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Call For Help - Thunderbird resets my sort order

I've been using the Thunderbird mail client for a while now, and overall I like it.  I've got a number of add-ons that let me download my web mail from Yahoo, GMail, Hotmail and the like.

I've got all my email accounts available in a single client application.  So far so good.

I do have a pet peeve however, maybe its a bug, maybe not.  It sure feels like a bug.  I did some googling but found no one else reporting this behavior, so maybe its my configuration.  But I found no configuration setting to support it, so if its not a program bug, its at least (in my opinion) a usability bug.

When I view my inbox for an email account, I like it sorted by Date descending, so my latest mail is at the bottom of the list.  Its easy enough to sort it, just click on the date column header in the list view.   The problem however, is that the setting doesn't seem to stick.  For some reason, its always sorted by sender.

If I sort my inbox view for email account A to Date, then I click on the inbox view for email Account B, and click back on the inbox view for email Account A, my previously specified sort order of date is not persisted, and the view is once again sorted by sender.

Has anyone experienced this?

UPDATE:  As I was writing this I was playing more with the Thunderbird UI, following along with my post to ensure I hadn't missed some salient point or user operation.  Suddenly, much to my surprise as I clicked from account to account, the sort order preference was getting preserved. The bug has mysteriously vanished.  Its like taking your car to the mechanic.  When its at the repair shop, it refuses to  act up. 

If I knew all I had to do was write a blog entry about it, I could have had this fixed weeks ago <g>.

I'll post another update should the bad behavior return.  I've also configured my client to show a View dropdown in the menu bar (I think this was an add-on).  I suspect this may have something to do with my sort order problem, but can't verify it until it starts acting up again.

Print | posted on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 12:03 AM | Filed Under [ General Geekiness ]

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# re: Call For Help - Thunderbird resets my sort order

You know what. I had the exact same error in Thunderbird 2.0.0.14 (and its really annoying). Here's what I did to make it go away. I am not sure if this is a fix in the true sense but it works.

1. click on the inbox A
2. the email list seems sorted in the wrong order (oldest first)
3. change the sort order to group sort (View -> Sort By -> Grouped by Sort)
4. change the sort order to unthreaded (View -> Sort By -> Unthreaded)
5. click on the date column to make it sort the right way (newest emails first)
6. click on another folder (saay inbox B)
7. click on inbox A ... and the sort order seems to persist (somehow !!!)

... hope this helps !
6/19/2008 3:41 AM | Aalok Karnik
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# re: Call For Help - Thunderbird resets my sort order

Aalok, your solution works, but you have to do it with every folder and it only works on the local machine. I have 157 folders and that's just one account. I have three IMAP accounts. I'm not going to do this with every folder on every machine I check my mail on.

I would hope somebody can show me how to change the default setting to Sort by Date Descending Unthreaded in about:config
9/18/2008 7:10 AM | Frank
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# re: Call For Help - Thunderbird resets my sort order

I had the same problem keeping the sort order in newsgroups using Thunderbird for a newsreader.

It appears that the defaults in the cfg file are only used when a new account is created - after that they are supposed to be 'sticky' to whatever was clicked most recently - but it doesn't work that way.

Experimenting with Aalok's sequence I think that the trigger to get the new sort order to actually be saved is toggling the "View -> Sort -> G Grouped by Sort G" once to get the new order saved.

Perhaps an 'undocumented feature' or it may be something entirely unrelated, but this worked for me.
12/14/2008 11:42 AM | Carla Fong
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# re: Call For Help - Thunderbird resets my sort order

I've had this happen too - my preference is to sort by my messages by sender but from time to time it will mysteriously change itself to show differently - doesn't matter how many times I re-set it by clicking view it will change again - then all of a sudden it goes back to being fine. Drives me bananas
2/15/2009 2:38 PM | connie
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# re: Call For Help - Thunderbird resets my sort order

I had the same sort of problem, and faffed for ages to figure out the solution, I've written up a quick Thunderbird/Icedove sort order and delete order on Debian Squeeze tute. It /should/ translate to other operating systems. Probably.
1/18/2011 2:27 PM | charlie
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# re: Call For Help - Thunderbird resets my sort order

I have a similar error. Every time Thunderbird restarts it makes sender column disappear and replaces it with recipient. Any ideas? Just started a short time ago after an update.
2/23/2012 6:27 PM | Nancy
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# re: Call For Help - Thunderbird resets my sort order

I have the same problem as NANCY: it resets my chosen headers to ones I don't want, including RECIPIENT. Why?? Setting the columns back to my preference doesn't seem to "stick"
5/8/2012 9:04 PM | Phil
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