I transferred the Thunderbird profile from a Debian Wheezy installation to a Mint 17 installation. Thunderbird recognizes the add-ins and layout preferences in the profile, but not any of the user data (email accounts, email messages, Lightning calendar entries, or address book contents).
Thunderbird Versions: The Debian system is down, so I can only work from the stored data. Its Thunderbird version was 24.3.0. That was my main system, so I had not used Thunderbird on the Mint system in probably 6 months, although it was previously working. I believe the Mint system may have had one or more Thunderbird updates installed in that time. The Mint system is currently running Thunderbird 31.3.0. Thunderbird acts as the email client for a number of POP3 accounts.
I didn't think to verify that Thunderbird was still working before transferring the profile. However, putting the original Mint profile back didn't fix the problem. That one behaves the same.
What I've Tried
The profile is supposed to be "plug-and-play". You pop it out of one system, plug it into the other, and Thunderbird is supposed to use it. I migrated from Windows to Mint to Debian in that manner with no problems. This has not worked copying the profile from Debian back to to Mint. I tried various approaches including:
- Replacing the entire .thunderbird directory
- Replacing the profile and profiles.ini
- Creating a new profile and replacing its contents from the old profile
- Doing all of the above with the profile that was in active use on Debian and with a backup of a previous one (and with the one previously in use on the Mint machine)
- Uninstalled Thunderbird, deleted the .thunderbird directory, and reinstalled from scratch (no difference)
This Mozilla resource describes transferring components of the profile piecemeal, but the profile doesn't appear to contain anything non-essential or that would relate to the problem. The article also does not appear to be comprehensive (for example, it appears that the mail messages are contained in global-messages-db.sqlite, the only file big enough, and that isn't mentioned). I'm not familiar with the files, so moving components piecemeal would be hit-or-miss.
Numerous references on Mozilla help sites give versions of the procedure I used as the proper way to migrate the profile. Similar problems have been described on Super User in other questions, such as:
restore-thunderbirds-profiles (Describes what is supposed to work but doesn't)
how-to-move-thunderbird-account-settings-to-a-new-computer (The Mozbackup recommendation won't work on Linux, plus it doesn't work from stored profiles)
how-to-re-instate-emails-to-thunderbird-from-a-profile-backup (The import/export tools don't work from a stored profile)
transfer-e-mail-messages-between-different-thunderbird-profiles (Not a solution in this case)
thunderbird-unified-folders-not-working-after-moving-my-profile This post is only tangentially related, but the profile does contain panacea.dat, which contains references to the old profile name. Eliminating that and the .msf files didn't solve the problem.
I haven't come across any posts claiming that Thunderbird V31.3 has compatibility issues with older profiles. The add-ins all loaded properly (and don't normally affect recognition of user data).
If I can't find a solution to getting an existing profile properly recognized, I can recreate the email accounts to get Thunderbird working. However, then I would still need a solution to migrating the user data from the old profiles. There is not an obvious way to do that with Thunderbird's resident tools since the profile is supposed to be plug-and-play.