Export Mail from Thunderbird to Outlook 2007

Posted on Monday, June 1st, 2009 at 12:52 am

I have been a long time Thunderbird user and while it still works fine I like the new Outlook 2007 interface and it plays nicer with Windows Live accounts :)

So I set out on a path to work out how to get mail from TB to Outlook… and boy was it a task and a half… not satisfied I played around with it all a bit more and use the following method that keeps all the mail fully intact without any date changes etc :)

I have Vista, so this applies to Vista users – I have not tested this method on XP or Windows 7 but can see no reason why it would not work with them as well.  Note use Windows Mail and NOT Windows Live Mail for this process.

1. OK 1st up you will need the Import/Export add-on for Thunderbird (see: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/2474)

2. Once you have that you will want to export any mail you wish to move to Outlook into a folder for each folder or mailbox you have in Thunderbird… depending on how long you have been using TB this may take a while.  You need to export them in EML format.

3. Once the exporting is done you will need to go to where you exported them and then you will find that within each folder is a folder called messages.  This Messages folder will contain all the EML files.  Rename that Messages folder to the name you want it to be (usually the same as the folder above it but without the numbers etc.

4.  Now copy that folder with the EML files to your Windows Mail Profile folder, something like C:\Users\<Username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail\Local Folders.

5. Open up Windows Mail, and it should now find each folder and message within it, it may take a little while so give it time….  be patient, there is no bar to watch it happen but it is happening so give it time… wait until it finishes finding them.  If you want to import them as all Read you can tell Windows Mail to mark them as read under the EDIT menu for Windows Mail.

6. Then go to Outlook (2007 is what I have and use) and set up an initial email account – any account just make it a POP account as that is what worked best for me – if you do not have one get a temp Hotmail one and set it up for POP and not HTTP.

7. Now within Outlook select FILE from the menu and select Import and Export…  From the pop up window select Import Mail and Addresses.  Select Next and untick Import Address book and select the Outlook/Windows Mail option from the above list.  Then select Finish and woot all your mail you put in that folder now imports into your inbox (or the folder names you used) of your Outlook account.

8. Now move that mail wherever you want it within Outlook – even to another account if you want.

9. Ok now for the next trick we want to delete the mail we just imported, you cannot just delete it via explorer (I tried), reopen Windows Mail (if it is not open already) and select the first message you want deleted and use CTRL D – hold it down and it will quickly delete all the mail in that list – do not use your DELETE key as you will (not sure why) get errors.

10.  Close Windows mail and your now ready to use Outlook – sweet

Seems long winded but it is simple to follow once you have done it a few times and it keeps all your mail, attachments and dates all correctly.

Happy mailing all :)

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15 Responses to “Export Mail from Thunderbird to Outlook 2007”

  1. Ray Says:

    This is of great help. Thank you. Do you have any instructions on how to use the Import/Export Add-on for Thunderbird. Documentation on it seems non-existent.

  2. Nina Says:

    What a fine info. Thank you!

  3. Tech Says:

    Thanks for the guide. I have had a tonne of trouble any time I tried to export any mail out of Thunderbird.

  4. Greg Says:

    Not yet, but if I get a chance I will look into it and write one up :)

  5. Gandhiyoda Says:

    Thanx a lot ! this is great help !

  6. Wally Wetherbee Says:

    What a blog post!! Very informative also easy to understand. Looking for more such comments!! Do you have a twitter?
    I recommended it on digg. The only thing that it’s missing is a bit of color. Anyway thank you for this blog.

  7. Vinod Sheth Says:

    Fantastic…I have been looking for migrating from Thunderbird to Outlook 2010 and this web site has given me the perfectly working solution. No loss of information or time stamps or addresses or what so ever..No need to buy any converters too..Thanks a ton for the good post.

  8. kabel Says:

    The most important information you haven’t provided … How that extension works ??? So, you are writing something thinking that is going to help somebody, but you do not show how that extension actually works, how that is going to help me with exporting emails?!?! How did you exported yours?!

  9. Greg Says:

    Hi, Sorry I am unsure what you are asking in relation to how the extension works, the info on how the extension works is clearly provided on the Sigsiu website, I have simply provided some added tips that can help you manage and edit your templates. While they may not be useful for you there are many that have found them very useful. I have a list of new things to add which i will do in the next day or two so maybe that might help you more.

  10. Gdub Says:

    Ok, i have followed your steps and as i dont use ‘windows mail’, or hotmail or any of those things have created a hotmail account for this purpose only.

    I cannot for the life of me figure out how the hell it is going to find my exported EML files as there appears to be no import functionality.

    The only reason i have been using TB as long as i have is the total lack of ability to export my mail out without losing most or all of it.

    What am i doing wrong here as this process of importing into hotmail or what ever doesnt seem to be working at all.

  11. Jenny Says:

    Export from Thunderbird to Outlook is also facilitated by third party tools. Stellar MBOX to PST Converter can do the job pretty easily. More info. is available here:
    http://www.stellaroutlooktools.com/scan/mbox-to-pst.php

  12. Greg Says:

    That might be the case now but that was not possible when I first wrote my post, plus there is the cost of many of these solutions versus doing it for free :)

  13. Greg Says:

    I will see if I can follow what yo have done and see if I can suggest a fix.

  14. Fabrizio Says:

    Hello.

    Does it work also with Outlook 2007 based on MS Exchange?

    Many thanks in advance.

  15. chococ Says:

    Try MBOX to PST converter software. Free download or read the most important features of Products here http://mboxtopsttools.blogspot.com

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