AVG emptied my Inbox
Thread poster: Heinrich Pesch

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 22:00
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Apr 6, 2016

I have used AVG antivirus since ages. For a few weeks this software always put forward an alert screen when I opened the computer (Win7 pro) telling me to buy their latest version. Today it said my protection was up, but when I clicked on the AVG icon it said Protection up to date. (I use the free version) I thought it a good idea to initiate a full scan. After the scan it had found three Troyan horses and isolated them.
But then I noticed in Thunderbird Inbox only the headers were remaining, all message content was gone. Re-starting teh machine did not help. All other folders are untouched. Fortunately I could send my job to the client by copying his address from the Sent-box.

But I wonder what can I do to get my messages back? Be warned, do not scan your computer with AVG.


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Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:00
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Mail server Apr 6, 2016

Hi Heinrich
Most mail servers will keep your recent mail on the server even if you download it with Thunderbird I think so you should be able to find most the recent messages there.

Personally I've stopped using AVG, MS Essentials is fine and much easier on the system.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:00
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Here Apr 6, 2016

Jo Macdonald wrote:
Most mail servers will keep your recent mail on the server even if you download it with Thunderbird...


No, it really depends on whether the user uses POP3 or IMAP, and on whether the mail server has a webmail interface in addition to the download functionality. It is generally the user's mail client that decides when a message should be deleted, and if it sends the "delete" command to the server, the server deletes the mail (irrevocably).

I think so you should be able to find most the recent messages there.


If Heinrich uses POP3, then he can try to get them by creating a temporary account in his e-mail program with the same server settings as his main account, and then downloading his mail.

==

Heinrich Pesch wrote:
After the scan it had found three Troyan horses and isolated them.


Did it delete them or quarantine them? If delete, did you look at the list of items that will be deleted before you told AVG to delete? If quarantine, they may still be in your "Virus Vault", so then you could get them back (by using some or other menu in AVG).

But then I noticed in Thunderbird Inbox only the headers were remaining, all message content was gone.


All messages in the entire folder, or just a few (presumably three) messages? What you describe (i.e. see only headers, but not body) does sound like what happens when an antivirus program removes an e-mail. However, it should not remove all messages from the entire folder.


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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:00
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
I have no solution for your unfortunate current problem, Apr 6, 2016

but I would recommend you consider paying for good PC protection to avoid similar problems in the future. I used to use free AV software, but a few years ago I finally invested in paid anti-virus protection, primarily because I ended up with a nasty virus from an email that didn't even have an attachment (which I never open if I don't know the sender), and the free anti-virus program didn't catch it. It was a mess and hard to get rid of. Luckily, I am ultra-safety conscious and have 2 back-up PCs, so it was a nuisance, but not devastating.

Being on the internet as much as I am and investing in more security as a smart business expense was a no-brainer. It seems to me that protecting our computers should be a high priority for any professionals like us who depend on the internet for our livelihood. I chose Norton Symantic, and got a pretty good deal - three-year coverage for 3 computers for €99. That works out to €11 a year per computer, which is fairly cheap considering what you are paying for, and well worth the price. I'm sure there are similar offers from any of the numerous AV vendors - you just need to do the research to find what suits you best.

There are lots of new AV programs out there, too. I just did a quick search and found an online magazine (US,) that features an article about AV software for 2016, including reviews, price comparisons and recommendations for a large number of programs, many of which I had never heard of. Obviously, software companies often have localized versions for different countries if you don't want to use the English version. You might want to take a look at the article. If not you, then other people who read this might benefit from the information:

http://www.pcmag.com/reviews/antivirus

Good luck.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 22:00
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
All messages in Inbox up to that moment Apr 6, 2016

All messages in the folders are empty, since March 1, since I always move the messages of the most recent month to another folder, but now April has only begun so all messages from March up to this morning are empty. New messages are ok.
The email agent does not keep downloaded messages, so I should get the content from AVG vault, but how,
I have sent an inquiry to AVG support.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 22:00
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I could restore the content from the vault Apr 6, 2016

I backupped my Thunderbird folder to an external disc and told AVG to restore the Troyans it had found, now the content is all there again. Those troyans will not harm me if I do not open any link or attachment, I presume.
I wonder why AVG put all messages into the vault, why not the specific message with the virus?


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Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:00
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
If using a POP account Apr 6, 2016

Samuel in Thunderbird, Account settings, Server settings, check "Leave messages on server" and choose your options.
I have Thunderbird set up like this with Gmail account and both received and sent mails are left on the mail server as well as being downloaded by Thunderbird.


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TechStyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:00
Mail messages and files Apr 7, 2016

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

I backupped my Thunderbird folder to an external disc and told AVG to restore the Troyans it had found, now the content is all there again. Those troyans will not harm me if I do not open any link or attachment, I presume.
I wonder why AVG put all messages into the vault, why not the specific message with the virus?


The problem is probably that Thunderbird was storing ALL the inbox messages in a single file - AVG found something inside that file, and deleted it - so, all the messages disappeared. (Except the headers, which are stored in a separate file for performance reasons.) Restore the infected file, all the messages (including whichever one actually contained something harmful) come back.

Enabling the "file per message" option will make Thunderbird store each message in its own separate file - see the support thread here: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1067084 - that way, if AVG finds one message to contain something dangerous, it will only delete that single message.

In a sense, AVG did exactly what it's supposed to: your INBOX file contained something AVG identified as dangerous, so it deleted the dangerous file - your entire Inbox! Just enable "file per message" and this won't affect you again.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 22:00
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Maildir? Apr 7, 2016

James Sutherland wrote:


The problem is probably that Thunderbird was storing ALL the inbox messages in a single file - AVG found something inside that file, and deleted it - so, all the messages disappeared. (Except the headers, which are stored in a separate file for performance reasons.) Restore the infected file, all the messages (including whichever one actually contained something harmful) come back.

Enabling the "file per message" option will make Thunderbird store each message in its own separate file - see the support thread here: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1067084 - that way, if AVG finds one message to contain something dangerous, it will only delete that single message.

In a sense, AVG did exactly what it's supposed to: your INBOX file contained something AVG identified as dangerous, so it deleted the dangerous file - your entire Inbox! Just enable "file per message" and this won't affect you again.


That sounds reasonable, but I remember in the past AVG could delete single messages. I found this on Thunderbird:

"WARNING: We suggest you leave Maildir disabled unless you are an advanced user, willing to risk your data, and know how to back up your email before turning on Maildir and how to restore it if you run into problems."


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 22:00
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I paid once for protection, dearly Apr 7, 2016

Woodstock wrote:

but I would recommend you consider paying for good PC protection to avoid similar problems in the future. I used to use free AV software, but a few years ago I finally invested in paid anti-virus protection, primarily because I ended up with a nasty virus from an email that didn't even have an attachment (which I never open if I don't know the sender), and the free anti-virus program didn't catch it. It was a mess and hard to get rid of. Luckily, I am ultra-safety conscious and have 2 back-up PCs, so it was a nuisance, but not devastating.

Being on the internet as much as I am and investing in more security as a smart business expense was a no-brainer. It seems to me that protecting our computers should be a high priority for any professionals like us who depend on the internet for our livelihood. I chose Norton Symantic, and got a pretty good deal - three-year coverage for 3 computers for €99. That works out to €11 a year per computer, which is fairly cheap considering what you are paying for, and well worth the price. I'm sure there are similar offers from any of the numerous AV vendors - you just need to do the research to find what suits you best.

There are lots of new AV programs out there, too. I just did a quick search and found an online magazine (US,) that features an article about AV software for 2016, including reviews, price comparisons and recommendations for a large number of programs, many of which I had never heard of. Obviously, software companies often have localized versions for different countries if you don't want to use the English version. You might want to take a look at the article. If not you, then other people who read this might benefit from the information:

http://www.pcmag.com/reviews/antivirus

Good luck.





Back about 15-10 years ago I had first Norton and later F-Secure. F-Secure stopped working without informing me and suddenly my internet provider told me I was a source of infection. I took the machine to a service, they promised to disinfect the thing, but nothing had changed. Finally I reformatted the disc and installed all anew, took me two days, Windows 2000 and all. Norton was a nightmare.
Compared to that I'm content with AVG. But perhaps I should shift to MS Essentials.


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