Migrating Thunderbird Between Computers

If you want to move your Thunderbird email, settings and plugins to another computer on Windows Vista or Windows Seven, here’s how to do it. (If you’ve got another version of Windows, you may need to tweak the process to locate your Profile folder. Check out details here.)

Set up Thunderbird on your new computer/drive and launch it.

Don’t bother importing anything. But you need to get Thunderbird going to set up the AppData folder. This is where everything gets stored.

Close Thunderbird.

Now find your old Profile folder. The easiest way to do this is to copy the following into your Explorer address bar:

C:\users\[User Name]\AppData\Roaming

(clicking on the address bar will change the appearance from


to the more familiar:)


If, like me, you’re moving from one partition on a drive to another, or your old stuff is on an external drive, you may also need to change the drive letter.

Then replace the [User Name] with your old user name (and remove the square brackets.)

This should take you to the following folder:


Go into the Profiles folder and find whatever folder in there has the suffix default:


Now open another Explorer folder (right click on the folder icon in your taskbar and select Windows Explorer:)


Do the same thing as before, pasting in the above text and replacing it with your new Thunderbird location. Find the profile folder. There should be an existing default folder in there.

Now drag the old default profile folder you found above into the new Profile folder. (This should keep a copy of the old profile folder, so long as you’re moving between drives. Otherwise you may want to make a backup copy first.)

You should now have two default folders together in one folder.

Now select the new default folder that Thunderbird has just created, hit F2 and then rename its suffix from default to old:


Now rename your old profile folder to the new profile folder, with the suffix default (you might just want to copy and paste the name by hitting F2 and the selecting the text, hitting Ctrl/c etc):


Now fire up Thunderbird and you should see your old emails, settings, and plugins, all working normally.


10 thoughts on “Migrating Thunderbird Between Computers”

  1. Thanks for putting this together. You just saved me a whole lot of messing about in getting data off an old computer. Cheers!

  2. Thanks. I’ve moved thunderbird between computers before but the current upgrade from Win7 32bit to Win7 64bit failed (“Get Mail” didn’t work). This has sorted that problem out.

  3. YOU ROCK!

    I’ve tried following three different sets of directions to do this and they all failed to work. Yours helped me figure it out. THANK YOU!!!

  4. Thanks – I too have moved thunderbird between PC’s a number of times before and couldn’t work out what went wrong this time until I read the process above.

  5. Thank you so much. Have been trying to migrate Thunderbird from one pc to another and get it working for 3 days now!!! This is a life saver…Now it’s running…THANKS HEAPS!!!!

  6. Thanks to Willim – I was migrating between OS and Thunderbird versions (32 bit Win XP to 64 bit Win 7, V8 to V9) and getting a bit frustrated. Moz Backup did the trick nicely 🙂

  7. For those of us that are trying to migrate to Mac (OS 10.7), it’s helpful to know that the Profiles are located at


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