How to copy your Mozilla Thunderbird email profile to a new computer

popowich

EQ Forum Admin
Staff member
Hello,

The following are the directions for copying your Thunderbird email profile including email folders and address book contacts to a new computer. If you are only looking to backup your email on an existing computer please see how to backup your Thunderbird email accounts. To get started with moving the email accounts, preferences, and address books to your new computer you need to locate your Thunderbird Profile.

Locate your Thunderbird profile folder on your old computer

Windows XP / Vista:

  • If it's running, close and quit Thunderbird
  • Go to the Start button
  • Click Run
  • Type in (copy/paste to get it right): %AppData%\Thunderbird\Profiles\
  • Click OK
  • A window with a folder called xxxxxxxx.default will appear (the 8 xxxxxxxx's are random characters)
  • Copy that folder to a safe place such as a USB drive or the new computer

If you have another operating system try these locations for the profile folder:

  • On Windows 95/98/Me, the path is C:\WINDOWS\Application Data\Mozilla\Thunderbird\Profiles\xxxxxxxx.default\
  • On Linux, the path is ~/.thunderbird/xxxxxxxx.default/
  • On Mac OS X, the path is ~/Library/Thunderbird/Profiles/xxxxxxxx.default/

Install Mozilla Thunderbird on your new computer

  • Go to Mozilla.com
  • Click on Mozilla Thunderbird
  • Download and run the install file
  • Follow the directions for a standard install
  • Do NOT start Mozilla Thunderbird when the install is done

Copy your profile to the new computer

  • Follow the same directions for locating your profile folder on the old computer above
  • Rename the existing profile folder and change the .default to .old
  • Copy the profile folder from your old computer to the new computer
  • Rename the profile folder from the old computer so that it has the same first 8 random characters as the folder created by the Thunderbird install
  • You should now have 2 profile folders starting with the same 8 random characters, one ending in .default and the other in .old
Mozilla Thunderbird Profiles.JPG
  • Go back a level and edit the profiles.ini file and change the profile directory name to match the folder you copied into the Profiles folder.
thunderbird profile.jpg
  • Start Mozilla Thunderbird.
If everything went OK your new Thunderbird should have started up with no errors and all of your email, settings, and address book contacts should be available.

For additional help and tips with Mozilla Thunderbird please visit our free Mozilla Thunderbird Help forum.
 

trader

Valued Member
Hello Raymond
Thank you for your guidance. I've already got Thunderbird set upon the new computer and, thanks to you, the address book. There are a number of new e-mails already on the new computer, are these likely to be wiped out if I copy across the profile under a new name? I'm a bit scared when it comes to the profile because in March I was trying to move it to another location on my old computer when something went wrong and I lost several years' worth of e-mails. I guess if I backup the new ones this time before I do anything they should be okay. My OS is XP Pro on both computers. I guess the only way to find out what happens is to give it a go. I wish I'd dicovered this great site back then with good people like yourself so willing to give of their time to help others come to grips with the vagaries of Thunderbird which is a great program but, for me, difficult to understand its inner workings.
Best regards and thanks
Trader
 

trader

Valued Member
Greetings Raymond
Thanks again for your great help and the effort you have gone to. I'll give this a go and see what happens. I'll let you know.
Best regards
Trader
 

trader

Valued Member
Greetings, again, Raymond
I'm still working on this momumental task and getting more confused as I go. But I thought I should pay you the courtesy of letting you know that I am working on this Thunderbird problem but it's taking a long time. I'm sure I'll get there in the end and I will be only too happy to pass on the good news.
Best regards
Trader
 

trader

Valued Member
Greetings Raymond
I'm not a quitter by nature but I do know when it is time to call it quits. I'm exhausted and have reached the only conclusion that seems viable and that is to leave all the Thunderbird e-mails on the old computer and start afresh with the new one. I've been very diligent in following the instructions and reading the document you very kindly sent me but I'm beginning to wonder what all the fuss was about (on my part). I can still access the old e-mails by simply switching on the old computer.
Raymond, a thousand thanks for your enormous help and resourcefulness.
Best wishes
Trader
 

SonDan

New Email
After seeing so many different instructions to move my email data to a new system (XP to XP) I finally found some clear instructions. Problem is the folder configuration on the old and new system are not comparable in any way and I can't figure out what to move where. I am looking at the proverbial apples and oranges.

I am new here so if someone can tell me how to upload a screen snapshot I will show you what I mean so you can see if you have the solution for me please.


Sincerely,

SonDan
 

SonDan

New Email
Hi - Er I have the screenshot but don't know how to get it in my post please.
when I clock on the add am image link it asks for a http URL but the image is on my pc.

thanks
 

popowich

EQ Forum Admin
Staff member
Above the URL box there are 4 boxes with browse buttons that can be used to upload 4 images from your computer at a time.
 

SonDan

New Email
Above the URL box there are 4 boxes with browse buttons that can be used to upload 4 images from your computer at a time.

-Raymond

Thank you RaYmond -

I know you are gonna think I am crazy and I assure you I am stone cold sober but It do not see a paperclip Icon as identified in the link from popowich .. nor do I see four boxes in my editor header bar. I am beginning to feel like I am on "Candid Camera" or being "punked" as the gen xers would say.

I only have a smiley menu at the bottom and standard wp stylings
Bold, italic, underline, justifications, link edits, email icon. photo icon, wrpa icon etc on the top bar.

What am I missing???:confused::mad::(
 

SonDan

New Email
You should see it now. The default settings had you at the regular toolbar.

-Raymond

Thank You. I see it now. IF this worked that as you can see my problem is that the old and new Thunderbird directory structure seems different and I am therefore confused how to transfer my mail and setting to the new installation. Can you please help me?

Thanks in advance.
 

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popowich

EQ Forum Admin
Staff member
To get yourself in the correct location on each computer start your search for your Firefox profile by going to start -> run -> %appdata%

Type in %appdata% and press the OK and a folder view that includes a Mozilla folder should be on your screen now.
 

SonDan

New Email
when I go to app data on this current new install of thunderbird there is nothing. Is that because I have never opened it?

In app data under Mozilla there is just a folder named "firefox" and one named "lots of random characters with nothing in it." That's why I don't know where to put the profile data I saved to a stick from pc #one displayed above on the left
 

SonDan

New Email
How to Transfer Thunderbird Settings and Email on a Windows PC | eHow.com


While I was waiting for a reply here I tried this methos but it did not work. Now I have to deleted my Thunderbird install I gue. I opened it to create a profile and them copied the default.1k* contents into the newly created XXXXXX.default folder but that did not work.


Again it seems like I am unable to make this work because the two versions are apples and oranges. The old Thunderbird install profile is labeled Default.XXX while the new style is lableled xxxx.default just like my screen print out show two differing layouts of files in the two versions.

Can anyone help please. Should I try to find the older version of Thunderbird and install it and see if the directory structures are comparable?

Thanks for reading
 

Big Dan

EQ Forum Moderator
Dan, all you have to do is drop your old thunderbird folder into AppData\Thunderbird\Profiles if the profile is from an older version of Thunderbird when you launch Thunderbird for the first time on the new computer it will upgrade the profile on it's own.

Alternatively you may want to launch Thunderbird on the new computer just once and create an account just so that the folder structure is made under appdata so you know where to put the old folder. Just delete the newly made profile on the old computer before copying over the profile from your old machine.
 

comdude85

New Email
Hi,
I've been trying to follow these directions for a couple of days to no avail. I've just installed Windows 7 and I don't know if that's the source of my issues, but I can't get a new profile to generate without running Thunderbird, and after that alone didn't work I tried setting up my email accounts in the new profile and now when I try to uninstall Thunderbird, delete the new profile and reinstall it, they come back instantly. I guess I need some way to totally blast Thunderbird from this hard drive, and then some way to force it to generate a new profile without actually running it?
 

Big Dan

EQ Forum Moderator
Hi,
I've been trying to follow these directions for a couple of days to no avail. I've just installed Windows 7 and I don't know if that's the source of my issues, but I can't get a new profile to generate without running Thunderbird, and after that alone didn't work I tried setting up my email accounts in the new profile and now when I try to uninstall Thunderbird, delete the new profile and reinstall it, they come back instantly. I guess I need some way to totally blast Thunderbird from this hard drive, and then some way to force it to generate a new profile without actually running it?

Are you trying to copy your profile from one computer to another? What are you trying to do.

If you want a new profile just type thunderbird into the start search bar and Thunderbird profile manager should pop up..launch that and create a new profile.
 

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