We at AuralSolutions recommend to our customers to use “Mozilla Thunderbird” as an email client because it’s FREE, secure, multi-platform (Linux, Mac, Windows), it’s supported by the huge Mozilla community and it updates frequently, covering the latest needs.

When you’re moving to a new computer or just for security reasons, you may want to make a backup of your Mozilla Thunderbird‘s data: all your emails, your email accounts, contacts and configurations.

The Thunderbird backup can be easily done in one of the following ways:

1- By manually copying the Thunderbird data folder

There is a folder on your computer where Thunderbird stores everything. The place of this folder vary between different versions of operating system so, to see which is the folder, just follow these steps:

  1. Open Thunderbird
  2. Open “Tools/Options” Menu (if not visible, please go to the menu icon with 3 lines and look for this there)
  3. Click on “Account Settings
  4. On the white vertical column on the left, scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see “Local folders“. Click there and on the right side you’ll see the path to the local folder. In the path there is a folder named “Thunderbird” that’s the one you have to copy to the location where you want to store the backup.

For example: For a Mac user, the place where you can find the Thunderbird folder is:
/Users/[your-username]/Library/Application Support/

You just have to open the file explorer of your system, go to that place, go to “/Users/[your-username]/Library/” (in the example) and copy the “Thunderbird” folder to the destination of your choice, which may be an external drive, an online place like Dropbox, etc…

For Windows users up to XP, the folder where you can find the “Thunderbird” folder is:
C:\Documents and Settings\[Windows login/user name]\Application Data

For Vista and 7, the folder is:
C:\Users\[user name]\AppDataRoaming\

For Windows 10, the folder is:
C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\

On Linux, the Thunderbird data folder can be one of the following, but it depends on the distribution you’re using:

If you need more information, please refer to the Mozilla Knowledge Base, on the following link:

When you have to restore your backup, just copy the Thunderbird data folder from your backup to the place where it belongs.

If you’ve just installed Mozilla Thunderbird, open it once, close it without configuring and replace the data folder with the one from your backup. That’s it!

Please note that you may not see the folder where the Thunderbird folder is because it may be a hidden folder. Make sure that you have the “Show hidden files” option active in your file explorer. In Linux and Mac, any file or folder starting with a dot (“.”) is hidden by default.

In Mac OS X, you can make your “Library” folder visible (if it’s not) with the following command, executed from the Terminal (You can find the terminal in the utilities box, under Applications):

chflags nohidden ~/Library

You can restore it to a hidden state by repeating the command in Terminal window after you make the Thunderbird backup:

chflags hidden ~/Library

Alternatively you can also open a finder window, open the “Go” menu and press the “Alt” key on your keybord. You’ll see it will appear the “Library” menu entry while the “Alt” key is pressed. Click on it and then search for the Thunderbird folder inside it. With this method you don’t need to run the previous Terminal commands.

2- By using a backup utility like MozBackup

Update as of 2016-01-29: Please note that this utility is no longer maintained as stated on their web site (thanks Dom for the reminder):

“MozBackup is not being developed anymore. There are known issues and there is no time on my side to fix all issues and develop new features. Use MozBackup only on your risk. Thanks for understanding…”

We do not recommend tu use it anymore, but we’ll leave the following information for historical purposes. The most stable way to make the backup is by manual saving the Thunderbird data folder.

MozBackup is a simple utility for creating backups of Mozilla FirefoxMozilla ThunderbirdMozilla SunbirdFlockSeaMonkeyMozilla SuiteSpicebirdSongbird and Netscape profiles.

It allows you to backup and restore bookmarks, mail, contacts, history, extensions, passwords, cache etc. It’s an easy way to do Firefox backup, Thunderbird backup …

It’s only for Windows users.

So here you have a guide to backup Thunderbird for Mac, Linux and Windows. We hope you found it useful. Please feel free to leave a comment.