Recover A Deleted Thunderbird Email

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I recently tried to unsubscribe from someone's email newsletter, by emailing their published removal email address. (I've been on an antispam drive, but this particular one was a non-spam 'straggler' - a company I'd used in the dim and distant past. Nothing against them as such but they used email marketing a lot & I just didn't need the messages anymore..)

My 'remove' email bounced.

So, I used their web form on their companies site, directing my message to 'webmaster'. Just asked if he could manually edit me out of the emailing database.

This time it worked. I got back a pleasant message from their webdesign guy - but as well as confirming removal, he mentioned he was puzzled why the remove address failed.

He asked if I could forward him the bounce message with full headers so he could investigate the original failure to remove.

Unfortunately I deleted the original bounce message out of my thunderbird mailbox, and emptied the trash :frowning:

Does anyone know of a way of getting it back - just to help the feller out basically.

I used to have a program called 'finalEmail' which did an admirable job of digging out old deleted emails off your hard drive - but I've lost my key for it, and I'm not sure if it works outside of Outlook Express anyway.

Anyone have any thunderbird recovery tips? Free or trialware?



okay situation resolved - I resent the original remove request mail, which I still had a copy of, and got the same bounce, so I now have some source code to send the guy so he can investigate as he wants to.

but I didn't manage to recover anything - guess this post becomes an academic issue now. I tried going into my thunderbird profile folder and renaming all the '...msf' index files to '...msf.old' in the hope that thunderbird would rebuild the indexes and include old emails that had been marked as deleted, no joy though, the stuff I was looking for really was gone gone gone. I looked inside all the main mail folder files, they contained all my email but not the deleted stuff.

So I guess there isn't a simple way other than some kind of disk-scanning recovery software?

Anyway as I say, academic interest only now.
I havent been able to find a way to recover emails delete from within Thunderbird. I have tried many different apps none of which have seemed to work. I even tried to use a Data Recovery Tool to see if i could recover it before it was overwritten on my HDD. No luck.

My only piece of advice would be to go to the Mozilla Forums and ask within the Thunderbird section if there is a way to recover a deleted email. Since they developed it they should know of something that could work. :crazy:
I think it was there at the Mozilla forums where I read that Thunderbird sticks all your email in big storage files, one for each folder, and doesn't neccessarily truly delete mails. Apparrently it uses the smaller '.msf' index files to determine what represents what in the 'master' file. So sometimes the .msf file is marking email as deleted but the text of it's still there in the big file.

C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\randomcrud.default\Mail\accountname

- Drafts
- Inbox
- Sent
- Templates
- Trash

So, under some circumstances you can still find 'deleted' emails in plaintext in these storage files (the ones with no extensions) in your profile.

You can sometimes get them back by forcing Thunderbird to rebuild the .msf files from scratch, by renaming them as .msf.old or something.

However, allsorts of actions can permanently clear out old deleted mail from these storage files - doing a 'file compaction' is one that stuck in my head

It never worked for me - looked inside all these files, ( yeah there were emails in plaintext there, but not the one I was after. Really all I could see was what was already represented in my mail folders, nothing that stood out as old 'deleted' mail, although I didn't dig that hard after realising the particular one I wanted was dead and gone. I'd had high hopes looking in 'Trash' but no. There's some stuff in there even though my actual trash folder is empty, not the one I was after though.

Hope this info is helpful for someone down the line anyway.
Thread closed thanks to spammers.

If you're a legit user and need help, please open a new thread.

Sorry, no links to commercial products please. If you have a freeware alternative though, we're all ears.
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