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Thread: Thunderbird: Copy email accounts from Windows to Linux?

  1. #1

    Default Thunderbird: Copy email accounts from Windows to Linux?

    Hi, I use Thunderbird and in Windows I can copy the AppData/Local/Mozilla and the AppData/Roaming/Mozilla folders and completely tranfer the whole application profile incluising all email accounts.

    I'd like to copy these files to my Linux installation of Thunderbird to import my email accounts.Does anyone know where to put the files?

    Thanks
    Astralogic

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Thunderbird: Copy email accounts from Windows to Linux?

    i don't think that is possible. i have tried that awhile back.
    fortunately for my, i only had two email accounts and two RSS feeds. but once you setup thunderbird in linux, it is very easy to copy the ~/.thunderbird folder from one install to another.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Thunderbird: Copy email accounts from Windows to Linux?

    On 2014-02-10 12:16, Astralogic wrote:

    > I'd like to copy these files to my Linux installation of Thunderbird to
    > import my email accounts.Does anyone know where to put the files?


    On "~/.thunderbird". The structure is, more or less:

    Code:
    ..thunderbird/
    |-- appreg
    |-- Crash Reports
    |
    
    |-- profiles.ini
    `-- RANDOMNAME.default
    |-- abook.mab
    |-- addons.sqlite
    |-- addons.sqlite-journal
    |-- blist.sqlite
    |-- blocklist.xml
    |-- _CACHE_CLEAN_
    |-- cert8.db
    |-- cert_override.txt
    |-- chromeappsstore.sqlite
    |-- compatibility.ini
    |-- compreg.dat
    |-- content-prefs.sqlite
    |-- cookies.sqlite
    |-- cookies.sqlite-shm
    |-- cookies.sqlite-wal
    |-- directoryTree.json
    |-- downloads.sqlite
    |-- extensions/
    |-- extensions.ini
    |-- extensions.rdf
    |-- extensions.sqlite
    |-- extensions.sqlite-journal
    |-- folderTree.json
    |-- formhistory.sqlite
    |-- global-messages-db.sqlite
    |-- history.mab
    |-- ImapMail/
    
    |-- install.log
    |-- junklog.html
    |-- key3.db
    |-- localstore.rdf
    |-- localstore-safe.rdf
    |-- lock -> 192.168....
    |-- Mail/
    
    |-- mailViews.dat
    |-- mimeTypes.rdf
    |-- minidumps/
    |-- News/
    
    |-- panacea.dat
    |-- permissions.sqlite
    |-- persdict.dat
    |-- pgprules.xml
    |-- places.sqlite
    |-- places.sqlite-shm
    |-- places.sqlite-wal
    |-- pluginreg.dat
    |-- prefs.js
    |-- search.json
    |-- search-metadata.json
    |-- search.sqlite
    |-- secmod.db
    |-- session.json
    |-- signons3.txt
    |-- signons.sqlite
    |-- signons.txt
    |-- TestPilotErrorLog.log
    |-- TestPilotExperimentFiles/
    |-- training.dat
    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.

    (from 13.1 x86_64 "Bottle" (Minas Tirith))

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Thunderbird: Copy email accounts from Windows to Linux?

    http://kb.mozillazine.org/Moving_from_Windows_to_Linux

    Copy the the contents of the Firefox profile over the profile in the ".mozilla/firefox" subdirectory in your home directory. Copy the contents of the Thunderbird profile over the profile in the ".thunderbird" subdirectory in your home directory. They are hidden subdirectories, you need to find an option in your file browser to display them. In both Gnome and KDE you can use "Show -> hidden files" to show directories that begin with a period. If you're dual-booting, many distributions provide read-only access to your NTFS partition in the file manager, you don't have to copy the profile to some type of removable media.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Thunderbird: Copy email accounts from Windows to Linux?

    Quote Originally Posted by Astralogic View Post
    Hi, I use Thunderbird and in Windows I can copy the AppData/Local/Mozilla and the AppData/Roaming/Mozilla folders and completely tranfer the whole application profile incluising all email accounts.

    I'd like to copy these files to my Linux installation of Thunderbird to import my email accounts.Does anyone know where to put the files?

    Thanks
    Astralogic
    1. You can not copy the "whole application including all email accounts" since the settings and pointers to OS specific system utilities and file locations are stored within the profile. Also, any add-ons you use are likely OS specific, these add-ons are part of the "whole application" structure
    2. You CAN copy your mail folders (the email message content) and your address books between Windows profiles and Linux profiles.
    3. You CAN set up a dual boot machine (Windows and Linux) to share a single copy of the email message content and address books. In theory a Linux host and a Windows VM could also run Thunderbird in both, but likely not at the same time. In this setup, the email message content and address books must be on the Windows partition since Windows can not read/write Linux file systems.


    I ran my laptop in #3 above until I realized that a Windows VM was all I really needed, I then had no need to run Thunderbird from Windows. It has been a while for me, so their might be a few glitches in the following guidelines.
    In particular, Thunderbird now changes versions frequently. There might be some issues if the Windows version and Linux version are different.

    Since you can not do #1, I am guessing what you really need is #2, move all your email messages and address books from one to the other OS; that is the important stuff.

    (I am using the structure template posted above by Carlos.ER in the description that follows)

    First first - make backups of your email and address book folders just in case.

    Then First, a suggestion: Load the Thunderbird Add-on "ViewAbout 2.0.1". This adds a sub menu to the bottom of the View Menu item in Thunderbird, and allows you to easily look thru the .js file which stores the specific setup information for your profile.
    As an alternative, you can browse the file ~/.thunderbird/RandomName.default/prefs.js with kwrite or vim or your favorite.
    Be careful here, you can mess up your Thunderbird by making incorrect changes in prefs.js

    Second, important files and directories to know about
    • ~/.thunderbird/RandomName.default/prefs.js - discussed above
    • ~/.thunderbird/RandomName.default/*.mab - these are your address books
    • ~/.thunderbird/RandomName.default/Mail - in this directory email folders and email message content for each POP3 mail account you have under Thunderbird appears. These are plain text.
    • ~/.thunderbird/RandomName.default/ImapMail - in this directory email folders and email message content for each IMAP mail account you have under Thunderbird appears. These are plain text.
    • I suggest browsing thru each of these (Read ONLY) so as to generally understand the structure and content.


    So to move all your emails and address books from Windows Thunderbird installation and a Linux installation:
    1. Exit the Thunderbird application on Windows.
    2. On you Linux system, Install Thunderbird
    3. On your Linux system, configure Thunderbird for the email accounts you want to manage; servers, passwords, etc.
    4. Now look thru your profile in ~/.thunderbird/RandomName.default/ for the structure as posted by Carlos.ER, just to familiarize yourself with it again.
    5. Exit Thunderbird on Linux.
    6. On Linux, rename ~/.thunderbird/RandomName.default/Mail to /Mail_old
    7. On Linux, rename ~/.thunderbird/RandomName.default/ImapMail to /ImapMail_old
    8. For POP3 accounts, copy the entire contents on \Mail directory on Windows machine to a new /Mail directory on Linux machine.
    9. For IMAP accounts, copy the entire contents on \ImapMail directory on Windows machine to a new /ImapMail on Linux machine
    10. Copy all the *.mab files (address books) from Windows to Linux
    11. Restart Thunderbird on Linux, you should see that your email folder structure, email messages and address books have been moved.
    12. Make sure to manage properly how you want your email messages saved from now on. If you want Thunderbird to download messages and delete from server, probably best to configure that on only one Thunderbird instance.


    Good luck with it.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Thunderbird: Copy email accounts from Windows to Linux?

    On 2014-02-10 14:46, cmcgrath5035 wrote:
    > - You *CAN* set up a dual boot machine (Windows and Linux) to share a
    > single copy of the email message content and address books. In theory
    > a Linux host and a Windows VM could also run Thunderbird in both, but
    > likely not at the same time. In this setup, the email message content
    > and address books must be on the Windows partition since Windows can
    > not read/write Linux file systems.


    I was doing what you describe more than a decade ago :-)
    It was the Netscape suite, the predecessor of Mozilla, but the procedure
    was basically the same. Same basic technology.

    IIRC, I created a Netscape profile in Linux, then pointed some
    directories with symlinks to the equivalent on the Windows partition. I
    had that working till I finally moved over to Linux.

    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.

    (from 13.1 x86_64 "Bottle" (Minas Tirith))

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Thunderbird: Copy email accounts from Windows to Linux?

    Quote Originally Posted by robin_listas View Post
    On 2014-02-10 14:46, cmcgrath5035 wrote:

    IIRC, I created a Netscape profile in Linux, then pointed some
    directories with symlinks to the equivalent on the Windows partition. I
    had that working till I finally moved over to Linux.

    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.

    (from 13.1 x86_64 "Bottle" (Minas Tirith))
    I followed a Mozillazine item when I set mine up.
    In my case, I had an NTFS partition that contained(among other shared items)

    • The Windows profile
    • The Linux profile
    • A mail directory where /Mail resided for use by either Win or oS.

    Mail content sharing worked fine.
    I never could figure out how to have just one copy of the address books.
    Tbird seemed to have their location hardwired to be in the profile directory at the time.

    Worked well, but I much prefer running Windows in a VM. A lot less maintenance and setup.
    Desk: i7-4790K Leap 15.1(x86_64)4.12.14-lp151.28.7-default KF5 59.0 Plasma 5.14.4 Qt 5.13.0
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Thunderbird: Copy email accounts from Windows to Linux?

    I would be interested to know whether you are successful because I wasted a lot of time on Saturday trying to move mails from Windows to Linux in the manner described above without success. In the end I turned to Kontact as described in http://www.bradlug.co.uk/life-after-xp-notes/

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Thunderbird: Copy email accounts from Windows to Linux?

    Quote Originally Posted by john_hudson View Post
    I would be interested to know whether you are successful because I wasted a lot of time on Saturday trying to move mails from Windows to Linux in the manner described above without success. In the end I turned to Kontact as described in http://www.bradlug.co.uk/life-after-xp-notes/
    John, are you trying to directly move old Windows Outlook mail to Linux Thunderbird?
    That is certainly not what we are talking about here, rather this thread is about Windows Thunderbird to Linux Thunderbird.
    I recall in the very fuzzy past trying WinOutlook to Thunderbird and ultimately giving up.

    IFthere is an import for Windows Thunderbird from Windows Outlook, I would expect that you could then transfer the Windows Thunderbird to Linux Thunderbird following this thread.

    I gave up on Outlook 10 years ago, so am not at all current as to what import/export capabilities might have have evolved.

    And, by the way, I have had very little luck with conversion of contact lists and address books from anything to anything else. Seems everyone is intentionally 'closed'. or should I say no standard way to do it.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Thunderbird: Copy email accounts from Windows to Linux?

    On 2014-02-11 01:26, cmcgrath5035 wrote:

    > *IF*there is an import for Windows Thunderbird from Windows Outlook, I
    > would expect that you could then transfer the Windows Thunderbird to
    > Linux Thunderbird following this thread.


    I did this in the past, using Netscape 4. I don't remember the details,
    I think it was perhaps the commercial version. It could use the Windows
    DLLs in the system to read outlook folders directly (unless encrypted).

    > I gave up on Outlook 10 years ago, so am not at all current as to what
    > import/export capabilities might have have evolved.


    There is a generalized method that works for mail migration across
    almost any mail client and operating system. There are two requirements,
    though: the source client must be in working order, and must be able to
    access standard imap servers.

    You need an imap mail server, and it should be on the local network. It
    is remote, then you also need a good enough pipe.

    Then on the source client agent (say, outlook), you add an account on
    that imap server, and copy all your mails and folders to it. Once done,
    on the destination agent (say, Linux Thunderbird) you add that same
    account, and bring in all those same folders and mails.


    > And, by the way, I have had very little luck with conversion of contact
    > lists and address books from anything to anything else. Seems everyone
    > is intentionally 'closed'. or should I say no standard way to do it.


    True... They say you can setup an LDAP server, and use that one on all
    clients. Theoretically, all can adapt and use it.

    I failed to get this working.


    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.

    (from 13.1 x86_64 "Bottle" (Minas Tirith))

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