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I carry my Thunderbird profile on a USB flash drive so that I can access it from multiple computers. How can I point Thunderbird to that drive in Ubuntu?

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How To Move Your Firefox Or Thunderbird Profile To A New Location

  1. Create a new, empty folder in the desired profile location with the name you wish to use for the new profile, for example, D:\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\newprofile
  2. Copy the entire contents of the Firefox or Thunderbird profile folder you are moving into the new profile folder you just created.
  3. If you do the copy via a CD, remove the write-protection from the copied files.
  4. Find the Firefox or Thunderbird profiles.ini file (it will be located in the Firefox or Thunderbird default profile folder path) and open it in a text editor. * (Optional) Change the "Name=" line to the name of the new profile folder you created, e.g., Name=newprofile * Change "IsRelative=1" to "IsRelative=0" * Change the "Path=" line to the actual location of the new profile folder, e.g., Path=D:\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles newprofile.
  5. If you are moving a profile from its default location, the original profile folder can now be removed.
  6. Open Firefox or Thunderbird, to test if the profile move was successful.

Caution: Incorrect editing of the "profiles.ini" file can cause a Firefox or Thunderbird "already running but is not responding" error if the profile cannot be found.

Instead of editing the "profiles.ini" file by hand after performing steps 1, 2 and 3, you could alternately use the Firefox or Thunderbird Profile Manager to create a new profile, using the "Choose folder" option to select the new profile folder.

You can also use the Profile Manager again to delete the original profile (always use the "Don't Delete Files" option as a safety precaution when deleting profiles).

When you restart Thunderbird, go to "Tools -> Account Settings" and for each account (including Local Folders), click on "Server Settings" and verify that "Local directory" is pointed to the correct location.

If it isn't, then click on the "Browse" button to fix it. You may need to exit and restart Thunderbird for these changes to take effect.

The file profiles.ini can be found in your user home .thunderbird directory.

Opening a terminal console and typing:

cd ~

cd .thunderbird

ls -l

There you will find the file, the full path should be something like:


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Looks good, except I can't find the profiles.ini file. I'm new to linux and not familiar with the file structure, any advice would help. I'm on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, Thunderbird 14.0. Or tell me how to get to start Thunderbird from the command line. – Jim Waddell Aug 13 '12 at 19:34
@JimWaddell : You won't be able to see the .thunderbird folder in Nautilus, since it's a hidden folder. The easiest is to go to View->Show hidden files. Then profiles.ini will be in the .thunderbird folder. – Steve Kroon Aug 14 '12 at 6:12

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