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How to Restore Thunderbird Emails and Profiles From a Manual Backup

Previously we showed you how to manually backup Mozilla Thunderbird Emails and Profiles. This time we’ll look at how to restore them. This is useful if you’ve had a recent computer crash, or just want to move your data to another computer. Follow along and I’ll demonstrate how to do this using a Windows based computer.

What you’ll need to do this:

To get started, make sure that Thunderbird is not running. Next in Windows Explorer right-click on your Thunderbird backup and extract it to your C:\Users\yourUsername\AppData\Roaming folder. This should put all of your backups right where Thunderbird wants them (assuming you followed our previous backup article).

recover email with thunderbird

Next, in the Start Menu type the following:

thunderbird.exe –profilemanager

thunderbird profile manager

The Thunderbird user profile manager should pop up. Click Create Profile…

create a new thunderbird profile

Click Next.

click next, ignore jargon

Now you can enter a name for your profile, or just leave it at the default. The profile name shouldn’t affect anything within Thunderbird itself. What is important here is the folder that you choose.

Click Choose Folder…

choose folder in profile creation wizard

Click your backup folder you just unzipped and then click Select Folder.

choose your backup profile

Back on the main profile manager screen, double-click the profile you just created to launch Thunderbird.

double click to launch your profile

All of your backups should have taken effect and your email will be waiting.

restored thunderbird email client, emails, and profile


5 Responses to How to Restore Thunderbird Emails and Profiles From a Manual Backup

  1. ND Peters August 18, 2012 at 8:15 am #

    I was delighted to see this post and followed the directions on backing up the account. It worked with a few bumps easily figured out. However, when I went to restore it on my new computer by extracting files into Thunderbird directory, problems occurred. When asked if I files should be replaced, I chose yes. Then I could not run the Profile manager. It would not open. So I uninstalled completely and reinstalled replacing no files. Profile manager still does not open. Sigh. I am running Thunderbird 14. Maybe I need an older version? Thanks

  2. Agfa March 18, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

    Thanks, was missing the profile part, now all is restore.

  3. suren October 28, 2013 at 3:26 am #

    Thanks a lot. I was able to retrieve my old mails successfully using the instructions on your post.


  4. robert March 26, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    rather than restore backed up files, this method deleted two other accounts I also use on Thunderbird.

    Maybe you could warn users that this might occur if they follow the instructions above.

    Thanks for nothing.

  5. Jerry June 3, 2014 at 11:01 pm #

    Thanks a lot!

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