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how to do technology in ten moves. (or less.) A Loose Wire production

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

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to the more familiar:)

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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:

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

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

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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:

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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):

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

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Thunderbird Identity SMTP Problem

Obscure one, this, but it might be of use to someone.

Thunderbird’s identify management is a dog’s dinner, in my opinion. One problem with it is that, at least in the present version, there’s a bug preventing you from saving changes from one SMTP server to another. In other words, you’ll think you’ve changed the outgoing server for your email identity, and then find that in  fact you haven’t. Frustration follows.

One solution is to delete the offending identity and start over. I couldn’t figure out how to do that so I just removed the SMTP server that the program was defaulting back to (even if it wasn’t the default, if you follow):

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Delete that one and then start over.

Filed under: medium, , ,

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