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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 Nathan

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.