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I am used to backup directories of varying kind with tar on my Xubuntu 14.04LTS system.

Can I safely backup the configuration of Claws Mail with tar?

$ tar cvzf claws-mail-backup.tar.gz $HOME/.claws-mail/

The tar itself will work but can I simply unpack the resulting tarball on a freshly installed system with Claws Mail running as expected (in case all plugins asre still installed)

Thanks!

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In theory: yes.

Applicable to not just claws mail:

  • Make sure you close the program before making a backup

  • When you re-install a newer/older version of an operating system the maintainers of the software might have changed structures of the personal files. Making your current backup oh so slightly different. That could spell trouble restoring. But it could also be as simple as manually editing some file or setting to fix the issue. Keep an eye out for the change log; that will tell you if something changed that affects this.

  • Claws mail can export and import mbox files. Maybe best to use that as an extra backup.

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I tried it out with my recent install of Xbuntu 17.04. The backup worked perfectly for an IMAP account and the basic settings involved.

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