Quick Thunderbird Tip: Repairing Mail Summary Files

English: Mozilla Thunderbird (SuSe Linux 9.3/K...
Mozilla Thunderbird (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Couple of weeks ago, my Thunderbird mail client stopped connecting to Yahoo Mail. It would log in to the service, start downloading Message 1 of X — and hang. When it snapped back to normal, it reported there was no mail to download. Hmm…

After a few false starts, I found an old MozillaZine forum post that pointed to the Mail Summary File as the culprit. The MSF generates the list of emails on your Inbox, with date, time and read/unread status. The forum post said Go to your profile and find any files with an *.msf extension. Delete them, it said. So I did.

This turned out half-right. See, I like to think I’m pretty well-organized, with a bunch of topic-based folders and filters that move mail into those folders. Thunderbird (rightly) produces MSF files for each of these folders. When you delete them all, Thunderbird has trouble downloading into possibly nonexistent folders and it complains intensely.

For this reason, more recent versions of Thunderbird has a Repair function in the Properties of each folder. This tool reconstructs the Mail Summary File without having to drop the original. How do you do that?

  1. Right-click your Inbox and choose Properties from the menu.
  2. Click Repair Folder. The folder display switches to the cover page while the Repair tool is active. Depending on the size of the folder (and/or what the problem might be), this can take some time. Don’t try clicking on the folder until the repair is done.
  3. When the repair is complete, you’ll return to the message list, with the proper number of Unread messages counted on the left side. You can then click OK to close out the Folder Properties table.

If you still have trouble with downloading mail, or processing filters, try running this Repair tool on other folders.

Hope this is helpful.

So, That’s It For Thunderbird

Initial reaction is disappointment, but I do wonder (a) who besides me still uses a desktop email client, and (b) if email itself is (as I’ve heard) “something for old people” and “how I reach grandma.” What do y’all think about this development? Do you use Thunderbird? KMail? Evolution? Or just read your mail on the web?
Oh, don’t overlook the link to Mitchell Baker’s blog post at the bottom of this story!

TechCrunch

Mozilla is not “stopping” Thunderbird development, it has just decided that: “continued innovation on Thunderbird is not the best use of our resources given our ambitious organizational goals.” And it’s pulling people off the project. But it’s not stopping? Right.

This, according to a letter shared with “Mozillians” ahead of the official announcement to be revealed on Monday. Recipients were asked not to share the letter, blog or tweet about the news until then, but obviously someone out there didn’t agree with that plan.

While it’s sure to upset some diehards, it’s a move that makes sense, given that Thunderbird, an open source Outlook competitor, is desktop software in a world that has been rapidly moving to mobile and web. Mozilla itself has been ramping up efforts in these areas as of late, with the recent introductions of its “boot-to-gecko” OS (now “Firefox OS”), for example, as well as a new…

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