Talk:Recovering a missing profile

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Its not clear why you created a new article rather than enhancing Recovering_a_profile_that_suddenly_disappeared . I like your "Using the Profile Manager to recover a profile" section. I modified Moving_your_profile_folder to recommend moving a profile by copying it and then follow similar instructions. That also lets Recovering_a_profile_that_suddenly_disappeared leverage that. Tanstaafl 23:51, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

My inspiration for this article was actually the fact that new Mozilla Firefox KB is using it as a "source" article for the initial set of Mozilla KB articles: - I figured, why should Mozilla be adapting a Thunderbird/Mozilla Suite article? We should have a similar article that applies to Firefox!
... I was going to edit the Recovering_a_profile_that_suddenly_disappeared article to also apply Firefox but that article had so much information specific to Thunderbird, and parts of it also applied to Mozilla Suite/SeaMonkey, that I thought it would be best to keep it simple and create a new article that just included basic profile recovery for Firefox and Thunderbird. Mozilla Suite/SM 1.x still use the registry.dat, and those apps create a new profile folder even when you create a new profile in a custom location.... selecting a folder will place the "profilename" folder directly underneath, with the *.slt folder with the actual data underneath that, so recovering a profile is altogether different. I've experimented by deleting the registry.dat with Mozilla Suite open, and that removes all but the default profile. You can then recover other profiles by simply entering the EXACT same name as the missing "profilename" folder in the new profile wizard, if the missing profile is in the default location. You can also choose the folder for a a missing profile in a custom location, by choosing whatever folder is two levels up from the *.SLT folder, if I remember right. It's been awhile ...OK, I found it in my notes- I remembered it right :) (ref.) Anyway, That all changes in SeaMonkey 2, which also includes a profiles.ini file, so the same instructions will apply to SM 2 as apply to Firefox and Tbird. Long story short, I figured it would just be too complicated to revise the Recovering_a_profile_that_suddenly_disappeared article to apply to all three applications. Alice 01:15, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Okay, though I think it would have been easier than you thought. If its just a question of too much effort I'd be willing to modify the original article to cover Firefox too.
You aren't telling people how to prevent the problem from occurring again (the overwhelming cause at least for Thunderbird is a bug, not crashes etc.), and its confusing to have both articles show up in Thunderbird categories. I've edited the first paragraph to direct Thunderbird users to the original article, and removed this article from the Issues (Thunderbird) category. If Moving_your_profile_folder is updated to deal with older versions of SeaMonkey should I state that Recovering_a_profile_that_suddenly_disappeared also supports SeaMonkey, or do you have another alternative in mind? Tanstaafl 05:09, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
You aren't telling people how to prevent the problem from occurring again (the overwhelming cause at least for Thunderbird is a bug, What bug is that? The Tbird article says, Thunderbird has a nasty habit of once in a great while forgetting about the existence of a profile if it uses the default name. Do you have a reference for the bug and the workaround? Alice 18:25, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
I couldn't find a bug report - the search terms I used had too many matches. So I submitted one (392956). If its a duplicate I assume they'll identify the other bug report. While writing Keep_it_working_(Thunderbird) I created a thread in Thunderbird General to discuss what should go in that article and several of the more well known helpers reviewed the draft and argued at length over what should be said. It wasn't a perfunctory review. The first item in that article is how to prevent that bug. Tanstaafl 05:26, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
I created a thread in Thunderbird General to discuss what should go in that article Do you have a forum link? I checked the Keep it working - Thunderbird article history (you posted a bad link in your reported bug 392956 by the way, since you used the old article name - the trailing parenthesis was dropped). The "nasty habit" text where you discussed the problem of disappearing profiles was in the first version, which you wrote December 24 2005, if it helps find the thread. In any case, the bug report says,
Once in a great while when you start Thunderbird it forgets about the existence of an existing profile and runs the new account wizard. Exiting and starting again doesn't workaround the problem - it looks like you lost your profile even though all of the files are still there.
If all your files are still there and if no additional profile folder exists then that sounds like a trashedprefs.js file, which keeps track of Thunderbird and Mozilla Suite mail accounts, not a missing profile. I have a list of Mozilla bug reports at (forgive the bad coding and lack of TOC - I simply use my boookmarks.html file to create it) which lists bugs that cover many of the issues that I've come across in the forums. Under "Profile and Prefs bugs" and "Profile data loss duplication or corruption" I've listed a lot of profile and "prefs.js gets wiped" bugs, including "mail/news accounts settings lost" type issues. Maybe you can find something there that fits. Alice 10:22, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
P.S. I found another Thunderbird article that describes lost profile versus lost mail account settings (prefs.js issue) a bit more clearly: Disappearing_mail#Part_III (Shouldn't these articles about disappearing Tbird profiles or account settings be cross-referenced?)
Disappearing mail is a good starting point for several issues buts its too long/complex due to it trying to include text for all of those issues in itself. I'd like to simplify it by replacing parts of it with prominent links to other articles, and moving some of the text to new or existing articles. A couple of the paragraphs in part II probably belong in Empty_folders , part of part III is a duplicate of Recovering_a_profile_that_suddenly_disappeared, and I haven't fully thought through yet whether the "prefs.js corruption" section would be better off in one about missing accounts/settings. I suspect it would be easier for the reader if we try to use separate (but heavily cross-linked) articles to deal with missing or empty messages, accounts/settings, folders and profiles, and prominently steer the user in the right direction regardless of which of those articles they start with. Tanstaafl 06:00, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
part of part III is a duplicate of... Disappearing mail Part III was written way earlier than your article but regardless, there's considerable overlap and I agree that at the minimum, the articles need cross-linking. I like the fact that Disappearing mail covers many possible causes and solutions for lost mail and account settings but if you want to keep Parts I and II, which cover "some" messages missing and split off Part III, which addresses "all mail and accounts missing" into a separate article that combines the information in your article (leaving a short summary and link in the original article) I wouldn't argue. Alice 13:21, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
If Moving_your_profile_folder is updated to deal with older versions of SeaMonkey should I state that Recovering_a_profile_that_suddenly_disappeared also supports SeaMonkey, or do you have another alternative in mind? I did update Moving_your_profile_folder to apply to Mozilla Suite/SeaMonkey 1.x but I don't know what that has to do with the profile that suddenly disappeared article, which already says that it applies to Mozilla Suite. If I were editing the "profile that suddenly disappeared" article I would remove everything about the "default profile name bug" and moving or renaming the profile "workaround" until I could find the references (bug or forum link) that verify the problem and what prevents it. In the meantime I would rename that article as "Recovering mail accounts and other settings that suddenly disappear" with the solution being to keep a backup copy of prefs.js since the article is more about lost account settings due to a problem with the prefs.js file (or just merge that article with Disappearing_mail... ) . Here's an example of how these issues get confused: Bug 205120 – Lost Profile after WIndows Crash, which starts off as a "registry.dat" issue with missing profile, then "morphs" into a Thunderbird prefs.js corruption issue. Alice 03:03, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
I don't really care about updating Recovering_a_profile_that_suddenly_disappeared to deal with older versions of SeaMonkey. I wrote it to deal with a problem that I frequently see reported in the Thunderbird forums that you apparently don't believe exists because it doesn't occur with Firefox and SeaMonkey. While some Thunderbird users might run into problems due to trashed prefs.js files thats not what the article deals with. The users that the article has helped typically keep their existing prefs.js file and workaround the problem by modifying profiles.ini (in various different ways). Tanstaafl 06:00, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
I didn't say that there isn't an issue where some people start Thunderbird and suddenly see the Account Wizard "New Account Setup" window, as shown in this Account Wizard screenshot and all of their mail and settings are missing. I'm just saying that you haven't shown me any evidence that this problem is commonly the result of Tbird losing track of the default profile, or that moving and renaming the profile will prevent it. The Recovering a profile that suddenly disappeared article starts out by saying,
Thunderbird has a nasty habit of once in a great while forgetting about the existence of a profile if it uses the default name. When this occurs you suddenly start up in the new account manager and it looks like you lost everything. You haven't. Its just lost track of your profile, which is probably intact.
....... after which the article immediately links you to the Moving your profile folder and Profile Manager articles, without mentioning the possibility that a corrupt prefs.js file could also be the problem (try deleting your prefs.js and starting Tbird... you'll see the Account Wizard appear). The profile that suddenly disappeared article should mention up front that the problem is also commonly caused by a corrupt prefs.js file. The Disappearing_mail article mentions both possibilities in Part III (where it also tells you how to test for a profile issue vs prefs.js issue, by checking for other data such as the address book, extensions or themes). If you are actually starting a new profile, with the old one being removed from the Profile Manager (as would happen when you delete the profiles.ini) then wouldn't you start off with the Import Wizard first, ..... then the Thunderbird Account Wizard appears afterwards, if you don't import anything? Thats what happens when I delete the profiles.ini in Thunderbird. In any case, I think that you should at least cross-reference the Disappearing mail and profile that suddenly disappeared articles now, even if you are planning a major reorganization of articles covering lost mail and account settings in the future. Alice 13:21, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
P.S. Here's an open Thunderbird bug report I just found that's assigned to Scott MacGregor, whoch looks pretty close Bug 304045 – Accounts Disappeared - Nothing visible. It even links to the Disappearing mail article for a solution. A lot of other bugs are dup'ed to it so you can look through those too, if you're interested in pinning this down. Alice 17:14, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
Based on what I've seen in the forums its not a common cause, I don't think I've seen a case of that for over a year. But I'll explicitly mention it as another potential cause and add a section about corrupt prefs.js. I read the bug report you mentioned and its not talking about forgetting a profile. While the symptoms are similar the key difference is that when Thunderbird forgets about a profile the profile is still intact/nothing corrupted, all you have to do is point it to the profile again. Why do you think I added a sanity check that the profile is still okay (see the Is your profile intact? section) by having the user use command line arguments to specify the profiles location if they have difficulty moving the profile? You keep asking for proof of something that I regularly help users with and its starting to become insulting. My main concern in making these changes is that you'll mis-interpret why I'm making them.
I'll add the cross-references this evening when I start work on the reorganization of the "articles covering lost mail and account settings". Tanstaafl 22:13, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
I know a couple of the comments in the last bug report I furnished pin the cause on prefs.js but the symptoms that the OP gives are very similar to what your "profile that disappeared" article describes and I thought you might see something in the dup'ed bugs, like I said. My object wasn't to insult you by asking for a forum link or bug report. I just think that if the specific issue of a default profile being forgotten happening more often, relatively speaking, than a profile of any other name, then there should be a bugzilla report on it. I guess we'll see what happens with the bug you filed. Anyway, I'm done here. Alice 23:33, 23 August 2007 (UTC)