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Running from a USB drive - Thunderbird

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Beginning with version 0.7, Thunderbird can be run from a USB memory stick or other portable drive. In order to do this, you need to install Thunderbird (the application itself) on the USB drive, create a [[profile folder | profile]] on the USB drive, and launch Thunderbird using the correct parameters so that it can find the profile on the USB drive. Beginning with version 0.7, Thunderbird can be run from a USB memory stick or other portable drive. In order to do this, you need to install Thunderbird (the application itself) on the USB drive, create a [[profile folder | profile]] on the USB drive, and launch Thunderbird using the correct parameters so that it can find the profile on the USB drive.
-==Portable Thunderbird (Windows only)==+==Portable Thunderbird==
For Windows users, the easiest way to do all this is with [http://portableapps.com/apps/internet/email/portable_thunderbird Portable Thunderbird], an official build of Thunderbird that has been repackaged "as a complete, removable drive-friendly email client." One of its key features is a special launcher to make your Thunderbird extensions portable. To install, all you need to do is download the ZIP file and unzip it anywhere on your USB drive. For Windows users, the easiest way to do all this is with [http://portableapps.com/apps/internet/email/portable_thunderbird Portable Thunderbird], an official build of Thunderbird that has been repackaged "as a complete, removable drive-friendly email client." One of its key features is a special launcher to make your Thunderbird extensions portable. To install, all you need to do is download the ZIP file and unzip it anywhere on your USB drive.
 +
 +[http://www.freesmug.org/portableapps/thunderbird/ Portable Thunderbird OSX] repackages an official build of Thunderbird for OSX, using [http://www.sveinbjorn.org/platypus Platypus] script. Its a unrelated effort, not developed by the same person who developed Portable Thunderbird.
 +
 +There doesn't appear to be a version of Portable Thunderbird for Linux.
==''-profile "path"'' command line argument== ==''-profile "path"'' command line argument==
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You can launch Thunderbird this way using a command prompt, a shortcut, a batch file, or a JScript (.js) file. See this [http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?t=87118 MozillaZine forum thread] for further information and examples. You can launch Thunderbird this way using a command prompt, a shortcut, a batch file, or a JScript (.js) file. See this [http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?t=87118 MozillaZine forum thread] for further information and examples.
-The key difference between setting up and running Thunderbird in this way and doing so in the "normal" way is that Thunderbird's [[Profile Manager]] normally keeps track of your profile(s) by accessing a file stored on the computer's boot drive ("registry.dat" and/or "profiles.ini"). For Thunderbird to be used effectively on a USB stick, in a completely portable mode, it obviously cannot rely upon a file stored on one computer's boot drive in this way. The ''-profile "path"'' syntax thus provides Thunderbird with a way to find your profile without relying on information normally stored on the boot drive.+The key difference between setting up and running Thunderbird in this way and doing so in the "normal" way is that Thunderbird's [[Profile Manager]] normally keeps track of your profile(s) using a [[profiles.ini]] file stored on the computer's boot drive. For Thunderbird to be used effectively on a USB stick, in a completely portable mode, it obviously cannot rely upon a file stored on one computer's boot drive in this way. The ''-profile "path"'' syntax thus provides Thunderbird with a way to find your profile without relying on information normally stored on the boot drive.
-Note that you can also use the same syntax, even without a USB drive, to run a profile on your computer that the Profile Manager doesn't know about. This can be useful, for instance, if your profiles.in/registry.dat file happens to get corrupted or accidentally deleted but the profile itself is intact. It would also be usefull for roaming users whose profile was on a file share. +Note that you can also use the same syntax, even without a USB drive, to run a profile on your computer that the Profile Manager doesn't know about. This can be useful, for instance, if your profiles.ini file happens to get corrupted or accidentally deleted but the profile itself is intact. It would also be useful for roaming users whose profile was on a file share.
==Compacting folders== ==Compacting folders==
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==External links== ==External links==
*[http://portableapps.com/apps/internet/email/portable_thunderbird Portable Thunderbird section at PortableApps web site] *[http://portableapps.com/apps/internet/email/portable_thunderbird Portable Thunderbird section at PortableApps web site]
 +*[http://osxportableapps.sourceforge.net/ OSX Portable Apps] web site on sourceforge.net
*[http://www.framakey.org/En/Index Framakey] A French community web sites framework for running open source software on a USB drive. It supports Thunderbird. The English version is currently in beta. *[http://www.framakey.org/En/Index Framakey] A French community web sites framework for running open source software on a USB drive. It supports Thunderbird. The English version is currently in beta.
*[http://mobility.shaneland.co.uk/ Secure Mobile Launcher] A supposedly more secure launcher from "Mobility Project". *[http://mobility.shaneland.co.uk/ Secure Mobile Launcher] A supposedly more secure launcher from "Mobility Project".
-* [http://www.theplaceforitall.com/portablethunderbird/ Cross platform script for Portable Thunderbird.] Supposedly it lets you use Portable Thunderbird (and the same profile) for both Windows and OSX.+* [http://www.theplaceforitall.com/portablethunderbird/ Cross platform script for Portable Thunderbird.] Supposedly it lets you use Portable Thunderbird (and the same profile) for both Windows and OSX. However, it only supports Thunderbird 1.5 and the project has been archived.
 + 
[[Category:Installation and update (Thunderbird)]] [[Category:Installation and update (Thunderbird)]]
[[Category:Configuration (Thunderbird)]] [[Category:Configuration (Thunderbird)]]

Revision as of 11:59, 21 July 2007

Beginning with version 0.7, Thunderbird can be run from a USB memory stick or other portable drive. In order to do this, you need to install Thunderbird (the application itself) on the USB drive, create a profile on the USB drive, and launch Thunderbird using the correct parameters so that it can find the profile on the USB drive.

Contents

Portable Thunderbird

For Windows users, the easiest way to do all this is with Portable Thunderbird, an official build of Thunderbird that has been repackaged "as a complete, removable drive-friendly email client." One of its key features is a special launcher to make your Thunderbird extensions portable. To install, all you need to do is download the ZIP file and unzip it anywhere on your USB drive.

Portable Thunderbird OSX repackages an official build of Thunderbird for OSX, using Platypus script. Its a unrelated effort, not developed by the same person who developed Portable Thunderbird.

There doesn't appear to be a version of Portable Thunderbird for Linux.

-profile "path" command line argument

Even without Portable Thunderbird, it is fairly easy to run Thunderbird from a portable USB drive. The key is to launch Thunderbird using the -profile "path" command line argument, where "path" is the location of the profile you want to use. The path should be in quote marks if it includes any spaces. For example, on Windows if the Thunderbird program is installed on drive F in a folder called "Mozilla Thunderbird" and your profile is located in a folder called "My TB profile", you would use this syntax:

"F:\Mozilla Thunderbird\thunderbird.exe" -profile "F:\My TB profile"

You can launch Thunderbird this way using a command prompt, a shortcut, a batch file, or a JScript (.js) file. See this MozillaZine forum thread for further information and examples.

The key difference between setting up and running Thunderbird in this way and doing so in the "normal" way is that Thunderbird's Profile Manager normally keeps track of your profile(s) using a profiles.ini file stored on the computer's boot drive. For Thunderbird to be used effectively on a USB stick, in a completely portable mode, it obviously cannot rely upon a file stored on one computer's boot drive in this way. The -profile "path" syntax thus provides Thunderbird with a way to find your profile without relying on information normally stored on the boot drive.

Note that you can also use the same syntax, even without a USB drive, to run a profile on your computer that the Profile Manager doesn't know about. This can be useful, for instance, if your profiles.ini file happens to get corrupted or accidentally deleted but the profile itself is intact. It would also be useful for roaming users whose profile was on a file share.

Compacting folders

If you set up Thunderbird to store messages on a USB stick, make sure to compact folders periodically. Otherwise, you may find that your mail files on the USB stick are filling up with deleted messages that have not actually been erased from the mail files. Compacting folders will keep the size of your mail files to a minimum.

External links