How to Make A Floating Thunderbird Profile

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How to Make A Floating Thunderbird Profile

Postby djmaxx007 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:26 am

So there are a few things I like about easily accessible and always-synced webmail clients, such as gmail and yahoo mail, and powerful feature-rich full clients, such as Outlook and Thunderbird. Oh if only I could have the best of both worlds....

The problem with full e-mail clients is that you can only use them on one computer (this of course doesn't apply to Outlook users hooked up to expensive corporate Exchange servers). It would be great if you could stop what you're doing in your full e-mail client at home and pick up right where you left off on your laptop anywhere in the world. A good practical example of it's use is a business owner who keeps important e-mails on their home/office computer, but also goes on the road and needs to send/receive e-mails with the same powerful features that only a full e-mail client like Thunderbird can offer. Watered down web clients like gmail may not cut it.

Well, I in fact do just that with Thunderbird! Here's how....
(I will be testing similar methods using Outlook, but for now, Thunderbird will have to do.)

Let's start with your main computer that already has Thunderbird installed. If you don't yet have Thunderbird currently installed, skip steps 1 and 4. You can get Thunderbird from HERE.

1) Make sure your Thunderbird client is up to date. From within Thunderbird, click "Help". Then click "Check for updates".

2) Download and install Dropbox from HERE. Register for the free account. During installation, you will be asked where you would like to place your Dropbox folder. If other people use your computer, I highly recommend a place that is not easy for others to access. A good place is in your "Documents" folder on your password-protected account. A bad place is the Desktop for the public account.

3) Create a sub-folder in you Dropbox named "Thunderbird Profile".

4) Copy your current Thunderbird profile to the new "Thunderbird Profile" folder you just created in your Dropbox. Your Thunderbird profile folder contains all of your e-mails and settings. Here are some typical locations for your profile folder.

Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\<user name>\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles
Vista/7: C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles

*You may have to enable the viewing of hidden folders to find anything past the Application Data/AppData folders. To do so, open any window (such as "My Computer") and click Tools > Folder Options (XP) / Organize > Folder Options (Vista/7). Click the "View" tab. Click the "Show hidden files and folders" button, then click Apply. You should now be able to access the folders mentioned above.

5) Once the folder is copied, you will need to tell Thunderbird that your profile is now in your Dropbox.
In XP, click the "Start" button, then click "Run". In Vista/7, click the Windows logo and type "Run" in the search box. "Run" should be the top result. Click it.
With "Run" open, type the following exactly as it appears:

thunderbird -profilemanager

The Thunderbird Profile Manager window should pop up. Delete any profiles that are in the list. Then click "Create Profile". Click "Next". Name your profile whatever you like. BEFORE clicking "Next", click "Choose Folder". This is where you will choose your profile folder that is in your Dropbox. The wizard is now finished and you can close the window.

6) When you open Thunderbird, it should be running using the profile folder that's in your Dropbox. To ensure that it is, you can always go back to the profile manager and float your cursor over what should be the only profile in the list. It will reveal the path of your profile folder.


7) Download and install Thunderbird and Dropbox. Don't open Thunderbird after setup. Log into your Dropbox account when prompted. The same rule applies when it comes to keeping your Dropbox folder in a safe location.

8) Now let's tell Thunderbird where your profile is...
Open the "Run" window and once again type:

thunderbird -profilemanager

If there is a default profile in the list, delete it.

Click "Create Profile" and name it the same name as the profile you created on your main computer. You actually don't HAVE to name it the same name, but it's good practice to do so.

Click "Choose Folder" and find your profile folder in your Dropbox. It should be in the "Thunderbird Profile" folder in your Dropbox if you followed the directions earlier.

9) You can now close out the window and start Thunderbird with your profile following you wherever you go!

You can do this with as many computers as you want. Just repeat steps 7 - 9 on your work computer, your laptop, kitchen computer, bathroom computer, or whatever other PC that you would like to get your e-mail on whilst using Thunderbird. For an extra layer of redundancy and convenience, I highly suggest that you use only IMAP accounts with Thunderbird if available. This way you will still be able to check your mail via web clients when you can't install Thunderbird. If you already have POP3 accounts, you cannot convert them to IMAP from within Thunderbird. If anyone would like to know how to convert POP3 to IMAP, let me know and I will post a thread on how to do so. I hope this can benefit someone out there! Cheers!
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:43 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Re: How to Make A Floating Thunderbird Profile

Postby korence » Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:58 am

Thanks for your hepful post.
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:50 am

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