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Migrating Thunderbird Profile from Windows to Linux

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apachedude
 
Posts: 71
Joined: July 24th, 2004, 1:46 pm

Post Posted June 1st, 2020, 4:44 am

I am having a very difficult time accessing old email from an IMAP account from my former academic institution. I have not had login access to this email since February, but I have about 1.5 years of emails left to archive (I have successfully emailed the first 9.5 years).

I am running Thunderbird 68.8.1 on a Windows 10 installation, although the issues described were present on older versions as well. On this Windows 10 machine, I am able to view old messages on my old IMAP account, although it will annoying give me popups about "unable to login". In addition, I am unable to move this to my Local Folders for archiving.

I have also tried to migrate to Ubuntu Linux, currently using Thunderbird 68.8.0. The problems are many:

1) I am unable to replicate even the minimal functionality that I can get on Windows. This is after about a dozen attempts to copy the contents of the profile directory, adjusting relative paths, manually editing the prefs.js file to reflect POSIX directory paths rather than Windows, and copying the global-messages.sqlite file.

2) If I copy just the subdirectory corresponding to my desired IMAP folder (containing 14 GB of data) from the Windows profile (with the .msf and the messages) to a working Linux profile, it will immediately delete the 14 GB of data and replace it with 29 MB of junk.

3) As I am unable to copy the desired folder into Local Folders in my Windows profile, I am also unable to reproduce this for copying into my Linux profile.

Has anyone encountered anything similar to this bug? I've been using Thunderbird for about 15 years since migrating from Eudora, figuring that the Open Source solution would give me the best flexibility for archiving my emails for long-term access. I have generally been extremely happy, but I prioritize platform independence and a robust long-term solution above all else, and would hate to have to look elsewhere.

sfhowes
 
Posts: 518
Joined: April 1st, 2012, 10:21 am

Post Posted June 1st, 2020, 10:35 am

Copy the Thunderbird folder in ...AppData/Roaming to the Linux computer. On the Linux computer, Help/Troubleshooting, click Open Directory to open the profile folder, close TB, go up two levels, delete the contents of the .thunderbird folder. Copy the contents of the Windows Thunderbird folder into the (empty) .thunderbird folder. Open the profile folder and delete pkcs11.txt, to allow logins from stored passwords. Since your Linux TB version is older than the Windows TB, start TB from the command line (terminal) with these arguments: thunderbird -profilemanager --allow-downgrade
Select the proper profile, usually named default, and see if your data appears as on Windows.

http://kb.mozillazine.org/Profile_manager#Linux

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

Post Posted June 1st, 2020, 10:42 am

You're doing things the hard way. You normally don't need to edit the paths. In general, every setting with a path stores both a absolute (full complete path) and a relative (partial path, relative to the start of the profile) version of that setting. The absolute version is operating system specific. However, the relative version specifies a location relative to the top of the profile (it doesn't have to specify a drive letter or device name as that is already specified by the profile root) so as long as Thunderbird knows where the profile is, you should be okay as Thunderbird always tries it first.

If you move the entire profile and add it to profiles.ini (either manually editing the file, via the profile manager or the about:profiles link in help -> troubleshooting information) typically you just need to worry about any operating system versions of add-ons. That's usually engimail and lightning. If you are using version 68.* Lightning is no longer a add-on so it shouldn't be an issue.

"If I copy just the subdirectory corresponding to my desired IMAP folder (containing 14 GB of data) from the Windows profile (with the .msf and the messages) to a working Linux profile, it will immediately delete the 14 GB of data and replace it with 29 MB of junk."

That's because the master copy is stored in remote folders. You're treating it like a POP account.

"As I am unable to copy the desired folder into Local Folders in my Windows profile, I am also unable to reproduce this for copying into my Linux profile."

If you can't copy the mbox files and *.msf files use the ImportExportTools NG add-on to import them into Local Folders. However you best bet is to just move the entire profile as is.

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

Post Posted June 1st, 2020, 10:43 am


apachedude
 
Posts: 71
Joined: July 24th, 2004, 1:46 pm

Post Posted June 12th, 2020, 11:03 pm

[quote="sfhowes"]Copy the Thunderbird folder in ...AppData/Roaming to the Linux computer. On the Linux computer, Help/Troubleshooting, click Open Directory to open the profile folder, close TB, go up two levels, delete the contents of the .thunderbird folder. Copy the contents of the Windows Thunderbird folder into the (empty) .thunderbird folder. Open the profile folder and delete pkcs11.txt, to allow logins from stored passwords. Since your Linux TB version is older than the Windows TB, start TB from the command line (terminal) with these arguments: thunderbird -profilemanager --allow-downgrade
Select the proper profile, usually named default, and see if your data appears as on Windows.

http://kb.mozillazine.org/Profile_manager#Linux[/quote]

[quote="tanstaafl"]You're doing things the hard way. You normally don't need to edit the paths. In general, every setting with a path stores both a absolute (full complete path) and a relative (partial path, relative to the start of the profile) version of that setting. The absolute version is operating system specific. However, the relative version specifies a location relative to the top of the profile (it doesn't have to specify a drive letter or device name as that is already specified by the profile root) so as long as Thunderbird knows where the profile is, you should be okay as Thunderbird always tries it first.

If you move the entire profile and add it to profiles.ini (either manually editing the file, via the profile manager or the about:profiles link in help -> troubleshooting information) typically you just need to worry about any operating system versions of add-ons. That's usually engimail and lightning. If you are using version 68.* Lightning is no longer a add-on so it shouldn't be an issue.

"[i]If I copy just the subdirectory corresponding to my desired IMAP folder (containing 14 GB of data) from the Windows profile (with the .msf and the messages) to a working Linux profile, it will immediately delete the 14 GB of data and replace it with 29 MB of junk.[/i]"

That's because the master copy is stored in remote folders. You're treating it like a POP account.

"[i]As I am unable to copy the desired folder into Local Folders in my Windows profile, I am also unable to reproduce this for copying into my Linux profile.[/i]"

If you can't copy the mbox files and *.msf files use the ImportExportTools NG add-on to import them into Local Folders. However you best bet is to just move the entire profile as is.[/quote]


[quote="tanstaafl"]http://kb.mozillazine.org/Moving_from_Windows_to_Linux is ancient but might help.[/quote]


Thanks, going to give it a try with simple migration and the downgrade flag when I get back home.

apachedude
 
Posts: 71
Joined: July 24th, 2004, 1:46 pm

Post Posted June 14th, 2020, 11:46 pm

Thanks, folks. The downgrade option did the trick!

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