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Transferring my Thunderbird mail folders to another computer

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sbutk
 
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Post Posted April 29th, 2008, 8:18 pm

Hopefully I'm not duplicating another discussion thread out already out there, but I really don't have the time/patience to sift through them all right now in order to ensure that. I also realize that I may have lost my data for good, but I'm still trying to see if there's any way to recover it.

What I've actually done (slightly different from the subject of this post) is formatted the hard drive of my machine, as a last resort in order to rid myself of some rather persistent malware.

Anyway, that's all water under the bridge, because what I did before formatting was I exported my Inbox folder (and others) to disks, with the intention of restoring them after wiping the system clean and reinstalling everything. So I'm hoping that it IS possible to still restore them, and I didn't jump the gun and skip some crucial step - only to lose my precious emails forever.

For example, my exported Inbox file is 443,737 KB in size, and of the type File. The fact that it takes up so much space reassures me somewhat that the data is in fact still there, but if any recovery is to be made, it's apparently not as simple as my gut intuition: copy and paste this "old" Inbox file into the same folder with my "new" Inbox file that I've been amassing for a week now since the format. Slightly disheartening, though, is the fact that when I look into that folder, I see that in addition to the "new" Inbox file (17,279 KB, and of type File), there is also a much smaller file called Inbox that is of the type MSF.

Since I didn't retain any corresponding MSF file to go with my old Inbox, does that mean that my messages are unrecoverable? In the ideal case, I'd love to be able to import that old Inbox file into my newly reinstalled Thunderbird browser. But at the very least I'd like to be able to read the messages again (as text?). So far, though, it doesn't even seem like I'm able to do this.

Any help would be most appreciated. Thanks!


-Steve

Daifne
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Post Posted April 29th, 2008, 8:33 pm

How did you "export" the file?
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sbutk
 
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Post Posted April 30th, 2008, 10:16 am

Daifne wrote:How did you "export" the file?



Eh... sorry, I wish I remembered better, as that'd undoubtedly be crucial for you to know in order to help me. I do know this, though - the version that I had been using was Thunderbird 1.5.0.7. And I saved the folders (Inbox, etc) individually, by right-clicking on each of them in the upper left hand corner of the Thunderbird window. I don't recall whether the right-click menu contained either an Export or a Save As command, that I used to do the job. (The same command apparently does not exist within my current Thunderbird 2.0.0.12 when I right-click.)

Does this tell you anything? Sorry - I wish I could be more descriptive.

Daifne
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Post Posted April 30th, 2008, 4:41 pm

I think that the only way you would have an export menu item is if you had the ImportExportTools extension installed. Does that sound familiar? Or maybe it's old name, MboxImport?
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sbutk
 
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Post Posted April 30th, 2008, 5:00 pm

Daifne wrote:I think that the only way you would have an export menu item is if you had the ImportExportTools extension installed. Does that sound familiar? Or maybe it's old name, MboxImport?



No, I'm positive that I didn't add any extension by either of those names - at least not immediately prior to attempting this latest export. It's possible that I may've done so long ago, prior to backing up my email some other time, and just don't remember it. But I'm doubtful.

Hmmm...

Daifne
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Post Posted April 30th, 2008, 6:08 pm

Do you know what file format the exported files are in?
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sbutk
 
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Post Posted April 30th, 2008, 8:31 pm

Daifne wrote:Do you know what file format the exported files are in?



When I look at them in Windows Explorer, they are simply of type "File".

And right-clicking and selecting Properties shows that their Attributes are "Archive".

Would it be helpful if I could send one of the files to you? It doesn't seem like I have the capability of adding attachments to my posts in this forum, though.

Daifne
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Post Posted April 30th, 2008, 8:54 pm

Do you have Windows set to not hide file extensions for known file types? If not, do it in the same place you would set it to view hidden files and folders: Show hidden files and folders - MozillaZine Knowledge Base.
“If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you really make them think, they'll hate you.” ― Harlan Ellison
Please do not PM me for personal support. Keep posts here in the Forums instead and we all learn.

sbutk
 
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Post Posted May 1st, 2008, 7:50 am

Daifne wrote:Do you have Windows set to not hide file extensions for known file types? If not, do it in the same place you would set it to view hidden files and folders: Show hidden files and folders - MozillaZine Knowledge Base.



In Folder Options > View... I just unchecked the option "Hide extensions for known file types."

Unfortunately that doesn't seem to have made any difference. Those mailbox files are still of type File.

(I refreshed the screen. I shouldn't need to reboot the computer to see the effect, should I?)

Daifne
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Post Posted May 1st, 2008, 8:53 am

OK. Thunderbird's mbox files don't have a file extension. That could be a good thing.

Install this extension: ImportExportTools: http://nic-nac-project.org/~kaosmos/mboximport-en.html

To install a Thunderbird extension do the following:
Right click the download link and choose "Save Link As...". Then open Thunderbird, in Thunderbird go to Tools->Extensions->Install (Tools>Addons>Extensions in version 2.0). Find the just downloaded .xpi file and select it. The installation will now begin. You will need to close and reopen Thunderbird to complete the install.

When it's installed, you will have a new menu item in Tools called Import/Export in Mbox/Eml Format and under it, Import Mbox File. Select it, then select the individual file option and when you get to the Windows file navigation window, find your OLD Mail folder and get the files with no extension that you want from *account*. Example: there are two files and 1 folder in your profile\Mail folder for your inbox. Inbox.sbd is the folder which holds the files for any subfolders, inbox.msf is the index and inbox (no extension) is the actual message file. The last one is the one you want. Do this for each folder that contains messages that you want to bring in. You can select and bring in more than one at a time. Use Ctrl+click to select the different files in one folder. If you have subfolders, these files are in the .sbd folder for the parent folder. The messages will be in a new folder named for the original with three numbers, ex: Inbox123, which you can then move the messages out of and sort as you want.
“If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you really make them think, they'll hate you.” ― Harlan Ellison
Please do not PM me for personal support. Keep posts here in the Forums instead and we all learn.

sbutk
 
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Post Posted May 1st, 2008, 12:13 pm

Daifne wrote:OK. Thunderbird's mbox files don't have a file extension. That could be a good thing.

Install this extension: ImportExportTools: http://nic-nac-project.org/~kaosmos/mboximport-en.html

To install a Thunderbird extension do the following:
Right click the download link and choose "Save Link As...". Then open Thunderbird, in Thunderbird go to Tools->Extensions->Install (Tools>Addons>Extensions in version 2.0). Find the just downloaded .xpi file and select it. The installation will now begin. You will need to close and reopen Thunderbird to complete the install.

When it's installed, you will have a new menu item in Tools called Import/Export in Mbox/Eml Format and under it, Import Mbox File. Select it, then select the individual file option and when you get to the Windows file navigation window, find your OLD Mail folder and get the files with no extension that you want from *account*. Example: there are two files and 1 folder in your profile\Mail folder for your inbox. Inbox.sbd is the folder which holds the files for any subfolders, inbox.msf is the index and inbox (no extension) is the actual message file. The last one is the one you want. Do this for each folder that contains messages that you want to bring in. You can select and bring in more than one at a time. Use Ctrl+click to select the different files in one folder. If you have subfolders, these files are in the .sbd folder for the parent folder. The messages will be in a new folder named for the original with three numbers, ex: Inbox123, which you can then move the messages out of and sort as you want.




It worked! Thanks a million.

...If I ever need to do a backup again, I should use the same menu feature, but this time with the Export command?


-Steve

Daifne
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Post Posted May 1st, 2008, 12:45 pm

That would be one way, or you could backup your entire profile folder and also save your address books, settings, etc. http://kb.mozillazine.org/Profile_backup

You're very welcome.
“If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you really make them think, they'll hate you.” ― Harlan Ellison
Please do not PM me for personal support. Keep posts here in the Forums instead and we all learn.

sbutk
 
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Post Posted May 1st, 2008, 12:51 pm

Daifne wrote:That would be one way, or you could backup your entire profile folder and also save your address books, settings, etc. http://kb.mozillazine.org/Profile_backup

You're very welcome.



Right, OK. Thanks again.

Daifne
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Post Posted May 1st, 2008, 12:56 pm

You're welcome.
“If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you really make them think, they'll hate you.” ― Harlan Ellison
Please do not PM me for personal support. Keep posts here in the Forums instead and we all learn.

bumpo
 
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Post Posted May 1st, 2008, 5:25 pm

Is there a clear step-by-step explanation of how to transfer Thunderbird email from a PC to a Mac?

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