I want to create a backup snapshot of everything I have on Gmail (preferably including Contacts), in a form that is later browseable by Thunderbird. This should also include all attachments. The result should be a file or a folder, which I can then copy onto an external drive and import later.

After installing Thunderbird, it correctly recognizes all emails in my Gmail, but, as far as I can see, it only downloads the message headers, no content. In the folder properties, the checkbox "Select this folder for offline use is checked".

Is this possible?

EDIT: I'm still checking, but it seems that, in time, Thunderbird actually did sync my mail into the local folder. It wasn't very obvious that it was in the process, though. The answers are very helpful, still.


Easy! Just copy the entire profile, which in Windows is \User\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\????????.default (In Linux, it will be in your Home folder in .thunderbird.). If your goals is to copy only GMail, and not other accounts, then the simplest way is to copy the whole profile and then delete other accounts in the ImapMail folder. Keep the .msf file as well as the GMail folder.

To save anything downloaded to local folders, also copy the Mail folder.

Thunderbird mail folders, Windows

Location of mail folders for Yahoo account.

  • This answer is OK, except the OP has indicated that he doesn't think his email is correctly synced .... – DavidPostill Jul 15 '18 at 19:29
  • Is that the procedure used to back up the account? if it doesn't work for @Zubo, I'll delete it. – DrMoishe Pippik Jul 15 '18 at 20:40

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