How to Restore Deleted or Lost Thunderbird Emails

Tracy King updated on Dec 11, 2020 to File Recovery | How-to Articles

Are you looking for a way to restore deleted or lost important Thunderbird email files on your PC? Here in this article, you’ll find 3 effective methods to restore deleted Thunderbird emails from trash, after emptying trash or directly apply email recovery software to restore lost Thunderbird emails in 3 steps. Just follow to get your lost Thunderbird email files back now.

5 Ways to Recover Deleted Emails from Thunderbird:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Restore from Trash Open Thunderbird > "Trash" > Right-click on deleted emails and select "Move to"...Full steps
Fix 2. Restore from Backup Open Thunderbird profile path: C:/User/Name/AppData/Roaming/Thunderbird/Profile > Replace the folder with...Full steps
Fix 3. Undo Emptying Trash Show hidden files on PC > Find Thunderbird file in C"/Users/Name/AppData/Roaming/Thunderbird...Full steps
Fix 4. Repair Inbox Folder Right-click Inbox in Thunderbird > "Properties" > "General Information" > Check "Inbox" folder name...Full steps
Fix 5. Restore from Local Drive Run EaseUS file recovery software > Scan local Thunderbird drive > Restore lost emails...Full steps

How Do I Recover Emails from Thunderbird?

"Hi there, don you know how to restored emails after emptying the Trash in Thunderbird? Yesterday, I removed some old emails from the Inbox. And I emptied the Trash later.

This morning, when I tried to reply an email in Thunderbird, but I didn't find the email at the Inbox. I've already emptied the trash, how do I recover emails from Thunderbird after emptying the trash?"

Don't worry if you are having a similar problem with Thunderbird. On this page, you'll find 4 solutions for Thunderbird email recovery. Follow below methods to restore your lost Thunderbird files and emails with ease.

Part 1. Recover Deleted Emails from Thunderbird

There are two ways that you can try to recover the deleted Thunderbird emails - restore from Trash and Thunderbird backup.

Method 1. Restore Deleted Thunderbird Emails from Trash

It's quite easy if you accidentally deleted received emails from Inbox to Trash. You may follow below guide lines to undelete Thunderbird emails from Trash:

Step 1. Launch Mozilla Thunderbird and sign in with your user account.

Step 2. Click on "Trash" and find your deleted emails.

Recover deleted Thunderbird files from Trash.

Step 3. Right-click on deleted email files in Trash and select "Move To" > Select user account > Specify location where you want to restore deleted emails to - Inbox (highly recommended).

Restore deleted Thunderbird files from Trash.

After this, you can check and find restored emails at the Inbox then. 

Method 2. Restore Thunderbird Emails from A Backup Copy

This goes to work when you have created a profile backup of Thunderbird. Here are the steps to restore your deleted emails from Thunderbird profile backup:

Step 1. Open the Thunderbird profile path on your PC:


Step 2. Replace profile folder with the previously created backup copy of your Thunderbird profile.

Step 3. Start Mozilla Thunderbird, all the messages, settings, emails, calendar, etc. will be transferred to your Thunderbird account.

Restore lost Thunderbird email from backup.

Part 2. Restore Permanently Lost or Removed Thunderbird Emails

Some of you may also have the same doubt about how to recover the permanently deleted or removed emails from Thunderbird. Good news! Here, we've gathered three practical ways for you to try and bring the permanently removed emails back. 

Method 1. Restore Deleted Thunderbird Emails After Emptying Trash

If you have emptied trash and permanently deleted Thunderbird emails in your PC, don't worry. You'll still have a chance to recover permanently deleted emails after emptying Thunderbird trash with below tips:

Step 1. Show hidden files in Windows Explorer:

  1. 1. Open Widows Explorer > Go to "Folder Options" under Tools.
  2. 2. Click "View" > Check "Show hidden files, folders and drives" and click "OK".

Show hidden files in file explorer.

Step 2. Find Thunderbird saved files in PC:

  1. 1. Navigate to: C:/Users/YOUR USER NAME/AppData/Roaming/Thunderbird/Profiles/YOUR PROFILE/YOUR THUNDERBIRD ACCOUNT.
  2. 2. Find your profile named with eight random letters and numbers followed by '.default'.
  3. 3. YOUR THUNDERBIRD ACCOUNT is the Thunderbird account name under which you are trying to recover deleted emails files.

Find Thunderbird email profile.

Step 3. Enter the ImapMail folder and open the 'Inbox' file with Notepad or similar text editor.

Note: Inbox has no suffix and doesn't open Inbox.msf etc files.

restore Thunderbird email from profile.

Step 4. Locate the line before your email text that reads 'X-Mozilla-Status: 0009' or similar, change the number to '0000', save and exit the Notepad document.

Step 5. Close Thunderbird and re-open it, the check and find recovered emails at the Inbox.

All recovered email files will be marked as unread there.

Method 2. Repair Inbox Folder to Bring Permanently Deleted Thunderbird Emails

This goes to fix the issue when Thunderbird email corrupted in the Inbox folder. Here are the steps:

Step 1. Run Mozilla Thunderbird, right-click on the Inbox folder and select "Properties".

Repair Inbox to restore corrupted Thunderbird emails.

Step 2. Select "General Information" and check the folder name to be as "Inbox". 

Step 3. Then click "Repair Folder" and click "OK" to finish the process.

Restore lost Thunderbird emails by repairing the corrupted Inbox folder.

After this, you will be able to view the repaired data - emails, etc. in the Inbox folder. 

Method 3. Restore Lost Thunderbird Emails and Files on A Local Drive

If you lost Thunderbird email files that were saved on your local drive, or you mistakenly deleted the whole Thunderbird profile folder on your computer, don't worry.

With the help of powerful email recovery software like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, you can effectively restore the lost files with ease. Here you may download EaseUS file recovery software and follow below steps to get lost or deleted Thunderbird files back now:

Step 1. Choose the drive X: where your lost email files were saved, and click "Scan".

select a location and click scan

Step 2. The software will initiate a scanning process immediately. Wait patiently until the scanning process completes. To quickly locate the email files, you can click "Filter" -> "Emails", or directly search a specified file extension, such as .pst, .ost, etc.

scan lost emails

Step 3. In the filtered results, choose the desired email files and click "Recover".

recover lost emails

After this, you can copy and save the restored Thunderbird profile back to the location: C:/Users/YOUR USER NAME/AppData/Roaming/Thunderbird/Profiles and replace the old profile folder, and then relaunch Thunderbird, you shall be able to see the restored emails in the Inbox.

Part 3. FAQs of Thunderbird Email

This page includes 5 methods on helping Thunderbirds users to restore lost or even permanently deleted emails. You can effectively restore Thunderbird emails from the Trash, backup, change the Inbox file status, repair the Inbox folder and even apply EaseUS file recovery software.  

If you have other questions about Thunderbird email, follow the listed tips to resolve your problem:

1. How do I back up Thunderbird emails?

As Mozilla Thunderbird doesn't have a backup feature inside this program, all you can do is to manually create a backup copy of the local profile on your computer. Here is how to do it:

Step 1. Go to the Thunderbird profile folder on your PC: C:/Users/UserName/AppData/Roaming/Thunderbird/Profiles.

Step 2. Copy the folder with a ".default" extension and save it to a secure location on your computer or an external hard drive.

2. How do I restore emails in Thunderbird?

When you delete an email in Thunderbird, you may first check it from the Trash. If it's there, restore it to the Inbox folder. If your lost emails are not in the Trash, check the Craft box. Sometimes, thunderbird would block spam emails into the Craft folder. 

If you have created a copy of the Thunderbird profile, replacing the one saved on your local PC with your backup copy can also bring the lost emails back. If you need a detailed guide, go back and follow the provided solutions on this page.

3. Where are my Thunderbird email files? 

All email applications won't save each email file on a local drive on Windows or Mac computers. So it is to the Thunderbird files. Usually, Thunderbird files including the emails, settings, calendar, your account will be all saved as an Inbox database on your computer.

The Inbox file will be saved in the Profile folder on your computer. And here is its default location: C:/Users/UserName/AppData/Roaming/Thunderbird/Profiles/.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

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A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

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The Free version helps you save 2GB files, so verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

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