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How to backup thunderbird email accounts

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Old Wednesday, December 17th, 2008   #1
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Lightbulb How to backup thunderbird email accounts

Thunderbird makes it very easy to back up all of your email and account information in a few clicks. There is no database or settings stored in the windows registry. It's one folder that you may burn to CD, copy to your external HD, or save to an online backup service such as Mozy.

All your email and account settings are stored in 1 folder depending on your operating system simply copy that folder to external media and you've got all your mail backed. You bought a new computer? Simply copy the folder from your old computer to the same location on the new computer install Thunderbird and presto all your mail is restored!
On Windows 7 & Vista Thunderbird data is stored at: C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\

On Windows XP Thunderbird data is stored at: C:\Documents and Settings\<user name>\Application Data\Thunderbird\

On Linux Thunderbird data is stored at: /home/<user name>/.thunderbird/

On OSX Thunderbird data is stored at: ~/Library/Thunderbird
I should note that in order to see the App Data folder in Vista and the Application data folder in XP you need to set explorer to view hidden files and folders. Here are instructions: XP and Vista on Linux if your using Nautilus for file browser just hit Ctrl + H while viewing your home folder to see hidden files.

Best thing is because Thunderbird is open source you can just copy your Thunderbird folder over from windows and rename it .thunderbird and have all your mail and customizations carried over.
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Last edited by Big Dan; Saturday, February 11th, 2012 at 11:35 AM. Reason: added Windows 7 (same as Vista)
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Old Saturday, June 20th, 2009   #2
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Default Re: How to backup thunderbird email accounts

Thanks Big Dan
You're an amazing font of information which you make sound so easy. I'll give it a try and see how things pan out.
Best regards
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Old Saturday, November 26th, 2011   #3
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Default Re: How to backup thunderbird email accounts

I've just transitioned to Ubuntu 11.10 and I've been searching for a way to backup my Thunderbird files and settings for the past few days. Your explanation is the clearest and simplest explanation I have found. Thank you Big Dan.
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Old Saturday, February 11th, 2012   #4
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Default Re: How to backup thunderbird email accounts

It has been quite surprised to read your posting!
For what it is worth, it seems as though the more knowledge about computers one acquires, the farther we seem to make things overly complex.

Your solution:
"On Windows XP Thunderbird data is stored at: C:\Documents and Settings\<user name>\Application Data\Thunderbird\"

is an absolute must be included, with in the help files for all versions of Thunderbird.
The last time I checked, (August 2011, NO such "backup reference" as you have offered was suggested.
BRAVO, for stating the obvious and helping all who have been in search of a method to back up their entire Thunderbird application software.
Many thanks
TheCATT
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Old Saturday, February 11th, 2012   #5
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Default Re: How to backup thunderbird email accounts

Quote:
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It has been quite surprised to read your posting!
For what it is worth, it seems as though the more knowledge about computers one acquires, the farther we seem to make things overly complex.

Your solution:
"On Windows XP Thunderbird data is stored at: C:\Documents and Settings\<user name>\Application Data\Thunderbird\"

is an absolute must be included, with in the help files for all versions of Thunderbird.
The last time I checked, (August 2011, NO such "backup reference" as you have offered was suggested.
BRAVO, for stating the obvious and helping all who have been in search of a method to back up their entire Thunderbird application software.
Many thanks
TheCATT
Glad to hear it helped. I often work with people who aren't very experienced with computers so I'm used to explaining things down to the little details.

Someone like Popowich (our fearless leader at EQ), I'd just say "Man, drop TB's appdata directory on to an external and you're done". He would know what I'm talking about, most would get lost at appdata.
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Old Tuesday, February 14th, 2012   #6
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Default Re: How to backup thunderbird email accounts

Hey there, I was just wondering if it is possible to do a bit of a cheat when upgrading from XP to WIN7.
Is it possible to copy the Thunderbird folder found on XP to the location it should be found in on Win7 then install Thunderbird for Win7 over the top of the old XP version therefor retaining all the profiles etc, or would it be easier to just copy over the profiles to the relevant folders?

Thanks.
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Old Tuesday, July 31st, 2012   #7
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Unhappy Re: How to backup thunderbird email accounts

Hullo,
I followed your instructions re copying Thunderbird but no luck.I attempted to rename .thunderbird but was just told 'must enter a filename ' ?Have put folder in the correct location[I hope] but when opening Thunderbird nothing there.
I have also tried using Mozbackup but cannot get it to restore all my mail or trash ,sent etc.
I am using my email address as the mail folder with 'local folders'below which I am not using.But when I restore, Thunderbird only shows 'Local Folders 'with no mail.
Try as I might I just cannot get the destination Thunderbird to show all the mail etc which has been copied when using Mozbackup ??
Make any sense ?Any suggestions ?
Toju.
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Old Tuesday, July 31st, 2012   #8
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Default Re: How to backup thunderbird email accounts

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Hullo,
I followed your instructions re copying Thunderbird but no luck.I attempted to rename .thunderbird but was just told 'must enter a filename ' ?Have put folder in the correct location[I hope] but when opening Thunderbird nothing there.
I have also tried using Mozbackup but cannot get it to restore all my mail or trash ,sent etc.
I am using my email address as the mail folder with 'local folders'below which I am not using.But when I restore, Thunderbird only shows 'Local Folders 'with no mail.
Try as I might I just cannot get the destination Thunderbird to show all the mail etc which has been copied when using Mozbackup ??
Make any sense ?Any suggestions ?
Toju.
What operating system are you using? .thunderbird won't help you on Windows that's for Linux.

Under Windows all of Thunderbird's information is held in Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird.

On Windows Vista and 7 you can get to AppData by typing %appdata% into the start menu search bar and pressing Enter.

Does that help at all?
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Old Tuesday, July 31st, 2012   #9
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Default Re: How to backup thunderbird email accounts

Thanks for the reply.Using XP.
Path I have is--c:\docs and settings\[user]\App. Data\TBird\Profiles\b2w6cgfh.default\mail\local folders--etc.
However could you perhaps help with Mozbackup ?I have attached a shot of TBird off my Pc which I am using , all my current mail, is held in inbox under;toju@actrix.co.nz--along with sent -trash etc.
Local Folders below contains a few old messages only--but this is all that Mozbackup will restore-not toju@actrix.However due to the time taken for the restore I feel that all my data in toju@ has been restored but I can't access it.If I create a folder toju@Actrix in the destination TBird box and then do a Mozbackup restore it simply removes that folder leaving Local Folders only.
How can I get Backup to restore all my mail not just that in Local Folders ?
Thanks,
Toju
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Old Thursday, December 6th, 2012   #10
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Default Re: How to backup thunderbird email accounts

If you can't find the AppData folder in Windows 7 you may need to follow these directions so that you can see hidden folders:
  1. Click the Start button
  2. Click Control Panel,
  3. Clicking Appearance and Personalization, and then click Folder Options.
  4. Click the View tab.
  5. In the Advanced settings section, Check the box "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" and then click OK.
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