If you are using POP3 as protocol to retrieve your e-mails, for instance because of security reasons, then it might be necessary once in a while to save your e-mails. Say you want to install your Operating System once again and move your e-mails to the new installation, then these e-mails need to be saved somehow in advance. This Tutorial explains how to save e-mails for the e-mail client Thunderbird.
Backup the profile-directory
In order to save your e-mails as well as settings a backup of the profile-directory needs to be done. The name of the profile-directory consists of 8 random digits plus the ending ‘.default’. Concerning Linux OS you’ll find it in the hidden directory ‘.thunderbird’ which is placed in the home-directory, that means under ‘/home/USERNAME/’.
Here the locations of the profile-directories for the most common OS:
Windows 8 and Windows 7:
C:\Documents and Settings\username\AppData\Thunderbird\Profiles\xxxxxxxx.default
Mac OS X:
Restoring the Thunderbird-Backup
Save the ‘xxxxxxxx.default’-directory in a save place, for example on an external hard drive. In order to restore a backup in Thunderbird, you need to move the backup-directory to the same ‘profiles’-directory. If an ‘.default’-directory already exists in this location, then you should rename the backup-directory to the name of the existing ‘.default’-directory.