How to Recover Deleted Emails In Thunderbird

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  • This process will only work if the option to compress emails has not been selected. If it has previously you will unfortunately not be able to retrieve deleted emails.
  • It is also recommended that files being worked on are saved in a different location in case a mistake or corruption occurs.


1. Open your Thunderbird profile in Windows Explorer. To do this process open My Computer and go to the following address by clicking the appropriate folders: C:\Documents and Settings\YOUR USER NAME\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles

  • Hidden folders and files will need to be visible in order to get to this address.

2. Unless multiple people use Thunderbird within the same login account there should be only one profile that ends in .default, go into that folder.

3. In the profile folder there should be a folder named Mail, click into that folder.

4. There will be a number of different files located in here, including a pair that are named the specific folder within Thunderbird (such as Inbox or Sent). One should be an unspecified "file" type and the other will be a "MSF file". Right click and open the MSF file using either Notepad or Wordpad.

5. This document will have a plain text version of every email that was recorded last in that folder, including sent date/time, whom it was delivered to, subject, and the email body. Each email also has identification numbers that help Thunderbird handle each email accordingly.

Look for the line that says "X_Mozilla-Status: (numbers)". Change the number on this line so that it reads "0". Repeat this process for every email within the document, once finished save and close the application.


When Thunderbird is reopened after saving the status changes for each email they will appear in the respective folder in bold, acting as if it has not been opened previously.

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