Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Moving your Thunderbord profile data from Windows to Ubuntu

Moving your profile data

  • Install Firefox and Thunderbird in Linux.
  • If you have any extension (add-on) installed that has platform-specific components in the profile, such as the Lightning calender for Thunderbird, you have to uninstall it first in your Windows profile. Once you have moved it to Linux, you can then reinstall the Linux version of that extension (in the case of Lightning, all your calendar data should be retained).
  • Some extensions (such as IE Tab for Firefox) work only on Windows. It is recommended that you uninstall (or at least disable) any of them that is installed in your Windows profile before moving.
  • Find your existing Firefox profile and Thunderbird profile.
  • Copy the the contents of the Firefox profile over the profile in the ".mozilla/firefox" subdirectory in your home directory. Copy the contents of the Thunderbird profile over the profile in the ".thunderbird" subdirectory in your home directory. They are hidden subdirectories, you need to find an option in your file browser to display them. In both Gnome and KDE you can use "Show -> hidden files" to show directories that begin with a period. If you're dual-booting, many distributions provide read-only access to your NTFS partition in the file manager, you don't have to copy the profile to some type of removable media.
  • Your package manager typically adds a menu command to run Firefox and Thunderbird when it installs them. For Ubuntu, it's at Applications -> Internet.
If the application doesn't start, type locate run-mozilla.sh in a terminal. It should return the directories that have that file, which also contain either the "firefox" or "thunderbird" shell scripts used to start the application. Type echo $PATH into a terminal and verify the directory is on the path.
If it starts but doesn't work correctly, try running in safe mode to temporarily disable any added extensions. While they normally also work under Linux you occasionally run into Gnome or KDE integration problems, or it might not be using a relative pathname to store its data. Exiting the application and deleting the extensions.rdf file in the profile also solves many problems (it will be recreated when you run the application).
You could have also used one of the other methods described in moving your profile to tell Firefox and Thunderbird where to look for the profile. For example, you might want to create a "profiles" directory that contains both your Firefox and Thunderbird profiles.


Moving from Windows to Linux

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