Author Topic: Lost e-mail inbox content  (Read 8896 times)

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Offline jrwatson

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Lost e-mail inbox content
« on: December 31, 2004, 06:19:37 PM »
I'm running Windows XP (home), Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird, Avast!, and Zone alarm.

For the second time in about 6 months I have lost the entire content of my in-box. Since I had just changed my mail client to Mozilla Thunderbird, I thought it was that program that caused the problem so I comlained to them and was told that it was my anti-virus program.

I never in five years or so lost any mail when I used Norton, but twice since changing to Avast! Hmmm.  Makes me wonder.  

Is anyone else having this problem, and if so what can be done about it?

Thanks --

bj  ???
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Offline Fast

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Re:Lost e-mail inbox content
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2004, 06:27:59 PM »
Yes, everyone using Thunderbird has this problem (with any antivirusprogram) since this is really a Thunderbird issue because of the way TB stores its mails.
There is however a very simple solution: Let's suppose your in Thunderbird. You see your inbox, outbox, sent, trash. Now what you should do is create a new subfolder and name it for example "mail", "private", "work" or anything you want.
Once you've received a message and read it, you move the message to one of the subfolders you've created.
This way, when your inbox gets deleted due to an incoming virus you still have all your previously received messages. :) Simple isn't it ?

Offline lee20

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Re:Lost e-mail inbox content
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2004, 06:30:51 PM »
Quote
I'm running Windows XP (home), Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird, Avast!, and Zone alarm.

For the second time in about 6 months I have lost the entire content of my in-box

I have the exact same setup ;)

The most likely problem is what Fast has said, but also:

Have you set up Thunderbird to delete the mail in your Inbox after a period of time?

Have you set up Thunderbird to send all your mail to your junk folder after a period of time?



--lee
« Last Edit: December 31, 2004, 06:31:44 PM by lee16 »

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Offline DavidR

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Re:Lost e-mail inbox content
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2004, 06:31:49 PM »
I would suggest reading the Thunderbird FAQ, because it mentions this very thing, AV deleting your inbox because they can't separate an individual infected email from the email database.

It also suggests that you don't use your inbox as storage.

My inbox, currently has two emails in it, they will be there for a very short time until I put them into a relevant mail box.

Hmmm, makes me wonder too, 'why it happened for a second time?'

When did you find the virus that you decided to delete? Are finding the virus during regular email scanning or (as I think) when you do an on-demand scan?
WinXP ProSP3/ Core2Duo E8300/ 4GB Ram/ avast! free 18.5.2342/ Firefox ESR, uBlock Origin, uMatrix/ MailWasher Pro7.11.0/ DropMyRights/ WinPatrol+/ Drive Image 7.1/ SnagIt 10.0/ avast! mobile security
Windows 10 Home 1909 64bit/ Acer Aspire F15/ Intel Core i5 7200U 2.5GHz, 8GB DDR4 memory, 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD/ avast! free 20.6.2420 (build 20.6.5495.561) UI-1.0.541/ WinPatrol+/ Firefox, uBlock Origin, uMatrix/ MailWasher Pro

Offline Fast

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Re:Lost e-mail inbox content
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2004, 07:04:15 PM »
And another Thunderbird issue is that, after deleting an emailmessage, you need to compress the mail folder(s). This is necessary, because in this case only the mail is deleted. In all other cases the mail is marked as deleted, but is not deleted. So any new mail arriving in your inbox will trigger Avast! to delete this "infected file" :as Thunderbird stores all messages in the same inbox in ONE file, any antivirusprogram sees it as a file and deletes it on acces.
I've read about a plugin available at Mozilla that compresses your mailboxes on a set schedule.
Anything for you ?

Happy Newyear by the way :)



Offline alanrf

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Re:Lost e-mail inbox content
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2004, 08:02:21 PM »
The issues Fast has mentioned with Thunderbird are correct.  In fact many other email programs work in the same fashion, some keep all emails, in all folders, in one large file.  The difference with Thunderbird is that the mail file is held as a simple text format file that is not encrypted.  That means that any antivirus program can search it, find a virus signature and then delete the file.  

I notice nobody has yet addressed an important issue.  How did a virus get into the mail file?  A small amount of prevention is worth the effort to prevent the pain of the cure.

Are you not running the mail scanner of Avast! to prevent infected e-mails being accepted into your inbox?    


Offline DavidR

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Re:Lost e-mail inbox content
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2004, 08:39:04 PM »
I notice nobody has yet addressed an important issue.  How did a virus get into the mail file?  A small amount of prevention is worth the effort to prevent the pain of the cure.

Are you not running the mail scanner of Avast! to prevent infected e-mails being accepted into your inbox?    

I think I have addressed this ???
Quote
When did you find the virus that you decided to delete? Are finding the virus during regular email scanning or (as I think) when you do an on-demand scan?

As did Fast, indirectly

But so far we haven't had any replies to any of our questions by jrwatson
WinXP ProSP3/ Core2Duo E8300/ 4GB Ram/ avast! free 18.5.2342/ Firefox ESR, uBlock Origin, uMatrix/ MailWasher Pro7.11.0/ DropMyRights/ WinPatrol+/ Drive Image 7.1/ SnagIt 10.0/ avast! mobile security
Windows 10 Home 1909 64bit/ Acer Aspire F15/ Intel Core i5 7200U 2.5GHz, 8GB DDR4 memory, 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD/ avast! free 20.6.2420 (build 20.6.5495.561) UI-1.0.541/ WinPatrol+/ Firefox, uBlock Origin, uMatrix/ MailWasher Pro

Offline jrwatson

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Re:Lost e-mail inbox content
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2005, 12:28:28 AM »
Sorry about the delay in replying. Thanks so much for all the suggestions and comments. I will answer the questions posed in the order they were asked:

Fast-I have now set up a new folder into which I shall put read mail so it will not languish in the inbox. Good suggestion.- Thanks.

LEE16-I have not set Tbird up to delete mail or send it to junk. Not even sure I  know how to do that.

DAVIDR - Actually, I didn't even know there was a virus, assuming that is what caused the deletion. Apparently it was found on a regular email scan.

FAST (2) - I have started compressing!  Was not doing it until today. Will check for plug-in

alanrf - Yes, I am running Avast! mail scanners and have no idea how a virus got through, if that is indeed what happened. Also my internet porgram, ATT, has a screener  that is supposed to keep any viruses from getting through.

Thanks again for all the responses --

jrw
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Offline alanrf

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Re:Lost e-mail inbox content
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2005, 02:01:11 AM »
jrwatson,

what version of Avast! are you using?

Do you retrieve any email from Yahoo or Hotmail (or similar) into Thunderbird using a webmail proxy such as YahooPops or FreePops?

The suggestion to move your mail between folders may help with a very big but.  If you have an infected message in your inbox and you move it to another then both folders will be infected until you compact the original folder, then only the new folder will be infected. The plugin sounds like a good approach to make sure the compacting happens.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2005, 02:03:30 AM by alanrf »

Offline jrwatson

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Re:Lost e-mail inbox content
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2005, 02:12:13 AM »
I'm using version 4.5 (Home Edition) and no, I'm not getting mail from anywhere except through my AT&T server.

jrw
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Offline alanrf

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Re:Lost e-mail inbox content
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2005, 02:36:33 AM »
Just to be sure your mail is getting scanned you may want to turn on the "append text to clean messages" in the POP3 section of the email scanner to check for a while.  You should then see the text appended to the messages in your Thunderbird inbox.  

Using this check alerted me to fact that some of my mail was not being scanned in the default configuration of Avast! 4.5.

Offline jrwatson

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Re:Lost e-mail inbox content
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2005, 05:41:54 AM »
OK. I've done that. What do I do if I find that some of my messages are not being scanned?

jrw

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Offline alanrf

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Re:Lost e-mail inbox content
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2005, 08:00:50 AM »
Let us know here and we will probably ask more questions.

We still did not identify the root cause why your inbox disappeared twice in the last 6 months.

Having deliberately infected my own Thunderbird inbox earlier this evening (using a loophole in the default Avast! 4.5 settings)  I am very convinced that a Thunderbird inbox will not be deleted by the email scanner.  Indeed it is designed so that it traps any antivirus before it get anywhere near your mail client or the inbox.  With the default settings of Avast! 4.5 the infected inbox was not detected by the Avast! standard scanner and I could carry on adding mail to the inbox, displaying mail deleting mail etc.. without a peep from Avast!

That is why it is so important to prevent a virus from ever reaching your Thunderbird email files.  

By the way, I should add that when I first started testing Avast 4.5! two weeks ago I managed to (deliberately) infect my Thunderbird inbox and it was detected and deleted by the full scan of my hard drives only.  I was expecting it and I was ready with backups of a non-infected inbox.  

You may want to take a look at MozBackup which is a utility that will create a backup of your Firefox and Thundebird files (including all your mail files).  The file is zipped so it would be untouched by Avast! unless you selected a scan of archive files.  That function in Avast! is remarkably slow so I cannot imagine that most users would select it.  

I'm still an Avast! fan however, and I am using it myself.  It is necessary to understand how to use it effectively and that means not always believing completely every posting here in the forums - including mine!  

Offline Fast

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Re:Lost e-mail inbox content
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2005, 10:03:58 AM »


I'm still an Avast! fan however, and I am using it myself.  It is necessary to understand how to use it effectively and that means not always believing completely every posting here in the forums - including mine!  

This is true and for me, the way Thunderbird operates is still a  puzzle. So everything I write about it in this thread isn't something to be taken for granted :-\
However, while I use Pegasus as my primary email-program, I really like Thunderbird. It's just that I'm not 100% certain about a few things in it. But together we'll learn and share our experiences in this forum :)

Offline jrwatson

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Re:Lost e-mail inbox content
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2005, 04:03:52 PM »
Hey, there!


alanrf is right, I do not think we have identified the root of the problem, but with enough tinkering with it, maybe it will get fixed and it won't happen to someone else.

I want to thank all you guys for the input concerning my problem. Having very little understanding of the interworkings of computers and computer progams, I am obliged to rely on input such as yours to keep my head above water, and I'm learning fast!!

jrw


Hope you have a happy and prosperous New Year!!

jrw
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