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I installed Windows 7 over Windows XP and forgot to backup my emails. I still have the Thunderbird profile folder saved in Documents and Settings though.

How do I go about recovering all my mail and messages from the profile folder?

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:From Carlitos:(2/2) I still hate Thunderbird now...but at least I can get to my email accounts and archived emails. WHEW!!!! Thanks! – KronoS Feb 25 '11 at 21:01
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Based on's How to Restore a Mozilla Thunderbird Profile from a Backup Copy:

To restore your Mozilla Thunderbird Profile from a certain location:

First, create a new profile in Mozilla Thunderbird. You will overwrite this new profile with your data you want to recover or copy. If your current default profile does not contain any data you want to preserve, this step is not necessary, and you can overwrite that profile

  • Make sure Mozilla Thunderbird is not running.
  • On Windows, select Run... from the Start menu and type "thunderbird.exe -profilemanager". Click OK.
  • Click Create Profile....
  • Click Next.
  • Type "Restoration Profile" under Enter new profile name:.
  • Note the path given under Your user settings, preferences, bookmarks and mail will be stored in:.
  • Click Finish.
  • Click Exit.

Now, it's time to copy the files:

  • Open the folder containing your Mozilla Thunderbird profile backup.
  • Highlight and copy all files.
  • Open the desired new profile directory.
    • Make sure you choose the folder noted when you created your restoration profile. The folder name should end in ".Restoration Profile" if you created a specific profile or ".default" if you want to overwrite your current default profile.
  • Highlight all files and move them to the trash.
  • Paste the files copied from your backup location.

If you created a special "Restoration Profile" profile, you can rename it after the process above.

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I step out for a few minutes and the community already has it cleaned up before I could, Thanks! – ricbax Nov 1 '09 at 14:55
:From Carlitos:(1/2) After screwing around with this for FIVE DAYS, your instructions worked perfectly!!! One thing NO ONE, including the dorks at Mozilla (who decided to IMPROVE T Bird with a bunch of stupid features and bloated and VERY BUGGY code), won't tell you, is that Windows 7 (don't get me started about the Microsquish problems too) will create MULTIPLE directories under every single freakin' USER account. Finally found the correct profile under RANDOM, and not LOCAL or LOCAL SAFE (flip if I know what those others are, expect that they too have APPS DATA, etc.). – KronoS Feb 25 '11 at 21:02
:From Carlitos:(2/2) I still hate Thunderbird now...but at least I can get to my email accounts and archived emails. WHEW!!!! Thanks! – KronoS Feb 25 '11 at 21:02

I just had the same problem, I followed the indications in mozillazine:how to move your profile and worked wonderfully. Short version:

  1. Locate the data directory of your profile, usually in AppData\Local\Thunderbird\Profiles
  2. exit Thunderbird
  3. Launch the Thunderbird profile manager: Thunderbird -profilemanager
  4. Create profile -> choose folder, then select the one you located in point 1 and click finish
  5. Select the newly created profile and Start Thunderbird (or "Exit")
  6. You are good to go

Please note that if Thunderbird shows partial data or some folders appear empty when they shouldn't, it might be due to other reasons

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The problem I faced was due to not letting Windows 10 update completely. A couple of restarts and everything went back to normal. – manuelvigarcia Apr 21 at 12:15

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