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My profile in the thunderbird appdata\roaming is 2.54 gigs. What the heck is going on in there?

What can I do to get this under control?

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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

It may help to pull down File in TB and select Compact Folders. If you have a 2.5GB mailbox, that will be a pretty time-consuming process, but if there's a lot of wasted space, it'll cut down the size considerably.

Of course, any mail in your mailbox will stay, and continue to consume space, so it would make sense to delete some messages first. Add the Size column to your message list and sort on it, if you want to delete the biggest messages to reclaim the most space quickest. Don't neglect your Sent Mail folder when looking for large messages to ditch.

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if i have all my accounts setup to use imap shouldn't the downloads stay on the server and not copied local unless I save them? –  Steve Aug 24 '11 at 4:12
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You're likely downloading your mail/attachments locally.

More info about the profile folder that Thunderbird keeps is available here:

http://kb.mozillazine.org/Profile_folder_-_Thunderbird

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Roaming profiles are intended for small amounts of data that will be loaded each time you log on to any machine from a network drive, and written back to the network drive when you log off. If you log onto two computers at one time, and change anything in your profile on both computers, only one copy will survive. This is very undesirable behavior for things like mail storage. Even if you reduce the amount of email that is stored, some will occasionally get lost if you continue to use Thunderbird with roaming profiles.

The best solution might be to simply not use roaming profiles. However if your organization may not give you a choice. In that case, you will have to be careful not to log onto two computers simultaneously with the same profile or you will likely lose some messages. In addition, every time you log onto any computer, all of your messages will be transferred that are stored locally, even if (especially when) you archive old messages to local storage. This is all bad news because it takes a long time. Thunderbird offers no GUI-style movement of email folders out of your profile except to other email accounts. Thunderbird also offers no option to keep your messages anywhere outside of your profile. You can try redirecting your AppData folder, but that does not always stick, and if you have gigabytes of email in your archives, you may find it taking 10 minutes to log on and off. Usually this is an unacceptable solution.

The reason that Thunderbird gives no other options is that the development team apparently does not use roaming profiles and does not see the problem or understand the need for a solution. Perhaps joining the development team or clearly describing the problem would cause them to address the issue, unless they have concluded that roaming profiles are a bad idea and no work should be done in that area. I understand both sides and would recommend looking into using redirected folders instead of roaming profiles, while simultaneously working with the development team to explain clearly why you should be able to designate a location for your profile data instead of being stuck in the Windows profile.

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The roaming thing is from a default installation. This is my personal email and no organization is impacting choices. My accounts are setup as imap to gmail. thanks for the "answer" but I think you're missing the target a bit. –  Steve Aug 27 '13 at 21:22
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