Migrating from Outlook on Windows to Thunderbird on Linux Mint 18.3

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Migrating from Outlook on Windows to Thunderbird on Linux Mint 18.3

Post by Woodburner » Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:35 pm

The last big hurdle in my migration from Windows to Linux was email. Not the ongoing stuff, that just works, but all the legacy emails I’ve built up over the years. As I’m sure it is for many folk, my email client has become a de facto filing cabinet. I had a 1GB PST file sitting on Outlook 2013 and I needed to get those emails in to Thunderbird on my Linux PC. Thankfully, this was more straight forward than I thought it would be and there are several good articles on the subject as well as some useful free tools.

My start point was this excellent article by Scott on PaperStreet.

https://www.paperstreet.com/blog/how-to ... ird-email/

This walks you through the process of migrating email from Outlook in to Thunderbird on a Windows PC. If you're running Outlook then you already have a Windows PC to use as your migration platform. I can add a couple of my own thoughts on the migration process and things that worked better for me when considering this as a move to ultimately have all my emails in Thunderbird on a Linux box.

1 – Before you import mail in to Thunderbird on Windows, make a copy of the original Thunderbird mail files. These are stored in a hiddeen file so you will have to show hidden files. The files can be found at: C:\Users\[UserName]\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\XXXXXXXX.default\Mail

Copy the whole mail folder. Inside it, assuming you set up your email account in Thunderbird beforehand, you will see a folder for your mail account and a folder called"Local Folders". Save the copy of the "Mail" folder somewhere else on your PC.

2 – Import mail in to Thunderbird as per the instructions in Scott's article. If you're hapy with the way your Thunderbird mail client looks then fine, you're good to go to step 3. For me though, and I may have made a mistake, the emails were imported as a sub-directory of my primary email account inbox. Given that I wanted to add additional email accounts, I thought it would be more logical to have all my "archive" folders in "Local Mail". To do this I made a copy of the post import "Mail" folder as per point 1. I then opened the post import "mail account" folder and copied the contents in to the post import "Local Folder" folder. I then replaced the working "Local Folder" with this version and also replaced the working "mail account" folder with the original saved copy.

This gave a me clean mail account inbox ready to sync all my mails and a local mail folder containing all my old emails from Outlook. That's how I want Thunderbird to work in both Windows and Linux.

3 – Test you email account works and that you can move new mail in to the folders that should now appear under Local Folders. If you're happy with all that then you are ready to migrate the Thunderbird mail from Windows to Thunderbird on Linux and thankfully this is really easy.

Creat a copy of the working Mail folder from Thunderbird on Windows as per point 1 and put this on a USB or shared drive.

4 – Import the windows Thunderbird Mail files in to Thunderbird on Linux. On the Linux PC, make sure Thunderbird is closed and locate the folder root\home\username\.thunderbird\xxxxxxxx.default\Mail.
Replace this with the copy of the "Mail" folder from your Windows PC. Start Thunderbird. You should see the exact same folder structure as you do on Thunderbird on a Windows PC.

Happy days!
Last edited by Pierre on Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Moved to Tutorials, as It's Now a Sticky

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Re: Migrating from Outlook on Windows to Thunderbird on Linux Mint 18.3

Post by deepakdeshp » Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:39 pm

That's nice information
If I have helped you solve a problem, please add [SOLVED] to your first post title, it helps other users looking for help, and keeps the forum clean.
I am using Mint 18.3 Cinnamon 64 bit with AMD processor . Memory 8GB

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Re: Migrating from Outlook on Windows to Thunderbird on Linux Mint 18.3

Post by Susan12 » Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:02 pm

Yes, great info provided here. I will definitely try this.

I had no problem getting thunderbird going, but still have to import all the old mail.

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Re: Migrating from Outlook on Windows to Thunderbird on Linux Mint 18.3

Post by AZgl1500 » Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:14 pm

Great Write-up:

Thunderbird is really picky when creating accounts.

it seems like it is always the 3rd try to get everything right.

But, once it is done, I like the way Thunderbird works....

but, most of the time, I use Yahoo webmail as my primary "take a look" and see what I have place.

I have Thunderbird set up to store everything back into Yahoo's folders, simply because that is where I have over 20 years of stored documents..... nearly everyone who is important to me has a folder.

IE, once during a long lawsuit as a result of a 18 wheel trucker who ran over me, my lawyer in the 3rd year asked me if I had a copy of a certain email that documented something really important...

I pulled it up in less than 5 minutes and forwarded it back to him.
He was flabbergasted beyond belief.

but, Thunderbird is highly configurable, and I do use it a lot.
Firefox / 4.13.0-38, Mint 18.3 Sylvia, Cinnamon 3.6.7

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Re: Migrating from Outlook on Windows to Thunderbird on Linux Mint 18.3

Post by silver_whiskers » Fri Apr 06, 2018 7:31 am

Those who may be about to dump Windows for Linux I recommend doing the following.

Install Thunderbird on your Windows machine. Get it working and your folders all organised in the manner you prefer, including all your old archives and what-have-you.
Then go to the Thunderbird help pages where you will find information on how to move all your folders and settings from Windows to a Linux machine.

There are versions of Chromium which work on Linux and have a Windows install ... if you are not a Firefox user.

Last week I fixed a friend's Windows-10 problems. Maybe the rotating storage amplified the slowness compared to running an SSD (my other W7 machine is still pretty nimble) but I am so glad that I didn't go that route with my OS.

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