Backing Up Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird Data

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just backup your My Documents folder and know that all your user data was safe?

Unfortunately some of your valuable data is stored in other places (like C:\Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Application Data) and if you aren’t using a backup program that can easily add it to your backup file list then you have to know which files contain what important data and where they are located so you can back them up.

BTW To make things “easier” some of the folders like Application Data where your information is located aren’t even shown in Windows Explorer unless you make them visible by choosing
TOOLS – FOLDER OPTIONS… – select VIEW tab – scroll down to SHOW HIDDEN FILES and check the box.

In this example the data we will be backing up is the following:
1.0 Firefox Profile
1.1 Firefox bookmarks
1.2 Firefox passwords (web site passwords saved using the Firefox password manager)
2.0 Thunderbird Profile
2.1 Thunderbird addressbook
2.2 Thunderbird mail

To save your data all you have to do is backup the Firefox and Thunderbird profile folders (sections 1.0 and 2.0). The other information is just being specific about where your data is stored so you know what files are important.

1.0 Firefox Profile
Backing up your profile folder in Firefox is easy. Just follow these steps (which assumes you know how to manage files on your computer):

1. Optional: Empty the browser cache, to reduce the amount of data to backup. Within Firefox go to Tools > Options… , select Privacy and click the Clear button next to the Cache item in the list.
2. Shut down Firefox completely (File > Exit).
3. Make a copy of your profile folder to, for example, a CD-RW disc or a separate hard disk for backup purposes.
To backup all the Firefox user information on Windows XP just browse to :
C:\Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\
and backup the profile folder which will have a name like xxxxxxxx.default\, where xxxxxxxx is a random string of 8 characters.

More information is at http://www.mozilla.org/support/firefox/profile

1.1 Firefox bookmarks
The Firefox bookmark file is:
bookmarks.html

1.2 Firefox passwords
The Firefox password files are:
key3.db
signons2.txt

2.0 Thunderbird profile
To backup all the Thunderbird user information on Windows XP just browse to :
C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\xxxxxxxx.default
and backup the profile folder which will have a name like xxxxxxxx.default\, where xxxxxxxx is a random string of 8 characters.

More information is at http://www.mozilla.org/support/thunderbird/profile

2.1 Thunderbird addressbook
Open My Computer and drill down to
C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\profilename
(where profilename is the user’s profile, which is a combination of letters and numbers). If there is more than one profile, click View, Details and find the profile with the most recent date). That is the user’s profile.
Locate the abook.mab file (which is the Thunderbird default Personal Address Book) and save it to your backup disk. If you want to backup your preferences and email files you can also backup the whole profile folder (recommended).

BTW: If you are also using Gmail you should go into Thunderbird and use the export to CSV (comma separated value) file which is the format that is used to import this data into Gmail. In addition to making this information available for use within Gmail it also stores it securely on the Google server which is another way of backing up the data. Not a bad idea to backup up this CSV file too as it is a format that can be used to flexibly access your contact data with different programs. How to keep this information up to date / in sync while using both Gmail and Thunderbird is a topic for another day.

4. Thunderbird email
If you backed up your profile folder you have already backed up your email which is saved in an mbox file within the profile folder.

To manually recover your data you can copy your Firefox and Thunderbird profile information back to the same path as it was before you recovered your disk.

One Response to Backing Up Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird Data
  1. export documentation
    January 15, 2014 | 7:59 pm

    I always spent my half an hour to read this
    website’s articles all the time along with a mug of coffee.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://www.glensharp.com/blog/backing-up-mozilla-firefox-and-thunderbird-data/trackback/