on Sep 11, 2008
I know we just went through this a month or so ago, but for no discernible reason Thunderbird lost all my emails. I restored a 2-month old backup, and it managed to lose those. I restored the backup again, but I have no way of knowing how long Thunderbird will keep them around this time.
More to the point: Any personal emails sent to me in the last 2 months are gone. If you emailed me in the past week or so and didn’t hear back from me, please re-send. Several people have sent me links and “You might want to see this” articles over the last couple of weeks, and now those are gone. I’d planned on writing about some of them
Boring details of the misbehavior follows:
I would just write this off as some unfortunately trashed hard drive data, but Thunderbird is freaking out on me. After being open for a few minutes, it will suddenly stop showing me the contents of emails. I can click on them in the list, but they never open. The tiny progress bar at the bottom isn’t there, so it’s not compacting a mailbox. Worse, when I close the application, it doesn’t actually close. The window vanishes but the process keeps going in the background. I have to kill it manually, which is probably what triggered the loss of my mail.
It keeps re-compacting my mailboxes – a process which takes five minutes or so. It finishes, I close Thunderbird, and next next time I run Thunderbird it starts compacting everything again.
If I empty my Junk mail folder, it takes several minutes to move 42,000 emails from Junk to Trash. (Why doesn’t it give me an option to kill them outright?) Next time I start Thunderbird, the 42,000 emails are back in the Junk folder. So… it takes forever to throw them away, by they are instantly recovered, unlike my real, actual, valuable emails, which are instantly deleted and unrecoverable?
It’s always been a little touchy, but something happened yesterday to really push it over the edge. I can’t think of what it might be. I’d think I hit some magical size threshold in there, but now that the last 2 months are gone it seems like Id be below that limit again.
Thunderbird has 6GB of my data (and falling) and I no longer trust it with that responsibility. But I don’t know who else is up for the job. That’s a lot of data, but it’s broken up into yearly archives so that no one file gets too big.
I’m ready to switch, but… where do you go from here? I’m certainly not going back to Outlook. I have a gmail account, but there’s no way to get my eleven years of email archives up there. Heck, I don’t see a way to get this year’s archives (what’s left of them) onto Gmail in a way that preserves the date/sender info.
I installed Evolution, and found it to be a magnificent bag of suck. It started, I configured it, and then it went into a coma and I had to kill the process. (With little DOS windows flicking in and out in the background, an side-effect of its rough port from Linux, I’m sure.)
Man, I can’t wait until this new “email” technology settles down and we can get some decent software for it.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.