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03 December 2011

How to migrate Thunderbird mail and settings from one computer to another


Tested with Thunderbird 8 on Windows 7

On the old computer:

1. Menu option: Tools->Options->Import/Export Tools->Save All Profile Files.
(note: On Thunderbird 15 this is now Tools->Import Export Tools->Save All Profile Files)

2. Save it to your external drive/USB - recommended rather than using network as network may be slow - (mine was several Gigs)

3. rename the file folder to remove the date/time suffix on the file
i.e. the file should look something like .default instead of (example) .default-2011203-1014 

4. On the new Computer, install Thunderbird, don't set up anything. Exit Thunderbird

5. Copy from external drive/usb onto new computer into this folder:
C:\Users\<yourusername>\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles

6. Go to the C:\Users\<yourusername>\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird folder

7. Edit the profiles configuration setting file

8. Change the path setting to point at your migrated profile in the Profiles directory,
e.g. if your profile you copied was 72lotzvd then change the setting to
Path=Profiles/72lotzvd.default

9. Close and save the file

10. Start Thunderbird

If you had an alternative appearance installed (such as Silvermel) because frankly the default one is appalling then

11. goto Tools->AddOns->Appearance, click on the new one and restart


How Thunderbird should do it.


  1. Step 1 above.
  2. Step 2 above.
  3. Install Thunderbird
  4. Asks if I want to import a previous account. Click Yes
  5. Browse for files on USB. Click Done.


Come on guys, this shouldn't be hard. Would also help if you defaulted the profile name to my windows login rather than 72lotzvd.


Additional info here:
http://support.mozillamessaging.com/en-US/kb/profiles

http://getsatisfaction.com/mozilla_messaging/topics/how_to_transferemail_folders_address_book_from_old_computer_to_new

http://kb.mozillazine.org/Importing_and_exporting_your_mail

Hope you found this useful. Hope the Thunderbird developers did too. Please +1 if you like.
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