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I have just deleted a lot of old messages (about 3,000) from my Thunderbird 3.0 profile. When I now use the new search feature (search all messages), TB still finds the deleted ones.

I deleted them this way: I moved the messages to an own "archive" folder (not the built-in archive feature). Then I stopped TB and moved the archive files and folders to a different place on my file system. Then restarted TB. I archive my messages this way for years now.

So, it seems that Thunderbird does not notice the deletion of my messages, thus the index is not updated. How can I tell TB to instantly rebuild the index?

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You could try to vacuum the Thunderbird Databases like it is done for Firefox.

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That ought to clean up some mess! +1 – Ivo Flipse Feb 10 '10 at 9:49
Well this might enhance response times, but I don't think this would rebuild the indices. – Martin Feb 10 '10 at 10:43

That sounds like a bug in TB3, taking in account a non-existent folder.

To physically get rid of these messages, Compacting folders might solve the problem:

To compact all folders in an account manually, click the account on the left, and then click "File -> Compact Folders". Compacting an account may take from a few seconds to 10 minutes or more, depending on how much mail you have and how recently you last compacted the folders.

If compacting all folders in the account manually doesn't solve the problem, I would copy back the Archive file and delete it officially via the TB interface. That way, it should take its disappearance into account and rebuild the index.

If the above works, you might need to modify slightly your archiving method for TB3.

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Thank you, but: 1) Compacting folders does not solve my problem. 2) I have moved (resp. copied in this case) my archive folder back to the profile, restarted TB. Then, TB immediately started to index the new found mails. After that was finished, i deleted the archive folder from within TB. Still, the index includes my deleted messages. – Martin Feb 10 '10 at 10:50
@Martin: I would suggest to launch this query in the TB forum, detailing everything you tried. This looks more and more like a bug in TB3. Just to note that after trying TB3 I went back to TB2. – harrymc Feb 10 '10 at 11:42

Have you tried simply deleting the index files? I believe that TB saves messages in a plain text format, and there's an index per text file.

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I think this only rebuilds the indices for the folders. Nor that one for the "search all accounts" feature. Nevertheless, I tried it. But to no avail. – Martin Feb 10 '10 at 14:22

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