Guide to Exporting Mail From Thunderbird

A command line approach to exporting mail

What to Know

  • Download mbx2eml and extract it to your Desktop.
  • Use Command Prompt and mbx2eml to move the files to a folder on your Desktop, from which you can move them to another application.

Changing email programs can be challenging. To make sure it isn't accompanied by a loss of data, take your existing contacts, filters, and—most importantly—emails with you in a smooth manner. Mozilla Thunderbird stores your messages in Mbox format, which can be opened in a text editor and converted to other email programs.

Export Mail From Thunderbird to Another Email Program

To export messages from Mozilla Thunderbird to a new email program:

  1. Download mbx2eml and extract it to your Desktop. This application converts Mbox format files to EML format using the Command Line.

  2. Right-click the Desktop and choose New > Folder.

    New > Folder in Desktop right-click menu.
  3. Type Mail in the field provided and press Enter.

    Mail in folder name field.
  4. Open Windows Explorer or File Explorer and go to your Mozilla Thunderbird Profile directory. This directory is where Thunderbird keeps your settings and messages.

    Thunderbird Profiles
  5. Open the Local Folders folder.

  6. Highlight all the files named like folders in your Mozilla Thunderbird store folder that have no extension.

  7. Exclude msgFilterRules, Inbox.msf, and any other .msf files.

  8. Copy or move the highlighted files to the new Mail folder on your Desktop.

  9. Open a Command Prompt window via Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt. In Windows 10, open the Start menu, enter cmd in the empty field, and select Command Prompt from the results.

    Command Prompt window
  10. Type cd in the Command Prompt window.

    cd in Command Prompt
  11. Drag and drop the Mail folder from your Desktop onto the Command Prompt window.

    Mail folder in Command Prompt
  12. Press Enter in the Command Prompt window.

  13. Type mkdir out and press Enter.

  14. Type ..\mbx2eml * out and press Enter.

  15. Open the Mail folder from your Desktop.

  16. Open the Out folder.

  17. From the subfolders of the Out folder, drag and drop the .eml files onto the desired folders inside your new email program.

If your Local Folders folder has any subfolders with mailboxes you want to keep, repeat the process for each of these folders.

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