How to Convert Thunderbird to PST - A Complete Guide

Jan 10, 2024 | By Deepak Singh Bisht

In today's world, where digital communication is at the heart of our professional interactions, the role of email is more critical than ever. We rely heavily on emails to connect with colleagues, clients, and partners, making email management a key aspect of our work life. Given the diverse nature of our needs and the varying functionalities offered by different email platforms, it's common to find ourselves needing to switch between these platforms. This is where the challenge of converting email data from one format to another comes into play.

A particularly common scenario many of us face is the need to convert email data from Mozilla Thunderbird to Microsoft Outlook's PST format. Outlook, with its robust features and integration with various business tools, is often the preferred choice in many professional settings. However, making this transition isn't always straightforward, as it involves converting from Thunderbird's MBOX to Outlook's PST files.

This guide is crafted to simplify the process of converting Thunderbird emails to PST format, providing a detailed, step-by-step approach that caters to both IT professionals and individual users. If you're planning to transition from Thunderbird to Outlook and are seeking a seamless experience, you've found the right resource. We will navigate through the nuances of this conversion process, ensuring your journey from Thunderbird to PST is smooth and successful.

Overview of Thunderbird MBOX and Outlook PST formats

In the realm of email management, understanding the distinct formats used by different email clients is crucial, especially when considering data migration or conversion. Thunderbird and Microsoft Outlook are two widely used email clients, each utilizing different formats for storing emails.

Thunderbird and the MBOX Format

Thunderbird: Developed by the Mozilla Foundation, Thunderbird is a free and open-source email client known for its versatility and user-friendly interface.

MBOX file format: Thunderbird utilizes the MBOX format for storing emails. The MBOX format compiles all emails within a single file, placing each message one after the other, starting with the "From" header. This format is recognized for its simplicity and wide compatibility with various email clients.

Characteristics of Thunderbird and MBOX:

  1. Cross-platform functionality: Thunderbird is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems.
  2. Customization and extensibility: The Thunderbird email client supports numerous add-ons and extensions, allowing for extensive customization.
  3. Security features: Includes robust security measures like spam filters, phishing protection, and support for various encryption protocols.

Microsoft Outlook and the PST format

Microsoft Outlook: A part of the Microsoft Office suite, Outlook is not just an email client but also a personal information manager, often used in corporate environments.

PST file format: PST, or Personal Storage Table, is the file format used by Microsoft Outlook to store email messages, calendar events, contacts, and other types of personal data. Each item is stored as an individual entry within the PST file.

Attributes of Outlook and PST:

  1. Integration with Microsoft services: Outlook is designed to work seamlessly with other Microsoft services and applications, such as Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft 365.
  2. Advanced organization features: Outlook provides comprehensive tools for email management, scheduling, and task organization.
  3. Enhanced security and privacy options: Offers features like password protection and encryption for PST files.

Why convert Thunderbird to PST?

Convert and export Thunderbird to PST is an important step for many people who use email a lot, especially when they need to work with different email programs. Here's a simpler explanation of why making the move can be a good idea:

Easier to work with Microsoft Outlook

  1. Better together with Microsoft tools: Many users prefer Microsoft Office for their daily productivity tasks, and Outlook is a key component of this suite. By converting Thunderbird emails to PST, you enable smoother integration with other Microsoft applications such as Word and Excel, enhancing overall efficiency and compatibility.
  2. More people use it: Outlook and its PST format are very common in offices. By converting your emails to PST, you can share and work with others more easily, especially in a work environment.

Better for organizing emails

  1. Advanced organizational features: Outlook is equipped with advanced features for email organization, meeting scheduling, and efficient search functionality. Transitioning from Thunderbird to PST allows you to take full advantage of these sophisticated capabilities, streamlining your email management and enhancing productivity.
  2. Improved email order: For those managing large volumes of emails, Outlook's organization capabilities are particularly beneficial. Converting to PST helps keep your emails well-organized and easily accessible.

Keeping your emails safe and together

  1. Centralized email storage: Converting to PST allows you to consolidate emails from different programs in one place, providing a unified view of your communications.
  2. Reliable backup solution: The PST format is robust for backing up emails, ensuring your data is secure and recoverable in case of loss.

Good for work and business

  1. Fits in at work: Many businesses like using Outlook because it has a lot of features that are good for work. Converting to PST can help you fit in better with business settings.
  2. Keeps emails secure: Outlook's PST format has strong security, like passwords and encryption. This is really important for keeping work emails safe.

Makes working with others easier

  1. Compatibility with collaboration tools: Outlook's compatibility with collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams facilitates smoother teamwork and communication.
  2. Customizable settings: Unlike Thunderbird, Outlook offers extensive customization options, allowing you to tailor your email experience to your personal or professional needs.

In short, moving Thunderbird emails to PST opens up a range of functionalities and conveniences, particularly in a professional context. This transition not only ensures better integration with widely-used tools but also enhances the efficiency, organization, and security of your email communications.

Scenarios that demand Thunderbird to PST conversion

The decision to convert from Thunderbird to PST usually comes up in a few specific situations:

Job change: If your new job uses Microsoft Outlook instead of Thunderbird, you'll need to convert your emails from Thunderbird's format (MBOX) to Outlook's format (PST) to keep using them.

Email migration: When switching from Thunderbird to Outlook for your email needs, you have to change your emails from MBOX format to PST format to make them compatible with Outlook.

Data backup: To backup your Thunderbird emails in a way that's easy to access in Outlook, converting them to PST format is necessary.

In each case, converting to PST is about making sure your emails work with Outlook, whether it's due to a job switch, choosing a different email program, or for creating Outlook-friendly backups.

Instant Solution - SysCurve Thunderbird to PST Converter

| 678 Reviews

Quickly convert & export Thunderbird emails to PST, EML, MSG, HTML, and other file formats.

How to convert Thunderbird to PST?

Converting Thunderbird emails to PST format can be approached in two primary ways: manually or by utilizing specialized software known as a third-party Thunderbird to PST converter. Each method has its unique advantages and suits different user needs.

For those seeking a more hands-on approach, the manual method involves steps like configuring email clients and using built-in export features. This process might require a bit more technical know-how but offers direct control over the conversion process.

On the other hand, if you're looking for a quicker and more streamlined solution, especially when handling large volumes of emails, using a third-party tool like the SysCurve Thunderbird to PST Converter is highly recommended. This software simplifies the process, allowing you to quickly convert and export Thunderbird to PST format without getting into the complexities of manual conversion.

Let's explore both these methods to understand them better and help you decide which one aligns best with your requirements.

Method 1: Convert Thunderbird to PST using IMAP

If you want to convert Thunderbird emails to PST format, you can try this method. In this method, we will configure Gmail in Thunderbird, then migrate Thunderbird emails to Gmail, and finally configure Gmail in MS Outlook. This process is divided into seven steps. To perform this method, MS Outlook and Thunderbird must be installed on your system.

Step 1: Enable IMAP from Gmail

1. Log in to your Gmail Account.

Gmail login screen

2. Click the Settings Gear icon.

Gmail settings gear icon

3. Click on the "See all settings" option.

Gmail See all settings option

4. Select the "Forwarding and POP/IMAP" tab.

Gmail Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab

5. In the "IMAP Access" section, choose the "Enable IMAP" option.

Enabling IMAP in Gmail

6. Click the "Save Changes" button.

Saving Gmail settings

Step 2: Generate App Password

1. Navigate to or click on your Profile icon and select "Manage your Google Account."

Google account settings option

2. Click the "Security" option and enable the 2-step verification.

Google account security options

3. Go back to the "Security" section, then type "App passwords" in the search box. After that, select the "App Passwords" option.

Searching App passwords in Google security

4. On the App Password screen, enter "Thunderbird and Outlook" in the app name textbox, and then click the "Create" button.

Creating app password for Thunderbird and Outlook

5. Copy the App password and paste it into Notepad, and then click the "Done" button.

Copying app password

Step 3: Configure Gmail in Thunderbird

1. Open Mozilla Thunderbird.

Mozilla Thunderbird interface

2. Navigate to the Menu and select the "Account Settings" option.

Thunderbird Account Settings menu

3. In the left sidebar, open the "Account Actions" dropdown and choose the "Add Mail Account" option.

Adding mail account in Thunderbird

4. Enter your Name, Gmail Address, and the app password. Check the "Remember password" box and then click the "Continue" button.

Entering email details in Thunderbird

5. Select IMAP from the "Available Configurations" and click the "Done" button.

Choosing IMAP in Thunderbird

6. You will then see a screen confirming the successful creation of the account.

Thunderbird account creation confirmation

Step 4: Migrate Thunderbird emails to Gmail

1. Access your Gmail mailbox within Thunderbird.

Gmail mailbox in Thunderbird

2. Right-click on the Gmail mailbox and select "New Folder" to create a new folder.

Creating new folder in Thunderbird Gmail

3. Name the new folder and click "Create Folder" to confirm.

Naming new Gmail folder in Thunderbird

4. Review the folder listed in the left sidebar.

Check new Thunderbird folder in left sidebar

5. Navigate to the Thunderbird folder with the emails you want to transfer. Use Ctrl+A to select all emails if necessary.

Selecting emails in Thunderbird

6. Right-click on the selected emails and choose "Copy to" option.

Copying emails to Gmail folder in Thunderbird

7. Select the newly created folder in your Gmail mailbox as the destination.

Choosing destination folder in Gmail

8. This will copy the selected emails into your Gmail folder.

Emails copied to Gmail folder

Step 5: Configure Gmail in Outlook

1. Launch Microsoft Outlook.

Outlook program window

2. Go to the "File" menu and choose "Add Account."

Adding new account in Outlook

3. In the account setup window, enter your Name, Gmail address, and the previously created app password. Re-enter the app password for confirmation, then click the "Next" button.

Outlook account setup window

4. After verification, Outlook will display a confirmation message.

Outlook verification confirmation

5. In Outlook, go to the left-hand pane and find your Gmail mailbox.

Finding Gmail in Outlook

6. Select the folder you created earlier. Outlook will then start downloading all emails from this folder.

Selected folder in Outlook

Step 6: Export PST from Outlook

1. Open MS Outlook.

MS Outlook interface

2. Click on the "File" menu, select "Open & Export," and then choose the "Import/Export" option.

Outlook Import/Export option

3. Choose "Export to a file" and click the "Next" button.

Choosing Export to a file in Outlook

4. Select "Outlook Data File (.pst)" and then click the "Next" button.

Selecting PST file format in Outlook

5. Choose the folders you want to export. Ensure the "Include Subfolders" option is checked, then click the "Next" button.

Folder selection for export in Outlook

6. Use the "Browse" button to choose a destination for saving the PST file. Opt to exclude duplicate items. Finally, click "Finish" to complete the export process.

Setting PST save location in Outlook

By following these steps, you should be able to successfully convert Thunderbird emails to PST format using IMAP.

Method 2: Convert Thunderbird to PST using the Drag-and-Drop

In this method, we will first export Thunderbird emails to EML format, and then import EML files to Outlook. For this, MS Outlook must be installed on your system.

Step 1: Exporting Emails from Thunderbird to EML Files

  1. Open Mozilla Thunderbird.
  2. Navigate to the folder in Thunderbird that contains the emails you want to export.
  3. Select the emails for export, or use Ctrl+A to select all.
  4. Right-click on the selected emails and select the 'Save As' option.
  5. Choose a destination folder on your computer to save the EML files and click 'Save'.

Step 2: Importing EML Files into MS Outlook

  1. Open Microsoft Outlook on your computer.
  2. Right-click on your Outlook Inbox or any other target location. Choose 'New Folder', name it, and press 'Enter'.
  3. Go to the folder where you saved the EML files. Select all EML files (press Ctrl+A for selecting all).
  4. Drag and drop the selected EML files into the new folder you previously created in Outlook.

With these methods, you can convert and export Thunderbird to PST format. However, the manual solution is time-consuming and requires technical expertise. If you are looking for an easy way to perform this task, try the SysCurve Thunderbird to PST Converter. The software also comes with a demo version that allows you to convert and export the first 20 items per folder.

Method 3: Convert Thunderbird to PST using Thunderbird to PST Converter

If you're looking for a simpler way to convert your Thunderbird emails to PST, or if you prefer not to use the manual methods, there's a straightforward solution available. You can use the SysCurve MBOX to PST Converter. This tool is designed to make the conversion process quick and hassle-free. With the help of this software, you can convert Thunderbird emails to PST, EML, MSG, HTML, and RTF format.

  1. Download and install the SysCurve Thunderbird to PST Converter.
  2. Open the tool and click on the Browse button
  3. Select Add MBOX option if you have an MBOX file or choose the Mozilla Thunderbird / Postbox option
  4. Click the Browse or Auto Load button to select MBOX or Thunderbird profile
  5. Click the Next button to start the loading process
  6. Go to the Export option and select the folders you want to export
  7. Choose PST as an export option and provide a location to save the PST file
  8. Click the Export button to start the conversion process.

After the conversion process, you can open the converted PST file in MS Outlook.

Other helpful features

  • Convert Thunderbird emails to PST, EML, HTML, MSG, and other formats.
  • Preview Thunderbird email data.
  • Support Thunderbird and other MBOX email clients
  • Save Individual emails to MSG, EML, HTML, MHTML, and RTF format.
  • Migrate Thunderbird to Office 365 platform
  • Perform selective conversion based on To, Cc, Bcc, Subject, and Date.
  • Free Thunderbird to PST conversion for the first 20 items per folder.
  • Support all versions of MS Outlook
  • Compatible with Windows OS.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I directly export Thunderbird data to Microsoft Outlook?

Thunderbird and Microsoft Outlook use different formats for storing emails, so direct export isn't possible. However, you can use a Thunderbird to PST converter tool. These tools help convert your Thunderbird emails (MBOX format) into PST files, which are compatible with Outlook. After conversion, you can easily import these PST files into Outlook.

What tool do you recommend for converting Thunderbird emails to PST?

The SysCurve Thunderbird to PST Converter comes highly recommended. This tool stands out for its ease of use, efficiency, and versatility. It allows for the conversion of Thunderbird emails not only to PST but also to other formats like EML, MSG, HTML, and RTF. This range of formats ensures that you can access your emails in different environments, depending on your needs.

Do I need to have Outlook installed to use the SysCurve Thunderbird to PST Converter?

No, one of the advantages of the SysCurve Thunderbird to PST Converter is that it operates independently. You don't need to have Microsoft Outlook installed on your computer to use it. The tool can convert your Thunderbird files into PST format, and these PST files can be imported into Outlook on any system later.

Is it possible to convert Thunderbird emails to PST without using any tools?

Manual conversion is possible, but it's a more complex and time-consuming process. It typically involves exporting Thunderbird emails to an intermediate format (like EML) and then using a separate process to import these into Outlook. For users who are not as tech-savvy or for those dealing with large volumes of emails, using a dedicated conversion tool like SysCurve is often a more practical solution.

How can I ensure the integrity of my emails during conversion?

To ensure the integrity of your emails during the conversion process, choose a reliable and tested conversion tool like the SysCurve Thunderbird to PST Converter. After conversion, it's a good practice to spot-check a few emails to confirm that they have been accurately converted and that all attachments and metadata are intact.

Are there any file size limits for converting emails with the SysCurve tool?

The SysCurve Thunderbird to PST Converter is engineered to effectively manage and convert large volumes of email data. There are no specific file size limits imposed by the tool, allowing for the conversion of extensive email databases without concerns about exceeding size restrictions.

Can I use the SysCurve tool to migrate Thunderbird to the Office 365 platform?

Yes, the SysCurve Thunderbird to PST Converter offers functionality for migrating emails directly to Office 365, in addition to converting them to PST format. However, it's important to note that this feature is typically available in the more advanced editions of the software, like the Business and Enterprise versions.

What precautions should I take before converting Thunderbird to PST?

The most important precaution is to back up your Thunderbird emails. This ensures that in the event of an unexpected issue during the conversion process, your original data is safe and can be restored. A backup provides a fail-safe, protecting your valuable data against any potential loss.

Does the SysCurve tool offer a free demo version?

Yes, SysCurve provides a free demo version of their Thunderbird to PST Converter. This demo allows you to convert and export the first 20 items per. It's a great way to test the tool's capabilities and interface.

Is the SysCurve tool compatible with all Windows operating systems?

The tool is designed to be compatible with a wide range of Windows operating systems. It supports Windows 10, 8.1, 8, and 7, catering to a broad user base. This compatibility ensures that most users can use the tool on their existing systems without any issues.

The Final Word

When it comes to transferring your emails from Thunderbird to Microsoft Outlook, you're faced with two primary choices. The first option is the do-it-yourself route, which doesn't cost anything but can be quite time-consuming. This method is more suitable if you're comfortable with tech tasks and have the patience to manually handle each step, such as configuring IMAP settings or using the drag-and-drop method. It's a viable option but can be a bit daunting, especially if you're dealing with a large number of emails.

The second option is to use a specialized tool like the SysCurve Thunderbird to PST Converter. This tool simplifies the whole process, making it much quicker and more straightforward. It's particularly handy because it doesn't just convert your Thunderbird emails to the PST format, but it can also switch them to other formats like EML, MSG, HTML, and RTF, giving you more flexibility. The SysCurve tool stands out for its user-friendly design, making it accessible for both tech-savvy users and those who may not be as comfortable with complex tech processes.

By choosing this method, you can save a significant amount of time and effort, which is especially beneficial if you're working with a large batch of emails. Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your comfort level with technology, the volume of emails you need to convert, and how quickly you need the process completed. It's about balancing the effort and time you're willing to invest against the convenience and speed of a dedicated conversion tool.

The Author

Deepak Singh Bisht

Deepak Singh Bisht

Content Lead |

Deepak Singh Bisht is a dedicated IT professional with over 9 years of experience, is a key member at SysCurve Software for the last 5 years. His expertise lies in email migration and data recovery, with a focus on technologies like MS Outlook and Office 365. Deepak, who also delves into front-end technology and software development, holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Applications.

More from Deepak Singh Bisht