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How to Download All Attachments from Thunderbird in Single/Separate Folder(s)

Aldrich Calvin | Modified: 2021-10-08T10:55:08+00:00|Mozilla Thunderbird | 5 Minutes Reading

Mozilla Thunderbird is a very popular email client that is easy to use, maintain and customize. It lets you work with emails, contacts, calendars, tasks, notes, etc. The emails are stored in MBOX files along with their attachments. Sometimes, users need to download attachments from Thunderbird and store them in a single or separate folder(s).

There are several fields that require users to extract attachments from Thunderbird email client. For example – the profession of teachers/professors often require to download attachments (that contain assignments) sent by their students.

You can find genuine user queries all over the internet that reflects the need for an attachment downloader.

Genuine User Queries

Thunderbird support forum:

user query

MozillaZine forum:

user query


How to Download All Attachments from Thunderbird Manually

There are two methods to do it manually:

  1. Individual Download
  2. Using Add-on

But it is better to opt for the third method that does not put any constraints on the download process.

Manual Method 1 – Individual Download

In Mozilla Thunderbird, you can download attachments of each email message with the native method. The steps to do so are as follows:

  • Open Thunderbird on your computer.
  • Open the email message that contains attachment by double-clicking on it.
  • Look for attached files on the bottom of the interface and click on the Save

click save

  • Choose the appropriate folder to save the file and click the Save

choose location

Limitation – You will need to retrace all the steps again and again for each individual email message. Thus, making it a hectic and time-consuming process.

Manual Method 2 – Using Add-on

Installing add-ons can add many features to Mozilla Thunderbird email client. Downloading Thunderbird attachments is one of them. You can make use of Attachment Extractor Continued add-on for Thunderbird to download all attachments from Thunderbird in a folder. The steps to do so are as follows:

  1. Open Thunderbird on your system.
  2. Install “AttachmentExtractor Continued” add-on in your Thunderbird.
  3. Restart Thunderbird after installing the add-on.
  4. Right-click on the mailbox file (say, Inbox) and select ‘Extract All Attachments to’
  5. Click on Browse and select the folder where you want to download Thunderbird attachments.
  6. Let the process complete.

Limitation – This add-on is only compatible with Thunderbird 68.0-68.* versions. And the latest versions (78.*) have long-since surpassed that compatible version.

Best Method to Download Thunderbird Attachments

The best and most reliable method to download all attachments from Thunderbird in folder is to use a trusted third-party software like SysTools MBOX Attachment Extractor. Using this tool, you can easily process the Thunderbird MBOX files and download all the email attachments at once.

This wizard also provides you with multiple options to choose how and where do you want to download your attached files. In fact, you can even choose the type of attached files that you want to save. This software is available for both Windows and Mac to tend to your needs regardless of your preferred OS.

windows dl

mac dl

The screenshots and steps given below adhere to the Windows system only. You can find the instructions for Mac after going to the official website.

1. Install ImportExportTools NG add-on in Thunderbird. Right-click on the mailbox folder (say, Inbox) and choose the Export option to export the emails into MBOX file.

export thunderbird mailbox folder

2. Open this software wizard and click on Add File(s) button.

add folder

3. Once the files are added to the software, choose the required Folder hierarchy option.

select folder hierarchy

4. Choose the location to save the attachments after processing and click Next.

change destination

5. Now, apply any criteria and click on Extract to start the download process.

download attached files

Understanding the Folder Hierarchy Options

During the download process, some users wish to get all the attachments in a single folder, whereas some wants them separated. Apply 4 different kinds of folder options provided in the tool to achieve this:

  • Maintain Folder Hierarchy– With this option, you can ensure that the folders are created as per the on-disk folder hierarchy of added MBOX file/folder.
  • Create Folder For Each File Type– With this option, you will find all the attached files downloaded and separated by file types (For ex – PDF, JPG, and Doc  files are stored in separate folders containing attachments only of one file type)
  • No Folder Hierarchy– This option will ensure that no folder-hierarchy is maintained.
  • Create Single Folder– This option will create a single folder to download all attachments from Thunderbird.

Other than these options, the software also provides various naming conventions to ensure that the attachments extraction takes place with specified format names.

Observational Verdict

While using Mozilla Thunderbird is easy, that cannot be said for performing certain tasks on it. For example – download all attachments from Thunderbird to a folder. With the only native method to download attached files one at a time, users often look for other alternatives. One such alternative used to be Thunderbird Attachment Extractor add-on which only works with Thunderbird 68-68.*. It is now outdated with no planned updates.

In the end, the only method using which you can download your attachment is by using the recommended tool. Fortunately, this method is also the best method out of all three. Use the software wizard and download the attached files from Thunderbird at your own discretion.