I use Thunderbird, the version I currently run is 24.1.0.

I used to search for messages containing certain IDs or addresses with the Quick Filter, but since yesterday somehow it stopped working. I enter the ID I am looking for and there are "No results" while actually there are messages containing the search phrase in that inbox.

I have not done any changes that I am aware of, no updates or changed settings or anything. I also checked that all four tabs "Sender," "Recipient," "Subject" and "Body" are active.

What am I doing wrong? Any idea?

FIXED: I've had this problem in the past with select IMAP folders not accurately showing items using the quick filter tool (items would show up in the global thunderbird search though).

  1. Right-click folder | Repair Folder
  2. File menu | Compact Folders

From there, you should see in Activity manager (tools menu | Activity Manager) the folder probably re-downloaded, and reindexing of all the messages will occur. After that, your Quick Filter should accurately reflect items.

It had been a while since I'd done maintenance on thunderbirds folder structure :)

  • I'll try tomorrow, thanks for letting me know. If it works, this will be awesome! – koljanep Sep 29 '15 at 21:26
  • Has not resolved with your proposed solution. – koljanep Jan 4 '16 at 18:29
  • What did you try? – David T Jan 6 '16 at 3:50
  • What you explained in your answer of course: repair folder, compact and reindex, etc. – koljanep Jan 6 '16 at 12:20
  • This repairs the indexes in Thunderbird, so that the thunderbird indexes are accurate. Check this for all the Thunderbird related search options: support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/configuration-options-search . Finally there's a second indexing that's the windows indexing service. Search for Indexing options | Advanced | Rebuild which will rebuild all the objects published to the windows search api. After all those, I think I'm out of ideas :) – David T Jan 8 '16 at 13:18
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Since this problem occurred I seem to have found the answer. At a certain point, when the mailbox reaches ~25,000 messages, the filter (as described above) stops working. Once I deleted some of the messages it started working again, and once I got new messages that got the inbox message count "above the limit", it stopped working.

I tried compacting the folders as described by David T, but that didn't really help.

Right now the only handling seems to be to not accumulate too many messages.

  • I have seen all kinds of weird behavior on big (>10k messages) folders, so I ended up splitting my mail archives by year. It feels a bit stupid to search/filter several times when I don't remember the year, but at least it works. – Dmitry Grigoryev Jan 29 at 8:01

Had similar problem, too, using Thunderbird 52.9.1 with IMAP folders comletety synced locally. Specifically in Quick Search, a message kept showing up that did not contain the queried term, not even in attachments or the email's source.

Similar to what @David T suggested, but slightly different, maybe just because Thunderbird changed its interface since then. So for me it was

Right click folder -> Properties -> Repair folder (in General information tab)

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