Solved Transferring Thunderbird profile to new desktop

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bj nick

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(Custom- modified Lenovo desktop w/Windows 10) I periodically back up my "profile." I set up Thunderbird on my new desktop, all's well, but it only contains emails from 2020-present. On my old desktop I'm now retiring, I have separate years for emails going back to the early 2000's, as well as some gmail folders I'd copied over (some old/personal work stuff that's precious to me.) I'd like to apply the profile from the old desktop, which presumably contains all of those emails. I've tried to research copying the profile, which seems like it's very simple, but the directions lead me all over the place (" C:\Users\You\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles" etc.) One says "release," others say other things.....confusing, and I want to get it right and not wind up with a mess with the emails, as they're really important to me, especially the older ones.

What is the simplest way to copy the profile from my old desktop to the new machine? (I've already tried a few articles, links, etc.) Thanks for any help.
 

TerryNet

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After opening Thunderbird once (at least) on the new computer I then close it and replace the contents of the default profile with the contents of my profile from my "old" computer.

Some people do the same using MozBackup, but I was already doing the above before I learned of the utility.
 

bj nick

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Thank you! Can you please tell me exactly what to do in a couple of easy steps?
 

TerryNet

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Try MozBackup, or

Close Thunderbird on the new computer. Copy C:\Users\<account>\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\<some characters>.default to somewhere for (temporary) safe keeping. (I just copy it to the desktop.) Then delete the contents of C:\Users\<account>\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\<some characters>.default

Close Thunderbird on the old computer. Copy C:\Users\<account>\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\<some other characters>.default to the new computer using a USB flash drive or other removable media.

Copy the contents of C:\Users\<account>\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\<some other characters>.default to C:\Users\<account>\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\<some characters>.default

After testing Thunderbird on the new computer for a couple days if you are satisfied you can then delete saved copy you did in step one.

Note that this never modifies the profile on the old computer and never loses anything on the new until that last step of deleting the saved copy of the unwanted profile.

CAUTION: I do this when setting up a new system. If you already have mail messages or contacts or whatever on the new computer that exist nowhere else you will have to figure out how to save them and incorporate them after cloning the profile from the old computer.
 

bj nick

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Which Profile should I save (or both?) Default, or Default-release? Default-release is the current one, but the other is much larger. I'm saving both just in case, but not sure which to install on new Thunderbird install.
 

bj nick

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Okay, I followed the procedure, copying the Default-release profile, and I have the exact same email as before.....as you can see from the files, one show only 2020 and 2021, while the other includes the Archived years going way back. Can you tell me how to get all the archived years on the new setup? I just suspect they are in the one that's not "release," as it's way bigger, which would be obvious if it's including all those other years' folders.....sorry I'm confused about all this....it's a mystery to me.View attachment 289003View attachment 289003View attachment 289004View attachment 289004
 
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TerryNet

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Some people think that a bot or person will harvest your email address from the image to send you (more) spam. You may want to delete that image and replace with your address obscured.

I don't know what "files" you are showing. What Thunderbird profiles are on the old machine and have you copied the contents of the one you want? If not those other "boxes" (2011, 2012, etc.) can probably be copied from a different profile.
 

TerryNet

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I see that Thunderbird is now using profiles with .default-release naming instead of .default. Since all mine are cloned and re-cloned from many years ago (actually from when I started using Netscape Communicator more than 20 years ago) mine still have .default.
 

bj nick

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Thanks for the tip. I don't know how to erase or obscure text.....guess I should look it up. I deleted the images for now. Sorry, I said "files," but what I meant is actually the email folders that show up under "Archives" year by year so I can always access old stuff when needed. So on the first image I displayed, one can see just folders for 2020 and 2021, whereas in my old desktop, all my older emails show up under Archived. THAT'S what I want: all the older emails. I confess again: TB folders/backup is totally opaque to me; I don't get the structure, the logic, nothing. That's why I have backup pvc profiles, hundreds of gigs' worth, backed up all over the place, because I'm scared I'll somehow lose those old emails. And "just copy the profile" sounds so simple, but I need a step by step as you presented earlier; very helpful.
 

TerryNet

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Gee, I'm learning "new" stuff. On this computer I have a default-release profile. :)

On the old computer (with Thunderbird open) look at C:\Users\<account>\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\ profiles.ini
.
It will indicate one profile as "locked=1". That is the profile you are using.
 

bj nick

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Thanks for all this. I honestly have no idea which is the .ini file....it's not there under "properties"......here are screen shots of the two "default" Profiles w/the contents selected.....does this help? 2021-07-06 (2).png2021-07-06 (4).png2021-07-06 (2).png
 

TerryNet

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profiles.ini is in the ...\Thunderbird folder (see post # 10 again), not the ...\Thunderbird\Profiles folder.

It appears that you are using the mz9roi3g.default-release profile, as the others haven't been modified recently.

Double check that you copied the contents of the profile being used on the old computer to the profile being used on the new computer.
 

bj nick

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profiles.ini is in the ...\Thunderbird folder (see post # 10 again), not the ...\Thunderbird\Profiles folder.

Okay, here is a screenshot of the .ini file....can you confirm that's what you're referring to? What do I do with this?

Double check that you copied the contents of the profile being used on the old computer to the profile being used on the new computer.
Ugh.....this is where it gets so confusing. I tried to follow exactly what you said....so I copied the "release" folder to the new computer.....this meant copying to an EMPTY folder, as I previously deleted the one I'd installed already when setting up the new box. As I say, the email works fine with the profile I copied....are you saying to copy MORE, or to copy ONTO the profile I copied already? I swear I would pay somebody to remote access this and get it done right......the guy who built my desktop years ago would do all this for me, but he died recently. He had helped me load a bunch of old folders you can see in this screenshot marked "SB"......formerly gmails I believe he added using "mapi," maybe? Something like that? Anyway, I want the new setup to look as it did in the past.
 

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TerryNet

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What is the name of the Thunderbird profile you are using on the new computer?

Are the contents of that folder exactly the same as the contents of the Thunderbird folder that you are using on the old computer?
 

bj nick

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Good question. I think I copied the default-release folder.....I think I should repeat the process you described and use the "default" folder. As I mentioned, it's obviously way larger.....so it stands to reason it's a better option. I'll try that and report back. I'll follow the same instructions you presented before.
 
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