Backup email?

Preston Hagar prestonh at
Tue Sep 6 21:43:21 UTC 2011

On Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 4:04 PM, Knute Johnson <ubuntu at> wrote:
> On 9/6/2011 12:38 PM, Preston Hagar wrote:
>> In Thunderbird 3 or later, go to Account Settings, then
>> Synchronization&  Storage under the account you want to back up.
>> Check the "keep messages for this account on this computer" and then
>> make sure the other settings are setup to include all messages.
>> Once it syncs it all (may take a while depending on your connection),
>> you have a couple of options.  For just a backup, backup your
>> ~/.thunderbird directory.  A few directories in that one are all your
>> emails in mbox format.
>> If you want them easily accessible, but not on your server, make sure
>> your Thunderbird is on "All folders in the left menu pane"  then just
>> drag the folders/emails you want to back up from their current
>> location on your account under Local Folders.   This will store them
>> locally, make the searchable from within Thunderbird, and should
>> remove them from the email server (if not, you can then delete them
>> from the email server).  No extra software needed.
>> Preston
> Thanks, I did try it with one of the biggest folders and it didn't
> successfully copy the files.  It lost the headers and data of about a 1000
> emails.
> I'm going to have to try something else.
> --
> Knute Johnson

That's weird.  Did it lose it when moving from your IMAP folder to
your Local Folder?  If so, (if you can get complete emails, not just
headers synced for your IMAP folder), you could just close
Thunderbird, go to ~/.thunderbird/<your profile>/ImapMail

Then go into the account(s) you want to move stuff from and mv the
desired folders to ~/.thunderbird/<your profile>Mail/Local\ Folders/

In theory, the emails should just show up under Local Folders.  It
might try to sync them again from your mail server though, so I guess
you could either do the mv and then delete them off your mail server,
or do a cp and then delete them off the mail server from Thunderbird.


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