How to configure a Thunderbird back up into a Linux file

I made the mistake of downloading my gmail onto Thunderbird in a Windows setting a while ago. I know how to back up the Thunderbird Windows file. But, I’m wondering if there is a way to convert or configure the back up file so that it will work on Thunderbird in a Linux setting. I researched it online and the instructions, as they were, that I found made my head spin. If anyone knows how to convert the file or knows of a url that might explain either that it can’t be done or that gives very clear and understandable steps to achieve it, please let me know. After April 10, I’m pretty much out of Windows (will keep it around in a dual boot mode for anything that might come up in the future). The Thunderbird issue is my last big switch. Any help appreciated.

Hey @famcoll!
The best way this works is to copy your Thunderbird profile folder. Inside it, you’ll find a folder that uses random characters. This corresponds with the identification of your user. What I usually do is copy that folder to a different drive and then paste it in the Thunderbird’s configuration folder. If memory serves me well, (it’s late and I’m away from a system where I have it installed), it should be (on your Linux) under the .thunderbird folder inside your home directory. Since the folder starts with a dot, it’s hidden, so you’ll need to press CTRL+H on your file manager to show the hidden files and folders.

To be certain, install (if you don’t already have Thunderbird installed) and check which folders it creates. Keep a note of them and then purge the app with the:

sudo apt purge thunderbird

Then re-create the .thunderbird folder, and this time copy the strangely-named folder you copied from your Windows installation into it. Once you reinstall Thunderbird with:

sudo apt install thunderbird

When you run it, it should have all the accounts ready and configured (with the emails).

However, there is a slight chance that Thunderbird will sour when you do that. I performed this method about a dozen times, with only once getting this error. If that occurs, then you’ll have to unfortunately set the accounts again and leave your computer overnight (or more, depending on how many emails you have) to re-download everything.

I wish I remembered the actual folder where Thunderbird stores its data on Windows, but I haven’t used Windows in that sense for a long time.

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Vasileios, I finally got around to trying this approach, but it didn’t work. I read something on stack exchange that said the versions had to be identical in order to do this and I’ll check that as well. For some reason, sudo apt purge thunderbird won’t even work for me on Linux mint, but, I managed to strip it out and try your approach anyway. Just couldn’t get it to “take.” No matter. I’ll keep reading and see if I can come up with some other workaround. Thanks, as always!

In that scenario, you can always install the Flatpak version of Thunderbird. That one is sandboxed, so it doesn’t rely on the other dependencies that are on your distro.

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