efficiant move folders to local folder

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Joined: January 9th, 2010, 7:02 pm

Post Posted June 3rd, 2018, 11:37 pm


hope somebody has an idea how to do some copy imap folders to local folder more efficiently than I do today:

On my IMAP server I have a folderstructure for different projecs. Due to limited sapce on my imap folder ai have to move mails to my local folder each 6 month.
Up to now I did this like i have read in different "howto's": Create the required local folder, dive into the IMAP folders, select all e-mails in the IMAP folder and move them by Drag'n'Drop to the lokal folder.

This has some disadvantages:
- it is very inefficiant to do this with a lot of IMAP folders with subfolders
- After moving the e-mails the search does not find the e-mails any more (mayb it finds them, but can no open them any more). I need to delete the index files and create them new.

So far I have not found any method to move complete folders (including subfolders) directly from the IMAP folders.
It is possible to copy them by Drag'n'Drop directly from the IMAP folder structure, but this does not work all the time, and as each copy takes quite some time one can loose the overview quite fast what was copied already (or the process to copy all folders just takes forever)

it is too bad, that one does not see subfolders in the e-mail region (like in the explorer), but only in the folder structure. I find this quite annoying, as if I have subfolders I might overlook some e-mails in these folders.

The archive fucntion seems not to reconstruct any own folder structrue. in addition it seems not possible to achrive complete folders, but only e-mails.

I tried the addon ImportExport tools, but this also des not provide the functionallity I look for.

Does anybody has an idea how to copy e-mails to local folders more efficiant ?

thanks a lot



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Joined: July 30th, 2003, 5:06 pm

Post Posted June 4th, 2018, 5:26 pm

It would have helped if you mentioned how much time you spend moving folders every 6 months since many of the solutions I can think of would require you to invest a good bit of time trying to get them to work. Unfortunately messages filters don't seem to know how to move folders, even using the FiltaQuilla add-on to add lots of features. Creating a virtual folder using saved search is a handy way to access/manipulate messages in multiple folders in one step but that wouldn't preserve the folders.

1. You could use the IMAPSize utility to incrementally archive messages/folders as .eml files and then later on import (in one step) all of the .eml files in a directory tree into "Local Folders" using the ImportExportTools add-on. By incremental I mean it remembers what has been backed up before and only backs up the changes. Backups are stored in a folder hierarchy, though I don't have enough experience with IMAPSize to know if that hierarchy could create any issues. I've mainly used IMAPSize to move stuff between multiple IMAP accounts. You can create a batch file that uses command line arguments to run IMAPSize.

2. Take a look at the mailbox synchronization tools at . One possibility would be to use isync to backup folders and messages to "Local Folders" using maildir. The Thunderbird 60 beta has the option to convert an account from mbox to maildir. However, Thunderbird's maildir is a subset of the real maildir and may have problems with a background process adding maildir files and folders behind its back. You'd have to experiment with a test profile to find out if that works. But if it did you could use a batch file to do everything in one step since isync is a command line application.

Unfortunately states "Cygwin cannot be reasonably supported due to restrictions of the Windows file system." Cygwin is a very useful tool to add support for running many Linux applications under Windows. You might be able to work around that by installing WSL (Microsoft's Windows Subsystem for Linux). That also opens up the possibility of using the Linux version of Thunderbird under Windows 10, using WSL. Its possible to run graphical applications under WSL if you install a free X server such as vcXsrv. I briefly experimented with doing that last year and it worked fine but I never got as far as trying to run Thunderbird under WSL. The main issue is to make certain the graphical application doesn't use some Linux feature that WSL doesn't support.

Microsoft is periodically increasing what WSL supports . For example ... sion-1803/ talks about how "Windows 10 version 1803 "Spring Creators Update" added support for background tasks and unix sockets (that is important).

Thunderbird uses a Mozilla toolkit, so in general if somebody can get Firefox to run under WSL Thunderbird should be able to run. ... -apps.aspx stated that were able to run Firefox under WSL. It also describes many of the steps they took to get stuff to run. ... x-with-wsl and ... audio.html also talk about successfully using Firefox under WSL .

A more practical solution though might be to run Linux in a virtual machine under Windows. If you did that you'd probably want to either use that version of Thunderbird all the time, or figure out how to easily move the mail/folders from the virtual machine to your normal Thunderbird profile on a NTFS volume. ... -apps.aspx

Posts: 12
Joined: January 9th, 2010, 7:02 pm

Post Posted June 7th, 2018, 1:32 pm

Thanks for the feedback.
in the meantime I found, that the "archive" function can work with the folder structure.
Still not possible to archive complete folders, but I think this is good enough!

Also I have to admit, that with my first trials I lost some e-mails .. I used the Archive functions and the e-mails seemed to be moved into another dimension.
But most of the time thy are where i want them to be.

But i think on a quick check the search function also does not find the e-mails after archiving them. looks similar to a manual move..

Thanks for the feedback.!


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