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Re-import Tbird mails from a USB stick

  • 14 replies
  • 1 has this problem
  • 22 views
  • Last reply by zwiebln

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bold text I saved my older e-mails on a usb stick and now have to check some infos from back then. Although I have installed the Import-Export NG tool, I can't re-import them because Tbird recognise the file in my Win 10 Explorer. What am I doing wrong? Is there any way I can view the emails in either Ffx or Tbird - or any program at all? Advance thanks.

All Replies (14)

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Are the emails still only on usb stick or have you put a copy of them into a specifc folder somewhere on computer?

What format are they saved as ?

For example:

  • Is each email saved as an individual email with a .eml extension ?
  • Did you copy or export email as an mbox file ? In which case, all emails are stored in one file. mbox files do not have an extension.

When using Import-Export NG tool you would need to select the correct import option depending upon what format the stored emails are using. eg: Import mbox file option will not be able to import emails with .eml extensions.

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Thank you for the quick response. You're right, but my format isn't! It didn't work with this prog. There is another prog. on offer (m-box) which I will try tomorrow. In the meantime someone with a bit more nous than I have is trying to solve the problem on his computer. If that doesn't work, I shall have to get back to you, I hope you don't mind. Thank you so much for your help.

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It would help to know what format you have used when you stored the emails on usb.

The computer has defaults set up on what to do with specific extensions on files. It associates file types with specific applications. So, if you had saved an individual email with a .html extension, then the computer will open .html files using the set default program, which is usually a browser.

If the emails were saved as separate files with a .eml format and you have set up the computer by default to use Thunderbird to open .eml files, then Thunderbird will be used to open the files so you can read them without even needing to import them.

If you previously used eg: outlook, then you may have the emails stored in .pst files which are a microsoft specific format. However, you can get .pst files converted into .eml files or mbox files.

I can offer more advise, but until I know what format is being used, then I'm guessing.

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Hi again Toad-Hall,

Sadly, my computer experthasn't managed to solve the problem.

The story is: I use Thunderbird, so all I did was copy all the mails onto a stick. The files don't have an extension as far as I can see. The Import-Export Tools NG I downloaded in Tbird does not function in my case, so I shall uninstall. I wanted to try an mbox tool but it is no longer available as a Tbird download.

This is a lay person question so don't laugh (too loudly). If I were to install Tbird portable onto the stick would it then be possible to load the old mails into it?

I'm open to all suggestions and thanks again for your help.

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re :The Import-Export Tools NG I downloaded in Tbird does not function in my case, so I shall uninstall.

Hang on for a bit, don't uninstall yet. Let's try to sort out exactly what you have got on the usb stick.

re:I use Thunderbird, so all I did was copy all the mails onto a stick.

mbox files would be copied if you copied them directly from the profile folders or used a product like ImportExporttools to export as mbox file.

re :The files don't have an extension as far as I can see.

This might be because your computer is set up to not display them or you may have mbox files.


  • Access the usb where you have stored the emails.
  • Make sure 'Filename' 'File Type' and 'Size' is visible.
  • Post an image of what you can see.

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If using Windows 10: In File Explorer under View, in the Show/hide group, select the File name extensions check box.

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Hi again,

Thank you for the response. I must admit I'm not very good at this stuff but I will give it my best shot and get back to you. Thank you for being so patient and cheers for now.

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Here's the Explorer image - I think all the right boxes are ticked and there's still no extension to be seen!

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That looks like an mbox file called 'Inbox' and a second smaller one called 'Inbox(2)'

Edit the file name so it says 'OldInbox'

In Thunderbird did you do this:

  • Right click on 'Local Folders' mail account and select 'ImportExportTools NG' > 'Import mbox file'
  • Select 'Import directly one or more mbox files'
  • click on 'OK'

Locate usb pop.gmx.net folder and select the 'OldInbox' file click on 'Open'

Wait it might take a while to import.

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Okay, I'll change the file name and try the sequence you suggest and get back to you when I'm done. Fingers crossed the computer won't crash because I need it.

Many thanks for your help so far.

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Unfortunately I can't rename the files, they just change back to the previous name.

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re :Unfortunately I can't rename the files, they just change back to the previous name.

Now that is odd. See if Read Only is set as an attribute and that Security offers full permissions to you.

  • right click on 'Inbox' file and select 'Properties'
  • On 'General' tab, It will have 'Attributes' listed near the bottom 'Read Only' and 'Hidden' checkboxes Both must Not be selected. So uncheck if any are selected.
  • On 'Security' tab, see if your User Account has full permissions and amend them so have full control.
  • Click on 'Apply'
  • Click on 'OK'


  • Suggest you move or put a copy of the 'Inbox' mbox file to eg: desktop
  • Then right click and select 'Rename' and change to OldInbox
  • Then attempt to use the exact process I stated previously to import to Local Folders mail account.

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I'll give this a try early tomorrow and see how it goes. Thanks again for your help and stay safe.....

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Hi Toad Hall,

It seems the file itself is corrupt. I managed to change the file name etc. but all I get is a notification saying this is either not an mbox file or has a defect.

I don't think this is going to work, I'll just have to forget these mails. What a shame.

Thank you so much for your help.

Take care and stay safe.....

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