Something bad happened to my Thunderbird installation recently. Almost all of my email filters somehow changed to move the emails into one specific email folder. I think the mess-up happened as part of the update to the latest Thunderbird version 11.0.1. Maybe not, but it was about that time.
What’s an email filter? It’s an optional part of an email program that allows you to specify what the email program does with an email that it receives, with the action based on the email’s content.
Want all emails from Amazon.com to automatically go into one folder labelled Amazon? You can use a filter to do that, by checking the From address or something in the Subject line or the Body of the email.
Want all emails from a friend to go into a specific folder? You can use a filter that checked the sender’s email, and when matched, automatically move the email to the folder.
I corrected a large number of the filters to move their respective emails to the correct folders. Unfortunately, for a few days, any changes I made continued to get messed up again. Finally they stopped getting messed up!
As part of my solutions, I got rid of a huge number of email filters that had simply built up over time. Some addressed emails that I no longer received. Others had come from upgrading Eudora multiple times over the years and finally upgrading to Thunderbird. Each of the programs had imported the filters from the earlier versions.
Why do I have so many filters? I don’t like to have new messages waiting in my Inbox. I like them to show up in the appropriately named folder. That way, I can read them in the order I want, and not necessarily in the order they were received.
I also figured out, which I had forgotten, that Thunderbird had stored all my imported filters as parts of my default email account. The new ones I set up in Thunderbird went into a different set labelled "Local Folders".
How did I figure that out? Because after deleting about 60 filters, some emails were getting filtered to the wrong folders " and I couldn’t find out why. That’s when I found all the other filters. My solution was to uncheck the "Enabled" box on each of them.
Email filters are great tools to enable you to get control of your Inbox. Every once in a while, you might have problems with them. The worst thing you might have to do is to delete them and set them up again. Meanwhile, if you get a lot of email, they will enable you to handle it much more easily.