Technology, Tutorial, Ubuntu

How to move Thunderbird emails from one Ubuntu Machine to Another

I thought I had blogged this years ago but apparently I haven’t. It should be part of a backup procedure regardless, but sometimes you just might want to move all your email accounts from one Ubuntu machine to another like I want to today. Heres how you do it.

Note: this tutorial assumes that you are putting the .thunderbird directory onto a fresh install Ubuntu machine and that Thunderbird has not yet been opened for the first time. If it has, this might not work the same way, or you may have to manually set up each email account in the ‘usual way’ because when you open Thunderbird for the first time it sets stuff up including the .thunderbird directory. If you don’t mind wiping it out and replacing with the one from your source machine then that could possibly work too. wayne

1. Back up emails on source machine

  • Go to the home directory on your source ubuntu machine
  • Press control + H to show all the hidden files (the ones that have a period / dot at the beginning)
  • Copy the entire .thunderbird folder to your hard drive
  • Safely eject the drive

2. Import the data onto destination machine

  • Plug in your external drive that you put the .thunderbird directory on
  • Copy the .thunderbird directory to the home directory on the destination machine – might take a while depending on how big this is
  • After copying is complete, open Thunderbird to see if it’s working….

If everything worked properly, when you open up Thunderbird, it should be as if you were sitting at the source machine. It’s that easy!

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