switching from pop3 to imap on thunderbirfd

Tommy Trussell tommy.trussell at gmail.com
Thu Oct 15 17:29:15 UTC 2015

On Thu, Oct 15, 2015 at 11:09 AM, oxy <oxyopes at googlemail.com> wrote:

> hi all,
> look what i did:
> 1) config pop3 account to stop checking new email
> 2) create a new imap account: it was created by default using the same
> local folder as the pop3 account. Thus all recent email was there.
> 3) change local folder of pop3 account to sth different (eg
> ~/.thunderbird/old_pop3)
> The new account works fine but i cannot access older email of the
> mailboxes that it inherited from the pop3 account. I tried to
> reconfigure the local folder of the older pop3 account in hope of
> accessing these older msgs but the system refuses.
> Any idea?
> thx...
> thunderbird  38.2.0 /   ubu 14.04
I have never tried to convert a mailbox from one kind to another, so I
don't know if that process is supported. I hope you made a backup of your
email stores in ~/.thunderbird/[gobbledygook]/mail/Local Folders just in
If you haven't, maybe they're still there, so I would suggest making a
backup copy now. ALSO I would give the new email account a different name
so you don't accidentally clobber the old data.

THEN if you are SURE you want your old and new email all together, once you
connect to your server via IMAP, then open the new and the old email (show
the left panel with the folders if you don't have them shown already), and
just create appropriate folders on the new account and copy the old message
folders to your new IMAP directories. Thunderbird will do the rest, slowly.
It takes a long time, and it takes a lot of space on the server.

HOWEVER once you're done, you can access your email from more than one
device at the same time. I have my phone and multiple Ubuntu and Macintosh
systems pointing to my email all the time by the miracle that is IMAP.

P.S.: Another thing I do (because I like living on the edge, I guess) is I
tell Thunderbird to NOT store the messages on my computers, and also to not
automatically purge stuff on the server, and every few months I use a
Thunderbird utility (I cannot recall the name) to archive my email to "old
fashioned" email files in case I need to refer to them after the server
dies. Thunderbird email files (I think they're sqlite format) are much
smaller, by the way.
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