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Installing an old version over a new one: is it save?

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Last seen: 4 years 10 months ago
Joined: 2012-07-16 13:15
Installing an old version over a new one: is it save?


just updated Thunderbird to 38.2.0 and having now severe issues in forwarding, responding and writing emails (Thunderbird duplicates attachments, taking recipient of previous email as default for the next email, sometimes very slow inserting of names from the adressbook, hanging while typing, loss of "copy" and "cc" fields in the adress area).

I do not want to bother anyone here on the above because I do not think these problems are portable-specific.
But I would like to know if it is save to install a previous version over 38.2.0. Similar was requested by ChinaQD on June 17. John. T Haller replied how to find older versions, but he did not say explicit if it is save to follow the upgrade procedure just backwards. ( quote...just install a new [here:old] copy of Thunderbird Portable right over your old [here: new] one...unquote)

Thanks for your help!

John T. Haller
John T. Haller's picture
Last seen: 4 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 2005-11-28 22:21
Unsupported, But Possible

Installing an old version of an app over a new one has the same effects it would locally. Namely, there's a possibility that the way data is stored has changed and it may not work. For that reason, we neither support nor recommend doing so.

Thunderbird 38.2.0 is quite stable, so there could be issues with your profile. I'd suggest running in safe mode with all extensions disabled first to eliminate that as a possibility. Then enable one at a time. If that's not it, it could be corruption in the profile itself. This is more likely if you've used Thunderbird or Firefox for a very long time and upgraded a profile from year to year, possibly installing and uninstalling extensions along the way, without ever resetting it.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Last seen: 4 years 10 months ago
Joined: 2012-07-16 13:15
Resetting Thunderbird

Thanks for your quick feedback. From the first look it seems just restarting Thunderbird in the Safe Mode has solved all issues. Disable all extensions and enable one by one will take me some more time.

Indeed this installation of Thunderbird runs for a while and some extensions have been installed and uninstalled. It is not clear to me what you mean with "resetting" Thunderbird. I googled it, but found only links refering to non-portable installations. From what I understood is, that they recommend to delete the "profile" folder which Thunderbird will rebuild after restart.

But the "profile" folder contains the "mail" folder which contains all my mails.... Where did I went wrong in my understanding?

Last seen: 2 days 4 hours ago
Joined: 2010-06-05 17:19
If you make a backup of your

If you make a backup of your ThunderbirdPortable folder (just copy it elsewhere), you can eliminate the risks and just give it a try. The worst that could happen, is that you have to replace your experimental folder with your backup. That's one of the great benefits of portable software.
Just don't confuse, what folder is your backup and what is the one you experiment with. Wink

Last seen: 4 years 10 months ago
Joined: 2012-07-16 13:15
Installing an old version over a new one => trial with a backup

Thanks for your comment. This was exactly what I tried at first, making the backup and stepping back to 38.0.1, but did not work. And thank you for advising not to get mixed up between "original" and "backup". Though it sounds easy: I know from my own experience it is not! For all trying this way as well, I recommend before making the backup to deactivate all "download at start" & "download every x minutes" settings in the server settings. Otherwise you might get mixed up not knowing which new email is in the "original" and which in the "backup".

Last seen: 11 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2014-06-26 10:21
Alternate installations for testing

If you want to try a newer or older version of Thunderbird you can have more than one copy installed. However you cannot do it through the platform, but must download the desired PAc installer and do the installation manually. Example done under Windows XP.

1. In the platform rename your existing version so you will be able to recognize it after another instance is installed.
2. Create a new folder within the PortableApps folder, say maybe ThunderbirdOld.
3. Run the PAc Thunderbird installer. Click Next.
4. The Destination Folder will show the default install location.
5. Click Browse and then select the new folder you created. Click OK.
NOTE the new destination displayed has added "\ThunderbirdPortable".
6. Remove the "\ThunderbirdPortable" that was added to the path to your folder.
7. Click Install.
8. You may have to refresh the App Icons.
9. Should now have another instance of Thunderbird listed. You might rename it so remember which is which.
10. If you have an existing profile, I believe it can be copied to the new instance just like when moving between machines. (instructions at Mozilla)

Only one instance of Thunderbird can be run at a time. Since the new instance is NOT in the standard folder it will NOT be updated by the platform.

Just another option for testing, hope it helps.

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