Sunday, May 20, 2007

Share thunderbird and firefox data files between ubuntu and windows

if you find this article usefull please digg it , and reddit.

You have both windows and ubuntu on your computer (dual boot) and you would like to share data files (emails , bookmarks , extentions, ) of firefox and thunderbird email cilent between ubuntu and windows... then you need to read this tutorial !

First Step : choose the Data Files (profile) you want to use:
if you already have two different profiles (data files) in use in both linux and windows , you will have to sacrifice one, you can not have a combination .
I mean you have to choose weather you want Windows to use your current datas in linux or you want Linux to use your current data (email , bookmark , ,extension ,log...) on windows .

it depends on you ! for me ,most of my data files are in linux , so I make windows to use my profile in linux .

Second Step: choose a place to store shared datas !
we need a a place (a partition) which both operation systems can see it and can write to it .
I suggest a FAT32 partition .
(well you can choose a linux partition too but you have to install some extra programs to make windows see your linux partitions) so let say we choose a FAT32 partition , the partition should be mounted in linux with read write permission.

I go to that partition and make a folder named Sync
I create a folder named Firefox another named Thunderbird
in linux it would be

Third move the profiles to the new place :

now we should copy our current profiles to the new location (profile of the operation system which we chose in First Step) in my case, I chose to save linux datas and make windows to use them .

for copying thunderbird datas , open a the file manager and point it to
(replace the with your own username)

then there should be a folder like xxxxxxxx.default
move that folder to the Thunderbid folder which you created in second step.

for copying firefox data files do the same, open file manager and point it to :

(again replace with your own username )
there should be a folder like xxxxxsomething.default
move that folder to Firefox folder which we created in our New Place in Second Step.

ok now go to the next Fourth Step !
for those who want to make linux to use their windows data (unlike me) you do similar things you you find the profile folder and move it to the new place which was mentioned in Second Step.
the profile folders under windows can be found in :

C: / Documents and Settings/user/Application Data/Thunderbird/Profiles/xxxxxxxx.default

C: / Documents and Settings/user/Application Data/Mozilla/Firefox/Profiles/xxxxxxxx.default

Fourth Step : the final step !

now we have to go to Both operation systems and make thunderbird and firefox to use the new location of the profile

means we should make new profiles in both operation systems
first in ubuntu
for thunderbird :
run this command :

mozilla-thunderbird -profilemanager
click create profile
the new profiler is normally named default user
click nextclick choose a folder
and point it to the folder you made in second step !

and the old profile name was default (not default user), you better delete the old profile in the menu.

now it is windows turn !
run this command in Run:
thunderbird.exe -profilemanager
and then do the same things which u did above in ubuntu (create a new profile and point it and then re run it and delete the old profile)

Thats all we did it ! (yep it was easy)

For firefox you do the same thing above,
go to ubuntu , and open the profile manager using this command:
firefox -profilemanager
and then like in thunderbird create a new profile and point it to the folder which we made in second step and delete the old profile)

then go to windows
run the profile manager using this command :
firefox.exe -profilemanager
and do the same things.

thats all folks !
the great thing about this hack is, you wont loose your bookmarks and extensions , even if you loose your operation systems ...(they are all stored in a safe partition !)
you can do some other interesting things , like you can put your bookmarks in a Shared Network and make all the network use the same profile !

in the future I am gonna make tutorial for other programs (like giam and ...but I am just too busy I am swampled with life troubles and school exams)


NiMaL said...

In case of Windows Vista tha Firefox profiles are found in C:\Users\NiMaL\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles
This might be useful to someone like me, who might have to dig down some time to find ;-)

Deathspal said...

The only Problem I see with this is I've been storing my profile on the network. on a mapped location (One I map in Ubuntu also) but when I go to brows to this location in Ubuntu my network locations don't show in the file browser?. Can I "gedit" the profile manually and just add the path (this is how I did it on My OSX machine)?

Anonymous said...

als ik de opdracht:
mozilla-thunderbird -profilemanager
invoer in terminal wordt deze niet herkend.... gezocht en diverse varianten uitgeprobeerd, maar zonder resultaat....
nog suggesties?

ik gebruik intrepid en thunderbird 2 met lightning en daarnaast Vista (dualboot)

grtz. Hey-id

Anonymous said...

Why not use ntfs-3g and leave the folders and profiles on the windows partition. Also you can just make a symbolic link to the whole sessions folder. check here:

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! Thank you so very much! You saved my bacon, for sure.

Anonymous said...


I should have added that I used this to MOVE my Profile (emails, rules, folders, etc) FROM Ubuntu to Windows 7. (only because I have to use Win 7 for work LOL), I still have and use Ubutnu for everything else.

Kare said...

Thanks, this worked fine for me on my laptop (ThinkPad X61 Tablet), wharing Firefox and Thunderbird between Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic) and Vista (preinstalled).

My only problem so far is that Enigmail does not work. I cannot share Enigmail within the shared profile: either it works on Windows OR on Ubuntu -- not both.

If anyone knows a solution, please post - here or on

As I workaround I will try to stick to Enigmail in Ubuntu and use PGP in Vista -- although I do yet not know whether I can share the keyrings between GnuPG and PGP.

Anyway, thanks for this Howto, Medya!



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