Search Thunderbird messages from Everything

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mikeme2
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:02 pm

Search Thunderbird messages from Everything

Post by mikeme2 » Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:28 pm

According to this article you can use Everything Search Engine to find your e-mail messages managed from Thunderbird. Quoting that page:
You can enable searching any downloaded messages in the profile using whatever search engine is built-in to your operating system by checking Tools –> Options -> Advanced -> General -> Allow Windows Search to search messages. If you have a desktop search engine installed such as Recoll (Linux) , Everything (Windows) or Alfred (OS X) it can also search downloaded messages in your profile.
However, after following the provided instructions unfortunately Everything Search Engine seems not to find anything from my Thunderbird profile. I'm using Thunderbird 68.9.0 and Everything 1.4.1.935, under Windows 10 Pro.

Does anyone know how to make this work, if possible?

Thank you very much.

froggie
Posts: 164
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:43 pm

Re: Search Thunderbird messages from Everything

Post by froggie » Thu Jul 02, 2020 8:21 pm

Short answer - not possible.
Long answer - The next lines in that article are
Thunderbird defaults to using the mbox format to store messages. That is widely supported. You can also configure an account to use the maildir format.
The mbox format (the default) has all the messages from a Thunderbird folder in a single file, not one file for each message, so Everything would not be able to find individual messages.
The maildir option of Thunderbird would allow Everything to search messages, but this format has been, for many years, and still is, as far as I know, considered experimental and buggy.

horst.epp
Posts: 283
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:24 pm

Re: Search Thunderbird messages from Everything

Post by horst.epp » Thu Jul 02, 2020 8:39 pm

I changed to maildir format long time ago with no problems.
That allows Windows search to index the content.
The names stored on disk have no useful names and only the
Everything content search can find mail content.
But Windows search is of course much faster
and there is no reason to use Everything for mail search.

mikeme2
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:02 pm

Re: Search Thunderbird messages from Everything

Post by mikeme2 » Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:23 pm

Thanks for your quick answer froggie, but I was reading those lines in a different way. I thought that only after checking that checkbox Thunderbird would create an index of messages content and make it somehow available to Windows Search (so if you keep it deactivated then your messages wouldn't be indexed by Windows Search at all).

According to horst.epp (which I also want to thank his/her fast response) that's more or less what is supposed to happen (from a practical point of view) when you switch to maildir format, because then every e-mail message would be stored as an independent file which could be indexed. However, I'm a bit reluctant to switch, because maildir is still supposed to have a lot of bugs (although mbox is not bug free either). It's true that Everything content search could find your messages, but as stated it's not that fast because content it's not indexed.

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