I'm upgrading linux from 18.04.4 to 20. I have backed up all of my data.

How do I backup my Thunderbird (68.10) data???? I saw an article stating that copying the file Home/rich-500-164/.thunderbird would do the trick. And to restore it just to copy it back once the upgrade was completed.

In using this method, would this include all of my emails (as with anyone, very valuable), folder structure, filters, etc.?

Also, found "ImportExportTools NG". Does anyone know anything about this and does it work????

  • Yes make a copy, and two if you are paranoid. Everything Thunderbird needs is in that folder you mention. when you reinstall or upgrade it should stay just fine. BUT if you do a fresh install then start thunderbird once and then close it without doing anyting. That will create the .thunderbird folders. Copy the old profile folders back in. NOT all everything just the folders of your user. Then modify the profile.ini to point to your old profile. Jul 11, 2020 at 1:54
  • Are your email accounts set up as pop or imap? If imap then the structure and emails will be restored with a new implementation of TB.
    – graham
    Jul 11, 2020 at 5:50

1 Answer 1


Indeed, all of the data is under a profile folder under .thunderbird. That includes all account configuration, preferences and cached and local email folders. The name of a profile folder starts with a random unique number, and has an extension .default-release` in more recent versions of Thunderbird.

To locate the profile folder that is currently in use, click the hamburger menu (☰) in Thunderbird, then select "Help", then "Troubleshooting Information". Clicking the button "Open Directory" next to "Profile Directory" will open your file manager in the profile folder. In most file managers, you can then press Ctrl+l to display the full path name in the navigation bar, and copy it from there if needed.

If you backup that entire profile folder, you will backup your entire configuration. Restoring the folder on a new system will have Thunderbird act as before.

In some cases, you may be interested in backing up local folders only. That is unique data in contrast to cached mail from IMAP servers, where the mails exist on the server, and in contrast to server configuration data, where your ISP has the information on how to connect. Locally stored mail could be mail you remove from an IMAP server for backup, or could be mail retrieved from a POP server. That mail lives under /Mail/Local Folders.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .