Top Nav

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


More Reading:


10 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!

  6. Marie May 23, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

    I was trying to get my email to download correctly by uninstalling/reinstalling Thunderbird. Read instructions of what I thought I should do by Mozilla – delete profile – empty recycle bin. Now all my folders and emails associated with those folders are gone. Can they be recovered? Lots of critical info in them. I do not believe my system is backed up. Where would I find my Thunderbird emails/folders if it is?

  7. Bharath September 1, 2015 at 9:40 pm #

    Thnx a ton for describing the process to restore files frm the backup folder in such simple steps, appreciate it much.
    Cheers 🙂 🙂

  8. Verlan Phillips October 26, 2015 at 7:52 am #

    Thanks for the info. It worked and now can see the mail on the hard drive that crashed. However when I did the last step and start Thunderbird only the mail on the default shows up, not the current mail with the files and folders on new computer. To get to the old mail folders and back to the new ones I have to go back and forth. In other words it does not merge the two. Hope you have a suggestion.

  9. Paul Tofts February 15, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

    This works great! Thanks. Compared to other (older) suggestions on the web, the key here is to use (and understand) the Thunderbird Profile Manager (TPM). The initial difficulty I had is that the TPM calls the process ‘creating a profile’, whilst I was expecting to ‘import a profile’, not to create one.

  10. Jos May 5, 2017 at 8:34 am #

    Still works perfect! Thanks.

Leave a Reply


Free Learning


Don't miss a single tip, how to or tech news update. Subscribe to my free newsletter and receive updates, right to your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!