Fix for missing mails in Thunderbird

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 24, 2006
Updated • Nov 6, 2017
Email, Thunderbird

The current version of Thunderbird has a major bug that causes some mail that is downloaded from the server to disappear in the email client. Thunderbird displays the number of new mails that is in a folder correctly, but when you click to open that folder, the new mail that should be there is not listed in it.

The first time I have read about this message was on the mozillazine forum where a user named soulek described the problem that he encountered after he upgraded the email client to Thunderbird

One solution would be to downgrade Thunderbird to a prior version which should fix this immediately. A better solution would be to download a nightly build of Thunderbird and use that. The bug was fixed and all coming nightly builds should include the bug fix as well. The most recent nightly build for example is fixed so that all emails will be shown correctly in the program.

Thunderbird which will include the fix will most likely be released sometime in December which means the only way to fix this bug now is to either downgrade or install a nightly build.

You will have to do the following no matter if you downgrade or install a nightly build:

  • Backup your Thunderbird profile folder which is located C:\Documents and Settings\your username\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\random.default (note may vary depending on your operating system)
  • Uninstall Thunderbird.
  • Go to the Thunderbird profile folder and delete every msf file. Don't worry,Thunderbird will rebuild them once you click on such a folder in Thunderbird.
  • Install Thunderbird or the nightly build

The missing mail should appear. Everything seems to have reverted back to normal for me using the above nightly build. Let me know if you encounter errors or if this method is not working for you.

Update: The MSF files that you are deleting are index files that do not contain the mails, just information about them. If Thunderbird cannot locate them, it automatically creates them anew on the system.

Fix for missing mails in Thunderbird
Article Name
Fix for missing mails in Thunderbird
The current version of Thunderbird has a major bug that causes some mail that is downloaded from the server to disappear in the email client.
Ghacks Technology News

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Ed said on June 21, 2012 at 1:26 am

    I backed up my profile (copied and pasted to my desktop) then uninstalled, then installed Nothing changed. Is “backing up” this way OK or do I need to do something else – like copy and paste that “backed up” file back where it was origninally?

  2. MJH said on December 7, 2006 at 6:44 pm

    Thanks – worked perfectly.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.