I have about 5 email accounts (of different people) backed up on my computer using Thunderbird.

I need to be able to somehow send a zip file (or anyother format) to these users so that the file will contain their email messages. Once they get that file, can they 'import' the file into their local copy of Thunderbird?

Please help I am lost.

I know Thunderbird keeps files in profiles. So I have currently have 5 profiles.

3 Answers 3


For each of the accounts, you can zip up the related profile folders to send over and have them set up with the data on their machine.

To find out where the accounts are storing the information, go to:

Tools > Account Settings

Then select the Server Settings pane of an account.

Look at the folder path stored in the Local directory. (If you can't see it all, click browse and a pop up will show you the path of where the folder is.)

account settings dialog

Then, follow the path to the folder on your system.

The parent will have the following default child folders:

  • Drafts.sbd
  • Inbox.sbd
  • Sent.sbd
  • Templates.sbd

Zip it up with your compression/archive tool of choice and email it to the person.

They then extract the folder to a location of their choice or into a similar path as outlined in an earlier step. (Server Settings > Local directory)

They will need to restart Thunderbird for the account manager to remap to the folder.

When setting up Thunderbird, the default Local directory store path is a long chain of folders to where the profile is stored. By setting the folder of choice in the Local directory you can cut that down and even store the information on a different partition or disk.

The above instructions and screenshot are from a Windows XP install of Thunderbird. There might be slight difference on other systems, but the instructions will hold.

  • as of now it's Edit -> Account Settings
    – user2740
    Apr 14, 2018 at 15:24

I usually backed up my Thunderbird data with MozBackup (http://mozbackup.jasnapaka.com/).

From the website: This program is freeware (even for commercial use) and works on Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista/7.

  • Easiest way to do it. If you choose to, you can even include the Thunderbird extensions along with your mail.
    – Isxek
    Jul 20, 2011 at 18:31

Thunderbird stores mail in mbox format, which is pretty universal. You may be able to just send them the mbox file (that the profile uses), if not there's an mbox import/export extension for Thunderbird.

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