did a (non-destrucive) WinXP recovery lost all Tbird data

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did a (non-destrucive) WinXP recovery lost all Tbird data

Postby whoopteeedooo » Sat 08 Jan, 2011 4:22 pm

Greetings all,
I did a non-destructive recovery of Win XP on my HP Pavilion a1330n. Of course I backed up my data, but not my account settings, emails, and address book in Thunderbird 3.1.7. The data I had generated in other programs was fine. But somehow every program that I had added to my machine became disassociated with all of their program files.??? Most were easy to fix. I removed the old prog in Cntrl Pnl and dropped in the disk and reinstalled them.

However, the Thunderbird program was completely empty. So I downloaded a fresh copy and installed it hoping it would detect and repopulate the program. No such luck. I need you to know that I am 60 yrs old and only 4 years old with computers. If it weren't for the GUI's I wouldn't be using one at all.

I have spent an embarrassing number of hours reading and re-reading the info on the mozillazine site!
There are just too many words that have no meaning for me in there to plan a course of action. Never the less, I did get some basic idea of what to do. I really feel that I can't afford to muddle this attempt to repopulate Thunderbird because I know the level of confusion would be such that I would not be able to sort it all out to try again. But, I DO have COPIES saved.

I have saved copies of the 3 Profiles I had in Thunderbird in My Documents.
I have saved copies of the abook.mab files separately, but in the same place.
I don't know what to do with the abook.mab.msf file though.


Actually, I don't have the foggiest idea of how to take the saved copies and put them back into the original copy of Thunderbird that is still on my computer.

Please, if someone would offer their help, please try to keep it on a 5th, well, 4th grade level in a Step 1, Step 2, Step 3 type format! :oops:

I just can't figure it from the instructions on the mozillazine site because there just aren't any 1,2,3, type instructions to follow.

I thank you from the bottom of my knotted up, and sick feeling heart!
Ol' Whoopteeedooo
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Re: did a (non-destrucive) WinXP recovery lost all Tbird dat

Postby Fulvio » Sun 09 Jan, 2011 6:51 pm

You mention Thunderbird, but did you have Firefox? As far as I can remember programs like Firefox and Thunderbird are made up of three separate components. By default, the programs are in the Program Files, while the data, i.e. Profiles are in the Documents and Settings|Application Data. The Firefox profiles are in this type of path:
C:\Documents and Settings\user_name\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\xx1x111.default, where the x= letter, and 1= number are in unique combinations. In the case of Thunderbird the path would be like: C:\Documents and Settings\user_name\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\1x combo.default.
You should be able to find such folders, up to the Profile part by installing your program. I have never tried, but you may be able to, just create the folders, as needed. And, then you could copy/paste the entire folder which had backed up.In order to have your program, i.e. "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Thunderbird\thunderbird.exe" recognize its profile, you need to modify the Target line, by adding the following: -p your profile (keyboard space in front of the -, another space after the p).
There is no danger in doing this, as the modifications can be deleted,but once the modification is made, your Thunderbird should open with the old profile. There is no need to try to copy/paste or whatever any specific file).
All this should work if you saved the entire folder, and not just the contents.
FYI, I am 78, although my experience with computers goes back nearly 10 years.
By the way, although abook.mab contains the default address book, I have never seen any file with a double extention .mab.msf. In the mail accounts, files with the .msf extentions are the header files, and they can be deleted, with the program closed, and will be recreated when reopened, based on the file without .msf.
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Re: did a (non-destrucive) WinXP recovery lost all Tbird dat

Postby whoopteeedooo » Tue 11 Jan, 2011 2:19 am

Problem Solved with a fantastic Thunderbird PLUGIN.

However, Thunderbird's site doesn't have it. It comes from Dutch Thunderbird admirers I believe. The site is in English so no problems. However, the link does try to hide from you.

The link for the plugin is sanctified in the MOZILLAZINE site and I have it installed and so far, everything is fine.

For anyone that has more than one copy of Thunderbird on their machine this is a dream come true!
Here is the link for the very small download.

http://nic-nac-project.de/~kaosmos/profileswitcher-en.html

At the very top edge of the page you will see the download. After you download it, open your Thunderbird, and go to TOOLS, Add-ons, and then click on the Plugins icon. Then you go down to the bottom left hand corner of the window and click Install... A box will open entitled "Select an extension to install" and there you will see your downloaded file: profileswitcher-tb-ff.1.1.1
Highlight it and click OPEN. A box entitled, "Software Installation" will open with the same file displayed.
Click INSTALL NOW. A new window will pop open telling you to restart Thunderbird to complete the installation.....there is a 'Restart Now' button in the upper right hand corner. Click it.

When Thunderbird has restarted, this time click on File, and near the bottom of the fly out menu you will see LAUNCH ANOTHER PROFILE and below that, OPEN PROFILE MANAGER. Both options have small fly out menus of their own saying, NORMAL MODE, SAFE MODE. For now, choose Open Profile Manager.
You can then choose to open it in the Normal Mode or the Safe Mode. More about the differences below...

IF you choose to use the SAFE MODE, you will see:
In order to run profile manager in safe-mode, the current profile will be automatically closed. Do you want to continue? You can choose YES.

If you chose NORMAL MODE, you will see: Close current profile when switching? You will be able to choose YES, NO, or CANCEL. I chose NO and Thunderbird stayed open and worked fine afterwords.

I have done the complete process both ways and both worked just fine.
When you choose one way or the other, the next box to appear will be the THUNDERBIRD- CHOOSE USER PROFILE box.
There you see that you will be able to choose from CREATE PROFILE..., RENAME PROFILE... ( I'd be very careful about renaming, I think I've read you can permanently loose a profile that way if you don't get it perfectly right the first go),or, DELETE PROFILE....
There is also a box there that can be unchecked and Thunderbird automatically have you choose a profile every time Thunderbird starts! Great for keeping separate Tbird progs for different reasons.

I didn't need that so I left it checked and chose- CREATE PROFILE... When you click on Create Profile, a new "CREATE NEW PROFILE WIZARD" box opens. Read the three paragraphs that speak about why you may want to do this and click NEXT.

A new box will open and you click on 'CHOOSE FOLDER' which behaves exactly like the windows 'BROWSE' does. A small window with a version of Windows Explorer opens and you are automatically at the Profile folder for the Thunderbird version that is running on your computer when you do this. Thing is, it is by default the latest install of Thunderbird that gets pointed to! So why would you want to choose it? In my case I had three profiles from previous instances of reinstalling Thunderbird. Below I try to explain exactly how to locate the other Profiles and how to recognize the differences in them that make it clear what to do with each so if you've never done this you probably should read on......I can only share what I saw on my computer but it can't be much different on other Windows computers.

Below you will see how you can have more than one Profile hiding on your computer in the C: drive. I used the START, SEARCH tool to find all three of mine and then copied down the unique number/letter.default at the end of each path. So, here is a bit more from an HP_Pavilion perspective.

When you uninstall Thunderbird, I'm almost positive I remember reading that Thunderbird does not delete anything other than the executable file.
So, all of the files that came with the install and those that you generate by using the program, remain in your C: drive.
You just need to dig them out. In my case, when I opened C:Documents and Settings there where three specific folders in there. One folder labeled, HP_Administrator, another labeled, HP_Administrator.MINE, and the other was labeled, HP_Administrator.MINE000. All slightly different. And those slight differences are the key here. Each one contains an individual and separate Profile with all the addresses in it, all the email accounts, and all the emails.

Here, you can clearly see the differences for each of the Profiles (folders) .......

The first folder's path looked like this:

C:\Documents and Settings\HP_Administrator\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profile\tujkis04.default.

And the path for the second looked like this:

C:\Documents and Settings\HP_Administrator.MINE\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profile\9or0rb6m.default.

And finally the third looked like so:

C:\Documents and Settings\HP_Administrator.MINE000\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\8ur0rb9m.default

The unique set of numbers/letters that appear just before .default are the only thing you want to click on in the CHOOSE FOLDER, windows explorer type environment you'll be in if you follow the instructions above. Those unique sets of numbers and letters ARE the Profile identifiers. You will find them in the folders named Profile.

I have showed you this in hopes that when you follow the instructions above, and use the CHOOSE FOLDER, and get into a windows Explorer type environment, you will know to go up to C: to find your OTHER profiles. You'll have to back track up to C:\Documents and Settings\ to find your other Profile folders, however many instances you may have.
I hope this helps someone else. It has taken me a week to ferret this solution out working each day till I was so confused I had to stop or till I was just too frustrated to continue.
Your FORUM helped by turning the key in the lock you might say. It was by process of elimination really. And IF ONLY MOZILLAZINE had instructions like these, I'd have been done the very first night!
Thank YOU! and GOOD LUCK!
Ol' Whoopteeedooo
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Re: did a (non-destrucive) WinXP recovery lost all Tbird dat

Postby Fulvio » Tue 11 Jan, 2011 1:37 pm

I did not get half way the long description, because I don't do things the way that they are described.
In first place, I don't use the default name for my profiles, but, rather something more descriptive (like the version type).It is confusing enough with one default profile, let alone three. Of course, it is a well known fact that the letter and numbers are unique to a profile, but I don't like the idea of using even two profiles with the same final description. I know that I can modify the Target line with the final part of the profilename, but how would I differentiate three default profiles, unless there is a way to include the first part. If I open the profile manager, all I see are the names of the second part.
Of course, the files/folders should be on the computer. Otherwise, how does one get them to be used.
If the files/folders are hidden, it is default with Win XP, at least, and such files can be unhidden.
I am very confused by such complicated way of doing things, when it is possible to do the same thing by having unique descriptions for the profiles, and they can be accessed by unhiding them in Windows Explorer.

Or, I am misunderstanding the problem, which I don't have.
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Re: did a (non-destrucive) WinXP recovery lost all Tbird dat

Postby whoopteeedooo » Wed 12 Jan, 2011 3:31 pm

Fulvio,

I agree with everything you say Fluvio.

If one continues to read through the admittedly L O N G post, they will read that when the Thunderbird plugin is installed, and after a restart, they will see a NEW ITEM at the bottom of their File menu. It is LAUNCH ANOTHER PROFILE and when clicked on, all Profiles will appear on a small fly-out menu. Just click on which one is wanted and chose whether or not to close the presently open profile and away they go.

The first half of my post is dedicated to trying to describe my individual computer problems and what I witnessed and my line of thinking I followed when studying Mozillazine's Knowledge Base. I am not good, as I stated, at understanding that particular style of presenting information that is so prevalent on the Mozillazine site.

For me, when I had to do a reformat, and my Thunderbird ( I also use Firefox BTW) wouldn't work because of something the reformat did, I had to reinstall a fresh copy of Tbird. That meant setting up all of my email accounts all over again also. But the program was blank and empty.

I now know that every time Thunderbird is uninstalled and re-installed, it will recreate it's self anew leaving all of it's files previously created by the prior instance of the program strictly alone. It would be so handy if it would seek out the previous data and repopulate itself but that's not the way it is written I assume.

I was delighted to find ( I had thought it was gone forever) all my emails from prior to 2005 in a profile that I had assumed was lost for good when I had to do another Windows reformat at that time because of different hardware/software conflict issues.
I am self employed so it was an especially good find for me!
Now, when I click on the Find button in Thunderbird, I can switch between the three different profiles, not because I would ever set it up that way but because of my good fortune to find a small plugin that unearths what no doubt many people would and have assumed was gone forever.

I'm delighted to have ALL of my emails, contracts, contacts,addresses, phone numbers and notes back.

In closing, there is absolutely NO substitute for the practice of doing regular and comprehensive BACKUPS!

Thanks again Fulvio!
Ol' Whoopteeedooo-
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Re: did a (non-destrucive) WinXP recovery lost all Tbird dat

Postby Fulvio » Wed 12 Jan, 2011 6:53 pm

It is fine to use a plugin, but I have been using the -p trick for years. One difference is that I need a separate shortcut for each profile. That is no problem, as I use only one profile per version. But, I, just removed TB2.0.0.24, and I will see what will happen if I try to use its profile with my TB3.1.7, with the help of the plugin.
At this point, I am using three different profiles with three versions of Firefox, and had been using two different profiles with two Thunderbird versions. It is just a different way of looking at things.
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