I just purchased a new computer to replace my 4 year old one, I’m in the group of people who prefer to move all my files from the old computer to the new one (than to start over), including applications and their preferences. One of the most complicated tasks is to transfer Thunderbird to the new computer. Luckily, Mozilla Thunderbird has made moving your entire email profile from one computer to another really, really easy.
There are a number of ways to move Thunderbird emails to a new computer, but I’ll focus on the way I did it.
Moving Your Thunderbird Emails
In this tutorial, I’m only covering location files for Windows 7 and Vista.
Move Thunderbird Emails Step #1: Location, Location, Location
By default, Thunderbird stores your profile in this location:
This holds everything you store in Thunderbird including your emails and add-ons.
If you are planning on moving your Thunderbird emails from another computer, make sure you make a copy of this folder and move it to a temporary location on your new computer for now.
Move Thunderbird Emails Step #2: Install Thunderbird
Install a copy of Mozilla Thunderbird on your new computer.
Launch Thunderbird on the new computer, but don’t set up an account. Simply close it again. It’s important you launch it so Thunderbird creates the default profile settings in the link above, because you need them.
Move Thunderbird Emails Step #3: Copy Your Files
I’ve set my computer up a little different to what most users have done. My hard drive is split into three partitions — the first one contains Windows 7 Home Premium (C:/) , the second one contains Windows 7 Ultimate (D:/) (Dual Bootable), and the third contains all my files (E:/). To help with backup and recovery, I have my emails stored on the E: drive. So with the files I copied before to a temporary location, I’ve now stored them in E:\Thunderbird Emails.
If you want to transfer your Thunderbird emails to the default location, simply copy your old Thunderbird folder to the new location in the new computer, overwriting everything in the newly-created, default Thunderbird folder, and you should be good to go.
However, if you’re like me and have moved your Thunderbird emails to a different location, you have to edit the Profile Configuration file in
to appear like:
Noting the change of IsRelative=0 (to 0 and not 1) and the new path, ensuring your backslashes (\) are the correct way.
Move Thunderbird Emails Step #4: Test
So if you have done the following:
- Installed Thunderbird on your new computer, launched, and closed it;
- Copy your old Thunderbird Profilefrom
to a new location or copied over the one Thunderbird automatically created when launched;
- Changed the Profile Configuration file to incorporate the changes in
(if you moved your Thunderbird emails to a new location)
You can now open up Thunderbird, and if everything was done correctly; all of your Thunderbird emails should appear, your extensions just as it was before, and your emails should start coming in.
Now remember how I mentioned that I have a dual-boot setup on my new PC. Since I can access the E:/ drive from both operating systems, I can now access the same Thunderbird profile no matter which one I am in. By doing this, I can access my emails whenever I want.
If you experience any problems, please let me know in the comments.