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Home / Tools / Zmeil / Troubleshooting Thunderbird problems

Troubleshooting Thunderbird problems

Most common Thunderbird problems

This page covers what you can do to solve typical Thunderbird issues
  • Thunderbird starts fine but some or all of the folders are empty - no email messages displayed. This is most likely because of a damage to the MSF mail index files (especially after some sort of an abnormal shutdown).

The recovery procedure is pretty much the same for all of these problems.

Troubleshooting Thunderbird

  1. Close Thunderbird, then close all the other programs, and reboot the system to see if the problem just goes away on its own.
  2. Backup the Thunderbird mail files as a precautionary measure. This is done by simply copying the appropriate mail files. Refer here to the system configuration tips. Make sure Thunderbird is not running during backup.
  3. Force Thunderbird to rebuild mail indexes
    1. Close Thunderbird
    2. Delete all the .MSF files in the profile folder (more information)
    3. Restart Thunderbird to see if this solved the problem. Note that first access to the mail folder will take significantly longer than usual because the index files are being rebuilt as needed. This is done by completely scanning the original mail files, which is slow.
  4. If you still cannot access all of your email messages, try to use Zmeil email recovery tool to extract the email messages.

If you deleted a message accidentally in Thunderbird

This is only possible before the folder originally containing the message is compacted. If the message is not in the Trash folder, you may either use a recovery tool, or use a text editor to locate and extract the single message. If dealing with multiple deleted messages, a recovery tool is less cumbersome.

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