Thunderbird:Help Documentation:Migrating to Mozilla Thunderbird

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Migrating to Mozilla Thunderbird

Getting Started

If you're a new Mozilla Thunderbird user, you almost certainly have old e-mail stored in the archives of another e-mail client. If you use e-mail frequently, you might also have an address book full of contacts and settings fully tweaked to your liking. Thankfully Thunderbird makes transferring your e-mail, settings, and address books a painless process in nearly all circumstances. With its support for migrating e-mail, settings, and your address book from Eudora, Outlook, Outlook Express, and Netscape Communicator 4.x (not to mention its support for e-mail stored in Thunderbird's own format, used by Netscape 6/7, KMail, Evolution, and many other clients), getting your e-mail out of your old program and into Thunderbird is a simple process.

Importing Your E-mail

Start the import process by selecting Tools > Import. The import process consists of a series of dialogs which will lead you through the process of migrating your e-mail, address book, and settings.

TheBat to Thunderbird mail conversion

UPDATE 2011-07: Use extension Bird Import for importing e-mail messages from The Bat. E-mail flags, parked/flagged status is preserved during the import.

Note: This workaround sucks. The read/unread flags are buggy (only) when used in a dual-boot environment. Strange error.. seems like TheBat exports different MBX-files. Actual "state of the art" is to use an imap-server in between TheBat and Thunderbird.... ahhhh

There does not seem to be any smooth converter around (except commercial aid4mail maybe). But you can export the mails from TheBat folder by folder as .MBX files. These files can be imported by Thunderbird. Mail flags, colors, filters etc. will not be exported to the MBX-files and therfore will also not be imported by Thunderbird. This works for your attachments. The addressbook can be exported&imported, but not by this workaround. Here is how to do it step by step:

This was tested using TheBat 3.5.25 and Thunderbird 1.0.7

  • Create a new email account in Thunderbird. In the account-properties look at the Server settings tab and remember the Local directory folder. This folder is whereto we will export the mails from TheBat. (For migrating mailaccounts it is usually a good idea to select Leave messages on server in the account properies.)
  • In TheBat click into a folder and select all mails by pressing ctrl-a.
  • From the menu select -> Tools -> Export messages to Unix mailbox. Save the file with the name of the mailfolder in the Thunderbird-account's Local directory folder.
  • Restart Thunderbird and the folders should appear.

To reproduce a higher-level folderstructure you will have to restart Thunderbird a lot of times and export/import level by level. Depending on the number of mailfolders , you might want to create a keyboard shotcut in TheBat. This can be done by clicking: select view -> toolbars -> customize -> select container -> main menu -> tools@carret items -> exportz message to MBX -> at bottom right you can assign a shortcut -> ok&save.

Importing Address Books

Note: For this to work, you need to have KAddressBook.

To import address book from evolution 2.4, first select all the contacts by pressing Ctrl+A. This shall select all the contacts. Now, right click and click on Save As VCard. Save the file with a .vcf extension. Open Kaddressbook and click on Import VCF file; select the vcf file you exported. This will move all contacts in KAddressbook. Now, click on export in Kaddressbook and export contacts as ldif file.

Open TB, select import -> address book -> ldif file. Select the ldif file you exported from KAddressbook and let TB do the magic. Works like a charm.

Importing Filters

Currently, there is no way to import filters from Eudora to Thunderbird. For many of us, who would like to migrate, this is too much of an obstacle. Is someone going to fix this??

Product version:

Evolution 2.4.1 Thunderbird 1.0.7 KDE 3.5.0 Ubuntu Breezy

vCard or .vcf

Some address book programs use a vCard format, which cannot be imported directly by Thunderbird. You can import both vCard and vcf using the third-party Thunderbird extension MoreFunctionsForAddressBook. An alternative is to convert the format to one which can be imported by Thunderbird. One suggestion is to use a online conversion utility to convert the vCard format to LDIF, then import the LDIF format in Thunderbird. For the other direction - from LDIF format to vCard - are also free applications available.