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Archiving your e-mail

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Note: Note:
* If "archiving" your mail in this way, there will be some overlap between the mail in the MozBackup backup and the mail in your active Thunderbird profile, since MozBackup will back up all downloaded mail in the profile regardless of age. * If "archiving" your mail in this way, there will be some overlap between the mail in the MozBackup backup and the mail in your active Thunderbird profile, since MozBackup will back up all downloaded mail in the profile regardless of age.
-* IMAP users: If you store your messages in remote folders then Mozbackup will only backup the headers unless you download a copy of the messages first. One way to do that is to right click on the remote folder, select properties, offline and then press the download now button. If you used Tools -> Account Settings -> Offline & Disk Space instead that doesn't just download a snapshot of the remote folder, it keeps a local copy synchronized with the remote copy. In both cases you need to use file -> offline -> work offline to access those folders within Thunderbird. +* [[IMAP]] users: If you store your messages in remote folders then MozBackup will only back up the headers unless you download a copy of the messages first. One way to do that is to right-click on the remote folder, select "Properties -> Offline" and then press the "Download Now" button. If you used "Tools -> Account Settings -> Offline & Disk Space" instead that doesn't just download a snapshot of the remote folder, it keeps a local copy synchronized with the remote copy. In both cases you need to use "File -> Offline -> Work Offline" to access those folders within Thunderbird.
==Using IMAPSize (IMAP accounts, Windows only)== ==Using IMAPSize (IMAP accounts, Windows only)==
-If you store your messages in remote folders you could use [http://www.broobles.com/imapsize/ IMAPSize] to incrementally backup messages from one or more folders or accounts as .EML files in a directory on your hard disk and then backup those files normally. An incremental backup means that the messages that have already been backed up will not be backed up (downloaded) again. You can backup using either a batch file or the GUI. The Account/RestoreBackup menu is used to restore backups. +If you store your messages in remote folders you could use [http://www.broobles.com/imapsize/ IMAPSize] to incrementally back up messages from one or more folders or accounts as .EML files in a directory on your hard disk and then back up those files normally. An incremental backup means that the messages that have already been backed up will not be backed up (downloaded) again. You can back up using either a batch file or the GUI. The Account/RestoreBackup menu is used to restore backups.
==Other information== ==Other information==
* [https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=93094 Bug 93094]: please use only to view the status of the enhancement request or to vote for it (do not add "me too" comments). * [https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=93094 Bug 93094]: please use only to view the status of the enhancement request or to vote for it (do not add "me too" comments).
* [[Mail_Utilities | Mail utilities]] * [[Mail_Utilities | Mail utilities]]
 +
[[Category:Organizing and finding messages (Thunderbird)]] [[Category:Mozilla Suite]] [[Category:Organizing and finding messages (Thunderbird)]] [[Category:Mozilla Suite]]

Revision as of 10:52, 27 January 2006

This article was written for Thunderbird but also applies to Mozilla Suite, except where noted.

Thunderbird does not have a built-in feature for archiving e-mail. Below are listed some alternatives to or workarounds for archiving.

Contents

Using the Buttons! extension

The Buttons! extension (for Thunderbird only) provides numerous buttons that you can add to your Thunderbird toolbar, including an "Archive!" button. Once you've configured the extension, just select one or more messages in the message-list pane and then click the Archive! button. Those messages will be filed in the archive folder that you've specified. Users of Gmail will find this very similar to the way Gmail's archiving feature works. However, archiving with the Buttons! extension is more flexible because you can set up the extension to use any archive folder of your choice, and you can also specify more than archive folder (with one set as default).

For further information, see the Buttons! extension homepage. The latest version of the extension can be downloaded there or at the Extensions Mirror.

Using searches

Instead of individually selecting messages to be archived, you can instead use an advanced search to quickly find all messages in various folders and subfolders that meet your search criteria (e.g., older than 90 days), and then move those messages all at once to an archive folder of your choice. Here's one possible way to do this:

  1. Create a new folder in Local Folders and call it "Archive".
  2. Go to the "Edit" menu and choose "Find -> Search Messages...".
  3. Where it says "Search for messages in", select "choose this folder" for the account whose messages you want to archive. If you are using Thunderbird's Global Inbox with multiple POP accounts, you can select Local Folders as the account.
  4. Make sure that the checkbox for "Search subfolders" is checked.
  5. Define the search criteria as "Age in Days is greater than 90" (or however many days you want).
  6. Click the "Search" button. The list of "old" messages will appear in the lower pane.
  7. Select all messages listed in the search results, and use the "File" button to move them all to the "Archive" folder you created in step 1.
  8. If you have more than one mail account that you want to archive, repeat the above steps for each additional account. (If all your accounts are using the Global Inbox, you will not need to repeat the above steps.)

Note:

  • After step 6 above, Thunderbird users can also make a Saved Search folder so that in the future this same search (steps 2-6) can be performed with a single click. If you want to exclude certain folders from being searched, just right-click on the Saved Search folder, choose "Properties...", click the "Choose" button, and (de)select folders as desired.
  • The above procedure will put all of your archived mail into a single folder, and it thus will not preserve your folder structure.

Using the MboxImport extension

The MboxImport extension (for Thunderbird only, and currently not for Mac OS X) allows you to easily import mailbox files into Thunderbird. Because it also allows you to export mail folders from Thunderbird—you can export a single folder such as the Inbox or even all folders and subfolders for an entire account—it can be a useful tool for archiving. This is especially so if you want to periodically remove archived messages from your active profile and store them in an external location, and only import them back into Thunderbird if needed. For this purpose, the MboxImport extension would work well in conjunction with the Buttons! extension or searches, as described above.

For further information, see the MboxImport extension homepage. The latest version of the extension can be downloaded there or at the Extensions Mirror.

Using MozBackup (Windows only)

The MozBackup utility can be used to back up your entire Thunderbird profile, including all downloaded mail, and it will preserve the folder structure of your mail when restored. Here's one way you could use MozBackup for archiving:

  1. Compact folders and then exit Thunderbird.
  2. Launch MozBackup and use it to make a backup of your Thunderbird profile. (Detailed instructions are here.)
  3. Restart Thunderbird.
  4. As described in the "Using searches" section above, do an advanced search of your mail, but instead of creating an "Archive" folder (step 1) and filing all the old messages into it (step 7), simply delete all the old messages. These messages will all have been saved in in the backup you made with MozBackup, so it shouldn't cause any harm to delete them from your active Thunderbird profile.

Note:

  • If "archiving" your mail in this way, there will be some overlap between the mail in the MozBackup backup and the mail in your active Thunderbird profile, since MozBackup will back up all downloaded mail in the profile regardless of age.
  • IMAP users: If you store your messages in remote folders then MozBackup will only back up the headers unless you download a copy of the messages first. One way to do that is to right-click on the remote folder, select "Properties -> Offline" and then press the "Download Now" button. If you used "Tools -> Account Settings -> Offline & Disk Space" instead that doesn't just download a snapshot of the remote folder, it keeps a local copy synchronized with the remote copy. In both cases you need to use "File -> Offline -> Work Offline" to access those folders within Thunderbird.

Using IMAPSize (IMAP accounts, Windows only)

If you store your messages in remote folders you could use IMAPSize to incrementally back up messages from one or more folders or accounts as .EML files in a directory on your hard disk and then back up those files normally. An incremental backup means that the messages that have already been backed up will not be backed up (downloaded) again. You can back up using either a batch file or the GUI. The Account/RestoreBackup menu is used to restore backups.

Other information

  • Bug 93094: please use only to view the status of the enhancement request or to vote for it (do not add "me too" comments).
  • Mail utilities