Thunderbird email backup check- since I have to delete before restoring!
April 3, 2014 8:54 AM   Subscribe

I'm returning a work laptop and want to delete a personal email profile, including all the emails. First I want to back it up. Since I can't restore anywhere first, I want to be completely certain I have something I can restore.

I have two profiles: default and MS. I only want to back up MS.

If I'm in Tbird in the MS profile and I look at my Tools, Account Settings, Server Settings page and get the Local Directory, and back that up, I get about 2 GB worth of files, zipped. The folder is named like a Thunderbird profile, "2r0prkjp.My Separatemail". This seems to be the right size.

If I use the MozBackup tool corresponding to the same profile I get a file of only 32 MB.

When I go to delete the profile in Thunderbird, it warns me about a particular profile being deleted in the AppsData path. (I didn't delete) If I go look at that profile in Appsdata, it's far too small to hold all my mail, about 28 MB, and it's called skaqrobp.MS

Then there's another Thunderbird profile in the AppsData path -- this one is under the Roaming folder. It's also named skaqrobp.MS

On the one hand it seems like everything points to skagrobp.MS as being correct--it's got a suffix named the same as my Profile ("MS") and it's where the documentation says the profile is. But it's far too small to hold my email. And why is there a duplicate?

On the other hand using Mozbackup should work but again the resulting file is far too small to be my email.

On the third hand I'm pretty sure I've backed up and restored before just using the directory listed under Server Settings in Thunderbird.

The documentation seems pretty clear but when I follow that I only get a relatively tiny backup file as above.
posted by lockedroomguy to Computers & Internet (2 answers total)
Response by poster: Found it myself:

"Mail is stored by default within the profile. If you re-configured Thunderbird, Mozilla Suite or SeaMonkey to store an accounts messages outside of the profile, you need to also copy the "local directory" for that account. Look in Account settings to find the location of each account's local directory"
posted by lockedroomguy at 9:22 AM on April 3, 2014

Usually how I back up email (and I literally just got done moving a bunch of old email around in Thunderbird) is to make local folders, then select all the email in each folder on the server in the account I want to back up, right-click, and choose the option to copy the selected messages to the local folder. Verifying that that backed up your email is just a matter of seeing that you have the correct number of messages, you have the right start and end emails in each folder, and spot-checking a few messages to be sure they came through intact. That's how I do it! (And then, if that local folder is on the work laptop, you'd copy it off to a thumb drive or export it to a ZIP file and then do so.)
posted by limeonaire at 6:05 PM on April 3, 2014

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