I have Thunderbird 38.2.0 installed on my Macbook (10.10.3 Yosemite). For some reason my account passwords have disappeared. I cannot download new mail anymore for all accounts, pop3, exchange or imap. This all worked until last weekend. Internet still works on the laptop. All these accounts work on other systems, so it's not related to the mailservers.

  • When checking mail, no password is asked, nothing happens.
  • When I open Preferences > Security > Passwords > Saved Passwords, the list is empty.
  • When I try to set a master password, it fails. (Although this is not the issue for me, I tried it, noticed it didn't work, and it seems related so I mention it here.)
  • If passwords are deleted, I would expect to get a popup request for the password, but nothing happens.
  • The OSX keychain had some (probably older) pop3 and smtp passwords for these accounts, from last year. Back then I used Apple Mail, but I migrated last year to Thunderbird. I deleted these keys to see if that resulted in something, but nothing happened.

I copied the mail folder (using cp -rp), so I could mess with the folder and go back if needed. Then I restored a backup of the mail from before the problems began to a temp folder. For each test situation I copied the original or backup version of the mail, so I could go back to an identical situation if needed.

  • I copied the backup to the Library/Thunderbird folder and opened Thunderbird. No change.
  • I installed Thunderbird 38.0.1 with the backup - no change.
  • I tried the 40 beta version - no change.
  • I used chown to reset owner - no change.

I have no idea where to reset the passwords.

How can I get may email working again?

Rebuild profile

One of the solutions I have in mind is to rebuild the profile:

  • Move the Thunderbird folder, forcing TB to create a new profile.
  • Recreate all accounts.
  • Move back the mail folders.

I haven't done this yet. I see many folders with old accounts, including pop.googlemail-1.com, pop.googlemail-2.com etc, and don't know if these get linked to the right account, if that matters, or if this messes up something else.

Any input is valued!

  • I have seven accounts, all of them with this problem. One is Exchange and one IMAP, the rest POP3. I can read the mail from my phone, so the mailserver works. I've disabled the addons. I've restarted Thunderbird several times. Internet works, as I'm typing this on the same machine. If I check mail for one account, the status bar shows that it is connecting, the progress bar is 100% full, and it stays there while nothing happens. I'm going to restart the laptop to see if that helps.
    – SPRBRN
    Aug 23 '15 at 13:06
  • @fixer1234 - see my updated question!
    – SPRBRN
    Aug 25 '15 at 11:24
  • You've got a great, well-written question (+1). I've never seen this before and haven't got a clue to an answer. Looking forward to seeing what other people come up with.
    – fixer1234
    Aug 25 '15 at 16:25
  • Thanks for the compliment. In the process of finding a solution I discover issues, questions, which I first try to solve myself. By describing all I've done I prevent other people from trying the same things, saving them effort and time. If they give a suggestion for something I already did (try this or that), that's a waste of my time as well. If you look at my profile you'll find more questions like this one, although many are short and simple.
    – SPRBRN
    Aug 25 '15 at 19:21
  • In that Library/Thunderbird folder, do you see a signons.sqlite file?
    – Alfabravo
    Aug 25 '15 at 20:18

I created a new profile, then moved the mail from profile 1 to profile 2. That seems to have fixed all problems. The only question is that I'm not sure it all worked out 100%, if all mail is transferred correctly.

  • Create a new profile using the terminal command /Applications/Thunderbird.app/Contents/MacOS/thunderbird-bin -profilemanager.
  • Close TB completely (not the window, but the program).
  • Copy prefs.js and (if it exists) user.js. Edit both files and search for the old profile path, replace it with the new one. For me the old one was inside a default folder, the new one not, so you have to check the complete path.
  • Start TB and see if it works. Close TB.
  • Copy the extensions directory. Delete the extensions.ini, extensions.cache and extensions.rdf files if they exists. They will be recreated.
  • Start TB and check again, then close it, and repeat this for the following steps:
    • Copy abook.mab and history.mab for the address book.
    • cookies.txt: if you use cookies, which I don't do, so I ignored this.
    • persdict.dat for the dictionary if you use that.

Then it's time for the real work:

  • Copy or move the Mail and ImapMail folders including all subfolders and start TB.
  • Another option is to use the ImportExportTools addon.

After this all my mail was restored. I had to reenter passwords, and for one account the local folder path was wrong, which was fixed quite easily from within the account settings.

Before you do this, make a backup of the original mail folder, so you can go back.

Source: Transferring data to a new profile - Thunderbird


Steps to Rebuild the Thunderbird Database

Quit Thunderbird. Locate the global-messages-db.sqlite file in your Thunderbird Profile . Delete the global-messages-db.sqlite file. Start Thunderbird. The re-indexing process will start automatically. Depending on the number of messages, it might take some time for the indexing to complete. You can continue to use Thunderbird, but performance might be affected and search will return only partial results or even no results until the indexing is complete. The indexing progress can be monitored through the Tools | Activity Manager menu.

Source: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/rebuilding-global-database

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