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  1. #1
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    How to back up Thunderbird email?

    My wife has a problem with her desktop, in that nothing in Control Panel will open – in fact CP often shows no contents whatsoever. This makes it impossible to install Windows updates, so it’s necessary to restore from the latest image, which dates from mid December.

    This is not serious as she uses the PC almost exclusively for email and browsing the web – provided I can back up Thunderbird.

    However, that doesn’t seem at all easy. I have tried copying her emails to a flash drive without success. Next I tried archiving, which merely moved the emails to archives for last year and this, but they still refuse to transfer to the flash drive.

    There must be some way to accomplish this, if only someone would explain it to me.

    Thanks,

    George

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    The easiest way is to use Mozbackup:
    http://mozbackup.jasnapaka.com/

    Usage instructions are here:
    http://mozbackup.jasnapaka.com/soubo...ckup-howto.pdf

    Jerry

  3. #3
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    The downside of Mozbackup is you have to close Tbird.
    You can use a backup program, Macrium, Easus et al, pointed to your Tbird profile directory and they will collect your data whilst it is in use. Using Mozbackup is a good fallback.

    cheers, Paul

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    I agree with Jerry Mozbackup is the preferred solution if all you want to do is backup your Tbird or Firefox settings, emails and profiles.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the replies.

    A couple of points are not clear: the instructions talk of selecting a file to store the backup, presumably it can be on a memory stick, as anything on the PC will be removed when the image is restored.

    Looking at the restore folder an option is ‘Downloaded File List’ – hopefully this includes the actual emails rather than just a list.

    Much to our surprise the machine is working normally again today, and I have installed most of the updates. This leaves me with a decision to make – should I work on the basis that as the cause of the recent troubles has not been determined there may still be something defective, and so use the image from 13th December, when the machine was functioning properly , then update and restore the Mozbackup. Or should I assume everything is OK and just create a new backup? The December backup would still be available if required.

    My wife intends going to the Cruise Show tomorrow, thus an ideal chance to work on her PC without her moaning about never being able to get to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by georgelee View Post
    Thanks for the replies.

    A couple of points are not clear: the instructions talk of selecting a file to store the backup, presumably it can be on a memory stick, as anything on the PC will be removed when the image is restored.
    <snip>
    Mozbackup saves the backup in a single file with the .pcv extension. You can choose the location (page 4/5), and you can always move it afterwards anyway. It will contain whatever you choose to put in it (page 6). In the picture, anything email-related is greyed out because, in the example, it's Firefox that's being backed up.
    Last edited by tonyl; 2015-02-14 at 12:58.

  7. #7
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    You can store the backup anywhere you want, including USB.

    Not sure about Downloaded file list.

    As the machine is working I would make another backup and make a Tbird backup as well.

    cheers, Paul

  8. #8
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    Mozbackup itself worked OK, but seems to have caused problems restoring the image.

    I installed it on the wife’s PC, backed up to a flash drive, which was then transferred to the laptop for testing, as all the emails on there is old and no longer required. It asked what programme was to be used to open the backup, until I realised that Mozb had to be installed first. Then it was plain sailing, the emails were installed and the couple tried opened up.

    Reassured by this, I returned to the wife’s pc, which had again required more than one boot before it would start. It was obviously necessary to restore the December image, which is when the problems began. Macrium began by trying to restore to Drive K- God knows why - that being the temp drive letter used by the flash drive to create the Moz backup, and which no longer existed. After cancelling that the restore continued. An hour or so later, returning to PC, the contents of the former drive K were displayed. With that cancelled, Macrium stated the restore had been successful.

    However, something is wrong. The Moz icon is on the desktop, but as it was only installed today it could not have been on the image. Furthermore, all the emails were there, when it should require Moz to be reinstalled first, and control panel shows the complete history of updates installed, with only 9 to be downloaded.

    What should I do now? Try again with the December image, or assume it has become corrupted and use the previous one from September or October, with a lot more updates to install.

    Advice gratefully welcomed.

    George
    Last edited by georgelee; 2015-02-15 at 12:02. Reason: grammar

  9. #9
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    It doesn't sound like you managed to restore anything.
    Are you sure it's an image backup?
    When restoring an image backup the target should be a disk or partition, not a drive.
    Test it again with the December backup.

    cheers, Paul

  10. #10
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    Yesterday the choice seemed to be restore the December image or an earlier one to my wife’s PC. Now there don’t appear to be any images available. It looks as though a new external drive is needed.

    Today is the day I receive my pension, so yesterday I did my monthly accounts. Normally, I then create a new image, in case it is needed to resolve any problems balancing next month’s accounts, but I was too busy with the other PC to do it.

    This morning it was baffling to connect the Seagate drive and discover my backups were missing. ‘This PC’ usually shows OS(C), DVD RW Drive (E), and with the ext. drive connected George (F), Ester (G) and Laptop (H). F had disappeared, replaced by OS(D) 120GB and a greyed out rectangle with a just discernible size of 796 GB. Drives G and H were shown as present.

    With some trepidation I allowed Macrium Reflect Pro to create the image on the new D drive, there being no alternative. Surprisingly all went well, and exploring revealed the latest accounts were included. At least I had one image, or so it seemed.

    But disaster when I returned to Ester’s PC. As soon as the ext. drive was connected a pop up said drive K was unformatted – a similar message had appeared on my machine. There was a new local disk (D) of 48.8gb with 48.6 GB free which contained the Thunderbird backup. Also a drive named OS(C) of 120 GB with 47 gig free which will not allow me access. The missing 330 GB allocated to Ester’s backup is presumably the unformatted K, which has since disappeared from both desktops.

    I am unable to understand why Macrium created new partitions for the Thunderbird backup and the new unformatted section, and especially baffling is the fact that it also split up the F drive for my images, as my PC was not involved with backing up Tbird.

    The Seagate appears to be a write off, so not only must I get a new external drive, but will need to reinstall everything on Ester’s machine if the instability continues. Better to get two drives, to be used alternately, to avoid such a situation in future.

    The whole affair is leading me to believe that computers are too unreliable, and perhaps are not worth the bother.
    Last edited by georgelee; 2015-02-16 at 18:30. Reason: clarification

  11. #11
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    In my (quite a few) years as a computer professional I have not seen anything to support your claim that computers are unreliable. You may have a disk issue or you may have a minor issue with the biological component. Either way, you need to sit down and work from basics.

    1. Plug the external disk in and view it with Disk Manager (Start > Run, diskmgmt.msc). This will show you what the external disk has in the way of partitions and formats.
    2. View said disk in Windows Explorer and see if the view matches the results in Disk Manager.
    At no point should you attempt to write to the external disk until you are sure it is behaving as you expect.

    cheers, Paul

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    I have used TBird for years across multiple computers. To move e-mail, go to TBird, click on Home at the top of the mail folders list. In the right hand pane, click on "view settings for this account". Under server settings, the bottom of the window shows the folder the mail is stored in. Copy that folder to the backup drive with a simple drag-and-drop. on your new computer, create another profile, let's call it "mailbackup". Do the same as above to find where the mail is stored, and replace that folder with the folder from your backup drive. Open TBird, go to the mailbackup profile, and copy the e-mail from one profile to the main profile. I do this every day, as my e-mail forwarding address goes to a secondary profile on my TBird account. I then transfer between my forwarded e-mails to my main e-mails.

  13. #13
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    I find the easiest method, both to comprehend and to implement, is to copy my entire Thunderbird Profile. I named my Profile "travel" and can copy it to any other computer (with Thunderbird installed!) and it opens and works just like at home. In fact, I used to copy it to a thumb drive, load it at work, and continue to do whatever I needed to do with my personal email account. That kept personal business separate from my company account, and when I got home I could just copy the profile back to my own computer and continue. All the email accounts in that profile, signatures, address book, server settings, filters, etc. just "travel" with me.

  14. The Following User Says Thank You to Dan in Saint Louis For This Useful Post:

    georgelee (2015-02-19)

  15. #14
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    Paul, it’s the first time I’ve been called a biological component. LOL

    Here’s the result from Disk Manager:

    Disk 0
    55 ME Healthy
    Recovery (E) 10GB NTFS Healthy (Primary)
    OS (C) 90,13 GB NTFS Healthy (System, Boot, Page File, Dump, etc
    (D) 48.83 GB NTFS Healthy (local drive)

    Disk 1 Removable (F) no media
    Disk 2 Removable (G) no media These are partitions on external drive
    Disk 3 Removable (H) no media
    Disk 4 Removable (L) no media
    Disk 5 39 MB Healthy OEM partition
    “ 14.65 GB unallocated
    “ OS (C) 120.68 Gb Active, Primary
    “ No name 796.3 GB unallocated appears to be the partition for my images i.e. F
    “ K 931.4 GB RAW Healthy Primary This is the mystery drive after using Mozbackup
    “ 465.79GB No info supplied
    “ 465.61 Gb No info. judging by size partitions on ext drive for the other PCs
    Red indicates my comments.

    Windows Explorer is a mystery to me. I have searched for it at various times on each of the four PCs we have owned, without any success. Assuming it is the same as ‘This Computer’, details as follows:

    OS (C) 90.1 GB 49.9 free
    Local Disk (D) 48.8 GB 48.6 free
    Recovery (E) 9.99 GB 5.56 free
    DVD Rewriter drive (J)

    What does all this me? I have no idea. As for working from basics, I haven’t a clue.

    I think we can assume the ext. drive is kaputt, so I shall get another one, or two, tomorrow if it has stopped raining. As there is no way of knowing whether the original problem was caused by the pc or the ext. drive it is probably best to reinstall Windows.
    Last edited by georgelee; 2015-02-19 at 11:47. Reason: Attempt to line uo Disk 5 failed

  16. #15
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    That is rather an odd arrangement on your external disk - it gives you 2 C: drives on your computer. It looks to me like you attempted to restore the OS to your external disk and that has mucked up the partitions. The drive should still be fine but your data may not. If you want the data back you could try Easus Data Recovery. Otherwise just try formatting the external disk.

    cheers, Paul

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