I migrated from Outlook 2003 to Thunderbird a few weeks ago. I really like Thunderbird, especially the adaptive junk mail filtering…

Just a few minutes ago I was checking my mail and suddenly everything in my inbox was blank. It was there, but I couldn’t view anything. This had never happened with Outlook so I was (1) terrified momentarily that all my recent business mail was gone but then (2) resolved to find it….

I went Googling for ‘blank emails in thunderbird’ and found this little article with a list of things that might have gone wrong: http://kb.mozillazine.org/Thunderbird_:_Issues_:_Disappearing_mail.

Turns out it was not a corrupted inbox but a Norton Antivirus issue – it caught an incoming virus and quarantined my entire inbox.

To fix this, open the Norton program, select View then Quarantine then look at the filename. If it says anything other than ‘inbox’, clean it or delete it as desired.

If (as in my case) it does say the filename is ‘inbox’ (and you’re using a version of Norton that shows the ‘Restore’ option above the filename) go to the Symantec site and follow the instructions near the bottom.

Namely: “Start Symantec AntiVirus. On the View menu, click Quarantine or Backup Items.  In the right pane, right-click the inbox file, and then click Restore.”

Too good to be true – I did this, reopened my Thunderbird, looked at one message and it quarantined the inbox again. After 2-3 tries, I finally dragged all my older messages (prior to a few hours ago) into a new folder, deleted the inbox in Norton holding the remaining couple of emails, and then everything was okay.

You can set Norton to exclude the inbox from scanning so that it won’t quarantine the whole thing, but will do so to messages with viruses. I’m hoping this works in the future.