Gentoo Forums
Gentoo Forums
Gentoo Forums
Quick Search: in
Sharing email profiles between Gentoo & Windows (Thunder
View unanswered posts
View posts from last 24 hours

Reply to topic    Gentoo Forums Forum Index Documentation, Tips & Tricks
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message

Joined: 03 Jul 2003
Posts: 457
Location: /etc/localtime

PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2004 1:29 am    Post subject: Sharing email profiles between Gentoo & Windows (Thunder Reply with quote

Sharing email profiles between Gentoo & Windows with Mozilla Thunderbird

As per guideline #4 in the sticky thread in this forum, Camillus has encouraged me to post my short howto on sharing your email profile between Linux and Windows in Mozilla Thunderbird. A similar version of this post can be found in the Desktop Environments forum ( This post is pretty much the same, with the exception that I added some extra portions and editted some others slightly.

Okay, so here we go. This is my first time posting anything potentially useful in this section of the forums, so hopefully, it will go well.

For quite some time now, I have left my emails in Windows in Outlook Express, and then just did my linux emailing from a web-based interface. However, today, I finally took the time to setup Thunderbird. Here's how I did it.

Starting Notes
Keep in mind that because this setup will require that you have write access to the Windows partition that your mail folders are stored. Thus, it's probably not a good idea to have your mail folders on an NTFS partition. In my case, I have my mail folders stored on a FAT32 partition. Write access for NTFS under Linux is still experimental. So proceed with caution should you choose to go this route.

Install Mozilla Thunderbird
First, install and setup Thunderbird under Windows. (Note that in my setup, I'm not using "local folders".. I'm using the default account inboxes and such)

Set up your account and download your messages.

After installing Thunderbird into Windows, I made note of my profile and mail directory:
C:\WINDOWS\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\default\lx21tmd2.slt
(the directory will differ based on your version of windows. Also, your profile directory will definately be different.)
Under Windows XP, it may be something like, "C:\Documents and Settings\...etc"

Then, I rebooted into Linux.

Install Mozilla Thunderbird under Linux by running
 # emerge mozilla-thunderbird

Setting up the Linux Side
I ran Thunderbird for the first time in Linux, which created an empty profile in my home directory. My directory is as follows:
Again, the name of your profile directory will be different. Especially the last level of the directory (n09mlquo.slt in my case).

Enter your profile directory (under Linux) and cd into the "Mail" directory. Once again, don't forget to substitute the profile directory's name below with your own.
cd ~
cd .thunderbird/default/n09mlquo.slt/Mail

First, make sure that your Windows partition where your mail folders are is mounted. Then, in the Mail directory, make a symlink to the sub directory under Windows where your messages are stored. The command I executed was:
ln -s "/windows/primary/windows/Application Data/Thunderbird/Profiles/default/lx21tmd2.slt/Mail/"
(all one line)
Again, you will have to replace the directories with your computer's directory structure. Basically, the command was like this:
ln -s "/path/to/account's/mail/folder/in/mounted/windows/partition/" "account's mail folder"

Once I did that, I then went back up to the profile directory (the one with the random number and letter combination). Mine is "/home/ashley/.thunderbird/default/n09mlwuo.slt" I then copied all the files from the profile directory from Windows into my Linux Thunderbird profile directory, overwriting everything. (Since the directory names were so long, I just used a graphical file manager such as XFE.)

The Final Step
The last critical step is to edit the prefs.js file that you copied into your Linux Thunderbird profile folder from your original Windows profile folder. The prefs.js file contains absolute paths to where it expects to find your mail folder. Edit this file and change all references to any Windows directories to their Linux counterparts.

After I did this, I started up Thunderbird, and all my mail and account settings were exactly the same as my Windows ones.

Brief history
I reached this stage after some trial and error. At first, I simply symlinked my entire profile directory to the Windows one. This sounded good, but I didn't realize that the prefs.js file contained absolute paths to the mail folder. Thus, under Linux, it was looking for the mail files under folders that didn't exist (eg, C:\Windows...etc). Thus, the solution was that I needed to have two versions of this file. One for windows, and one for Linux. With this in mind, I realized that I would be better off to copy the profile (making changes to suit the operating system) while only symlinking the mail directory.

So far, it's working quite well. I have been using it since I first discovered this. In addition, fellow Gentoo user, Camillus (who recommended that I post this) reports that it's working too.

Camillus also reports that he/she has gotten Netscape 7.1 in Windows and Mozilla 1.6 to play nicely.

I hope that this helps! If there's anything that you don't understand, I'll try to explain better.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Gentoo Forums Forum Index Documentation, Tips & Tricks All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum