How to backup Thunderbird Emails and Settings

ThunderbirdSo it turns out its time to leave Linux Mint, which means it’s time to backup Mozilla Thunderbird so all the settings aren’t lost. (If you’re interested, I’m leaving Mint for this unresolved issue, which ironically might be related to Thunderbird)

It doesn’t take long to setup Thunderbird again, however it does take a very long time to download several years worth of emails, especially from multiple accounts. Plus its just a pain to have to add dozens of custom filters again.

As with a lot of my articles, this is how to backup Thunderbird in Linux, not Windows. It should work perfectly for Ubuntu, Linux Mint and other Debian systems. Other Linux distro’s might require a little tweaking but hopefully this’ll get the ball rolling.

So I always perform a full Thunderbird backup using the following instructions:

  • First and foremost, make sure that Thunderbird isn’t running,
  • Then locate your profile directory, it’s stored in your home directory and is named “.thunderbird” (by default). The prefixed dot mean’s your computer will naturally hide this folder, so if you can’t find it try pressing CTRL+H while in your home directory,
  • You should see a folder with a string of ~8 alphanumerical characters, that’s your profile.
  • Duplicate this folder with copy and paste, then apply whatever compression facility you’re accustomed to (zip, gzip, tar, etc),
  • Finally move this compressed folder to a secure location.
  • Backup complete!

This’ll make sure all your emails, data and settings are backed up.

3 thoughts on “How to backup Thunderbird Emails and Settings

  1. Thank you for a simple, clear method that explained about the .thunderbird hidden file, did not require use of the terminal which I have never understood and actually worked!

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