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No, Thunderbird did not just delete all your email.

posted under category: General on June 15, 2007 at 1:00 am by MrNate

I just had a minor freak-out because it looked like Mozilla Thunderbird (my email client of choice) just deleted a ton of email. Years worth. I was moving it to an archive folder, and when I went to check the folder, it was all gone. Just a handful of emails were left. They weren't in my inbox! They weren't in my archive folder!

I left and checked the file system. The new archive folder files were 50 MB, the old inbox was still 150 MB. Something wasn't right.

My next thought was that I didn't have a backup. This is the one place I've found Windows Vista (hey, I got it for free) to shine - Shadow Copy. It's like a constantly running backup on the same disk that reminds me a lot of Eclipse's local file version archiving. I restored my mail folder back a couple days and expected everything to be peachy. Guess what? Nothing changed.

My inbox was noticeably a couple days older, but my older mail was still gone. Ok, this is getting weird. I re-restored to my current-date inbox.

After poking around a minute in the Thunderbird interface, I found the Rebuild Index button, conveniently located on the folder's properties window (right-click on a folder, properties, Rebuild Index button). It took a few seconds and suddenly everything was back.

No, Thunderbird did not just eat all my email. It was still there, safe and sound, but boy did that give me a scare.

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On Jun 15, 2007 at 1:00 AM Simeon (simeon at the ever famous said:
I so feel your pain. I hate that moment after you do something and you realize there is no undo and no backup. Its that moment when you pray to god with all your might and ask for some time travel :)

Glad you got your mail back man.

On Jul 30, 2007 at 1:00 AM Ethan Wiener (eywi777 who hates said:
Hey there,

I would love to share a new tool with your readers. BigString is a free email service that allows a user to easily send, recall, erase, self-destruct and modify an email after it has been sent. BigString users have unprecedented control over all of their email, whether they choose to send it through the website or even Microsoft Outlook.

It is inevitable. At one point or another in your life, you’ve sent an email to a colleague, client, family member or significant other that’s been highly regrettable. Even before pressing send, you knew it was a bad idea, yet you rolled the dice and clicked anyway, only to cringe at what you wrote later on.

On Aug 1, 2007 at 1:00 AM Charles Lofton ( who would have preferred an address at said:
I had a similar scare at my job a couple of weeks ago, one of the most horrifying moments in my life. I go into work and turn on my computer, the screen turns on and then immediately goes black. Uh oh. I gave my computer to the tech guy at my office and he told me everything was gone. Major uh-oh. I had months of important emails, documents, files etc. on that computer and now it was gone? Luckily the tech guy at my office told me that all computers at my office have Carbonite installed on them, he told me Carbonite was a service that backs up all your files to a server at Carbonite where the files are encrypted and kept safely. I could go onto another computer, install carbonite and load all of my files from my previous computer onto that one. The restore went great and everything turned out OK. PHEW! Carbonite was a life-saver (and job-saver). Now I have Carbonite loaded onto every computer I own. Thank you Carbonite!
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