Ubuntu 14.04 is seriously misbehaving, and I only have access to the terminal. I propose to do a full reinstall, but want to backup the Thunderbird inbox for reinserting if it is otherwise lost in the process. This web access is from a trial version of 14.04 on DVD, and 'backups' is available. The HDD is shown on the desktop as a mass storage device, within which all the system folders appear to be accessible. What do I have to do to pull out the inbox (at least) and transfer it (or a copy) to an external mass storage device.

Thanks for any help,

Derek F.

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    Please alter this question to EITHER firebird OR thunderbird. Both are software from Mozilla. The 1st is a database, the 2nd an email client. So either your title is wrong or your tags. – Rinzwind Nov 8 '14 at 19:59

I am assuming you mixed up and are referring to thunderbird, based on your tags. Guessing from your description, opening your HDD shoud show a folder home. Enter it and you should see your username. Enter it and press Ctrl+H, locate .thunderbird and copy it over to external storage.

Your home should be the folder home/<username> on whichever drive your Ubuntu was installed. Thunderbird stores all its data in .thunderbird in your home. By default files and folders starting with a . are hidden, you can press Ctrl+H to toggle showing hidden files from the file browser.

On a fresh install, copy it to your home folder before starting up thunderbird for the first time and it should automatically reuse all settings and downloaded email.

I'm assuming you located your hard disk and an external drive to copy files to.

cp -r /path/to/harddisk/user/<username>/.thunderbird /path/to/externaldisk/thunderbird-backup

If it fails, try sudo. You may have to correct permissions after restoring, though. To restore it, run:

cp -r /path/to/externaldisk/thunderbird-backup ~/.thunderbird
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  • Thank you, @Mahesh, for seeing through my geriatric brainfade. Unfortunately, CTRL + H won't get me into the .thunderbird folder, while 'Copy' and 'Copy to' are also forbidden . Presumably I will have to go in via the terminal, but I don't know the syntax. I guess the command will start with 'sudo cp', but I would appreciate confirmation and further guidance. – Derek Fritz Nov 9 '14 at 17:13
  • @DerekFritz just noticed your comment, the edit hopefully helps. – Mahesh Nov 16 '14 at 17:54

If you wish to do that via terminal you do the following:

cd ~
cp -r .thunderbird thunderbird-backup

After that you can see and move thunderbird-backup directory anywhere you want.

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