You may think that I’m stuck for things to do having taken voluntary redundancy and, having trawled through 16-plus years of old emails, sorting, filing, cherishing or discarding, I fear you may have a point.

But you know what it’s like. You get a PC, then you get a new one so you transfer everything across, swearing blind that you’ll sort and file as you do so. Then you don’t. Then you get another new PC, copy everything across and the cycle begins again.

I’ve kept most of the personal ones because, well, they’re personal, like any other letter or postcard. The first email Birgit ever sent to me in December 1999 (and which she says what her first email ever). I’ve deleted masses of old emails relating to women’s football because I don’t do that stuff any more. Saved all the photos, obviously.

I don’t know how large the email files were or how many I had, but the final deletion reduced the size by two thirds. Even adding in the personal emails I’d managed to rescue from my WYCA account didn’t increase things by much. I now have one Inbox for each account and everything else sensible stored in a shared (‘Local’) folder space – by subject not by receiving account, as I’ve had several accounts over the years (with your own domain name you can make and delete on a whim, or after they get spammed to death).

And yet… there’s a problem.

I use Thunderbird as my email program, and Mozilla has stopped doing any major work on it. That means it is unlikely, for example, to have a multi-line display for emails when in a three-column layout (you know, like Outlook or pretty much everything else). And lots of other things as well, I’d imagine.

So I cast my net around and found a couple of recommendations.

Postbox is developed by one of the people who developed Thunderbird, which is why the setting panes and most of the dialog boxes look awfully familiar. And it stores emails the same way, in a folder under AppData. So to test it out all I had to do was copy my existing message folder over et voila!

Except… that only works for the folders, not the other (account) settings. And it doesn’t show all the stored emails – sometimes it shows the header but corrupted text, or the header and text from a different email. Ho hum.

Mailbird has a whizz-bang interface, single and unified Inboxes and recognised my existing three Thunderbird accounts during setup. Brilliant!

Except… it didn’t import any of my folders apart from those sat in the three Inboxes waiting to be filed. And the icon interface is fine if you know what the icons actually are, of course. And the calendar app, Sunrise, isn’t working (pretty sure it doesn’t work at all now, it was a Microsoft product and they withdrew it).

So I’m back to Thunderbird. But still on the search for a POP3-friendly program that will allow me to store my emails locally (not in the cloud or someone else’s server) before TB dies its inevitable death before next year is out. Any suggestions?