How to Import a Mozilla Thunderbird Profile

Written by sean hill
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How to Import a Mozilla Thunderbird Profile
Learn how to import Thunderbird profiles. (e-mail simbol image by vladislav susoy from

Thunderbird is an e-mail program made by Mozilla. Thunderbird creates a profile folder that stores a user's e-mail addresses, passwords, settings and contacts. These profiles can be backed up on external storage devices. They can also be imported--to recover old e-mail settings or to move settings to a new computer. Importing Thunderbird profiles works on both Windows and Mac operating systems, and the steps involved require little computer expertise.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Close Thunderbird if it is open.

  2. 2

    Move the profile folder you want to import onto your computer's hard disk.

  3. 3

    Open the Windows Start menu. Select "Run."

  4. 4

    Type "%AppData%" in the dialogue box and press "Enter."

  5. 5

    Open the "Thunderbird" folder, then the "Profiles" folder.

  6. 6

    Copy the imported profile folder into the "Profiles" folder.

  7. 7

    Navigate back to the "Thunderbird" folder. Open "profiles.ini" in a text editor such as Notepad.

  8. 8

    Find the name of your imported profile in the text file. Change the text next to "Path =" to the location of your profile.

  9. 9

    Change the number next to "IsRelative =" from 1 to 0. Save "profiles.ini" and close the text editor.

  10. 10

    Launch Thunderbird and you should see your new profile.

Tips and warnings

  • The "%AppData%" shortcut only works on the Windows Vista, XP and 2000 operating systems. If you have Windows 95, 98 or ME, navigate to "C:\WINDOWS\Application Data." If you have a Mac operating system, navigate to "~/Library."
  • Here's an example of a profile location in Windows: "C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\xxxxxxxx.default"
  • To backup profiles for future use, simply copy any desired profile folder within the collective "Profiles" folder and save it to an external storage device.

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