Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I just created a new Thunderbird profile. Unfortunately Thunderbird only downloads recent messages. I need to get all my messages and subfolders. Any idea?

share|improve this question

Go to Tools/Options/General/Config Editor or in more recent versions Edit/Preferences/Advanced/General/Config Editor. This may vary between operating systems.

If presented with a

This might void your warranty!

dialog, click on the button "I'll be careful, I promise!".

Type folders_for_new in the filter box.

Look for an option called mail.check_all_imap_folders_for_new or on newer versions mail.server.default.check_all_folders_for_new.

Change this setting to true. This has the effect of not treating inbox as special, but all folders are "inbox", so all folders will be checked and downloaded.

If this key does not exist, then add it (right click / new) exactly as it is written above as a boolean preference. When you add the preference, you will be asked for the initial value. Choose true.

Next, in Account Settings/the account you are referring to/Synchronisation & Storage ensure that "Synchronise all messages locally regardless of age" and "Keep messages for this account on this computer" are selected.

share|improve this answer
There is no mail.check_all_imap_folders_for_new in current version of Thunderbird. – Nowaker Mar 29 '13 at 22:05
@DamianNowak Thanks - answer updated – Paul Apr 2 '13 at 7:22
In my recent thunderbird, the Config Editor button is in Edit->Preferences (from the menu) then Advanced->General tab (ie: General tab in the Advanced section). Config Editor is a button at the bottom right. – drevicko Apr 3 '13 at 3:18
@drevicko Thank - updated. By the way, on SU you are welcome to edit questions and answers to increase their quality. – Paul Apr 3 '13 at 3:23
The ansuwer by Paul is correct, save that for Thunderbird 17, the option to look for in the Config Editor is this one: mail.server.default.check_all_folders_for_new. – Luis E. Jun 21 '13 at 8:43

there should be a menu or button to "go offline"

in my current thunderbird - 17.0.2 (in ubuntu 12.04) the button is at the lower left corner of the whole app -

clicking it will start the download and if everything is configured - for instance mine has "keep all messages regardless of age local" then that is what it will download

share|improve this answer
This is the key. Hitting the button in the bottom left corner will take you to offline mode and will give you the chance to force Thunderbird to download everything. – Jake Wilson Mar 14 '13 at 22:41

You have to check a box called "Keep messages for this account on this computer". Have a look at this tutorial for keeping IMAP messages in thunderbird.

share|improve this answer
This option is already set. The main issue is that it doesn't get subfolders. – salman.mirghasemi Nov 5 '11 at 18:20
Have a look at the tutorial, they write about this, too. – Jens Erat Nov 5 '11 at 18:22
I read that part as well. It seems that Thunderbird is not able to see subfolders. I am going to try with another mail client. – salman.mirghasemi Nov 5 '11 at 19:34

In the list of your accounts in the main window, and right click on the account name and click the "Subscribe..." option. You will then see the list of (sub)folders on the server, check the ones you want. They will now be synced with everything else.

share|improve this answer

thanks for your help.

yes, in the latest version 38..

/tools/account settings/synchronization & storage/

you have to click advanced next to "Keep messages for this account on this computer" in the latest version, the double click on the account to open the subdirectories, and check the ones you want.

as you said, jens, the tutorial describes this further - thanks again

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .