How do I move Thunderbird from a PC with XP to a PC with Windows 7?

I purchased a new laptop that has Windows 7. I have 5 separate email accounts with individual profiles in my document and settings folder in Windows XP. How do I get these accounts with the messages intact to the Windows 7 laptop?
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  • 1
    Hi, I had the same dilima. What I did was download MozBackup, backed up the Thunderbird on XP, installed Thunderbird and the backup program on Win 7 and restored. I received all my email accounts, settings and all.

    http://mozbackup.jasnapaka.com/
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  • I downloaded the program but it will not install in Windows 7. It reports that it is the wrong version of Windows. I think it is because I have a 64-bit Windows 7 version. I have moved Thunderbird between Windows XP systems, so I understand the manual move of profiles. It just is not working in Windows 7. I'm stumped. I may have to actually purchase a backup utility.
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  • I and others, see forum, have installed it on Win7 64 bit and it works fine. Maybe youu should install it without your firewall/virus protection off?

    http://windows7forums.com/windows-7-s...
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  • 2
    I just did it! I looked at other people's questions and answers and finally worked out the way after 4 hours of repeatedly trying the different things suggested.

    My old XP computer died last week, leaving me with a working hard drive that I installed as a slave in the new, Windows 7 one I had to buy. Like a lot of people, I installed Thunderbird, then tried to bring in the new data files and got the messages that I already had a running copy of Thunderbird, when I didn't. Just transferring the files to replace those of a fresh installation of Thunderbird seems to make the new copy think that the unfamiliar files are a running copy.

    So I joined up two suggestions from the forum and hit on the answer. YOU NEED MOZBACKUP and a few tricks! It's at:
    http://mozbackup.jasnapaka.com/downlo...
    Install it as directed, then come back here.

    This is how to transfer your Thunderbird data, using MozBackup. By the way, I was still using Thunderbird 1.5 on XP - I like some of its features better - but it won't work in 64-bit Windows 7. Nevertheless, all my data works fine now in Thunderbird 2.

    THE PROCESS
    For those of you who know your way around computers well and won't need detailed help, the process is:

    # Install Thunderbird on the new system.

    # Replace the new Thunderbird empty data files with your old set.

    # Run MozBackup to make a true backup of this data - MozBackup recognizes your stuff, even if Thunderbird won't.

    # Delete the files, then run Thunderbird to make a set it will recognize, quitting when it asks for setup information.

    # Restore the backup into the new folders, replacing the empty data files on MozBackup's request.

    # Run Thunderbird, which should then set up as normal.

    # A complication is preventing Thunderbird from downloading any emails from the Web before all this is completed - any such emails will probably be lost.

    WARNING
    If you have emails waiting to download into Thunderbird, you'll lose them if the new copy begins working and downloading before you have Thunderbird set up as it was before - you'll have to delete the folders it downloads to. So while you'll need to go online in Firefox (or IE - shame on you!) to get Thunderbird downloads, articles, etc., you must GO OFFLINE before any copy of Thunderbird fires up, as any email it downloads may be lost later. It's a nuisance going on and ofline again and again, but vital.

    To disconnect and reconnect your modem, switch off (or pull out the power lead), then replace. Then wait for it to fire up again - it takes several minutes. If you have a wireless connection to the modem, it's easier. You just click on the wireless icon in the System Tray (far bottom right of the screen - a signal bar is the icon) and simply click on your router name then disconnect or connect.

    STAGE ONE - clean up Thunderbird
    First, install a fresh copy of Thunderbird, following the instructions. If you've been fiddling about trying different things, like I was for hours, uninstall any copy of Thunderbird you may have fiddled with before you do this, so you get rid of any foulups. Any files you moved in won't matter - you're going to move or delete them in stage 5.

    STAGE TWO - find the file path
    The files are stored in a Thunderbird Profiles data folder. The location in each version of Windows (and Mac and Linux) is as described in this article:
    http://www.freeemailtutorials.com/moz...
    Go there in a fresh Firefox tab. You'll find the locations section under the description of how to use Mozbackup, but the article assumes that your Thunderbird is up and running OK and it's not, so you need extra help to make the transfer. So have the article to hand as you work, in a Firefox tab scrolled down to the locations section. You can then refer here as you find the files you need.

    STAGE THREE - open the Thunderbird data folder
    You need to be able to see the files. First, open Windows Explorer. In Windows 7, right click on the Windows button (bottom left; used to be the START button) and select 'Open Windows Explorer'. In the Explorer/Search window that opens, click on your main hard drive (under 'computer' on the left), double click the 'Users' folder, then double click your profile folder. (This profile must have administrator permissions; if there's only one apart from 'Public', it will have; otherwise I'll assume that you know what to do because you know how to change permissions.)

    Unless you've changed the settings, YOU CAN'T SEE THE NEXT FOLDER TO OPEN - Windows has hidden it to prevent tampering. This is what has confused a lot of people. So click on your profile name in the address window at the top, press the right arrow key to get to the end of the path name, type \AppData and press 'Return'. This will open the hidden 'AppData' folder so you can navigate as normal again.

    Now double click on 'Roaming' and 'Thunderbird', and you'll see the all-important 'Profiles' data - a few files and a 'Profiles' folder with basic data in it. (Your old 'Profiles' folder will be huge - it has all your settings and emails in it.) When Thunderbird starts up, it needs to read these files. If they are absent it creates fresh ones then asks you to start entering basic login data. If there are files, but they're not as expected, it goes into hysterics - as you may have found.

    So you're now ready to manipulate your files for MozBackup. If the files you see are those you've been messing with, don't worry. You'll fix it soon.

    STAGE FOUR - find the files to transfer
    You now need to open another Explorer window and (following the same method as in Stage 3) navigate to open the same Thunderbird folder on your old hard drive. The article you should have open in Firefox gives you the path and folder names; they aren't always the same as in Windows 7.

    STAGE FIVE - transferring the files
    Now move the two Explorer windows and Firefox window to where you can see all of the old drive window and the right-hand half of the new 'C' drive window (the first Explorer window you opened). This will make the file transfers easier.

    Look in the 'Thunderbird' folder on your old hard drive. It should contain a huge 'Profiles' folder (mine is just under 7 Gb!), a 'Console' file, a 'Profiles' file and maybe a 'registry.dat' file. This is your old, presumably working, set of Thunderbird data files as they were when your old computer died or you stopped it to take out the hard drive. You will need this set transferred to the same place on your new hard drive, replacing what was there. But doing this doesn't seem to work - the new copy of Thunderbird has to be forced to cuddle up to them!

    If you moved the old files and deleted tham on the old drive (silly you!) then find your own path to this exchange, depending on what you did. Otherwise (most of us) do this:

    1) Delete everything in the new Windows 7 'Thunderbird' folder by clicking on a file, pressing CTRL-A (to highlight and select everything) and then the delete key, and confirming delete. It'd won't take long, these are empty files.

    2) In the old drive window, select everything in the same way then drag the combined data into the new drive window, then release. (Or you could copy and paste.) A copy of the files will then replace the deleted set - it could take quite a while if you have many thousands of emails.

    The old data is now on your new computer, ready for use - NOT! Thunderbird won't recognize it. You'll now force this by backing the data up with MozBackup, deleting it all from the 'Thunderbird' folder and then restoring it. Thunderbird will then just go as you probably thought it would in the first place!

    STAGE SIX - backing up the data.
    Simply follow the instructions in the article you have waiting in Firefox. It takes a while, and you'll end up with a proper backup, which you should make regularly anyway. If there's more than one data folder, go to your old drive Explorer window, open the 'Profiles' folder and hover the pointer over each file name. The popup will give you the size and last modification date of each folder, so you can work out which one to back up.

    STAGE SEVEN - forcing recognition of your old data
    In your Windows 7 Explorer window, delete the data in the 'Thunderbird' folder again (remember that you still have it on the old hard drive - it can't get lost!) Start Thunderbird and let it rebuild the files, then exit and close it down before it starts to interrogate you for the connection data you're about to give it in the old files.

    Then fire up MozBackup and restore your backup. It will ask you if you want to replace the data that Thunderbird has just built. Tell it yes. MozBackup will chunter away rebuilding all your precious data in the new files that your new Thunderbird recognizes, then close itself.

    STAGE EIGHT - getting it all working again
    Make sure you're off line. Start Thunderbird. You should see, after a pause for file building, exactly what you had on the old computer (sighs of relief!) and a message telling you that Thunderbird can't connect to the internet. OK that, go online, and click the 'get mail' button. All the waiting emails should then start pouring in from your ISP's server - I had 1182!.

    All done! Pat yourself on the back.

    If you still have problems, come back to this item and ask a REAL expert - they're waiting!
    • Dave, well done .I did your procedure and, thinking it hadn't worked, did Chris's below which didn't seem to work either until I clicked on the arrows top left of T-bird to flick through various lists of folders and then suddenly found all my old folders! Sweet moment after two long evenings of doing my head in. So many thanks, you guys are great!
    • Dave,
      That was really helpful. I successfully migrated from a XP to Windows 7 using most of what you have detailed. I actually did not need to do STAGE SIX onwards, as the data was recognised in my case. Perhaps that was because of a later version of Thunderbird (I am using 3.1.10)?
      Also, as a note to others, the link Dave references for locating the Thunderbird profile data was not working at the time I read this article.
      On Windows XP/2000 this profile data is located in your root directory (C drive) under Documents and Settings. Select your Username and go to the "Application Data" directory. The file will be in the "Profiles" folder of the Thunderbird directory in the "Application Data" folder (C:\Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\). On Vista, the file is located here: C:\users\[User Name]\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\.

      A good (but less detailed) article of the process of copying all the profile files (your email and other related data files) is here:
      http://www.ehow.com/how_2224367_email...
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  • 7
    So much simpler this way!!

    Honest! This has worked for me, just one simple copy and paste, one minor wording change to an .ini file and you're away. 100% perfect and SO EASY! All my mails and accounts copied perfectly, it just started sending and receiving straight away!

    1) Simply copy your profile from XP (lots of info available about where to find it)

    2) In windows 7, navigate to Drive C:/, Users, Your username, application data, roaming, thunderbird, profiles. ( I don't think this is a hidden folder, if it is you'll have to set your prefs to 'view hidden folders').

    3) Paste your profile from XP into this folder. (You can remove the existing default, if wanted, or just leave it.)

    4) Copy the name of your profile, then go back one level to profiles.ini and replace the name of the folder in the default path with your folder name.

    Start Thunderbird and it should be just as it was on your old XP computer!
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  • EMPLOYEE
    I’m happy
    Roland Tanglao (Thunderbird Technical Support Lead) December 15, 2009 19:36
    Davidinnotts and Chris:

    Thanks for helping out the community.

    The MZ folks have a nice writeup too:
    http://kb.mozillazine.org/Transferrin...
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  • I’m happy
    Thanks Chris,

    Your short concise procedure worked perfectly.

    -Ron-
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  • This reply was removed on 2010-07-01.
    see the change log
  • I’m happy
    MozBackup worked!
    The only problem I had was trhat it did not put it on my memory stick, but in my documents folder. But now it is OK.
    Till thunderbird has it fixed I will use MozBackup
    Henk
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  • Hello,
    I have a very complicated situation.
    I have my former VAIO stolen, but still have an older backup, not Mozbackup, but a raw data one.
    I used a previous version of thunderbird. Now I have a new PC, running windows7 and thuderbird 3.
    How to proceed? I appreciate so much your help because I am not aware where on the hell the folders are in seven...
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  • Can't it be just simple? I am not a computer expert at all but I like Thunderbird better than Outlook. However, it's so complicated to copy my folders from one computer to the other that I think of going bak to Outlook.
    Or maybe I could transfer my Thunderbird folders to Outlook on the old computer, then transfer the outlook folders on the new computer Outlook, and then transfer Outlook folders to Thunderbird, as that seems way simpler... This situation is totally absurd.
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  • I agree Raph. It was a nightmare moving stuff across from one Thunderbird on one computer to thunderbird on another - it took me ages. And the latest version of Tbird is rubbish - it freezes up all the time! I would put everything onto Outlook and then that Windows file transfer wizard thing will just copy it all across for you - much easier! rgds ,Ashley
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  • I’m relieved!
    Chris, you're a lifesaver! I've been working on this all day! What I was doing wrong was putting things in the LOCAL folder, not the ROAMING folder.
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  • 1
    In Thunderbirds "Account Settings" - on the old machine - locate the profile folder. typically under doc&setting\user\application data\thunderbird
    Be sure to copy - not just the Profiles folder, but he .ini file too!
    load thunderbird on the new machine, add an account, and see where "local Folders' is.... copy BOTH the Profile folder & the .ini file!
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  • I just got win 7 64 bit and installed mozbackup but it only stays in the task bar. when I try to run it it's just a small icon and when I put mouse over it a tiny window shows the start page but I cannot get it to execute.
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  • Chris' solution is amazing. I was migrating from OE on a PC with XP to Thunderbird on a new 64-bit Windows 7 laptop. I was having difficulty pulling everything in via the Thunderbird import (across a network). So I went back to the PC, installed Thunderbird there, imported from OE to TB there, then followed Chris' method. Seems to be working beautifully. Now I just need to get to know Thunderbird.
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  • 1
    Mozbackup is pants in my experience... Avoid! If you must, first back up the Profiles folder just in case. When I've tried it, yeah it transfers your data but many emails go missing in the process. But like most things OS they are hit and miss at best.

    Chris is right but he needs to add Bobs comments too for ease of transfer.

    So here we go to clarify: (this is Windows 7 so use your intelligence to find a similar folder name if yours is slightly different)

    1. Install Thunderbird on new PC then close it.

    2. On existing (old) PC go to Username > AppData > Roaming (if you don't have a Roaming folder its hidden. To unhide click Organize or similar (top left) > Folder and Search Options > View tab > Hidden Files and Folders > Show Hidden files, etc.

    3. In the Roaming folder highlight the Profiles folder and the profiles.ini file. For newbies: to highlight 2 items at once hold down Ctrl key > and click both folders. Then right click the highlighted items > copy.

    4. Navigate to same folder on new PC, again making sure the AppData folder is not hidden. Right click > Paste in here.

    Note: You may want to delete the new profiles folder first (on new PC) before pasting your original here, if you feel more comfortable, as opposed to merging.

    5. Open Thunderbird. Boom! Job Done.

    Thanks Chris, Bob and Everyone else.

    Cheers
    Juice
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  • I've tried all the methods including the one from davidinnotts three times to make sure I wasn't doing something wrong. All I get in the end is an empty Inbox, Trash and Sent box. None of my local folders or original inbox are showing up.
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  • Use the one from Chris above: (Make sure you use the Roaming location)...

    1) Simply copy your profile from XP (lots of info available about where to find it)

    2) In windows 7, navigate to Drive C:/, Users, Your username, application data, roaming, thunderbird, profiles. ( I don't think this is a hidden folder, if it is you'll have to set your prefs to 'view hidden folders').

    3) Paste your profile from XP into this folder. (You can remove the existing default, if wanted, or just leave it.)

    4) Copy the name of your profile, then go back one level to profiles.ini and replace the name of the folder in the default path with your folder name.

    Start Thunderbird and it should be just as it was on your old XP computer!
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  • Yes!
    just to say that Chris' method is a no-brainer! Many thanks for maing the move from my venerable old XP machine to my new machine so easy and solid.
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  • I reckon the difference between my (long) method and Chris's short one is the version of Thunderbird you had on the old drive. Try his first; use mine if it doesn't.

    David.
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  • David, yes, sounds good. Thanks for your "long" method. for when needed. (I was converting from 5 to 5.)
    Arguably, of course, if you're using an older version of TB on the "old" computer, it might also be sensible simply first to make the easy upgrade to 5, then transfer by the "short" method.
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  • Always check before and after to ensure all emails have been transferred correctly using the backup methods.
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  • True, Ian. It helps, though, to do a backup of the files involved first, from the old drive, and second, from the new drive before any further changes are needed. And wiping the old drive within some months of making the switch would not be sensible: you can never be sure when you'd need to refer back!
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  • I gave up in the end and went with Windows Live Mail which was easy to import the old TB mail files and I am finding is more feature-rich.
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  • And that, of course is another route: import from the old drive to Windows Live Mail then import from this into the new Thunderbird.

    I, too, find Thunderbird still comparitively crude alongside any of the current browsers; it isn't quite intuitive. But then, that goes for Outlook, too!
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  • Go with Thunderbird Converter that easily moves entire Thunderbird emails to other email client without losing any details. The Software would be able to simply move Thunderbird emails within few minutes. It is most useful and I had used it before some time –
    http://www.catasoftware.com/thunderbi...
    http://thunderbirdtooutlook.blogspot.in/
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