How can I back up Thuderbird 10.0.2 emails,etc to flash drive or external hard drive using Ubuntu 10.10


Go to your home folder & press " ctrl + h " to view hidden folders

copy & backup " .thunderbird " folder

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Inside .thunderbird you should see a bunch of files and folders named Cache, Mail, ImapMail etc

If not, then you have relocated your profile folder.

Your actual profile folder is defined in a file named 'profiles.ini'

Open it with a text viewer/editor and you will see something like this:


Name=Default User

The 'Path' is the real folder to backup.


I use this monster command:

rsync -rltgoDvz --modify-window=1 --delete ~/.thunderbird/  --exclude="**/global-messages-db.sqlite" --exclude="**/places.sqlite" --exclude="Crash*Reports/" --exclude="**/Cache/" --exclude="**/startupCache/" --exclude="**/OfflineCache/" /path/to/backup/thunderbird

This is for copying to a samba-mounted NAS. The options are "-avz" but minus -p, as permissions don't copy over correctly (so rsync is never happy). If copying to an ext3 partition you also won't need --modify-window (but it also won't do any harm).

The excludes speed things up, by not copying over files that can be regenerated, or are not needed. Especially global-messages-db.sqlite, which can get very big. Some information on what the files each do is here: http://kb.mozillazine.org/Files_and_folders_in_the_profile_-_Thunderbird


Your mail and settings are located in your home folder under ".thunderbird" hidden folder. Just copy that folder to your USB

sudo cp ~/.thunderbird dev/<usb_drive>/thunderbird
  • Note for users - the USB drive may be located under /media, /run/media etc – Wilf Aug 12 '17 at 20:14

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