Restore Deleted Email in Thunderbird

After using Thunderbird for several years I noticed my backup of it kept increasing. It had always seemed bigger than it should be as I only keep a few emails archived in it. Eventually I saw an extension called XPunge which stated that Thunderbird does not delete your emails (even if you empty the Trash folder) unless you compress the folders (which is what that extension does by clicking on the button they provide). This made me realize that this was why my email backup was becoming so big. So as long as you don’t use the compress folder option in Thunderbird, you have the ability to restore your deleted email, including the attachments.

Go into Thunderbird’s profile folder then inside the Mail folder. Now depending on how many email address you have setup in Thunderbird it could be in several folders, but it will be named with either Local Folders or with the POP address you are using. (You can find out easily by going to Tools >> Account Settings and then going under the account you want to restore email address for and look under its Server Settings and at the bottom look at the path for Local directory). I’d recommend closing Thunderbird once you know where to go. Make a backup of the file called Inbox (Note: it’s the one with out an extension, Inbox.msf is for something else). Now open up Inbox in your favorite Text Editor (Notepad, Crimson Editor, Notepad++, etc.), it may take a few minutes to load depending on how big the file is, some of mine were over 90MB. Don’t open it in WordPad, since it will add formatting to the file, also keep in mind Notepad on Windows 98 has a file size limit and won’t handle really huge files. Now you can search for whatever emails you are looking to restore, or have fun looking at really old emails. When you find one you want to restore, scroll up and change number after X-Mozilla-Status: to be a 0 (zero). It’s okay to just make it a single zero rather than a four digit number. Don’t bother changing the X-Mozilla-Status2. Do that for each email you want to restore. Then save the file. Open up Thunderbird and it should now be in your Inbox marked as Unread (Note: it may take awhile for it to read that Inbox).


Comments 151-158 of 158 to “Restore Deleted Email in Thunderbird”

Pages: 1 2 3 4
  1. 151 · Raj says:

    I cant thank you enough. Great help.

    I was looking at the wrong inbox file in profile. When I followed the path in server settings, got it riight. also NOTEPAD++ IS THE GAME CHANGER.

  2. 152 · Kellie says:

    This is awesome… i’m not a computer expert… far from it… but even i managed to work this… I have hundreds of emails i need to change from 0009 to 0000. Does anyone know of an editor where i can Find and Replace All in go??

  3. 153 · UnBarrilMedioLleno says:

    If you want to automate the process in Linux you can use terminal, simply cd into the ImapMail folder and do the following ( this will modify all your INBOX files recursively ):

    sudo find . -name “INBOX” -print | xargs sed -i ‘s/X-Mozilla-Status: 0001/X-Mozilla-Status: 0000/g’

    If you want to only modify one file you can simply cd into the folder pertaining to the mail you wish to recover and use that same previous command.

  4. 154 · Anonymous says:

    Today one user had problem in receiving mails due to no disk space error. C drive and D drive have sufficient space. The OS is Win7-64 bit.
    This is a POP3 account. I went in to the accounts settings tab; for the server settings -> Disk space, I set it to delete mails after 3 days. Then I closed Thunderbird.After reopening mails started coming, BUT ALL EXCEPT 3 DAYS MAILS DISAPPEARED FROM THE ACCOUNT’S INBOX & the local folders Inbox ALL THE MAILS DISAPPEARED! There is no backup. Please help!

  5. 155 · SRIDHAR says:


  6. 156 · Anonymous says:

    Lots of Thanks Dear

  7. 157 · Wande says:

    I recently upgraded to Windows 10 and I play football manager 2016. I tried to play the FM 2016 but it crashed my PC and I had to do a restore. In the process I lost a lot of software including the Thunderbird application. I re-installed and set up the same account again and then realized I was only getting new mails. I have tried the process you have above but can’t find the old mails anywhere. What do I do?

  8. 158 · Anonymous says:

    have done the above but still i cany recover my emails.

Comments 151-158 of 158

Pages: 1 2 3 4

Leave a Comment

Comments are reviewed before publishing to prevent spam.