Concerned about space in my Gmail I just took a rash and stupid action, and "deleted" everything from the "archive." I did this on Mozilla Thunderbird on my mac. It's clear to me I haven't lost the messages (They're now in my Gmail trash, plus I have a second laptop that until it syncs has everything where it belongs, and time machine backups from a couple weeks ago....), but I am unsure how to restore the messages (i.e. get them all back in their appropriate folders). I would be happy with either

  1. the best way to restore my Gmail based on the version sitting on Thunderbird on another computer or Time Machine backup

  2. the best way to reverse this mass "deletion"

Do you have suggestions?


1 Answer 1


Here are the steps I took to "recover"

1) per this answer linked by @Rubén, I searched in:trash label:[my label] for each of the folders (besides Inbox), and selected all messages.

One twist: In the Gmail web client (Firefox and Safari)I found that the archive button only appeared under the following circumstance: If there were more records matching the search than displayed on a single page, then the web client flashed an option to "select all messages [matching this search]". Thus I set the number of records to 10 to allow me to click the archive button. In cases where it was greyed out, I right clicked and found move to.

2) in my travels, I found a Thunderbird add-on (compatible with my Thunderbird version) that enables the creation of local folders. I have not experimented, but it seems like I could also go to one of the HDs that has my email before I goofed, create a local email folder in Thunderbird, copy all the folders into it, sync, and then back copy. This seemed high-risk to me, but I will keep the local folder option defensively and for occasional archiving purposes.

3) I haven't yet figured the best approach for those neglected messages that were in "Inbox," But for now I've also moved those from trash back to inbox and plan to re-delete as I go rather than have them auto-delete in 30 days.

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