Child pages
  • Migrate from Courier to Thunderbird
Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata
Requirements and locations of files 

To migrate a Courier mailbox  to Thunderbird (on Windows XP) you need Courier installed, Thunderbird installed and a program called Courex (get the latest copy here Courex or see the attachments for this page).

See table below to details about migration 


Will migration work?



folders and sub-folders




mailing lists

yes, but needs manual input

address book



yes, but needs manual input

mail templates




To display the hidden files in  Windows XP open MyComputer/Tools/FolderOptions/View. Under 'Hidden files and folders' select 'Show ....'. Apply this to all folders.

Courier email box (if in standard location): C:\Program Files\Courier Email\Mailbox\ .

Thunderbird email box: C:\Documents and Settings\....(1)\Application Data\Thunderbird\.....     

The Locale folders: C:\Documents and Settings\....(1)\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\qvu1n3nv.default(2)\Mail\Local Folders\    

After the migration find a folder called Courex in  C:\Program Files\Courier Email\Mailbox\ which contains the address book, mailbox settings (all settings inclusive passwords!) and log files. If the Courier mailbox is in a customized location the Courex folder will be under C:\Courex

After the migration find a  folder called Courex in  C:\Documents and Settings\....(1)\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\qvu1n3nv.default(2)\Mail\Local Folders\ . In this folder all main and sub-folders, emails and attachments are stored. 

# (1) here is the name of your user

# (2) this entry is similar but never the same

Step 1

Before you can migrate you have to start Thunderbird at least once and create the mailbox you want to migrate. Enter the pop and smtp-settings and finish the wizard. See here for further instructions.

Go to Account Settings/Server Settings and check the option 'Leave messages on server'. If you forget this all mails will be deleted on the server. There is no 2nd chance!

Empty wastebasket in Courier

Step 2 - Configure your google based email account

Login into you Google based email account and go to settings. There you enable POP account access


Step 3 - Using Courex

For more detail about this program refer to the help file that comes with the program. Close Courier and Thunderbird. Start Courex and enter in the Courier Box file and Export Destination Folder. Courex is good at guessing it. Otherwise see above.
Then press start and you are done. Exit Courex.
When you open Thunderbird the folders and emails are in the folder 'Local Folders' . In your mailbox above there is no 'Sent' and 'Templates' folder as long as you haven't send at least one mail and made one template. Do that before you drag and drop folders over. Caution! Depending on the mail service you use, you might have to download first all mail into the Inbox, then delete all of them. Then only  move the imported mails into the Inbox. If you use the gmail service log in into your online portal and tell gmail under settings only to download the mails from now onwards. Otherwise you might download tons of mail .... You can go online into the web interface first and delete all emails not needed any more. If you migrate somebody else's mailbox ask her/him to do it in advance.

Step 3 - Migrating the address book 

The address book won't be automatically transferred.  You find the address book in C:\Program Files\Courier Email\Mailbox\Courex

To import it open Thunderbird, go to address book/tools/import. Choose the text file option in the next window (Text File (LDIF,.tab,.txt,.csv). In the 'select address book file' window change the 'Files of type' to 'All Files'. Then choose 'Address.csv' .

Switch the 'Nickname' and 'Display Name' field (Use the Move Up/Down button). Match the 'Address Book fields' on the left side with the 'Record data to import' on the right side. Make sure the checkmarks are in the right place.

Press ok. Highlight all addresses in your imported address book (in this example called 'Addresses') and drag and drop them into 'Personal Address Book'. Check if they are there. Then delete your empty  imported address book folder. Done!

Step 4 - Migrating mailing lists

In Courier click on one of your mailing lists and highlight all addresses in the right panel. Right click in the highlighted area and export you mailing list to 'Bulk Mail File' on your desktop. Open the Thunderbird address book. Go to TOOLS/IMPORT/ADDRESS BOOK/TEXT FILE. To see the text files change the files types to 'all files' and chose your bulk mail file. Choose only the email address field to import. Make sure to uncheck the 'First record contains field names' field.

You will get a new address book with the name of your file. Now highlight your Personal Address Book and press the 'New List' button. Give it the same name like your mailing list before. Click on your newly imported address book and highlight all address in the right pane. Drag and drop them into your mailing list. Check if they are there. If so delete the address book with the same name (which you imported). Repeat that with your other mailing lists.

Before you leave:

To hide the hidden files in  Windows XP open MyComputer/Tools/FolderOptions/View. Under 'Hidden files and folders' select "Hide ....'. Apply this to all folders. Clean up the desktop from files you created or downloaded. Leave the computer as tidy as you found it.

Migrating a Thunderbird folder from Windows to Linux

Open Thunderbird in Linux once and cancel everything so that is create a folder and a profile in your home directory: .mozilla-thunderbird (TB 2) or .thinderbird (TB 3)
Then copy the profile folder (example ryekvvl1.default) to Linux.
Now open profiles.ini and change this line to Path=...... to your current profile.
Save and start TB.

  • No labels

1 Comment

  1. Nice howto, definitely is helpful.