How to backup Thunderbird data, emails and contacts

The Thunderbird backup can be easily done in one of the following ways:


By manually copying the Thunderbird data folder


There is a folder on your computer where Thunderbird stores everything. The place of this folder vary between different versions of operating system so, to see which is the folder, just follow these steps:

  1. Open Thunderbird

  2. Open “Tools” Menu

  3. Click on “Account Settings

  4. On the white vertical column on the left, scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see “Local folders“. Click there and on the right side you’ll see the path to the local folder. In the path there is a folder named “Thunderbird” that’s the one you have to copy to the location where you want to store the backup.


For example: For a Mac user, the place where you can find the Thunderbird folder is:
/Users/[your-username]/Library/Application Support/


You just have to open the file explorer of your system, go to that place, go to “/Users/[your-username]/Library/” (in the example) and copy the “Thunderbird” folder to the destination of your choice, which may be an external drive, an online place like Dropbox, etc…


For Windows users up to XP, the folder where you can find the “Thunderbird” folder is:
C:\Documents and Settings\[Windows login/user name]\Application Data

For Vista and 7, the folder is:
C:\Users\[user name]\AppDataRoaming


On Linux, the Thunderbird data folder can be one of the following, but it depends on the distribution you’re using:


When you have to restore your backup, just copy the Thunderbird data folder from your backup to the place where it belongs.

If you’ve just installed Mozilla Thunderbird, open it once, close it without configuring and replace the data folder with the one from your backup. That’s it!

Please note that you may not see the folder where the Thunderbird folder is because it may be a hidden folder. Make sure that you have the “Show hidden files” option active in your file explorer. In Linux and Mac, any file or folder starting with a dot (“.”) is hidden by default.