Moving Thunderbird Profile

Though I run Firefox and Thunderbird of USB drive, but still hardisk is much faster than USB drive. Since I am at hometown now, I installed Firefox and Thunderbird on my brother PC.

Now I have all my emails in USB drive. How do I load the emails to new installed Thunderbird? I do it the stupid way. I tried to figure out the Profile structure and file changes. Finally, I succeeded moving all my emails, contacts and account informations from USB drive to hardisk!

Here are the steps I took to migrate Thunderbird profile from one location to another(in this example, USB-to-Hardisk). It may not be the correct way but it works for me everytime.

Note: These steps does NOT migrate installed Thunderbird extension(s).

  1. Install Thunderbird on hardisk.
    (Note: I recommend to get the optimized build from MOOX)
  2. Run installed Thunderbird for the first time. It will ask to import data from Outlook, Thunderbird, etc. Since I do not want to import my brother’s mails, I cancel the import wizard.
  3. Next, it will ask to create email/news account. I cancel it as well, because I will import my account informations later.
  4. Then, Thunderbird start up without any account. Close it. The default Thunderbird profile is already builded on hardisk at this point. The default profile location is different depends on the OS you are running. Check Thunderbird profile folder location.
  5. Now, copy “localstore.rdf“, “abook.mab“, “prefs.js“, “Mail” folder, and “News” folder from Portable Thunderbird profile(example: “USB_Drive_Letter:thunderbirdprofile”) to the profile folder(at hardisk) just now.
  6. We are almost done. The last and most important step is changing the paths in “prefs.js“. The “prefs.js” file is editable using notepad. We need to update the paths, so that it point to hardisk profile location, not USB drive. Refer Thunderbird FAQ: Changing Profile Folder(step 3) for help on editing paths.
    (Tip: Use “Search and Replace” function of your text editor to update the paths)
  7. After saved the changes on “pref.js“, you are done! Launch Thunderbird and you get all your account informations, contacts and emails in the newly installed Thunderbird!
    (Note: All saved passwords need to enter once more.)

Just before I want to write this post to tell you about it, I found the Thunderbird FAQ: Changing Profile Folder! Osh! I should found it earlier! :???:

Anyway, hope you found my tip useful!

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