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Read time 10 minutes

Summary: The content discusses the importance of backing up Thunderbird emails to safeguard against data loss. It provides manual methods for creating backups, including using an add-on, backing up the Thunderbird profile, and saving emails as EML files. It also mentions a professional tool for efficient backup.

In the current era of technology, the growing concerns of data theft and loss have become increasingly prominent. This underscores the importance of Thunderbird users regularly creating backups for their emails. The primary objective behind this practice is to safeguard valuable data against potential corruption and unforeseen hard drive failures. For instance, in the unfortunate event of physical damage to your computer, accessing your Thunderbird data might become impossible. However, in such circumstances, having previously backed up your Thunderbird emails to an external drive enables you to effortlessly recover them on a new machine whenever necessary. This approach effectively addresses various issues, prompting us to delve into the process of backing up Thunderbird emails to a hard drive.

Significance of Thunderbird Email Backup

Backing up Thunderbird emails to a hard drive holds significant significance.

  • Many users may believe that there’s no need to back up their Mozilla Thunderbird emails since the data is stored on their system. However, in situations like data theft, corruption, or system failures, all emails saved on the system could become permanently unrecoverable.
  • With an expanded allocation of space to the local server, its performance experiences a significant boost.
  • By maintaining backups, you can safeguard against data loss, ensuring that a preserved duplicate is available to enable the organization to seamlessly carry on with its usual operations.
  • Data recovery is swift in the event of accidental deletion, thanks to robust backup systems that protect against any inadvertent data loss.

How to Backup Mozilla Thunderbird Emails?

Thunderbird lacks native email backup functionality, but several methods are available to help us accomplish this task. Below, you will find a list of common manual approaches for backing up Thunderbird emails:

  • Export Thunderbird Emails Using Add-on
    In order to enable email export functionality in Thunderbird, it is necessary to install a particular add-on known as ImportExportTools.
  • Backup Thunderbird Profile
    Thunderbird securely stores your data in the designated location – the User’s profile folder. To safeguard your information, simply find the User’s profile folder, duplicate its contents, and transfer them to a convenient backup destination.
  • Save emails to desktop as EML-
    An alternative approach involves preserving your emails by storing a duplicate copy on your computer’s desktop and subsequently transferring it to external hard drives. These duplicates are stored in the EML format, which contains all the essential elements of the message, including its content, sender, recipient, subject, and date.

    We will delve into this procedure with greater elaboration in the subsequent part of this section.

Instant Solution

Try automated tool Kernel for MBOX to PST Converter to backup Mozilla Thunderbird Emails in Outlook PST file format anywhere on your PC.

Method 1- Export Thunderbird Emails Using Add-on

As previously mentioned, Thunderbird lacks native email export functionality. To enable the capability to export emails in various external formats such as EML, HTML, Plain text, Spreadsheet, PDF, and more, you’ll need to install the ImportExportTools add-on. Once installed, you can easily save the exported files to your preferred backup locations on your hard drive. Below are the steps to export emails using Thunderbird.

  1. Open Mozilla Thunderbird on your personal computer.
  2. Select the icon labeled “Show Thunderbird Menu” positioned in the upper-right corner of the tool’s interface.Click on Display the Thunderbird Menu icon
  3. Choose “Add-ons” from the drop-down menu and then select “Add-ons” again. This action will initiate the opening of a new window within the tool’s interface.Tool interface
  4. Select the “Add-ons” button within the “Add-ons Manager” window by clicking on it.Get Add-ons button from the Add-ons Manager
  5. You have two options: you can either find the ImportExportTools add-on in the Featured Add-ons list or click the Browse button to explore all add-ons and then search for the ImportExportTools add-on.Select the ImportExportTools
  6. Next, select the Add to Thunderbird button.Click the Add to Thunderbird button
  7. Please select the Install Now button when it appears.Click on Install now button
  8. After successfully installing the add-on in your Thunderbird client, return to the Add-ons Manager window and simply click the Restart now button to complete the procedure.Click Restart now button to finish the process
  9. Note: If Thunderbird enters Safe Mode upon restart, please exit the tool and reopen it in its regular mode.

  10. To export the desired Inbox, perform a right-click and choose ImportExportTools, then navigate to Export all messages within the folder. Opt for the EML format for exporting.
    Export all the messages in the folder
    Note: Choose the appropriate file format from the provided list based on your email needs. For example, if you plan to import your backup to Thunderbird on a new device, opt for the EML format. Alternatively, if you want to retain your emails in their original format along with attachments, select the HTML format (with attachments).
  11. Choose a location where you’d like to store your backup files, and then press the Select Folder button.Select destination directory

Your backup files will be securely stored at the designated location.

Method 2- Backup Thunderbird Profile

Another method for safeguarding your emails and other mailbox data in Thunderbird is to create a comprehensive backup of your entire Thunderbird profile. Within your profile, you can find all the critical information linked to your account, encompassing elements like emails, account settings, and more..
To create a backup of your Thunderbird profile, all you need to do is copy the contents of the User’s Profile folder and then paste them into a convenient backup destination.

  1. Launch Mozilla Thunderbird
  2. Select the icon labeled “Show Thunderbird Menu.”Display the Thunderbird Menu
  3. Go to Help >> Troubleshooting Information. This will launch the Open the “Troubleshooting Information” window in a new tab using the tool.Troubleshooting Information window
  4. Select the Open folder (Local drive) option located beneath the Applications Basics section. section.Click on the Open folder button
  5. Once you select the Open Folder option, it will open the User’s Profile directory. This directory follows a distinct naming convention, comprising a sequence of random characters followed by the profile name.Users Profile directory
  6. Simply exit this directory and duplicate the User’s Profile folder, then transfer it to a suitable location.
    copy the User’s Profile folder and paste it to a convenient directory
    Note: You have the flexibility to duplicate the User’s Profile folder and place it in a location of your choice, whether it’s on an external hard drive or within your system.
    1. Method 3: Save emails in desktop in EML format-

      1. Open Thunderbird and choose the required folder.
      2. Choose the email(s) you wish to export. To select multiple emails, hold down the CTRL key and click on the ones you need.
      3. Please select the “Menu” option.
      4. Select “Save as” followed by “File.”
      5. Choose the destination to save all the emails and click on Save.

      Limitations of Manual Method

      It’s essential to remember that manual approaches come with inherent constraints. They inherently consume a significant amount of time, require users’ full attention and effort, and involve multiple intricate steps. Users must remain vigilant during the process, as there’s a constant risk of losing valuable data. Moreover, manual methods lack the ability to back up data in major formats.

      A Professional Tool to Back Up Mozilla Thunderbird Emails

      Up to this point, we’ve explored two manual approaches for backing up Mozilla Thunderbird emails, each with its own set of constraints. However, the most efficient and expeditious method for safeguarding your data entails employing a specialized tool to convert your Thunderbird MBOX files into formats compatible with alternative email client applications. Among the most commonly utilized email client applications aside from Thunderbird are MS Outlook and Windows Live Mail. Hence, to create a backup of your Thunderbird emails and other mailbox information, you can easily transform them into file formats compatible with the respective email clients. In this regard, KernelApps has launched a reliable tool to convert your Thunderbird files to PST and EML file formats.
      Thunderbird MBOX files to PST converter tool
      Kernel for MBOX to PST is one of the most recommended tools to convert MBOX files to PST format and includes the following features-

      • The tool enables simultaneous migration of multiple MBOX files.
      • You have the option to incorporate MBOX files, review their content, and then store them in a variety of formats and destinations based on your preferences.
      • You can choose from a range of destinations, such as Outlook PST, Gmail, Exchange, Office 365, and more.
      • It additionally streamlines the process of transforming MBOX emails into alternative formats like DBX, MSG, and EML.
      • Furthermore, the trial version of the software offers complimentary migration for the initial 25 items.


      The manual approach for preserving Thunderbird emails comes with significant constraints. It can only save a limited number of emails and is limited to copying a single profile. Additionally, the output file generated for a profile cannot be opened by any application other than Thunderbird, and there may be inconsistencies in data settings. So, you should use this Thunderbird Mail Backup software and change the format of the selected profile’s data file. It will prepare data for emerging platforms and applications.


    Q- In the second method where we check the location of our profile. Will we need to move the file to another folder or copy it?

    A– You should copy it and consider it as a backup file. Whenever a profile is corrupt, then you can use it to restore data.

    Q- I added the add-on and saved the emails in EML format. But, why there are no attachments?

    A- EML format is used to save emails only. To move attachments, you should use the professional software.

    Kernel for MBOX to PST