Tag Archives: Thunderbird

ImportExport Tools: A Thunderbird essential

Remember my last post about how Thunderbird didn’t have a proper import/export function? Since then I discovered, installed and used ImportExport Tools to allow me to import Mbox-formatted mail archives into my main Thunderbird installation.

I was able to easily bring all the messages from my Windows Thunderbird install into my OpenBSD Thunderbird, and now all of my e-mail is in one place.

The reason for this was switching over from IMAP to POP because I was (and am)  not comfortable leaving my mail on the server and want to have it all on my local drive (and backed up to CDs/DVDs).

To consolidate my two Thunderbird archives into one, I took the whole local directory from one, burned it to a CD, moved it to the other PC and then used ImportExport Tools to bring the folders into my current Thunderbird local directory one by one. Once I had the new folders in my new Thunderbird install, I then distributed the messages to the appropriate folders and deleted the temporary folders I created to hold the transferred mail.

I continue to think that this import-export function should be done wholly in Thunderbird with Mozilla-maintained code, but having an add-on that works is better than nothing at all.

Using IMAP, as I did for a few years, allows for quite a bit of flexibility, since the mail stays on the server and I can use any number of clients to access it from any number of machines.

To give me some added flexibility now that I’m POP-ping the mail down to one computer, I have Thunderbird configured to keep the last 10 days’ worth of mail on the server so I can use my mail service’s Web interface at any time to see all the mail in the past 10 days.

The one problem with this 10-day solution is that any e-mail I write in Thunderbird goes into the Sent file on my local machine and is never on the server. To get around this, if I write an e-mail that I’d like to have access to via the Web address, I BCC it to myself so it goes on the server as well.

I do the same thing if I write an e-mail in the Web interface, copying myself so I have it both on the server and in my local directory.

Before I close, I should say that I chose Thunderbird as my mail client because I’d been using it for a few years (and was comfortable with it) and because it’s a cross-platform app that runs in Windows, Linux, Mac OS and every BSD. I really like any app I can easily get in every OS I run (or might run).