Home » How to » How to Convert Thunderbird to PST – Two Available Methods

How to Convert Thunderbird to PST – Two Available Methods

Published By Ashwani Tiwari
Aswin Vijayan
Approved By Aswin Vijayan
Published On October 18th, 2022
Reading Time 6 Minutes Reading
Category How to

Summary: This blog focuses on an important query “How to convert Thunderbird to PST?” If you also want to export MBOX file from Thunderbird to PST for MS Outlook, go through the complete article. Here, we will elaborate on the entire conversion process along with relevant technical information.

Mozilla Thunderbird is currently the most popular open source email client. It lets a user configure and work on multiple email accounts at the same time. Users can also extend its capabilities by installing add-ons inside Thunderbird. For example, the calendaring and scheduling feature which is missing in Thunderbird can be used with the help of the ‘lightning’ add-on. It is available for multiple platforms i.e., Mac, Windows & Linux.

Thunderbird stores all its data in the ‘Profile’ folder. This includes address books (.mab), MBOX files (without extension), SBD files (folder hierarchy), index files(.msf), calendars, etc. The Profile folder, by default, is located here: “%APPDATA%\Thunderbird\Profiles”.

Converting Thunderbird to PST is a complex task requiring quite a bit of technical proficiency. This is because Thunderbird does not provide any straightforward option to carry out such a task. So, to do it manually, users need to follow a series of complicated steps. However, it is not at all mandatory to stick to manual process only. Several third-party solutions can be utilized for quick and easy conversion. It prevents the degradation of email content quality with accurate results and preserves folder structure as well.

Guide to Export MBOX Files From Thunderbird to PST

There are n number of reasons which may interest users in converting emails to PST, especially if it includes the professional sector. Because MS Outlook is the dominant email client at the organizational level. And, users trying for Thunderbird to PST conversion due to work-related reasons has become a trend in today’s market.

There are two practices that can do the needful. The first method is a long series of steps that constitute the manual process. The second method introduces a quick way to go about conversion with a trustworthy tool.

Here is how to export Thunderbird to PST manually:

#Stage 1: Using EML format that stores a single email message (single file per message)

This segment describes a step-by-step process to extract the emails from Thunderbird MBOX and store it on desktop as EML files.

  • Run Mozilla Thunderbird application and select a mailbox folder.
  • Select all the email messages in this folder that are to be exported to PST.

select thunderbird emails

  • Now, right-click on any one of them and select the option Save As.
  • Create a new folder on the desktop and set it as the saving location of all Thunderbird emails with the Select Folder option.

#Stage 2: Install WLM (Windows Live Mail) & use its Import features

Windows Live Mail has an in-built Import/export feature that allows it to import EML files from storage. To proceed with exporting Thunderbird to PST, follow the steps:

  • Open WLM and create a new folder that will receive all the EML files exported from Thunderbird.
  • Now, click on the File menu, and go to Import > Import messages. Now select the EML files that were exported earlier.
  • Wait till all the files are successfully imported and are visible in Windows Live Mail.

#Stage 3: Using Export feature of Windows Live Mail to export to PST

All the files are in WLM and are ready to be exported. The last requirement left is the installation of MS Outlook on the same platform as WLM.

Do note that after export some attachments may appear empty as has been the case in many previous incidents. The steps are as follows:

  • In Windows Live Mail, again click on the File menu.
  • Select Export email from the list of options and click on Email messageswindows live mail file menu.
  • An Export wizard will open. Here, select the Microsoft Exchange option and click on the Next button.
  • Click the Ok button to proceed and select Outlook from the given profile names (it should be the default selection).
  • Again click on the Ok button and choose the folder in WLM which carries all the EML files. This mailbox folder will start to transfer to MS Outlook after clicking on the Ok button.

Do You Know:

The latest versions of Microsoft Outlook (2010 & above) recognizes EML files as a single file per message format. With a little trick, all the EML files can be imported in these versions without the requirement of Windows Live Mail.

  • To do that, select all the EML files from the desktop folder and drag and drop them to the middle pane of MS Outlook application.
  • The emails will start appearing on the Outlook interface. This way can be helpful in exporting Thunderbird to Outlook 2021, 2019, 2016, 2013 & 2010.

Why Manual Method Might Not be The Better Approach?

The manual process involves a series of steps that are lengthy in nature and hence, consume a lot of time. It may be able to transfer some emails from Thunderbird to PST. But the process is not feasible for bulk conversion. Also, the process will hurt the integrity of data since EML is not the native file format of MS Outlook.

Moreover, the attachments and inline images of Thunderbird emails are put at stake as they may appear blank/broken after manual process implementation. And, not to forget that users will have to repeat the steps for each and every mailbox folder while using WLM or exporting through drag and drop.

Method to Export Bulk Emails from Thunderbird to PST

MBOX File Extractor is a straightforward way to convert multiple MBOX files from Thunderbird to PST file format. The option to export files in bulk drastically reduces the overall time and effort of users in process completion. Also, it makes sure that the emails are exported without compromising the quality and integrity of data.

The ability to work on the deepest details of Thunderbird MBOX files makes this automated solution a trustworthy and reliable tool.

Download Buy Now

Here are the steps for converting Thunderbird to PST without losing data:

Step 1: Start the converter software and hit the Add File button on top

Step 2: Select Thunderbird and one of two option: Automatic mailbox fetching from Thunderbird or import Thunderbird MBOX files from storage

Step 3: See the details of all imported Thunderbird emails

Step 4: Select PST option to Export Thunderbird mailbox to PST format

Note: Users can also choose to create a single PST file by merging all the MBOX files. For this, choose Use folder mode while importing the MBOX files within the software interface. By default, separate files are created for each MBOX.


Thunderbird does not incorporate any direct option to convert Thunderbird to PST. The web may provide some workarounds, but they are either outdated or have plenty of limitations that make them impractical. Also, trying to look for a relevant freeware solution is next to impossible. Hence, the only way could do the needful without compromising email integrity is by using a conversion tool.