I am using thunderbird mail and the partition in which mails are stored is of 470gb from which only 64gb is used.

Now the problem is whenever i start thunderbird it generate a error message which says "There is not enough disk space to download new messages. Try deleting old mail, emptying the trash folder, and compacting the mail folders, and then try again.

Disk Space

Thunderbird Error

  • Are you using 32bit or 64bit Ubuntu? – Mitch Dec 9 '14 at 11:35
  • Can you confirm the mail box location (it will be somewhere in the settings in your account, called "local folder") ? – NGRhodes Dec 9 '14 at 11:53
  • It may be an inodes problem. What does df -i tell you? – Jos Dec 9 '14 at 12:26
  • It is 32 bit and mail box location mean to say where mails are stored? – Bishwanath Das Dec 10 '14 at 2:26

In my case;

I am using Ubuntu 12.04. My inbox size was 4GB (I think limitation of os), so i created a new archives directory like 2013 and moved all old mails on date 2013 from Inbox.

Also you can check your box size from your thunderbird folder:

cd /home/username/.thunderbird/axxmjtdv.default/Mail/pop.googlemail.com/

ls -all


This worked for me:

I had just a few messages in my Inbox folder but its associated file ocuppied way more than 3 Gb (near the 4 Gb file size limit), so I compacted it to remove obsolete information, and it's now less than 50 Mb.

New messages are now well downloaded.

More info:

From MozillaZine Knowledge Base about compacting and file size:

When you delete messages in an email client such as Thunderbird they aren't physically deleted. Even emptying the Trash does not get rid of them. Instead they are marked for deletion and hidden from view. They are not physically removed until you "compact" the folder. This is a tradeoff done to improve performance in large folders.

And the same site about file size limit:

Prior to version 3.1 the maximum folder size is 4GB, or as limited by your file system [...] Thunderbird 3.1 added a a 64-bit offset to the .msf file allowing imap folders larger than 4GB, if the file system permitted large files [...] This change did not help non-imap folders, for example those in Local Folders, including any offline storage.

So pop email folders file size is still limited.

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