After updating Debian, thunderbird wont download my mail
October 22, 2014 5:15 PM   Subscribe

I just updated from Debian Lenny to Wheezy (via Squeeze), now I can't download my emails in thunderbird

I just updated from Debian Lenny to Wheezy (via Squeeze), everything went pretty well, no major issues, except the new dovecot used mbox format for mail, which is not my preference, so I changed it back to the standard value for webmin/virtualmin (as per the upgrade instructions that I found after I'd done it heh!).

So now all me messages appear fine in my webmail but when I try to get my messages with thunderbird I get this message

"There is not enough disk space to download new messages. Try deleting old mail, emptying the Trash folder, and compacting your mail folders, and then try again."

I have 40gb free on my main drive and 100gb free on my secondary drive (not entirely sure which the mail is on tbh). I can only assume its trying to download all my email - about 56k messages.

What can I do? I also noticed that the new messages in my inbox have been marked as read, as if I'd already downloaded them.
posted by missmagenta to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Response by poster: Just realised why they got marked as read, my phone downloaded the mails just fine.
posted by missmagenta at 5:32 PM on October 22, 2014

Apparently this can happen if certain files in your Thunderbird profile are in an unexpected state. For example in this thread the error was caused by a bad Popstate.dat file. Some other people solved the problem by running the "Compact folders" command multiple times.

Before trying any solutions, make sure you have a backup of your Thunderbird profile.

If all else fails, you could delete your profile completely (but keep the backup just in case!) and create a new one, assuming all your messages are still on the mail server to be re-downloaded.
posted by mbrubeck at 10:10 PM on October 22, 2014

Are you actually using Icedove from the Debian repo, or Thunderbird installed from some other source?

Is Thunderbird/Icedove set up to get at your mailbox via POP3 or IMAP? IMAP is way more robust, and easily the better choice if you want to operate the same mailbox from multiple devices.

If that had happened to me, and I'd been using POP3, I would

* make sure Thunderbird/Icedove wasn't running
* open my home folder, hit ctrl-H to reveal hidden files and folders, and rename the hidden .icedove or .mozilla-thunderbird folder to take it out of play
* start Icedove, which should come up in a first-run state, and walk through its process for connecting to an existing mail account via IMAP
* let it re-download everything it wants to

That's by no means the most efficient way to deal with the issue as measured by volume of disk space or network bandwidth consumed, but it would almost certainly waste less of my time than any alternative method.
posted by flabdablet at 2:19 AM on October 23, 2014

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