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July 05, 2006



Thanks for posting this. It worked first time!

One thing, I had to hunt to find my Thunderbird data files (profiles, mail accts, etc.) they are under (Your user name\library\thunderbird\profiles) Maybe that's obvious to most, but for the less Mac savy, it could save some time.

Thanks again.


Glad it worked for you, and thanks for the extra detail!


Thanks for taking the time to put this together. To remove the .msf files, try this:

Open terminal, change to the Local Folders directory.

Type "find . -name '*.msf' -print" and hit enter. You will see the files that you are about to delete.

To delete them, type "find . -name '*.msf' -exec rm -f {} \;" and hit enter. They're gone.


Thanks, Dale. I'm always nervous of deleting files in this fashion in Terminal because once they're gone, they're GONE, with no hope of getting 'em back! But for those more confident than I on the command line, this is a great tip. :-)

Stephen Yeh

I would like to transfer my Mac Thunderbird mail files to a PC Thunderbird system. I tried moving the Mail files and deleting *.msf files, but they are simply ignored by Thunderbird. Should it work as simply going from Mac to PC as it supposedly does from PC to Mac? What about third party email transfer programs? I tried using transend but couldn't get it to work.


Stephen, I'm sorry, I don't know the answer to that particular question. But why on Earth are you moving to a PC?!


Hi Dave, your method works like a gem!! i'm just trying to download the the move.msf file to trash, but it the link doesn't seem to work. Will you be able to email me?


I just fixed the broken link; sorry about that! (Also e-mailed the workflow to you, Andrew.)

Clem Dye

I've just used the instructions here to move my Thunderbird 1.x WXP PC data to a brand new Thunderbird 2.x MAC OSX install. I only transferred the core mail files, manually deleting the .msf files along the way, and this seems to have worked fine. It was easy for me to recreate my address book - I didn't have many entries and I decided to start the junk mail training from scratch.

Thanks for putting the instructions together.



and another Thanks. This protocol worked great moving from a relatively new PC Thunderbird to a brand new Mac running Leopard. It might be worth noting that I used a utility on my PC that extracted my mail files to a .PCV file so I could transfer them easily. I copied the .PCV file to my Mac, then re-named it as a .ZIP file, and used Mac's autoextractor to get at my mail files. A last note: I had downloaded a bunch of mail to my new Mac Thunderbird profile before I found this post, so I renamed my old Inbox file to "Archive Inbox" so the old and new Inboxes wouldn't collide, and then copied messages across. The whole thing has worked beautifully, and thanks again!

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