Thunderbird thinks I haven't check my mail in three years!
June 16, 2007 6:41 AM   Subscribe

Every so often Thunderbird thinks all the messages in my Yahoo Mail Plus account are new and downloads 8000 messages! Help me stop this annoyance please.

A little background: I'm with Yahoo now because years ago I signed up with a little startup called Oddpost was great but eventually Yahoo bought them out and my account was moved to yahoo's servers. I like my email address (which now forwards to an address) but these issues - and a lack of quick support even for a paid account - are making me think about switching to Gmail. While I'll probably do that soon enough I need to keep Thunderbird from cluttering my inbox with thousands of messages from the last few years. I had the same issue with occasionally so I think it's probably an issue with Yahoo. I've submitted a support request to them but given that I'll probably never hear back from them is there anyone out there that can help me?
posted by JPDD to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know how to help but I can testify that this has happened to me to for no apparent reason and I find it really annoying. I would think it's either from the connection to the mail server being dropped unexpectedly, so the flagging process doesn't happen either on the server or in Thunderbird. But I know little about POP3. It's very annoying though, I agree.

I'm not sure how you feel about this but I personally wouldn't keep so many messages on the server -- I delete mine after 7 days, long enough to have downloaded them at work and at home. I've got the archive on my hard drive. I guess I prefer to keep the server clean and fast, and anyway, I don't want any company having a giant archive of every electronic conversation I've had for the past 10 years, you know?
posted by loiseau at 7:53 AM on June 16, 2007

There's an old extension to help with this: Remove Duplicate Messages. The problem is that it doesn't officially work in TB2, you may get some mileage out of bumping up the max version number, but of course that's always at one's own risk.

Deleting messages off the server can also work, if you can cope with it, which is what I did when I used POP3.

But I assume you would really like/need to have webmail, which is why you're leaving it on the server in the first place. So I would recommend NOT switching to GMail, but instead to a provider that offers IMAP. IMAP works so that if you, e.g., rearrange mail into folders in your mail client they will ALSO be rearranged on the server. Your webmail has exactly what your computer(s) has(have). It's a beautiful thing.
posted by anaelith at 8:02 AM on June 16, 2007

Thanks, loiseau and anaelith. I actually really like having webmail functionality when I'm away from my computer and the offsite backup function is great too. I can't really picture moving away from webmail of some sort. Yahoo Mail does support IMAP I think, might be worth checking out I guess, does anyone know if tagging in TB would be sent back up to the IMAP server? that would be nice. Right now my webmail is a big unorganized dump and I do all my tagging and filing locally in TB. I picture the switch to IMAP being pretty painful but maybe worthwhile in the long run.
posted by JPDD at 8:42 AM on June 16, 2007

This problem is caused by Yahoo gratuitously changing the Unique ID generation method for mails on their servers. This idiot misbehaviour means that no POP3 client can tell the difference between messages already got and messages yet to get. I stopped using Yahoo mail the third time they did this to me.

I've been using Gmail with POP3 access for several years and its UID lists have remained stable. Actually the Gmail web interface is good enough that I now use it as my primary email client; the only thing I use Thunderbird for these days is to back it up.
posted by flabdablet at 1:29 AM on June 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

Tagging is kind of spotty, and heavily server dependent. My server used to work (kind of) with tags, it seems like now it does, but instead the "starred" option in TB corresponds to the "Important" flag on webmail... Anyway, your server may be (is probably) entirely different... I do recommend regular backups of your TB profile folder before you start messing around.
posted by anaelith at 8:44 AM on June 17, 2007

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