Opera 12.17: all e-mails gone after Windows crash - how to recover?

  • The titles says it already: Windows (8.1 64bit) crashed, and when I reopened Opera (12.17, build 1863), all my messages were gone. My last backup is from three months ago, but my messages might still be in the "store" folders. I looked if I could import them from there, but they haven't got any accounts.ini files, and I suppose the accounts.ini file in the regular folders refers to the now emtpy mail folders.

    The accounts themselves seem to be intact, just seemingly empty.

    What can I do?

    Thanks in advanceā€¦

  • Forgot to mention: the other settings are still fine, for example the bookmarks and cookies.

    Any ideas how to get my e-mails back?

  • Browser history's gone, too, but the favicons in the personal bookmark toolbar are still there. Very strange.

    Goes without saying, I rebooted etc.. but it didn't change anything. I'm still the same user in Windows.

  • Are the *.mbs files still on the "store" folder?

  • Yes, luckily, and clearly the old ones, judging by the dates.

  • I looked if I could import them from there, but they haven't got any accounts.ini files, and I suppose the accounts.ini file in the regular folders refers to the now emtpy mail folders.

    In your current Opera mail folder, is there an accounts.ini? If so, open it and see if all the accounts are defined in it. If not, it could just be a case of accounts.ini being messed up. If you have a backup accounts.ini, you can just put it in its place (while Opera is closed) and see if all your mail comes back.

    Or, to create a new accounts.ini, download the Opera Mail installer, launch it, click "options", set "install path" to a folder on your desktop, set "install for" to "Standalone Installation (USB)" and install. In that Opera, set up your accounts in the exact same order you did before. Then, close Opera. That will give you an accounts.ini that should fix the problem if it's just an accounts.ini problem. Just remember that when you first subscribe to a feed, it puts a feeds account in accounts.ini. So, make sure you do that out the right time so the feeds account (any any accounts after that) have the right account number in accounts.ini.

    Short of that, you'll need to fix your mail folder:

    • See if "Opera Contacts" and "Feeds list" in "Menu -> settings -> import and export" works to export your contacts and feeds list.

    • Close down Opera.

    • Rename the mail folder to mail_old.

    • Rename contacts.adr in the preference folder to contacts_old.adr.

    • Start Opera.

    • Set up all your accounts.

    • For each POP account, goto "Menu -> settings -> import and export -> import mail -> import generic mbox -> add folder". Point it to the mail_bad/store/accountN folder (where N is the number for the account as (normally) seen in accounts.ini. You'll want to import into the corresponding account you already set up. Then, for any duplicate messages (a copy fetched from the server if the message is still on the server and the imported copy), delete the imported copies (the new copies fetched from the server will be in "All Messages/Unread" and marked as unread). (Note that store/drafts" contains drafts for all accounts. So, just skip them as you won't be able to import them right)

    That should fix everything. You can then use "Menu -> settings -> import and export" to import the contacts adr file and the feeds list opml file.

    You'll just have to recreate your labels (and their rules and settings) and add any messages back to them that were added there manually. Or, you can take the indexes for your labels from the old index.ini and put the into the new index.ini. But, you'll have to change the numbers on the indexes from the old index.ini to follow the consecutiveness of the index numbers in the new index.ini. Then, you'll have to update the index count at the top of index.ini to reflect the new number of indexes. Also, for the indexes you're inserting, you'll have to make sure their parent id matches the id of the labels access point/category and you'll have to make sure their IDs don't clash with existing indexes in the files.

    If any of your labels also used "learn from labeled messages" (including "All Messages/Spam"), you'll want to copy over the autofilter folder from the mail_bad folder to the new mail folder so that the learned rules are restored.

    All of that will bring your labels back except you'll still have to manually put messages back in the labels that you previously put their manually. Messages that match rules will be automatically placed back in there.

    Note that for already-fetched feed messages that are no longer on the feed page won't be saved by this whole process. They'll be stored in a store/accountN folder where you can import them into a local POP account. But, you won't be able to import them into the feeds account (and its feed views). Same thing goes with newsgroup accounts. You can't import old messages as newsgroup messages. You can only import them into a new or existing POP account.

    If you do import your old feed and newsgroup messages from the store folder into pop accounts, you can right-click in the mail panel, goto "show messages from" and choose just the account you want to work with at the time so that you don't see messages from those imported accounts unless you want to.

    That's basically what you have to do when things get messed up. If you just use IMAP accounts (and don't use Opera's labels), the fix is really easy. You just close down Opera, delete the mail folder, start Opera back up and add the IMAP accounts back in. No importing or anything.

  • Thanks a lot indeed - it was a bit of work ("Import finished. 64225 messages imported."), but really feasible.

  • Is there still no better way to fix this problem that shouldn't exist in the first place? This is like the third time it's happened to me, I have over a hundred thousand messages across 100+ RSS feeds and several email addresses, and this is simply not a viable thing to do. How has no one automated this yet? I never thought I'd say this, but the moment I get this fixed, I'm switching to Thunderbird.

    Actually the only thing I'm worried about at all is my RSS feeds, all of my emails are accessed through IMAP so I don't even care about "losing" them locally, but the saved RSS feeds simply cannot be recovered if I can't fix this.

  • Is there still no better way to fix this problem that shouldn't exist in the first place?

    Yes, there is. Do backups of the mail folder and, when a more serious issue happens, just use the backup to recover most of your data or even your entire data depending on how often the backups are done.

    How has no one automated this yet?

    There are lots of programas that allow you to backup your data automatically. You just need to tell the program what do you want to backup and in which frequency.

    This is like the third time it's happened to me, I have over a hundred thousand messages across 100+ RSS feeds and several email addresses, and this is simply not a viable thing to do. How has no one automated this yet?

    But why this is happening? You need to try to find the cause of the issue or it will continue to happen.

  • As @leocg notes, auto backups are the way to avoid catastrophes like this. Personally, for years, I've used a free program (Fbackup) to make a separate nightly copy of all my personal data files/folders for each day of the week to a second system hard drive - particularly eMail, browser customizations, etc. This gives me one sliding week's worth of daily backups that I can refer to if something bad happens, even if not noticed immediately. On a weekly basis, I copy those backup files to an off-site drive, and on a monthly basis, I auto-create full images of my drives to external media. There are a number of decent auto-backup programs out there; Fbackup best fits my particular needs, but you should try to find something that suits you.

    From hard experience (and certainly not only with Opera), I've found you can literally never have too many backups. It's the only solution for times when bad things happen to good data. In the case of the daily backups, at least once every month or so, they've pulled me out of the ditch when a program crashed or I accidentally wiped out an important piece of data.

    While I can't prove it, my experience has long been that the greater the number of records a piece of software must deal with or sort through, the greater the chance of something corrupting either the data files or the software app itself (in which case, all the data can be at risk). If your "over a hundred thousand messages across 100+ RSS feeds and several eMail addresses" is accurate, that is one enormous number of records. If there is any way to reduce that number (archiving, clustering, cleaning up, etc), the chances will probably increase for stable operation.

  • I wish "backing up" was really feasible for me, I really do. But can you imagine how expensive it would be to do that for 4TB of data?

    Yes, there is. Do backups of the mail folder and, when a more serious issue happens, just use the backup to recover most of your data or even your entire data depending on how often the backups are done.

    This is also not a fix for my current problem.

    But why this is happening? You need to try to find the cause of the issue or it will continue to happen.

    It's only ever happened following a crash, which there is no "explanation" for. But it's literally brought my ability to use the internet to a standstill every time it's happened. And it shouldn't be happening to begin with.

    But then again, the fact that Opera has stopped development was a devastating blow to my productivity to begin with, one that I still haven't really fully recovered from. Thankfully I just discovered Vivaldi, and as soon as that gets on stable footing, I'll be making that switch, hopefully for life.

  • But can you imagine how expensive it would be to do that for 4TB of data?

    It would depends on how much a 4TB HDD cost in your place. Also, you need to ask yourself what do you really need to backup among that 4TB.

    This is also not a fix for my current problem.

    Maybe, but it can help recovering your data.

    It's only ever happened following a crash, which there is no "explanation" for.

    Crash in the program or in the OS?

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