How to Export Thunderbird Contents and Settings?

Category: Tricks n Techniques
  • Go to c:\document and settings\username\application data\thunderbird\
  • Open the file profiles.ini
  • Check the setting Path=Profiles/xxxxxxxx.default
  • Now go to c:\document and settings\username\application data\thunderbird\Profiles\ and copy the folder xxxxxxxx.default for backup.
  • Now to export this content to another computer, copy this folder to c:\document and settings\username\application data\thunderbird\Profiles\ on another computer and change the profile.ini to use this new profile by changing the setting Path.
  • Open the Thunderbird and you are done!!!



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  1. Alan says:

    Thanks a bunch! Worked really fine! Cheers, Alan

  2. MikeG says:

    It doesn’t make sense to me to copy the mail files to two places: Roaming and Local. Mine are 10GB (before cutting down exercise gets started).
    Well, it’s worked! But why the mail files in two places? They can’t both be up-to-date simultaneously.
    I feel something is wrong where 10Gb of mails has to be duplicated.
    But it’s great that I have my mail now.

  3. madmin says:


  4. twanny says:

    Thats awesome. Many thanks. Saved me lots of work with over 12 email accounts and all the filters. 🙂

  5. adriana says:

    It worked! Thanks

  6. Clarisa says:

    Well, what do you know, it works like a charm! Thanks so much for this awesome info. Now I can refer to my old mails in my new laptop.

  7. CF says:

    For import to windows 7, copy the files to BOTH

    Then, modify the “Profiles.ini” at ~\AppData\ROAMING\Thunderbird\Profiles.ini

  8. Vishal says:

    Sorry, I don’t know the answer.

  9. Eddie says:

    on windows vista or 7
    The catalog is.

    But i am not shoure what files to copy 🙂

  10. Checco says:

    The unfortunate thing with mozilla thunderbird (and firefox/sunbird) settings is they include absolute paths for profile data… so if i am migrating between NT (where profiles are stored under c:\windows\profiles\zzz), XP (c:\documents and settings\zzz) or Vista (c:\users\zzz), the settings do not work correctly… some files are XML or text and can be readily updated, but other cannot.

    It would be nice to see a full agnostic export of both accounts settings and extensions/preferences.

  11. Sergio says:

    Thanks, an easy workaround.

  12. Tonylog says:

    Man, you really made my day with this tut…..

  13. Angela says:

    This worked a treat. Many thanks Visha, your help was invaluable. Craig’s too cos I couldn’t find App Data!

  14. will broadback says:

    it works folks!

  15. headsup says:

    thanks to Visha and craig, works a treat

  16. craig says:

    For those of you who are not seeing the application data folder, or the app data folder, you are missing it because it is a hidden folder. You must adjust your folder options so that you can view hidden folders.

    Good luck.

  17. Josty says:

    The right map in MS Vista should be C:\Users\User\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird

    * Just wanted to enter the right path for Vista due the fact there are multiple maps which include a submap Thunderbird.

  18. drumpy says:

    I have no idea where it is stored in Linux, but in most Linux-versions you can “search” your hdd.
    Just look for files with “.default” in its name, You’ll find the right map in no time.

  19. retama91 says:

    How to export the thunderbird setting to a different operating system, like exporting from windows to Linux or viceversa ?

  20. piciu says:

    It totally works. thanks dude.

  21. timmy b says:

    This worked perfectly for me!! I imported my profile from my desktop to a new Toshiba laptop and just followed the step-by-step instructions. I became extremely frustrated when just trying to set up Thunderbird from scratch, I even tried Windows Mail and Windows Live Mail and those did not work either. This solution is great, and thank you so much for this thread!!

  22. bob says:

    This is so weird, all the directions I’ve found about exporting Thunderbird say to go to:

    c:\document and settings\username\application data\thunderbird\

    Yet no file structure like that exists on my machine. I have and use Thunderbird 1.5.013 OS is WXP Pro SP2

    Inside C: I have no documents and settings folder, I have application data… but the structure therein doesn’t have a folder named Thunderbird.

    I want to merge the my T-Bird mail on a dying machine with my second computer so it sounds like this process would overwrite the mail folder on it anyway. This is so crazy – everybody seems to love Thunderbird (me included) but cant grab messages or folders and save them individually?? How can this be?

    I’m not a newbie and not dumb – but obviously there is something way wrong here. It’s not a hidden folder either. Good Grief! Any suggestions? Help!!!!!!!!!!

  23. wayne says:

    works for me… I just find it a bit worrying that all the server passwords are copied as well – so anyone who has access to you computer for two mins can connect to your email , newsgroup accounts.

  24. Tig says:

    Hi again

    I found that you can directly save your addresses. Thanks!

  25. Tig says:


    Does this export also your thunderbird contacts or only email & settings?

    Thanks in advance!

  26. Naresh Shah says:

    Thanks a lot… Providing support

  27. Nurbek says:

    Josh, you need to check c:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Thunderbird\

  28. miles says:

    Excellent! Thanks for a useful post.

  29. josh says:

    this doesn’t work… maybe i have a newer version or something but i have no .ini files in application data/thunderbird….

  30. Dave says:

    This is exactly what I needed to copy all of my messages and settings to my new laptop. Thanks for the info.

  31. Rick says:

    Thanks alot. I definately need the help when copying over to my laptop.