downloading everything.

switched to eM client now, will revisit this if i come back to tbird.

thx

tsuchan
 
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Post Posted December 31st, 2013, 6:08 am

Hmm, thanks for your update Johnywhy. Useful to know neither way works. It seems to be a sad and recurring theme told out by the end of every Thunderbird thread that evidently the problem is a long-standing bug which nobody wants to fix; and that the product is haemorrhaging support as a result. You wouldn't have thought Mozilla employed 600 developers, had more spare cash at the end of a year than most software businesses will turnover in their owners' lifetime, not to mention the immense offices in the prime real-estate of Silicon Valley.

DanRaisch
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Post Posted December 31st, 2013, 6:59 am

tsuchan, you'll want to remember that Thunderbird is only receiving support from Mozilla for security fixes and major bug fixes. Everything else is being dealt with by the community of volunteer developers.

tsuchan
 
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Post Posted December 31st, 2013, 8:32 am

I understand that. But I think it's a supreme irony. The company makes much of being non-profit in its nature, but it behaves so much like the kind of corporation everybody who supports it (like me) was apparently trying to escape from. The latest figures published on Wikipedia are for 2011, which say that Mozilla Corporation had an income of US$163.4 million and a net income (what regular companies would call a 'profit') of $21.6 million. And yet it only truly supports one product, and that product is failing. So what I attempt to draw attention to, is that Mozilla has become the epitome of all it was set up to oppose. Or doesn't it..?

DanRaisch
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Post Posted December 31st, 2013, 12:00 pm

What product is failing? Firefox? Hardly. Thunderbird itself seems to be holding fairly well despite the reduced support. And the software, both Firefox and Thunderbird, remain open source so that anyone that wishes to offer new or modified functionality can provide an extension or even an unofficial build of the programs to do so. That, to me, is the difference that Mozilla was intended to provide: open source vs MS' totally proprietary approach to such things. Profit didn't seem to be the big issue.

johnywhy
 
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Post Posted December 31st, 2013, 12:20 pm

i have to admit-- does it really take a hundred-fifty million dollars to support one piece of software, a web-browser? You'd think maybe they could manage to support more than one product with that kind of money.

I understand, that's how business works today-- there's all kinds of overhead. Rent/mortgage, salaries, bonuses, promotions and advertising, earnings for your investors....

Still, the whole equation seems somehow distorted.

anyway, i think this is related to the behavior where, if you switch to a different folder, or switch to offline mode, the thing keeps downloading! TBird won't even let you click a menu, the chrome is molasses when it's downloading, it virtually freezes. This strikes me as extremely user-unfriendly behavior. and also just unprofessional and mediocre. I may be wrong, but i believe you won't find many products on the market today that just freeze up when they're processing something, gray out if you click in the window, refuse to respond to menu-clicks, and display "has Stopped Responding" in the title bar.

eM has most TBird features i care about, and many features TBird lacks. eM IS the fastest win desktop client i've ever seen, in terms of syncing and general behavior. You can switch from imap folder to imap folder, and eM doesn't miss a beat (even if you're not storing emails locally). eM free version supports 2 imap accounts. Full google calendar sync too. And the app never freezes up when it's processing something.

apparently, FF now symbolizes the excesses of capitalism, and TBird represents the fatal flaw of the open source model.

No doubt, FF and TBird BOTH represent some of the best feature-sets in their respective markets, both have set a high bar for other products to follow. And they're still free. Maybe they both epitomize success. Hard to say.

OT of course, but i'm the OP, so it's ok :)

DanRaisch
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Post Posted December 31st, 2013, 12:28 pm

You're welcome to your opinion, although I will say that I disagree. And this thread has gone too far off topic, which is not OK, regardless of who took it there. If the only thing left to discuss here are the shortcomings of Mozilla I'll just lock the thread.

johnywhy
 
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Post Posted December 31st, 2013, 12:32 pm

well i'd love a resolution to the technical issue.

binki
 
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Post Posted May 29th, 2020, 12:55 pm

Hello, I have Thunderbird email accounts set to "Sync most recent 15 days".


That setting to only download recent stuff only applies to message content, not headers. I don’t think there is a way to disable downloading old message headers from a folder. The work around people seem to use is to make a new folder named “Archive” and move messages there after they are done with them, keeping their main mailbox folder as close to empty as possible. If you don’t set Thunderbird to check for new messages automatically on your Archive folder, it will not try to download headers for that folder until you open it (and that should be a background asynchronous operation which, while using disk space, should not affect performance).

i'm referring to whatever thunderbird is doing when it freezes up, and you can see one or more progress meters (eg a spinner on the upper left, or a horizontal bar at the bottom of the screen) doing some sort of process that takes several minutes.


The freezing issue used to plague me too. But I found out it only happened if Windows Defender was allowed to do on-access scanning of Thunderbird’s profile directory. This is because Defender’s on-access scanner will make certain file operations which are normally safe to perform on a GUI thread without freezing your program take many milliseconds or even half a minute, resulting in Thunderbird freezing and becoming “Not Responding”.

To make Thunderbird performant on a machine with Defender or another on-access scanner installed, you have to exclude your profile folders from on-access scanning. I just put the entire AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles directory there as an exclusion. Not only does this improve performance, but it prevents conflicts that might arise if Defender finds malware in your email. You can’t prevent there from being malware in your inbox because you’re going to receive spam with bad attachments which exist in your mailbox. It is bad to have Defender and Thunderbird trying to fight over that. (Note that, even if you exclude your Thunderbird folder from on-access scanning, you should still be safe because opening an attachment through Thunderbird’s GUI will save that file to a temporary folder which will still have on-access scanning enabled prior to opening it).

DanRaisch
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Post Posted May 29th, 2020, 1:38 pm

Two things:
First I believe you’re wrong about Thunderbird and Defender. I have seen no problems running Thunderbird on a system also running Defender nor have I seen reports of such here on the forum.

Second, while your input is appreciated, you are about six and a half years late to the discussion. Please check the dates of previous posts before replying.

Locking this due to the age of the original thread.

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