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Windows 7: Backing Up Thunderbird directory, profiles

05 Sep 2011   #1
gogreen

Windows 10 Home, 64 bit
 
 
Backing Up Thunderbird directory, profiles

I've switched from Windows Live Mail 2011 to Thunderbird 6.0.1. I've seen two backup plans here for Thunderbird--1) use Mozbackup, and 2) copy the entire Thunderbird folder in the AppData folder. Does anyone have an idea on which method is more reliable, or are both plans equally reliable? I'm way too chicken to test both. Thanks.


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05 Sep 2011   #2
seth500

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Personally I have always back upped my appdata folder and put it on a usb or somewhere safe.
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05 Sep 2011   #3
AussieColin

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

I have Thunderbird and have restored it and my mail a number of times with no problems. I don't bother trying to save my settings; it's just not all that complex a program to set up! I simply back up the folder containing my mail. This can be found in C:\Users\Owner\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles where "Owner" is your user name.

If you look in that Profiles folder you'll find a folder with some strange code name. Mine's currently "sp6tht5i.default". Each time I've installed it's been different so I'm not sure what determines it! Assuming that you're the only one using it there will only be one folder. It contains all your settings plus your mail, so basically I would assume that if you back this up you'll be fine. As I said, however, I don't bother doing this - I just backup the one folder inside it called "Mail". Well... actually, if you look inside it you'll find that it contains multiple mail folders. At a minimum it will have ones called smart mailboxes, Local Folders and whatever your accounts are. Whether you want to backup all of them depends on what you use. Personally, although I have more than one account that is read by Thunderbird, I have things set up so that they all dump into the one main one. So again, that's all I bother backing up!

When I've been feeling paranoid and wanted to be sure I had my settings backed up I've occasionally gone to the Account Settings screens in Thunderbird and done a succession of Alt+PrntScrns to capture the images of the settings, pasting them into Word and saving this. I've never needed this though.

Basically the procedure for restoring is:
1. Install Thunderbird.
2. Set up your account as per usual. Send yourself a test mail to ensure it works.
3. Exit Thunderbird.
4. Locate your Profile's folder again and replace the Mail folder with your old one. I assume you might also here replace the settings files but I've not done that, only the Mail folder.
5. Load Thunderbird again.

Easy.

I'm sure that someone else will now proceed to tell me all sorts of easier ways to do this but it's worked successfully for me now for 10 years, starting with the old Mozilla program that Thunderbird replaced (name escapes me now).

Note that all of this is assuming that you store your mail on your local machine. ie that you don't have one of the accounts (IMAP?) where the mail is stored remotely so that you can access it on multiple machines. I've never wanted to do that so I always set up my accounts as POP3 style and all mails are downloaded to the local machine immediately and stored only there.
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05 Sep 2011   #4
gogreen

Windows 10 Home, 64 bit
 
 

Thanks, AussieColin and seth500, for the ideas. I'm beginning to think it is easier just to save the entire Thunderbird folder in Users\Username\AppData\Roaming, as does seth500. That folder includes everything, of course. Simple. I even tested it on a different machine--replaced that machine's Thunderbird folder with the one from my main computer, and even that worked just fine, so that's even a good way to sync my 2 computers on a home network!

I wonder if others have a different plan.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Sep 2011   #5
AussieColin

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Good to know. Apart from not having tried it, the reason I didn't want to seriously suggest that as the easiest option was simply that I didn't know how much, if any, of the settings information was stored in the registry rather than that folder. If replacing it cloned your set up then that's the best option I would think.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Sep 2011   #6
gogreen

Windows 10 Home, 64 bit
 
 

Yup. Cloning seems to be working OK--for now.
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 Backing Up Thunderbird directory, profiles




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