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Transfer Thunderbird Emails, etc.etc.

Community Veteran
Posts: 18,901
Thanks: 2,084
Fixes: 26
Registered: ‎06-11-2007

Transfer Thunderbird Emails, etc.etc.

How to transfer your “old” emails, and address book(s) to a new HDD or Computer.


(This "instructorial" is a combined effort between "nozzer" and "shutter" .) 

This procedure can be used to transfer all Thunderbird data files to another disc or pc, or just for backing up.


This works for all Windows versions.

1. On the disc or pc you want to back up or migrate from...

Ensure that Thunderbird is completely shut down. If you don't do this some important files will be "in use" and won't be able to be copied.

Go to

 C:/ > Users > "your windows user name" > Appdata > Roaming > Thunderbird > Profiles > eagxfqcvd.default.

OR… see instructions in Note 1. below….

This file, is not the same on every Thunderbird…. ( eagxfqcvd.default ) is an example of the file that you will be looking for. The file that you see will have a different combination of letters, but will end with .default

Open this folder and you will see the profile files.

Select all these , and save to a USB stick. (suggest you make a new folder call it  Old Profile files )


Now go to the New Computer.

2. On the new disc or pc, or to restore your Thunderbird installation on the same machine...

Ensure that you have installed a new copy of Thunderbird and that it is shut down completely.


Go to. C:/ > Users > "your windows user name" > Appdata > Roaming > Thunderbird > Profiles > prbwqctf.default.

Or follow instructions note 1 below

Open this folder and you will see the Profiles files.

You may notice that this prbwqctf.default name is different from the old installation if you are working with a fresh copy of Thunderbird. That's because Thunderbird creates a unique profile for each installation.

Delete all of these files within the profile folder on the new machine or disc.

Copy the profile files that you saved to the USB stick and paste into the profile folder you have just deleted from, replacing the “new” with the “old” files from your other computer.

Close all folders and windows, and OpenThunderbird . It should now be working with all the previous settings etc intact.and all your old folders, address books, and saved emails.
Some things to note..
1. If you can't find the Appdata folder in the "your windows user name" folder you will have to enable it to be visible. On some machines it's a hidden folder.

You can Search for it by typing %AppData% in the search box above the “Start” button, bottom left corner of your computer. The result will show a folder Roaming right click on that

in the drop down menu find “Open Folder Location” . Select that,..

Right Click and open it….
. then scroll down for the Thunderbird folder….. Open that folder… and there is the Profiles Folder.

Google "Making Hidden Folders Permanently Visible" for your Windows operating system for how to do this. There are other ways to get to the Appdata folder but I prefer this because it's then permanently visible and you can easily access it for other procedures if you need to.

2. When you copy the profile files to a completely new pc you will probably also copy over the old security certificate from your antivirus installation which is on the original machine. This certificate is held within the Thunderbird data files. Installing an antivirus program on to the new machine will almost certainly cause a different certificate to be created by the antivirus program. Most antivirus programs install a unique certificate for each machine.

If your new Thunderbird installation hangs when trying to access email accounts, especially ones which use SSL protocol, you will need to make sure that Thunderbird recognises the new certificate. You will have to find out how to export a copy of the antivirus program certificate on to the desktop (for easy access), and then do the following...

In Thunderbird, go Tools > Options > Advanced > Certificates > Manage Certificates > Authorities, then scroll down to find the antivirus certificate, highlight and then "Delete or Distrust".

Then select "Import", browse to the security certificate you saved to the desktop, select and import making sure that you tick the two boxes which tell Thunderbird that it's ok for this cert to check emails and web pages. That will then enable proper SSL operation. 

Seasoned Champion
Posts: 4,305
Thanks: 672
Fixes: 5
Registered: ‎31-07-2007

Re: Transfer Thunderbird Emails, etc.etc.

@shutter  Is MozBackUp still available? I'm sure I used that a couple of years ago to save my settings to external media, downloaded TB to the new hard drive, then recovered the rest from Moz BackUp.

No one has to agree with my opinion, but in the time I have left a miracle would be nice.
Community Veteran
Posts: 18,901
Thanks: 2,084
Fixes: 26
Registered: ‎06-11-2007

Re: Transfer Thunderbird Emails, etc.etc.

@Luzern   I don`t know.. ! ... there is another version of this "transfer" system, on the Emails board... which is a tad simpler to do... and works on Windows to Linux... as well as Windows to Windows...  so possible it could work for other distros that can use Thunderbird as an email client..


Posts: 51
Thanks: 6
Registered: ‎22-03-2013

Re: Transfer Thunderbird Emails, etc.etc.

Not sure if this is of any help but if you still have access to the underlying mailbox, it is possible to create an archive (for backup purposes) on the local machine using this (free for home use) software called Mail Store Home

Its a polished product (chargeable for commercial purposes) so is regularly updated

Depending on how the archive is configured it is possible to leave your original mailbox untouched and just download a locally cached copy of the same to your PC this can be regularly syncronised - it only downloads the new messages from your mail server.

If you use the portable version of Mailstore everything you need (including the application) can be copied onto a USB drive for onward transfer.

Additionally it can be used to migrate mail between mailboxes eg download and then upload to new provider. I use it to keep a local backup of my mailbox.






Posts: 13
Thanks: 2
Registered: 3 weeks ago

Re: Transfer Thunderbird Emails, etc.etc.

Yes indeed, you can transfer between windows and linux too and visa versa....

However, in linux you may need to show hidden files because folder starting with a 'dot' are initially hidden. e.g. /home/tigger/.mozilla/thunderbird

No need to delete any previous profiles in windows or linux. So long as you copy the profiles.ini file over with your *********.default folder and or any other profiles you may have. The other profiles will not end with *.default.

The other profiles will end with *.<What ever you named them>. copy those too.



Moderators Note: Corrected application home location at posters request. 

Posts: 13
Thanks: 2
Registered: 3 weeks ago

Re: Transfer Thunderbird Emails, etc.etc.

P.S. backup your profiles.ini file for safety on which ever system you are transferring too.