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Hi Ron,

Thanks for this - same problem after a power supply fault and Thunderbird was running.

I located my profile Start>Run>%APPDATA%\Thunderbird\Profiles and the correct mail account - renamed the inbox.msf and restarted Thunderbird. The fault was fixed.




Hi Tom:
Glad I was able to point you in the right direction.


David Medina

Great post. I have the same problem except for two things: it's the Sent mail folder what is not being shown and I'm under Linux (Ubuntu).
After reading this and other posts I understand the noly thing I gotta mess with is the .msf file. All I have to do is to delete it and Thunderbird will build a new not-corrupted one. I'll try locating the right profile folder and deleting the .msf file.

If somebody has any idea about this problem on Ubuntu/Linux I'd really appreciate an email

Bob Foster

God bless you. I did exactly what you did, deleted the wrong files. I had already moved my inbox contents to a local folder, so I just deleted both inbox.msf and Inbox. Worked like a charm. Don't know why TB can't fix this perennial screwup, but now I'm good for another year or so.


Worked for me too.
I had an email box in which some emails WHICH I KNEW WERE IN THERE were even showing up in the list. If I search for them by subject they showed up in search results, but when I opened them from search results, they were blank. I moved the appropriate .msf file to the desktop, restarted TB, and there they were.
Thanks a lot.

Robert de Leon


Thanks for you help. By following your directions, I was able to restore functionality to Thunderbird within a few minutes!


Beginning on Sunday, July 6, 2008, T-bird crashed.??? I have tried to re-install it from both original and new downloads 7 times now over the last 5 days but each time I set it up and close it, it fails to open except as a new install prompting me to set up an account... Any ideas about this? I use AVG Free Edition Antivirus and Zone Alarm and have tried shutting down each of these programs but no difference..




I have a similar issue as Aisha. When starting T-bird it asks to create a new account. When I open my profile in appdata, and try to open the prefs.js file I'm given an error and the file will not open which tells me this is the problem....T-bird no longer recognises me because my profile is corrupt. My address book appears to be intact which again leads me to believe its simply a identity thing. Is there any way to fix this prefs file? Or is my only recourse to run through the new account wizard?
Aisha...can you tell if your address book is intact? You may be in the same boat I'm in!
Thanks for any and all input!



Stumbled upon this dated (2006)blog... and I'm glad I did. My troubled box was the sent box that would not update. I followed your trick (except I renamed the sent.msf to sent.msf.bak, yes I'm chicken) and voila my sent emails appeared. WOW -- for a little while there, I was questioning whether I had sent several emails to the point that I would bcc myself just to make sure. That's no longer needed!
Thanks --


Oh man I love you !! you've saved my life !! THANKS :)


Hi Ron,

Thanks to your article I was able to retrieve my old mails, which I though were lost for ever. Thanks once again.



Yesterday the thunderbird was hunging I killed the process and restarted the system. When the system rebooted I was shocked to see that all my mails in the inbox has vanished. When I checked the mail folder I can see the inbox, but the inbox.msf file size was 4K. I knew that the file is corrupted. Thanks for your article I was able to recover all my mails.


I had to replace my Pref.js file instead, deleting MSF files didn't cut it for me (& i had 14 inboxes so it was hard to tell which might be my problem)

The Original Mozillazine article you mentioned in your 1st Post is where i found that idea, so Thank you VERY MUCH !!


this trick still works.

Thunderbird v3.1.10

Thank you.

Moahamad Rashad

Thank you, I needed this trick Thunderbird 10

Tiago A. Marques

Thank You Ron, you saved me a lot of time. Had the same exact problem, now fixed. cheers

Paolo Moretti

My corruption consists in inbox file corruption, which doesn't more correspond to inbox folder files .wdseml. Standard recover procedure for inbox.msf is not able to fix the problem.
In my inbox on T-bird I loose the view of about 18k mail, from 20th april to 30th october, it was a selective "black-out".

I resolved this way:
- copy of lost e-mail files (.wdseml) from inbox directory to a "working" area.
- rename of *.wdseml to *.eml by "bulk rename utility" (free).
- installed T-bird extention "ImportExportTools" (https://nic-nac-project.de/~kaosmos/mboximport-en.html)
- imported *.eml files from "working area" by ImportExportTools".

good luck to everybody... this "trick" takes me about 4 days!


thanks PAOLO this works , but I cannot keep the attachments to that mails. I can get back all the mails but with no attachment...any solution?

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