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Making moves
Status: Trending idea

On some Computer My Thunderbird Profile is still the same as from the first version of Thunderbird from 2006. It contains a lot of strange files and is much larger than a new profile.

Please develop a full migration of the Thunderbird profile into a new profile.

Beside my I'm also Family admin of several PC with Thunderbird. Most of their Profile has the same age like my profile. It would be nice If I could migrate these profile as easy as possible. I do not wish to set up new mail clients  and may forget settings or add-ons.


I suggest following behavior.

  1. User do start a Profile migration
  2. Thunderbird requests some basics
    1. [x] Automatic cleanup - nothing get lost you currently use.
    2. [ ] Custom cleanup - remove some data you currently use but you do not need anymore.
      -> Add some requests If custom cleanup is active: list of add-ons, experimental settings, remove password list, etc.
  3. Create a new Profile
  4. Install all currently active add-ons
  5. Migrate all settings of Thunderbird
    1. Migrate all settings Thunderbird in the current Version is able to use
    2. Migrate accounts and also their mail filter rules
    3. Settings of migrated add-ons.
    4. Cleanup cached Mails
  6. Perform a Thunderbird start
    1. Migrate cached Mails
      -> May check ahead of the Migration if enough disk space is available
    2. Migrate requested Passwords.
      -> May ask for removing Password from the old profile If the whole migration was successful
  7. If every thing is successful and the next Thunderbird start was also successfully too, tar.xz the old Profile.
Making moves


My Idea do not need any converting of old data. At the end Thunderbird simply copy the data thunderbird in the current Version could use into a new Profile and check the same for addons.

And after the first start in the new Profile Thunderbird could import only used Login data into the new Profile.

I'm not a developer, but I think thunderbird should know which of the current TB settings are valid settings.

New member

@Kobert... I disagree. It needs to be simple for a user to use. Thunderbird email is a fantastic app on a laptop. A lot of people using Thunderbird email are non-technical. I am partially technical but the current method of cleaning requires a deep understanding of Thunderbird and it's just not practical. A Wizard to walk through the process in real-time is required, plus some uncomplicated unwind process (or simple backup everything) should it go wrong is required also. 

Strollin' around

The Thunderbird Development Team should truly collaborate with the developer of the "ImportExport Tools NG" extension to make it easier for a user to migrate and remove unnecessary or outdated Thunderbird profile files. That extension has a few issues and limitations, and it has complex settings that may be difficult for Thunderbird users who have limited technical knowledge.

Yes, many customizable settings are an advantage, but there should be more help for each setting, both by mouseover on an (i) icon for information AND in a separate help file, tutorial, or support page where a user can read information AND have the ability contact someone for help.

Currently, there is no quick and easy way to migrate a profile from a previous Thunderbird installation (especially a previous Thunderbird version) to a new installation of Thunderbird (with a current Thunderbird version). If you have many emails sorted in folders over time, or have many add-ons installed, the risk increases that your migration could become corrupted and be unsuccessful. At worst, you could lose years of emails you have saved. At best, you save your emails but need to reinstall and reconfigure all your settings and your add-ons and their settings.

Status changed to: Trending idea
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hey all,

Quick update…

This idea has been upgraded to a “Trending idea” here on Mozilla Connect, which means it’s one step closer to reaching our internal teams for review—learn more about The Idea Journey.

Please keep the conversation going and stay tuned for updates 😃

Making moves

Definitely needs to be an extension or external utility.  I would opt for the latter, personally (especially if your profile is degrading under the newer TB versions).   Already TB 102 can't see or browse to filesystem folders (it sees folders *within* the email profile just fine), and in addition the recent betas are showing blank panes if I open an existing profile.  Doing an "import" of an old profile into a new one just makes the new profile just as problematic as the old one.

New member

Would be nice if there was an option for transferring email filters when installing the new version

Community Manager
Community Manager

(Note: similar ideas have been merged into this thread)

New member

I need the option for my complete Folder Structure and their respective e-mails to be exported and then imported to a fresh install of Thunderbird. I have a lot of folders and subfolders reproducing them and transferring individual e-mails to their respective folders would be a nightmare. One can copy the profile over, however, I would like to have a fresh start with all add-ons and residual files gone.

Also an option to select which accounts and their respective settings to backup as well.