Yesterday I used thunderbird and everything was fine. Today I started thunderbird and it looked like this:

Thunderbird with empty folder list

If I delete my ~/.thunderbird folder and recreate my email account everything works fine again, but I am not that keen on restoring all my settings manually.

Any suggestions for fixing?

Ubuntu 11.04

$ uname -a
Linux thorus 2.6.38-12-generic #51-Ubuntu SMP Wed Sep 28 14:27:32 UTC 2011 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux


I figured that the folderTree.json file in my profile directory looks broken. It is some binary stuff, most definitly not json. Deleting that file improved the situation: Now the folder tree is available again, but unfortunatelly thunderbird does not recreate the file and the folder tree is always in fully collapsed state when I start thunderbird.

  • Are you sure you were logged in as yourself? Did you start it as root by sudo, perhaps? Was something else different from other times? – user unknown Mar 9 '12 at 15:48
  • @user unknown: Yes, I were logged in as myself, my settings seem to be available (for example if I open the account settings dialog, all accounts are actually there). I can't think of anything that was different than usual. – yankee Mar 9 '12 at 15:50

If you deleted your ~/.thunderbird folder and recreated your account, then restoring all your other settings (and messages) likely isn't possible. The best solution for the future is to backup the folder regularly so you can restore it when necessary.


Your problem is actually a known bug: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=707329

The comments in the bugreport suggest that folderTree.json should be recreated automatically after deleting it. Don't know why that isn't happening...

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