Back up thunderbird email and reinstall it

May 3, 2013 at 00:52:40
Specs: Windows XP
I have a windows xp computer that has thunderbird email in various folders which I have backed up. I have a new XP computer that I have installed the latest thunderbird vers. 20.0.1. How do I get the new computer's thunderbird to let me have it import these various folders? For example, one folder on the old computer is called "Action Needed". I have located and backed up 3 Action Needed items. One is a folder called "Action Needed.sbd". One is a file called "Action Needed". The 3rd item is a file called "Action Needed.msf". My problem is the file structure of the Thunderbird program has no place for me to put these files. FYI, getting my Address Book into the new XP computer's Thunderbird was easy. Thank you in advance.

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May 3, 2013 at 14:10:11
I would suggest to start Thunderbird's profile manager first.
This can be done by clicking "Start / Run / Browse", go to the Thunderbird program folder and select thunderbird.
So you should get something like that in the run line:
"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Thunderbird\thunderbird.exe"

Now simply add a -p to that line, looks like this:
"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Thunderbird\thunderbird.exe" -p

Now you can create a new profile and you can configure the location for that new profile.
Here, you have to choose the same location as it was, before update.
Exit the profile manager without starting thunderbird at that time.

So you can copy the whole old thunderbird profile to that location manually.
When done, simply start Thunderbird and all mails and maybe calendars should be there.
Furthermore, all configured mail accounts are ready to use.

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May 6, 2013 at 00:17:59
Thank you very much for your reply. I have been very busy and I apologize for my delay in getting back to you.

Please realize that I have 2 computers which we can refer to as the old computer and the new one. The old computer is running Tbird Vers. 17.05. The new on is running version. 20.0.1. I

I want to copy the emails from Old computer to New XP computer which I just bought. The old computer's emails are easily seen in a sub file on its C drive. The new XP computer does not have such a file structure unfortunately. If it did I could just copy the old computer's Tbird files to the same place on the new computer.

My questions:

A) Is it possible to find Tbird Version 17.5 and download it into the new computer and install it there? This would solve all problems!!

B) Could you please re-send your prior instructions and designate for each part of the job which computer is to be used? I am confused as to which computer I use to do each of the steps. Just refer to each computer as "Old" and "New".

Thank you. I really appreciate your time. You must be a really generous and nice guy to be so helpful.

Thank you in advance.

Best regards,


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May 6, 2013 at 14:05:07
First of all, there is no Thunderbird version 20.1.
The latest stable version is Thunderbird 17.0.5.
Newer Thunderbird versions are beta releases.


Download and install and start Thunderbird v17.0.5 at the new computer by clicking here
Cancel any configuration and close Thunderbird.

1. [OLD] Click "Start / All Programs" and rightclick Mozilla Thunderbird.
2. [OLD] choose "Properties"
3. [OLD] append " -p" without quotes to the target line and click OK button (NOTE: there is a whitespace infront of the -p)
4. [OLD] leftclick "Start / All Programs / Mozilla Thunderbird"
5. [OLD] now, the Thunderbird Profile Manager gets started and you'll see one profile listed, named default. Put the mouse cursor over the profile name and you'll see a yellow info box, showing the path to the location of the profile folder. Write this path down, we need it later on. Close Profile Manager by clicking exit.
6. [OLD] open Windows Explorer and navigate to the profile folder, e.g. C:\Documents and Settings\<YourUserName>\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\something.default
7. [NEW] figure out the current Thunderbird Profile location the same way as described in steps 1 to 6 and copy the whole folder "something.default" to a USB-Stick.
8. [OLD] delete the " -p" in "Startmenu / All Programs / Mozilla Thunderbird" so, that Thunderbird can be started in it's normal way.
9. [MEW] plug in the USB-Stick to your computer and copy the whole content of the copied folder into the new profile folder at the NEW computer. Overwrite all files when asked. DO NOT COPY THE FOLDER SOMETHING.DEFAULT ITSELF, ONLY THE CONTENT!!!
10. [NEW] do step 8 on the new computer

Now you should be able to start Thunderbird from the Startmenu and all emails, accounts and settings should work fine.

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May 6, 2013 at 15:36:35
I must fly to the east coast tomorrow am from LAX, and will not get a chance to try your well written answer until about 7-10 days. In the meantime, I thank you. You will hear from me after I return and try what you have suggested. I really appreciate your help more than you know. Best regards, Sam

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May 6, 2013 at 17:18:50

thanks for the info.
Have a nice flight.

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