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saving emails in mbox format

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cindyjj
 
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Post Posted October 18th, 2021, 6:39 pm

I want to sync an email account with Thunderbird, then save those emails in mbox format. Is that possible?

tanstaafl
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Post Posted October 18th, 2021, 6:55 pm

Yes. That's a common task.

Thunderbird defaults to using the mbox format for storage. The inbox folder for example stores it's messages in a "inbox." file (a mbox file named after the folder, but with no file extension, which has the folders messages). Ignore the "inbox.msf" file (basically a cache of the folder listing) and the inbox.sbd child directory (used to help organize mbox files into a folder hierarchy).

However, you might find it easier to install the ImportExportTools NG add-on and use it to export messages as mbox files rather than copy existing mbox files from the profile. https://addons.thunderbird.net/en-us/th ... ttools-ng/

When you synch a IMAP account with the IMAP server the optional local files (offline folders) become a mirror of the corresponding remote folders. But if you delete the remote folder the corresponding offline folder is also deleted. Ditto if you delete a message in the remote folder. So offline folders are a handy way to get a snapshot of a remote folder, but you need to copy it to somewhere safe afterwards. This can be confusing for somebody if they have only used POP accounts before.

tanstaafl
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Post Posted October 18th, 2021, 7:01 pm

The ImportExportTools NG add-on is known mainly for importing/exporting messages/folders. But it also supports backup/restore of profiles, including automated backup. The roadmap for Thunderbird version 103 (2022) has that add-ons features being merged into core code. So while some details might change when its merged you don't need to worry about it being abandoned like Mozbackup was.

https://developer.thunderbird.net/planning/roadmap

cindyjj
 
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Post Posted October 19th, 2021, 10:10 am

I tried to download the addon, it saved to desktop, then wouldn't open, saying there was no application to open it.

cindyjj
 
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Post Posted October 19th, 2021, 10:11 am

Also, can Thunderbird sync a zip folder of .eml files? If so, how? Thanks.

Gone Postal
 
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Post Posted October 19th, 2021, 10:26 am

cindyjj wrote:I tried to download the addon, it saved to desktop, then wouldn't open, saying there was no application to open it.


If it is an .xpi file, open the Add-ons tab in Thunderbird, click on the gear icon towards the top of the page, click on "install addon from file", navigate to the saved file on your desktop and click OK.

cindyjj
 
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Post Posted October 19th, 2021, 11:01 am

Thanks. Where do I find it now that it is installed? It isn't under Tools.

tanstaafl
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Post Posted October 19th, 2021, 12:44 pm

cindyjj wrote:Also, can Thunderbird sync a zip folder of .eml files? If so, how? Thanks.

Nope. You can import/export a directory tree of *.eml files using the ImportExportTools NG add-on.

https://github.com/thundernest/import-export-tools-ng describes the features and how to install the add-on. It assumes you enabled the menu bar and aren't using the hamburger menu button in the upper right corner.

Gone Postal
 
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Post Posted October 19th, 2021, 1:04 pm

cindyjj wrote:Thanks. Where do I find it now that it is installed? It isn't under Tools.


Running the Windows variant of Thunderbird, the bottom item of the Tools drop-down menu for me is ImportExport Tools NG.

cindyjj
 
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Post Posted October 19th, 2021, 3:40 pm

I'm on Macbook, it isn't in the Tools drop down.

Gone Postal
 
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Post Posted October 19th, 2021, 3:46 pm

cindyjj wrote:I'm on Macbook, it isn't in the Tools drop down.


If you open the Add-ons tab is there a spanner or wrench icon beside the ImportExport Tools NG add-on? If so, does that give you enough traction to do what you need to do?

cindyjj
 
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Post Posted October 19th, 2021, 6:14 pm

Tanstaafl, could you please tell me more about the menu bars you're mentioning?

tanstaafl
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Post Posted October 19th, 2021, 7:42 pm

Many people enable the Mail and Menu toolbars and use them rather than the Hamburger button. If you press the ALT key on your keyboard it should temporarily enable the Menu toolbar. Then use View -> Toolbars to permanently enable whatever toolbars you want.

You could also press the Hamburger button (A widget that looks like ≡ , called that because it looks like three hamburgers stacked on top of each other) in the upper right corner of the main window, choose View, Toolbars, and then select whatever toolbars you want.

The Menu toolbar has File, Edit, Go, View , Message, Events & Tasks, Tools, and Help list boxes if you are using Windows. It might look different under OS X. For example some platforms used Options while others used Preferences in the Mail toolbar before version 91. Now all use Preferences. Linux used to use Edit instead of Tools in the Menu bar. I don't know if that is still true with version 91.

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