Top 3 Methods to Migrate Emails from Thunderbird to Outlook

Outlook and Thunderbird are popular email clients used by individuals, professionals, and businesses for email communication. Thunderbird is an open-source email client that stores the mailbox data in MBOX files at a default location. In comparison, Outlook uses the OST and PST file formats to store the mailbox items.

Outlook does not support the MBOX format. Thus, to migrate emails from Thunderbird email client to Outlook, you must convert the Thunderbird MBOX files to PST format using an MBOX to PST converter software.

On the other hand, there are a few manual ways to migrate emails from Thunderbird to Outlook. However, they aren’t recommended when you need to migrate the entire mailbox from Thunderbird to Outlook due to their limitations.

Methods to Migrate Emails from Thunderbird to Outlook

We’ve discussed below the top three methods to migrate emails from Thunderbird to Outlook.

1. Use MBOX to PST Converter Software

An MBOX to PST converter software, such as Stellar Converter for MBOX, is the most reliable way to migrate emails from Thunderbird to Outlook with 100% consistency and without any risk of data loss.

It not only helps you migrate emails from Thunderbird to Outlook but also other mail items, such as contacts, attachments, calendar, journals, notes, contacts, etc.

The steps are as follows:

• Download and install Stellar Converter for MBOX on your system where Thunderbird is installed. You may also install the software on ‘other’ system, but you will need to transfer the MBOX files from the default location to the system.

• After installation, launch the software and select Thunderbird from the options.

Choose MBOX Client

• Click on ‘Select Identity’ to choose the folder containing Thunderbird MBOX files. The default path is C:/Users/YourProfileName/%AppData%\Thunderbird\

Or you can select individual MBOX files using the ‘Select File’ button.

Select and browse IDentity Fodler that conatisn MBOX fiels

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• After selecting the MBOX file or Identity folder, click ‘Convert.

• After scan and conversion, the software displays a three-pane preview window. You can click on any email to see its preview and verify it before migrating it to Outlook. This also helps you filter out emails that aren’t required.

Preview MBOX mail items

• Select the required emails you want to migrate from Thunderbird to Outlook and click the ‘Save Converted File’ button under the ‘Home’ menu.

• From the Save As options, choose New PST and click ‘Next.

Choose Format as PST

• Click ‘Browse’ to select a location where you want to save the converted Thunderbird MBOX emails in PST format and then click ‘Save.

Browse save location to save PST file

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The software will save the Thunderbird emails in PST format. Now you can import the PST file into your Outlook profile via Outlook Import/Export Wizard in Windows or Mac and complete the email migration from Thunderbird to Outlook.

Import PST on Outlook for Windows

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2. Drag and Drop Emails from Thunderbird to Outlook

Although this is one of the easiest methods to migrate emails from Thunderbird to Outlook, it requires more time and is only recommended when you need to transfer a few emails. The steps are as follows:

1.Open Thunderbird and create a ‘New Folder’ on the Desktop or any other location.
2.Select the emails you want to migrate from Thunderbird to MS Outlook. Use the Shift or CTRL key to select multiple emails at a time.
3.Then drag and drop the emails to the ‘New Folder.’

Save Thudnerbird mails as EML files and export them to Outlook

4.This saves the emails in EML format, which you can open in Outlook or drag and drop them to Outlook email folder.

Drag and drop Thunderbird email files to Outlook folder

Limitations:

 The migrated emails open in a new window in Outlook when you double-click.
 If you try to transfer multiple emails at once with this drag and drop method, it can cause Outlook to crash, leading to Outlook data file corruption.
 You need to manually create new folders in the Outlook profile to ensure folder hierarchy.
 Emails or attachments transferred or migrated may fail to open.
 Requires significant efforts and time when you need to transfer hundreds or thousands of emails from Thunderbird to Outlook.

3. Migrate Thunderbird Emails to Outlook via Gmail (IMAP) Account

This method is recommended when you need to migrate multiple emails from Thunderbird to MS Outlook. However, you need to enable the IMAP settings in your Gmail account. The steps are as follows:

• Add a new Gmail account in Thunderbird and add the same Gmail account in MS Outlook.

Sign in using Gmail account to thunderbird

Add an email account to Outlook - Office Support

• In Thunderbird, select the emails or email folders you want to migrate to Outlook and then drop them to the Gmail Inbox folder or create a new one and then drop the emails.

Drag and drop thunderbird email boxes to Gmail IMAP account

• Copy all the emails you want to migrate to Outlook using the above step and then wait for Gmail to sync the emails. This can take a while, based on your internet speed.

• Now on your Outlook, refresh the Outlook window. You will see the Gmail folder containing the Thunderbird emails.

• You can now drag and drop those emails or the complete email folder from Gmail to your Outlook profile.

This will migrate emails from Thunderbird profile to Outlook profile.

Limitations:

 Not all attachments are migrated as Gmail limits attachments.
 It is time-consuming as the emails synchronize from Thunderbird to the Gmail server and then again to your Outlook profile.
 Migrated emails may not open and you may not find all emails.
 Folder hierarchy is lost.
 Gmail offers limited storage and, thus, not suitable when your mailbox is large.

To Wrap Up

Although manual methods can help you migrate emails from Thunderbird to Outlook, you should use them only when migrating a few emails. However, you can overcome the limitations of manual methods by using Stellar Converter for MBOX software. It keeps the original folder hierarchy and tree structure intact and helps migrate unlimited Thunderbird emails to Outlook, along with all attachments, with complete precision. So, if you are looking to migrate emails from Thunderbird to Outlook, use MBOX to PST converter tool as explained in the first method. The software’s Technician version also allows you to directly migrate emails from Thunderbird to Office 365 (Outlook 365).

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Top 3 Methods to Migrate Emails from Thunderbird to Outlook was last updated June 9th, 2021 by Kelly Singh