Sync Mozilla Thunderbird Using Dropbox


I have had a Dropbox account for a while now but never really used it till now. There have been really good tricks and uses to Dropbox posted on the Internet and I finally decided to try my hands at synchronising my emails.

Dropbox Setup

Install Dropbox and create an account. I am using the free 2GB as my total mail folder size is less than 2GB. Head over to and follow the instructions for installing Dropbox. I will assume the Dropbox folder is set to default which is ~\username\My Dropbox in Windows or ~/username/Dropbox in Ubuntu Linux.

Mozilla Thunderbird Setup

I am assuming this already exists. If not go to and install it.

Sync Setup On Windows

Close down Mozilla Thunderbird program. I would recommend creating a directory for your emails within the Dropbox directory. I named mine Thunderbird e.g C:\Users\username\My Dropbox\Thunderbird

At a minimum the default profile needs to be copied to the Dropbox directory. Copy: C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles to C:\Users\username\My Dropbox\Thunderbird\Profiles\xxxxxxxx.default

xxxxxxxx.default = a random filename with .default at the end of the folder name.

Other files may be copied under the My Dropbox\Thunderbird directory such as email notification sounds so it is always backed up and sync’d across.

Shortcut Profile Manager

Point Thunderbird to the new location of your profile by starting Thunderbird with the following arguments thunderbird.exe -ProfileManager This can be done by creating / editing a Thunderbird shortcut or Start Menu > Run dialog

Run Dialogue Profile Manager

Create a new profile and click Next > button on the wizard pop up window. Select Choose Folder… and locate the xxxxxxxx.default directory in My Dropbox directory and press finish.

You may delete the old user or select the new user and click on Start Thunderbird button.

Sync Setup On Ubuntu / Linux

All the steps are the same as Windows setup except for the different file paths and to start the profile manger user mozilla-thunderbird -ProfileManager in the command line.

The default profile directory in Ubuntu is located in /home/username/.thunderbird/xxxxxxxx.default


It's really easy and now it allows me to user Thunderbird from anywhere so long as the files have been sync'd to Dropbox. I generally take periodic copies of the profile directory in case something terribly goes wrong with the sync.

I have ran into problems using this setup including my Trash file size became larger than the 2GB allowed on my free account. I tried emptying it from within Thunderbird but it failed so I deleted the Trash.msf file and it solved my problems.


Mozilla Thunderbird

About Danny

I.T software professional always studying and applying the knowledge gained and one way of doing this is to blog. Danny also has participates in a part time project called Energy@Home [] for monitoring energy usage on a premise. Dedicated to I.T since studying pure Information Technology since the age of 16, Danny Tsang working in the field that he has aimed for since leaving school. View all posts by Danny → This entry was posted in Linux, Networking, Software, Windows and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.