How to Backup Thunderbird Emails Manually

Ashwani Tiwari | Published: January 9, 2020 | Thunderbird

Backing up of Thunderbird emails is important for keeping the data safe and secure in case an emergency arrives. Storing the mailbox files on the local computer by default is good, but copying them and keeping a backup of the Thunderbird data is great. This blog helps the user to copy and save the Thunderbird email files at a different location without any hassle.

Mozilla Thunderbird, by default stores the mailbox items of the configured email accounts on the local system. And if the configured profile uses POP, then there’s a good chance that the local system is the only place that stores the data. Thus, it becomes ever important to keep a copy of the emails in a safe and secure storage system. Users can use either of the manual or third-party methods to backup Thunderbird emails file given in the blog post.

Where are Thunderbird emails stored?

Mozilla Thunderbird stores the emails in the following default locations unless changed by the user:

  • Drive:\Users\admin\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\xxx1111x.default\ImapMail\
  • Drive:\Users\admin\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\jcc3l94x.default\Mail
here are Thunderbird emails stored

The emails are stored in the no extension files commonly known as Thunderbird MBOX files. To maintain folder structure, Thunderbird uses SBD folders that also contains MBOX files.

How to back up Thunderbird emails?

Follow the steps to create backup of Thunderbird Mail:

  1. Launch Mozilla Thunderbird on the Windows system.
  2. Go to the menu bar and select the Tools options.
  3. Click on Account Settings from the dropdown list.
  4. In the Account Settings window, all the configured email accounts are listed with details.
  5. Click on the Server settings of an account and look for the Local directory section.
  6. Click on the text field, press Ctrl+A and right-click to copy the location.
    copy the thunderbird storage location
  7. Now, open the copied location in the file explorer window.
    open location
  8. Copy this folder containing all the files with no extension, .msf extension, and .sbd folders.
  9. This is the backup file of the particular email account as it contains all its email messages.
  10. Similarly, backup Thunderbird emails of all the configured account and store it in a compressed file such as Zip file.

How to download all emails from Thunderbird using Automated Method?

It is easy to export emails from Thunderbird using an automated method such as MBOX Exporter. It helps users to download and create a backup of Thunderbird email files in multiple file formats. This method preserves the folder structure of the Thunderbird database and provides multiple options to save the profile emails:

  • EML format is helpful for backing up data that can be used later in Thunderbird, Apple Mail, etc.
  • Converting Thunderbird to PST & MSG format is particularly helpful in accessing emails in Outlook.
  • Other supported file formats are PDF, NSF, and HTML.

Download and install the software on the Windows system which has the Thunderbird application installed. The free version allows saving only 25 emails per folder with all properties and attachments intact.

Steps to backup Thunderbird Emails:

  1. Select the “Add File” button from the menu bar.
  2. Click “Thunderbird”, select “Default Profile configured”, then “Next”.
  3. Choose “convert all identities” option for saving email account.
  4. Now, preview Thunderbird emails with attachments.
  5. Choose the desired format to save emails and click “Export”.
  6. All emails are successfully backed up in the preferred format.
steps to export emails from thunderbird

Additional Information:

How to transfer Thunderbird email to a new computer?

  • Take the backup of Thunderbird Emails with either of the given methods.
  • Transfer it to the New computer.
  • Import the files in the preferred email client- Thunderbird, Outlook, etc.


It is an important task to create extra copies of email files to see through data corruption and data loss issues in the future. Keeping a backup is the best way to fight hacks, virus and other malicious digital threats. Therefore, in this blog, we have defined the manual method to backup Thunderbird emails and save the mailbox data without any hassle. Users can also use the automated method to export and copy Thunderbird messages at a secure location. Execute the steps of either of the mentioned methods and later restore Thunderbird data in the preferred email client.