Sixth Part of Introduction to Thunderbird Series Tackles Importing Email and Address Books

Thursday September 4th, 2003

Morten W. Petersen writes: "Kay Frode has created another article introducing new users to Thunderbird, which explains how to import email and contacts from other applications. It follows the first, second, third, fourth and fifth articles, which received great reviews and lots of helpful feedback up on our website. Any comments? Thanks."

#1 Need more info on mail importing?

by danielwang

Thursday September 4th, 2003 10:01 PM

For extra info on importing mail & settings, see

The steps for Mozilla and T-Bird are similar.

#2 Great but how do you EXPORT email?

by NXprime

Thursday September 4th, 2003 10:33 PM

So why does this seem such a one way street? I have a ton of of NS 7.1 emails and I want to merge it with my OE program since this allows me to import it in any other email program in the future I wish to use. The emails came from my Netscape email account and I've been dl'ing them and saving them to my HD as my webspace fills up. I don't like using mozilla/ns email programs. I use OE. I know, I suck. :)

#3 Re: Great but how do you EXPORT email?

by niner

Friday September 5th, 2003 12:20 AM

Mozilla uses the standard MBOX format for saving it's mails. Most Unix programms should be able to read this and maybe Windows programs, too. At least you should be able to find some converters. Wish you luck.

And maybe you suck, but to have the free choice of which programs you use is one of the most important goals for projects like Mozilla so no one should be blamed for using something else.

#19 Re: Re: Great but how do you EXPORT email?

by fryak

Wednesday February 18th, 2004 9:09 AM

Where are MBOX files stored? I would like to backup mail on a CD, but I don't know how to access it.


#4 Re: Re: Speed?

by duffbeer703

Friday September 5th, 2003 5:21 AM

The worst thing about Mozilla mail or Thunderbird is that you cannot move folders from one profile to another. Having to manually copy files and edit complex XML files sucks.

#5 Export?

by sn0wflake

Friday September 5th, 2003 9:42 AM

How do I export mails?

#7 Need more info on mail importing?

by danielwang

Friday September 5th, 2003 10:39 AM

in your profile folder, the extension-less files with filename same as your folders are the mbox mail files. see also


by sn0wflake

Friday September 5th, 2003 9:47 AM

I don't get the MBOX wahoo. Make some easy to follow import/export menus, plain text or wizards!

...and why not modify Edit -> Preferences... -> Debug -> Networking -> Disable XUL Cache to "Enable XUL Cache"? It would be much quicker to understand and look better, i.e. three checked checkboxes!


by bzbarsky

Friday September 5th, 2003 2:54 PM

It's a DEBUG preference. If you don't know exactly what it does (for this one, not many people do), you should not be touching it. No amount of changing the UI around will change that fact.

#15 Re: BTW: MBPOX

by michaelg

Sunday September 7th, 2003 10:10 PM

Hey, who should Moz be able to export mail? It's not Mozilla's problem. The program you want to use should have an import option for Mozilla mail. If Outlook can't import Mozilla mail, you should be complaining to Microsoft.

#8 What about Mozilla Mail -> Thunderbird?

by briank

Friday September 5th, 2003 1:38 PM

What would be really nice would be a guide to switching all you mail from *Mozilla Mail* into Thunderbird.

Yes, I know it would involve alot of copying from one profile from the other, but ...

I predict many users of Mozilla Mail will switch to Thunderbird around v0.4, 0.5 (out of necessity if not choice).

#10 How to reimport mail from a Mozilla profile?

by naylor83

Friday September 5th, 2003 3:53 PM

Slightly OT, I know, but since this discussion is pretty close to what I want to know I thought I'd give it a go.

If I have an old profile of Mozilla saved on a CD, how do I go about getting my old e-mails back into Mozilla after reinstalling Windows (and formatting the HD)? If I remember correctly from my last attempt to do this, it isn't possible to just replace the MBOX files in the new profile with the old ones. Has anyone tried this before me? (Surely someone must've 8-|)

#12 Re: How to reimport mail from a Mozilla profile?

by JuanGonzalez

Friday September 5th, 2003 4:29 PM

There are some links with instructions for importing Mozilla mail by hand at:

Bug 63389 - Need options for importing 4.x and Mozilla mails (mbox) - Comment 55

It works perfectly, if you do it correctly.

#13 Re: Re: How to reimport mail from a Mozilla profil

by naylor83

Saturday September 6th, 2003 3:14 PM

Thanks for the link!


#14 Re: How to reimport mail from a Mozilla profile?

by JuanGonzalez

Saturday September 6th, 2003 4:24 PM

Just in case you wish more details to reimport Mozilla mail, there is a related thread at:

#11 IMAP server

by flacco

Friday September 5th, 2003 4:06 PM

with the free IMAP servers available, i don't understand why people don't use them even at home. what's the point of keeping mail in local folders that may/may not work with other mail programs?

#16 IHR Introduction

by ukandrewf

Thursday February 5th, 2004 5:29 PM

TB! Message Import seems quite a simple process.

1) Export to unixs format. (Close Thunderbird if it's open) 2) Copy the resulting file into your profile.. Documents and Settings...Application DataThunderbirdProfilesdefault...MailLocal Folders 3) You're done. When you reopen thunderbird your mails will be there under Local Folders. From there you can drag and drop them into your server imap folders to have them available in future.


#17 How to Import Email from NS 4.8 or 7.1

by genegold

Saturday February 7th, 2004 9:50 AM

I've been using NS 4.8 Messenger for my email/news and would like to switch over to Thunderbird. After setting up my POP3 account in Thunderbird, the import from 4.8 Messenger ended up as a subset of Local Files instead of in the POP3 account. I tried copying the folders one by one up to the POP3 account, and other than running out of screen space to do it, I found on reopening Thunderbird it didn't recognize the existing profile. My goal is to get the mail into the POP3 account, where it belongs. Is there a way to do this directly or indirectly? I mention 7.1 because the same email is there (via import) and can be used for the transfer to T-bird if that's easier.

Also, has anyone come up with a fix that allows deletion of the Local Folder set? Thanks,


#18 Re: How to Import Email from NS 4.8 or 7.1

by genegold

Saturday February 7th, 2004 10:04 AM

Maybe I should amend this question, having subsequently gone over Kay's instructions. What is not clear, or perhaps I missed, in the instructions is the relationship between the POP3 account and Local Folders. The idea of mail coming into the POP3 folders and then having to be transferred over to the Local/imported set for storage is not appealing. My question is how to make them one, at least functionally (i.e., even if Local Folders nominally continues to show).

#20 For OS X?

by smac

Sunday September 12th, 2004 4:59 PM

I am getting ready to re-install Mac OS X (10.3.5) and I wanted to backup my email. I see that there are some instructions for NT based systems, but what about OS X? I am actually going to be installing a new HD ( 120 GB instead of 20GB) and I needed a way to Export and Import my data (I use Groupwise at work and wondered if there was something similar to it on Thunderbird. Oh yes, I am using Thunderbird 0.7.3 from I tried just moving my from one drive to another, but I did not think that it kept my stored emails in there. // Smac