Folder being processed

From MozillaZine Knowledge Base

When attempting to download your mail or access a folder, you may see an error message "This folder is being processed. Please wait until processing is complete to get messages."

This is most often associated with pop accounts. And there is a variety of possible causes. Some are listed below.

Please note, items below are suggestions for diagnosis. You are not being asked to permanently change or turn anything off. The goal is to try them to find out what works and what doesn't work, so you can test and report your findings.

  • Anti-virus software. Try disabling antivirus. Also see using Thunderbird with anti-virus software. AVG is a common example, eg. bug 543913. ref: [1], [2].
  • Firewall software. Try disabling firewall software. See also Firewall software. Zonealarm is commonly cited as a cause.
  • Addons. Start Thunderbird in Safe Mode (not Windows Safe Mode). If the problem goes away in Safe Mode then test your addons individually for the cause.
  • "Get New Mail" or auto checking while compacting folders for the account(s) is running. Substantially reducing the number of messages in Inbox may help.
  • Low value for "Check for new mail every N minutes" (say less than 5 minutes), or combination of low value with multiple accounts. Try interval in account settings of 5 - 10 minutes.
  • Multiple main Thunderbird panes are open. Close all panes but one, then restart Thunderbird.
  • Checking multiple accounts while filtering mail between accounts.
  • Double clicking "Get Mail", or accidentally clicking "Get Mail" while trying to select an account from the adjacent drop down list, or the PC resuming from sleep mode can cause this. There are many variations, the common issue being they are timing dependent.
  • You don't have permissions to read/write to your inbox. This can happen when sharing mail between linux and windows and the partition containing your inbox has been mounted with permissions higher than the user running thunderbird.
  • Older releases of Thunderbird (prior to version 3):

To find more Mozillazine forum threads on this subject, do a search for "folder processed" (both terms).Forum search | Google search

Selected bug reports

  • Bugzilla queries: "folder is being processed" is in bug summary, "folder is being processed" not in bug summary
  • bug 392680 Clicking Get Mail twice (while first round not finished) returns "This Folder is being processed" modal dialog / error message
  • bug 466933 Error with "Get Mail" or "Get all Messages" after resuming from computer's sleep mode - "This folder is being processed. Please wait until processing is complete to get messages
  • bug 436939 "Get all Messages" while "Get Mail" reports error "This folder is being processed. Please wait until processing is complete to get messages."
  • bug 520788 autoconfig with bogus username/password alerts about "this folder is being processed" (should be fixed in Thunderbird 3.0)