How can I restore a backup of IMAP folders in Thunderbird after a server crash?

Rajeev Gupta September 21, 2011
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I have an IMAP email Account and have been running smoothly on Thunderbird.

The profile was backed up using Mozbackup. Due to crash of hard disks on the domain server at the data centre, all the data got wiped out and is still under recovery. We shifted the domain to a new server, to allow incoming and outgoing mails to work.

Now the issue is when we restore the old profile, it loads all the old data, but when it does the IMAP, it again deletes all the mails and folders as it does not find them on the server for now.

So how to I install the old data from the backup on my local machine and also have the same IMAPed to the server?

Looking forward to a solution in the matter.

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  1. Mike
    September 22, 2011 at 12:42 am

    Well, as for restoring the backup on the server side it depends on both the mail system used and the backup & restoring. 
    In Dovecot for example you can simply copy all the old data (mails) into the user folder on the new server. All the indexing and stuff is done automatically and as long as you don't replace existing new mails (in case they have the same filename) the users mailbox will be fully up to date.

    If you run Exchange with Backup Exec it is also possible to restore emails without losing the new data. I think that's part of the Granular Recovery Technology but I could be wrong - fact is you can recover Emails from a certain backup without losing stuff that happened afterwards.

    I have never used MozBackup but usually the best way to get a local backup on a server e.g. within Outlook (Win or Mac), Entourage, Apple Mail is to import the backed up data into the local storage of the client and then simply move or copy it to the corresponding IMAP folder.

    • Rajeevgupta
      September 28, 2011 at 10:28 am

      Thanks Mike,
      However the problem does not get solved. When i make a new profile in TB and try and restore the same from the backup available, it shows all the mails etc for the first time.
      However as the back up is also an IMAP, it starts sinking and on finding nothing on the server, all mails and folders dissapear.
      I am sure there must be a way for restoration when a back up is available?

      • Mike
        September 28, 2011 at 12:09 pm

        If MozBackup isn't capable of restoring the mails outside the synchronized IMAP folders then you simply have to prevent it from synchronizing with the server.

        disconnect your WiFi, plug out the network cable... whatever does the job

        Then recover your mails and simply copy or move them into a local folder. Once that is done you can reconnect to the network/internet, synchronize with the IMAP account and copy/move the restored mails to the IMAP folders.