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Thunderbird passwords not transferred with profile to new computer

  • 4 replies
  • 1 has this problem
  • Last reply by pogon

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I followed the procedure for "Moving Thunderbird Data to a New Computer".

The "old" computer is windows 10 running Thunderbird 68.12 32 bit. The "new" computer is Ubuntu 20.04 running Thunderbird 68.10 64 bit

The procedure above fails with the following message: "This installation of Thunderbird has a new profile. It does not share email data, passwords, user preferences and address books with other installations of Thunderbird (including Thunderbird, Thunderbird Beta, and Thunderbird Daily) on this computer."

I upgraded the "new" computer to thunderbird 68.12 64 bit with the identical result.

The next step was to start Thunderbird from the command line with the -profilemanager --allow-downgrade switches as described in

Thunderbird starts and the profile from the "old" computer is recognized with all information transferred except for the account passwords. The saved logins list under preferences->passwords->saved passwords is completely empty. The menus here do not provide a means to add new rows. Only edit existing rows.

This result appears to be the same for both 68.10 and 68.12 on the "new" installation. I elected to stay with the default Ubuntu version (68.10)

The menus under account settings do not provide a means to update or change passwords. Attempting to create a new account with the same name produces an error about an existing server with the same name and simply hangs (the "Done" button is gray and is inoperative). Following this procedure:

Not sure how to proceed. The best may be a different command line switch that will preserve the passwords from the "old" installation during the initial startup. An alternative is to fix up the password list in the "new" installation.

If I start with a new profile in "new" computer, the add account procedures work flawlessly.

Suggestions please on a method to resolve this password transfer problem from Windows to Linux.

Chosen solution

Delete pkcs11.txt from the profile folder on the new computer, with TB closed, then restart TB.

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Chosen Solution

Delete pkcs11.txt from the profile folder on the new computer, with TB closed, then restart TB.

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Thank you for the solution! TB appears to be working properly on the new computer after deleting this file. Examining the contents of pkcs11.txt before deleting it reveals lots of windows path names that were no longer valid. TB recreated the file when it started up again with path names that are valid for the new Ubuntu target.

I wonder if this is an ease of use feature request for TB? On startup, TB can determine the proper path names, if the pkcs11.txt names are not matching then rewrite it. Certainly this may be a perfectly reasonable response especially with --allow-downgrade. I did not check if it is already part of the -migration flag behavior.

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Your point is well taken, as this pitfall has been known for over a year, and affects profile transfers between Windows and Linux or OS X. It would be a reasonable feature of an intelligent migration process, but 'ease of use' is not necessarily a high priority for the TB developers.

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Hi, 1) is there a way to copy/mirror all profile data (7 email boxes) from one machine (Ubuntu 18) to another (Ubuntu 20) and then use both without compromising identities? Mind you, not migrate, not move, not sync... but share? Reason being I don't want to set up every mail box again on the new machine and wait for the IMAP do its magic, again... I've tried to move the data, it all worked flawlessly on the new machine, until I started TB on the old one: it started complaining about some sites using some different IDs... I ended up resetting all the emails on the old machine and deleting the 'new' profile on the new Ubuntu(((. 2) I couldn't find a direct answer to the original question here that drew my attention in the first place: "Thunderbird passwords not transferred with profile to new computer". Can you elaborate on this one too? Thank you.

Modified by pogon