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Windows 7: Thunderbird in W7 as replacement for OE in an XP machine

01 Oct 2015   #1

W7 Home Premium, W7 Professional, W8.1
Thunderbird in W7 as replacement for OE in an XP machine

Would it work best to setup Thunderbird on the XP computer and transfer all the folders into the Thunderbird environment first? Then download Thunderbird onto the new machine and transfer from Tbird to Tbird?

Or setup Outlook on the XP computer and transfer the OE folders into Outlook first?

Can you leave the OE on the old computer after the Tbird is set up on the new computer and receiving/sending/archiving? The purpose would be to make sure the new computer and email was working reliably before disabling the OE function. Can you just retrieve your email from your provider from either computer for the mean time? If you later have to move to another email program, can you move the Tbird archives/folders to the new program, or do you run the risk of compounding your situation?

Finally, if you begin downloading Tbird into the new computer, is this a point of no return? Do you have to find the various addresses etc., protocols, whatever, and enter them to complete the download and then you are stuck with however it emerges?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2015   #2

OEM Windows 7 Ult (x64) SP1

Hi, @Squidward:

You marked this post/thread as "solved", so I don't know if you still need help?

The scenario you describe has 2 pieces:
  1. The different OS versions on the "old" and the "new" computer; and
  2. The different email clients on the "old" and the "new" computer.

The different OS versions does make it a bit trickier, because of the different file paths/install directories.
But, as you aptly pointed out, there are several ways to go about this.
Before you start, please be sure that you back up your OE profile data (especially the email messages themselves and your account data, server settings, etc.), just in care.

You might want to read over and print out the detailed advice in these KB topics:
Import from Outlook Express
Importing and exporting your mail
Install, Migrate and Update Thunderbird

And, if you plan to install TB on the old computer > Import from OE to TB > transfer the TB profile to TB the new computer:
Moving your profile folder - Thunderbird
Profile Backup
My personal preference, if these were my own computers, would be to use this method, because I am more comfortable working with TB and its profiles and backups than I am with OE. YMMV.

This can be a bit detailed, though the process itself is not that complicated.
If you run into a snag, we can try to help you here.
But you might also find that the mozilla geeks at can provide excellent, user-to-user help with this.

Let us know how it goes,

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2015   #3

W7 Home Premium, W7 Professional, W8.1

The Thunderbird is on a new computer, the OE is on the old computer running XP. They are networked but I cannot access the old XP folders from the new computer. So I followed the instructions for copying the emails to a new folder and created this new folder on the new computer (something I can do over the network). Then I opened Thunderbird on the new computer and walked through the tools/import steps, but when it finds the folder where OE dbx files were copied, it is blank to Thunderbird; the message states: "No items matched your search." When you just open the folder or look at properties, there are lots of .dbx folders there, 8.24 GB. But Thunderbird does not recognize them.

When I copy just one folder from the OE store folder on the old machine to a flash drive and then plug this into the new computer and navigate to it under tools/import, the same thing happens--no folder is recognized by Thunderbird for import.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

04 Oct 2015   #4

OEM Windows 7 Ult (x64) SP1


That doesn't sound quite right.

And, I'm no expert, but I probably wouldn't try to do this over a network, since one rig is XP and the other is 7.
The other wrinkle is the ginormous size of the mail folder (>8 GB) -- it will be hard to get this done without some sort of corruption. And some of the tools may not work with such a huge profile.

I would refer once again for details to the KB topics for which I provided the links in my previous reply.

But the overall approach that might work better might be to:
  1. Backup the OE profile on the old computer. I would probably also try to reduce its size, if possible, by pruning out old messages. Backup, backup, backup.....
  2. Install the same version of TB on both computers to the default location on each system.
  3. Install MozBackup on both computers (some users report better results with 1.5.2 beta here).
  4. On the old computer, import the OE mail into TB - profile size may be a limiting factor in this? This step will probably be the limiting factor in success or failure.
  5. Backup the TB profile on the old computer using MozBackup. It will save the entire profile as one compressed, pcv file (basically it's just a zip file).
  6. Transfer the backed-up TB profile from Mozbackup from the old computer to the new computer using a flash drive.
  7. Use MozBackup to restore the profile into TB on the new computer.
That approach ought to work.
But, given the complicating factors (different OS versions, size of profile, need to import an OE profile into TB), it could be a bit of a slog.

If it doesn't work, I would probably suggest heading over to
The real power users there can probably do a better job of walking you through the details and any glitches.

Please let us know how it goes,

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2015   #5

W7 Home Premium, W7 Professional, W8.1
Move emails from OE on XP to Tbird on W7??

I know I have some kind of permissions problem between these two computers. Much of the XP cannot be accessed from the W7. If that is the problem, maybe someone can help with that.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2015   #6

W7 Home Premium, W7 Professional, W8.1
Any way to open/edit/save OE mail folders outside of OE??

Oops. I started a new thread not seeing that you had replied to this one.

A huge portion of the OE mail is in 3 or 4 folders; these are a research archive. If I could find a way to move these into another folder and access them with a program, that would be great. I have never found a way to do this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2015   #7

W7 Home Premium, W7 Professional, W8.1

Well, the Thunderbird did load onto the old computer ok and began converting the OE folders and emails, but then crashed after about 15 minutes. The progress bar did run, but it stopped suddenly and gave me a "sorry, the program crashed" message with some choices about continuing the integration. I was able to open the interface, and many of the folders were there, but not all. I don't know if the attachments were there.

Interestingly, I also got a message about "tell us about your experience" and when I clicked ok, it took me to a dead link 404-type screen saying this survey no longer exists and tell the originating source about this. Outlook Express is still intact, and I will just use that for now. I ran the uninstaller to remove Thunderbird from the old computer.

I originally posted asking what email program people recommend for a new W7 machine. I was surprised when I received very few answers. This is my 3rd W7 machine, but I have never had to set up email for one of these, until now. Outlook would seem to be the obvious successor to OE, but is it just a big ripoff now?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Oct 2015   #8

OEM Windows 7 Ult (x64) SP1

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Squidward View Post
Well, the Thunderbird did load onto the old computer ok and began converting the OE folders and emails, but then crashed after about 15 minutes. The progress bar did run, but it stopped suddenly and gave me a "sorry, the program crashed" message with some choices about continuing the integration.
I had a feeling that might happen, because your OE folder is so large.
8 GB may just be too big for the import to proceed.
You may also have a bit of corruption in the OE profile, if it is very old and very large.

It sounds as if you tried a direct import?

Did you try the "Advanced Alternatives"?
I've never needed them myself.
But I see them (especially importexporttools extension) suggested quite often, with good results.

You likely won't be able to install OE on the new, Win7 rig, to perform the transfer the "other" way.
But there is specific mention of another workaround from OE to TB on Win7 using WLM.

I hope you get it sorted out,

My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Oct 2015   #9

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

Well here's a suggestion. I confess that I don't know if it is suitable as I cannot test on Outlook. I do not use Outlook on my home machines - only on my machine at work.

Check out Mitec Mail Viewer

In theory you can open any Outlook .dbx file and select multiple messages in any folder to save using the .eml extension. If you create folders on your desktop named say Inbox. Archive 1. Archive 2 or whatever suits your needs - you should be able to save any emails into those folders then import them into Thunderbird.

In Thunderbird - create matching folders then open them one at a time and drag 'n' drop the .eml files from the corresponding saved folder (containing messages saved from Outlook.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Oct 2015   #10

W7 Home Premium, W7 Professional, W8.1
My experience with email for windows 7

I don't know if Thunderbird could have sufficed had I taken the time to work out the kinks. But when I tried to export my folders, it stopped and jammed after about 15 minutes! I was afraid I could lose emails, so I decided not to proceed with Thunderbird.

I ended up downloading and paying for OE Classic. It imported my huge email folders with only some glitches dealing with naming, and maybe some duplication. But it did seem to work satisfactorily. It took something like 6 hours!

As far as the interface, it is nearly identical to OE. But there is no spellcheck and I haven't figured out if it will automatically send incoming email to specified folders. There have also been a couple of times when it kind of stalled or gave an error message, but I don't think I have lost any of my old email or any new emails. I do not use an address book, so I can't speak to that.

One thing I needed badly was a search function for searching in my folders. That feature works very well in OE Classic.

All in all, I believe I was able to get everything moved from Outlook Express to OE Classic and am back up and running.

If you do this, be sure to backup. I did a triple backup, on external drives.

Party on!

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Thunderbird in W7 as replacement for OE in an XP machine

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