Switching from Windows Mail or Windows Live Mail to Thunderbird


Importing Windows Mail Messages

Importing Windows Mail (.eml files) into Thunderbird is enabled by the third-party add-on ImportExport Tools. Download and install this add-on to transfer messages from Windows Live Mail to Thunderbird.

  1. Export your messages from Windows Mail in .eml format.
  2. In Thunderbird, go to Tools | ImportExport | Import all messages from a directory | Also from its subdirectories.
  3. Navigate to the .eml files folder. The default location for Windows Live mail is C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail (or \Windows Mail).NOTE: To be able to see the folder "App Data" you must first change Folder Options to "Show hidden files, folders, and drives"
  4. Click Open. Your data will be imported.

Importing Windows Mail Contacts

In order to import Windows contacts into Thunderbird, you must export the contacts to a text file (.csv format) and import the file into Thunderbird. See the Import, export, or change the format for contacts article at Microsoft.com for instructions on how to export contacts in Windows 7.

After creating the required file, you can import your contacts using the instructions for importing Outlook 2007 contacts below. However, instead of choosing Outlook in step 3, choose Text file (LDIF, .tab, .csv, .txt) and click Next. In the Select address book file window that appears, select Comma Separated (or All files) in the drop-down list at the bottom right, browse to the .csv file you just created, select it and click Open.

In the Import Address Book window that appears, use the Move Up and Move Down buttons to match the address book fields on the left to the correct data for import on the right, and uncheck items you do not want to import. When you are done, click OK. Your contacts should now be imported and ready for use in Thunderbird.

Note that if you are having problems importing the fields properly (like when all record data to import shows up inside the first field row when inside the Import Address Book window), this is probably a result of an exported .csv file containing semicolons instead of commas, or the other way around. This usually happens because the separator in Windows Regional settings does not match the one for the Thunderbird locale, for instance when you exported a .csv file using an English Windows version and try to import it into a non-English version of Thunderbird. In this case, you should make the list separator match in your Regional settings before exporting the .csv file, or you could edit the already exported .csv file using a text editor and replace all semicolons by commas (or vice versa), and retry the import step.

Switching from Outlook 2007 to Thunderbird

The following instructions describe how to import messages and contacts from Outlook 2007.

Importing Outlook 2007 Messages

In order to import messages from Outlook to Thunderbird, Outlook must be the default mail client.

1. In Thunderbird, go to Tools | Import....
2. Choose Mail and click Next.


3. Choose Outlook and click Next to start the import process.


4. The Import Wizard will process the emails and display the results. Click Finish.


The emails will now be stored in a folder called Outlook Import under the Local Folders directory.


Importing Outlook 2007 Contacts/Address Book

1. In Thunderbird, go to Tools | Import.... 2. Choose Address Books and click Next.


3. Choose Outlook and click Next.


4. Wait for the import to finish and click Finish.


Importing PST files

Thunderbird cannot import a standalone PST file. Mail import from Outlook works by using the Outlook program to source the emails, not the underlying PST file. If you are switching to Thunderbird and will no longer have a copy of Outlook then it will be necessary to convert all of your existing PST backup files to Thunderbird while you still have access to Outlook on the same computer as Thunderbird.

Switching from Web-based Email Applications to Thunderbird

If you are using a web-based application provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to access your email, you probably only need to configure your account information to switch to Thunderbird. See Configure an account for instructions. Also, see ISP Configuration Settings for instructions on specific ISPs.

Once you have configured your account in Thunderbird, you should be able to access all your messages (both incoming and sent). However, your address book (contacts), mail filters and other settings will not be automatically transferred to Thunderbird.

Some web-base email applications allow you to export contacts in text or comma-separated formats. Check your ISP's documentation for more information. To import contacts into Thunderbird, select Tools | Import... and follow the instructions on the screen.