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Thunderbird: Sharing email data across operating systems

(J C Nash – started 20090918)

If you have a dual boot system or multiple computers, then it is useful to be able to use a single email client on each system you use AND have access to the same data. This is particularly helpful if you use POPmail, which downloads mail to a “local” file store.


1) There are several options for copying or linking files. These may have different implications.

2) I have not tried networked drive storage (but would like to – I have a Koolu on my LAN).

Starting situation

You have one system on which Thunderbird (I've been using version 2.0). In my case Ubuntu Hardy. I want to migrate to Ubunut Jaunty and put it on another disk or disk partition.

Recipe 1:

I installed Tbird in Jaunty, and started a setup, but exited as soon as I had provided a “name” (my email account name). Then I made sure I could access /home/myname on the Hardy system. I use a 2 pane file manager to do this (Gnome-commander, emelfm2 or mc). If I have the Hardy system mounted as


(your system WILL BE DIFFERENT)

then I want to find the (hidden) subdirectory


and particularly note the account directory – on mine it was ne6rajhw.default

On the Jaunty side, I erase contents of


I create a link to the hardy account

ln -s ne6rajhw.default /media/hardy/.mozilla-thunderbird/ne6rajhw.default

and copy the profiles.ini across.

The last step is to make the local storage agree. On my system I store local (downloaded) mail in /home/Mail on the hardy side. In Tbird, if I look in Edit/Acccount_Settings/Local folders, I see /home/Mail/Local. This will get messy on Jaunty, so on the jaunty side, I create (as root) a link in /home

cd /home ln -s /media/hardy/home/Mail Mail

Other comments and suggestions welcome, especially for networked storage.

I am about to set up a similar common email for my wife on a Win/Lin dual boot netbook. I've done this before much as above, but details may need to be confirmed.


tbirdshare.txt · Last modified: 2015/06/09 15:23 (external edit)