@#$#$@%!@#$ Thunderbird!
February 26, 2006 3:03 PM   Subscribe

Where is all my email? I just installed Windows XP Pro, Firefox, and Thunderbird on a brand-new hard drive. I then copied the entire contents of the C:\Documents and Settings\Username (including hidden files) from the old hard drive onto the new one. Hallelujah, all my cookies, bookmarks, and extensions in Firefox work like a charm. Thunderbird, however ....

I mean, good lord. It's like a whole other development team worked on this app.

OK, lame joke, but even so - why is it so easy to migrate Firefox, and such a PITA to migrate Thunderbird????

So, in Thunderbird, all my account settings made it over, but I can't see any IMAP folders or existing emails in my primary email account (the one, of course, which matters the most) and I can in the other, secondary account. Screenshot is here.

If you'll notice, on the primary account there's no way to grow the directory tree the way there is on the secondary. Additionally, when I click on the "Read Messages" icon from the primary email root window, nothing happens.

Thoughts? Advice? I'm perfectly willing to delete / re-transfer whatever files are necessary to make this work. The old hard drive is fine, so I can also trial-and-error whatever suggestions you may have. Thanks in advance!

posted by ZakDaddy to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Zak-your other account is IMAP? In that case, the emails were never stored on your hard drive in the first place, but on the server (although I'm not sure how Thunderbird's IMAP implementation works). Have you already made tried checking the IMAP account?
posted by evariste at 3:31 PM on February 26, 2006

posted by evariste at 3:33 PM on February 26, 2006

Response by poster: Yar, all the email is there; I've seen similar Thunderbird weirdness on previous migrations of POP3 accounts. What drives me nuts is that I know the email on the server is fine. I suppose I could just delete the account and start over, but I'd lose my filters and address book, and dang it I shouldn't have to. #@$%!@$!@ Thunderbird.
posted by ZakDaddy at 3:52 PM on February 26, 2006

Best answer: I recently reinstalled my OS and restored Thunderbird from backups. I only had POP accounts, so I can't tell if the same thing will hold true for IMAP, but the way I got it work was to create the account from within Thunderbird and then, after Thunderbird creates a new set of folders for the "new" account, move the contents from the old mailbox manually into the new folder for the mailbox at

:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\[randomstring].default\Mail\[mailboxname]

If you move the folders first and then create the account, then TB will see the old folder there but will not overwrite it or integrate into it. Instead, it will create a new folder with the name [mailserver]-1.

(This will also happen if you delete and recreate accounts from within TB, since it will not delete the mail folders but will simply create more new ones with incremental numbers appended.)
posted by camcgee at 3:57 PM on February 26, 2006

Response by poster: Word. You own; substitute "...default\ImapMail\[mailboxname]" in the above and it's perfect. Thanks a million.

posted by ZakDaddy at 4:15 PM on February 26, 2006

Since it was IMAP and the email is stored on the server, you probably could have just deleted and re-created the account.
posted by zsazsa at 8:50 PM on February 26, 2006

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