How to Find Your Mozilla Thunderbird Profile Directory

Young couple using laptop in meadow, smiling
Westend61/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

When you launch Mozilla Thunderbird, all the messages are there, right in your mailbox.

It would be great to know, though, where on the disk they are, would it not? This would allow you to back up your mailboxes, for example, or your Mozilla Thunderbird preferences—including virtual folders.

Find Your Mozilla Thunderbird Profile Directory

To locate and open the folder where Mozilla Thunderbird keeps your profile including settings and messages:

On Windows:

  1. Select Run... from the Start menu.
  2. Type "%appdata%" (without the quotes).
  3. Hit Return.
  4. Open the Thunderbird folder.
  5. Go to the Profiles folder.
  6. Now open the folder of your Mozilla Thunderbird profile (probably "********.default" where the '*'s stand for random characters) and the folder beneath it.

On Mac OS X:

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Press Command-Shift-G.
  3. Type "~/Library/Thunderbird/Profiles/".
    As an alternative:
    1. Open your home folder.
    2. Go to the Library folder,
    3. Open the Thunderbird folder.
    4. Now go to the Profiles folder.
  4. Open your profile's directory (probably "********.default" where the '*'s stand for random characters).

On Linux:

  1. Go to the ".thunderbird" directory in your home "~" directory.
    • ​You can do that in your Linux distribution's file browser, for example, or in a terminal window.
    • If you use a file browser, make sure it shows hidden files and folders.
  2. Open the profile directory (probably "********.default" where the '*'s stand for random characters).

    Now you can back up or move your Mozilla Thunderbird profile, or just archive specific folders.

    Was this page helpful?