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Missing Emails, Folders and Subfolders

User Help for Mozilla Thunderbird
mOz351
 
Posts: 9
Joined: July 17th, 2007, 5:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post Posted July 17th, 2007, 6:56 pm

My Thunderbird was set up with a single profile that used the Global Inbox and large number of message filters that sorted my mail into various sub-folders. I'd been operating with this setup for just over 12 months.

About 10 days ago I turned on my computer and opened up Thunderbird to find that, while I could see the Global Inbox, all of my folders and sub-folders were missing (including "Sent", "Drafts" etc). The Global Inbox was empty.

I take regular backups and tried to restore my email from backups taken 24 hours, 2 weeks and 6 months before the problem arose. I've also tried uninstalling and re-installing Thunderbird 1.5.x and 2.x. I've tried all of the suggestions that are explained here: http://kb.mozillazine.org/Disappearing_mail and here: http://kb.mozillazine.org/Moving_your_profile_folder

After doing all of this, I've got a newly created profile that has the default folders ("Inbox", "Sent" etc). I can access my old personal address book, and while the new installation recognises my old message filters, these have been disabled because the sub-folders are not present. My emails are still missing.

I've noticed that I can't read the contents of my Inbox file using TextPad or Notepad. Could this be the cause of the problem? I don't know what else to try and I'd be really grateful for any help.

old SKopischke
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Post Posted July 17th, 2007, 7:00 pm

When you load the Inbox file into TextPad or Notepad, what shows up? That could indeed be part of the problem. Your folders are in ASCII and they should open easily in either of those applications.

You might try deleting your MSF files when Thunderbird is closed. These are the mail folder index files and they will be rebuilt when Thunderbird is restarted.

mOz351
 
Posts: 9
Joined: July 17th, 2007, 5:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post Posted July 17th, 2007, 7:27 pm

Thanks for your reply. When I open up the file using TextPad I get a very long single line of null (code = 0) characters.

I have tried deleting the MSF files while Thunderbird is closed, but it didn't help.

old SKopischke
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Post Posted July 18th, 2007, 5:19 am

Have you investigated the possibility of a virus?

mOz351
 
Posts: 9
Joined: July 17th, 2007, 5:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post Posted July 18th, 2007, 7:57 pm

I didn't think of that. I've just done a full scan of my whole system which didn't turn anything up. I use a commercial virus scanner (McAfee VirusScan) and the virus definitions are up to date.

The other thing that I've noticed is that I can't read any of my backed up inbox files using TextPad, regardless of when they were created (going back over a year). I store all of my backups on a couple of portable USB Hard Disk Drives.

Unfortunately, as I run a small business, I've lost a lot of emails and attachments that I can't replace without going back to my clients and asking them to re-send them.

old SKopischke
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Post Posted July 18th, 2007, 7:58 pm

What are you using as a backup utility? Do you test your backups?

mOz351
 
Posts: 9
Joined: July 17th, 2007, 5:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post Posted July 18th, 2007, 8:12 pm

Thanks for your prompt responses to my posts. About 12 months ago I set up a TB profile on a hard disk partition where I keep all of my business files and documents. My backups involved making a copy of this partition to my portable HDDs. Unfortunately I didn't use a proper backup utility and (big mistake) I didn't check them.

Again coming back to the problem of reading my inbox file, could this have anything to do with security or encryption within Thunderbird itself? I did have the Software Security Device enabled (Tools > Options > Security > Software Security Device). However, I wasn't able to read the file even before I re-installed Thunderbird.

old SKopischke
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Post Posted July 19th, 2007, 4:54 am

The method you are using to backup appears fine to me.

I am not familiar with the Software Security Device -I do not show that option in my Thunderbird menu structure on v2.0.0.4. Which version are you running and are you running any extensions?

mOz351
 
Posts: 9
Joined: July 17th, 2007, 5:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post Posted July 19th, 2007, 5:39 am

I'm currently running Thunderbird version 1.5.0.12. To access the Security Device section, I go to > Tools > Options and then select the "Privacy" icon at the top of the dialog box. I then click on the "Security" Tab and click on a button which is called "Security Devices".

The extensions that I use are:

* Signature Switch
* Spell-en-AU
* Identity Reminder
* With Attach

I have previously installed ThunderBrowse but I'm not using that at the moment. I don't think any of these extensions are designed to encrypt the Thunderbird files.

old SKopischke
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Post Posted July 19th, 2007, 7:33 am

That's very odd. I just re-checked Tb 2.0.0.4 and there is no mention of Security Devices at all. I even looked in the Knowledge Base a while ago and I think there were only 4 or 5 hits on the combination of words.

What kind of security or encryption software do you have installed on your PC? Any?

What software normally runs concurrent with Thunderbird?

mOz351
 
Posts: 9
Joined: July 17th, 2007, 5:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post Posted July 19th, 2007, 8:29 am

I also use Firefox v.2.0.0.5, and the Security Device is present there too. If you go to the "> Tools > Options" menu, click on the "Advanced" icon at the top, and then "Encryption" tab, there's a button called "Security Devices" there. I think I first loaded the Security Device through Firefox. Do you have this option in Firefox?

old SKopischke
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Post Posted July 19th, 2007, 9:09 am

I finally found it under Tools > Options > Advanced > Security devices. I have the following listed:

- NSS Internal PKCS #11 Module
- Builtin Roots Module

Do you have anything else listed?

(caveat: I am now almost completely out of my depth. Just so you know :) )

mOz351
 
Posts: 9
Joined: July 17th, 2007, 5:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post Posted July 19th, 2007, 7:11 pm

I really appreciate your help SKopischke, as I was out of my depth about a week ago :-)

Yes, those are the two options that show up for me too. The NSS Internal PKCS #11 Module has two sub-branches: one called "Generic Crypto Services" and one called "Software Security Device". I've never loaded the one called "Generic Crypto Services". I did load the "Software Security Device" a while ago, and the password that I entered at that time still works.

When I select the NSS Internal PKCS #11 Module, there's an option to "Load" or "Unload" by clicking on some buttons on the right hand side. I haven't tried to use either of these options.

old SKopischke
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Post Posted July 20th, 2007, 4:55 am

I still can't explain why the contents of your Thunderbird folders would now appear encrypted. Have you tried moving the old folders into your newer profile to see how the contents appear in Thunderbird?

mOz351
 
Posts: 9
Joined: July 17th, 2007, 5:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post Posted July 23rd, 2007, 12:01 am

Hi SKopischke. I thought I had responded to your last post a couple of days ago, but I must have been dreaming ;-). Yes, I have tried to move the older folders into the new profile, but this doesn't work.

I've also done some more hunting around the web for information on the Software Security Device used by Thunderbird. After reading these pages, it's difficult to see how the inbox could be affected:

* http://www.mozilla.org/projects/securit ... ices_about
* http://www.mozilla.org/projects/securit ... ity_device

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