How to Backup Thunderbird Emails and Contacts?

One or the other times you may find yourself in a situation where you have to backup email and contacts in your Thunderbird Email client. Maybe you are looking to format your system or want to keep the backup as emergency storage in case your email program or computer is inaccessible. Whatever be the reason, if you are looking to backup your Thunderbird emails and contacts, you can do easily by following the instructions provided in this guide.

Guide to Backup Thunderbird Emails and Contacts

  1. Manually Copying the Thunderbird Data Folder

A Thunderbird email program is known for storing everything in a folder on your computer. The location of this folder may vary depending on the version the of operating system you are using. To know which folder is having the Thunderbird Data folder where all emails and contacts are stored, follow the steps provided below.

  • Launch the Thunderbird email program on your computer.
  • Next, go to the Tools/Options menu and click on the Account Settings option.

NOTE: In case you don’t see the Tools/Options menu, you will need to find it under the Menu icon (three horizontal lines).

  • Then, you will need to scroll down to the bottom in the white vertical column located on the left-hand side.
  • In the bottom section, you will find the Local Folders option.
  • Click on the Local Folders option which will open the path to the folder on the right-hand side.
  • In the Path, you will find the Thunderbird named folder which you will need to copy and store it wherever you wish to keep the backup.

For A Mac user

If you are a Mac user, you will generally find the Thunderbird data folder in –

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To find the Thunderbird Data folder in your Mac system, you will need to open the file explorer of your computer and go to /Users/[your-username]/Library location and copy the “Thunderbird” folder to the location of your choice. The location could be of your choices like an external driver or online storage like Dropbox.

For Windows Users (up to XP)

If you are a Windows users (up to XP), you can find the Thunderbird folder in –

C:\Documents and Settings\[Windows login/username]\Application Data

Just go to the said location and copy the Thunderbird folder. Then paste the folder to your desired location.

For Linux Users

If you using a Linux system, you can find the Thunderbird data folder in one of the following locations, however, it depends on the distribution you are using:



For more information, go to the following links to get to the Mozilla Knowledge Base:

Once you are done restoring the backup, you will just need to copy the Thunderbird data folder from the backup and store it wherever it is required.

In case you have installed Mozilla Thunderbird, you will need to open it once, then close it without setting up, and replace the data folder with one from your backup. You are done.

NOTE: You might not see the folder where the Thunderbird folder is as it could be hidden. Therefore, make sure that the “Show hidden files” option is active in your file explorer. If you see any file or folder beginning with a dot “.” In your Linux and Mac system, it is hidden by default.

In Mac OS X, you can make the “Library” folder visible (if it is hidden) with the command – chflags nohidden ~/Library. You will need to execute it from the Terminal which can be found in the Utilities box.

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Once you are done making the Thunderbird backup, if you wish to restore the folder to the hidden state, repeat the command (chflags hidden ~/Library) in Terminal windows.

Alternatively, you can also make use of the finder window. For this, you will need to open the “Go” menu and press the Alt key on your keyboard. You will find the “Library” menu entry when the “Alt” key is pressed. You will need to click on it and then look for the Thunderbird folder in it. You will not have to use the command mentioned earlier with this method.

  • Use MozBackup Backup Utility

While the MozBackup utility is no longer supported or maintained, you may not want to use it. Although if you have used it earlier but unable to backup your Thunderbird emails and contacts using it, you can consider following the manual instructions provided above. If you wish to use MozBackup utility, you can use it at your own will. This utility is (or was) considered ideal for creating backups of Mozilla Thunderbird, Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Sunbird, Mozilla Suite, SeaMonkey, Netscape, Spicebird, Flock, and Songbird profiles.

It’s capable of backing up and restoring mail, contacts, bookmarks, password, history, extension, cache, and more. If you are a Mac user, you will not be able to use this utility as it is only available for Windows users.

So, this is how you can easily backup Thunderbird emails and contacts on your Windows, Mac, and Linux system.

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