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Mail box in Thunderbird profile empty but emails show up

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Ian C. Purdie

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Joined: September 4th, 2013, 6:57 pm

Post Posted May 28th, 2022, 8:08 pm

Had to ceate a new account here once more - I haven't been here for many years. I've had a recent HDD crash and most was restored through back ups of many things in many different ways and places. I have been on the internet since early 1990's and I custom build all my own desktops in that time. - ergo I'm not inexperienced - but old at 80 years.

Anyhoo when I set up Thunderbird once more again and transfer a profile from backup I can see thousands of emails in all the various directories as expected. I can see all the regular current emails in the Inbox again as inspected...

Looking at the profile folder MAIL I find this new phenomenom [for me] I have never seen before a new folder "smart mailboxes". Inside which are Inbox plus.smf ditto for Sent and Trash. All completely empty!!! I have these emails showing in Thunderbird but not in the profile. Yes it is the correct profile...

I'm with Iinet and for over the last 10+ years I have been POP 3. Where is Thunderbird finding all these emails?

Any suggestions?
Mucho Thanks :P
Ian in Sydney - with his custom built PC. VK2TIP

Ian C. Purdie

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Posts: 14
Joined: September 4th, 2013, 6:57 pm

Post Posted May 28th, 2022, 8:31 pm

I said - "Had to ceate a new account here once more - I haven't been here for many years." I thought I had a new account. Nope there is my younger photo and signature.
Mucho Thanks :P
Ian in Sydney - with his custom built PC. VK2TIP

tanstaafl
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Post Posted May 29th, 2022, 3:19 am

Smart mailboxes is used by view -> folders -> unified. Since its just another view I suspect the messages are still stored in mbox files in each accounts local directory and smart mailboxes just has *.msf files stored in a folder hierarchy to help it display the messages in a unified view.

I tried deleting the contents of smart mailboxes and selecting view -> folders -> unified. Thunderbird just created a couple of *.msf files for top level folders such as inbox.msf, junk.msf etc. So I don't know what triggers creating the rest, I normally don't use Unified View.

Mbox files are named after the mail folder, but have no file extension, and store the messages for that folder. For example "inbox." is the mbox file for the inbox folder while inbox.msf is just a cache of its folder listing and "inbox.sbd" is just a renamed directory used to help organize various mbox files into a folder hierarchy.

Ian C. Purdie

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Posts: 14
Joined: September 4th, 2013, 6:57 pm

Post Posted May 29th, 2022, 3:03 pm

tanstaafl wrote:Mbox files are named after the mail folder, but have no file extension, and store the messages for that folder. For example "inbox." is the mbox file for the inbox folder while inbox.msf is just a cache of its folder listing and "inbox.sbd" is just a renamed directory used to help organize various mbox files into a folder hierarchy.

Except for the fact all those folders are completely empty except for a couple of 2 Kb files
Mucho Thanks :P
Ian in Sydney - with his custom built PC. VK2TIP

Ian C. Purdie

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Posts: 14
Joined: September 4th, 2013, 6:57 pm

Post Posted May 29th, 2022, 4:39 pm

Life is a funny thing at times - whilst looking at something quite unrelated I accidentally came across:

Message Storage - Local Directory
W:\1-Thunderbird\Profiles\xxxxxxxx.default

Everything seems to be there. Remembering now from the distant past after another HDD crash and profiles lost, with MozBackups all screwed up on another drive and useless - I resolved to keep the mail elsewhere for safety. Elsewhere is regularly backed up.

Problem apparently solved - thanks for listening folks.
Mucho Thanks :P
Ian in Sydney - with his custom built PC. VK2TIP

tanstaafl
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Post Posted May 29th, 2022, 4:58 pm

I suggest you don't use Mozbackup anymore. Its buggy and hasn't been maintained for almost a decade

The ImportExportTools NG add-on (whose features are being merged into Thunderbird in version 102) is most well known for importing and exporting mail folders and .eml files but it also supports backing up and restoring profiles. The main downside is the profiles are not stored compressed (.zip file etc.)

Heckasoft backup & restore at https://hekasoft.com/hekasoft-backup-restore/ supports many browsers and email clients, including Thunderbird and Firefox. Another possibility is https://www.kls-soft.com/klsmailbackup/

Personally I just copy & paste the profile directory using File Explorer to somewhere safe. Help -> more troubleshooting information has a Open Profile button that will open File Explorer at your current profile directory. Originally the main reason for something like Mozbackup was it was awkward to find that information.

Ian C. Purdie

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Posts: 14
Joined: September 4th, 2013, 6:57 pm

Post Posted June 1st, 2022, 8:26 pm

Thanks for that. Appreciate the response.
Mucho Thanks :P
Ian in Sydney - with his custom built PC. VK2TIP

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