Since I know the Internet, I’ve created a lot of email accounts. I think I had already about 100 emails (include alias). Managing all of these emails is a nightmare so I have to get rid of most of them but I still have about 10 emails in use.
Checking 10 email accounts over the web isn’t an easy job so I use Thunderbird as my default email client to manage all of them. Everything works fine but there’s a small problem with data lost when my computer gets broken. If I have to reinstall the operating system, all of my email account settings will fly away. Adding all of the emails again in Thunderbird is the most boring thing in the world, therefore, I would like to discuss some methods to back up these account settings.
1. Full backup
We can make a full backup by archiving folder %appdata%\Thunderbird\Profiles\xxxxxxxx.default. This full backup will archive all emails and account settings.
– Advantages: Easy. Make complete folder backup then restore.
+ This backup can be huge because of emails and their attachments.
+ This method is suitable for fresh installation of Thunderbird. If you have configured a Thunderbird installation (already add some email accounts), restore this folder can overwrite your settings or create new profile. We have no way to merge the profile folders.
2. Settings backup
In case we set at email server that we only download a copy and don’t delete the original emails. The emails are always available at the email server. The full backup doesn’t make sense anymore, then we can back up the prefs.js file only.
– Advantages: Small. Easy. Make a file backup then restore.
+ For a fresh installation of Thunderbird, we have to rename default profile folder to old default profile folder which is defined in the prefs.js file.
+ For a configured installation of Thunderbird, we have to create a new profile folder with the old default profile name. There is no way to merge backup settings to the current installation of Thunderbird.
+ Passwords must be entered again.
3. Only account settings backup
I use this one because I only want to backup email account settings. I don’t need the emails because I have them stored in the server. I made a small tool to make a backup of prefs.js and if something wrong happens, I can restore my email account settings back.
– Advantages: Small. Easy. Use tool. The backup account settings will be merged into the current installation of Thunderbird.
+ All other settings will fly away. For example, passwords must be entered and SSL exceptions have to be inserted into whitelist again.