Full guide on Outlook to Thunderbird Migration (2 Ways)

In this article, you can learn the exact details to migrate Outlook emails to Thunderbird. Also, one flexible backup option is given to protect your Outlook.


By Maggie Updated on December 20, 2023

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About Thunderbird and Outlook

Emails play a crucial role in our digital world, and various email clients, such as Thunderbird and Outlook from Mozilla and Microsoft, respectively, are widely used. User preferences for email clients differ.

Backup Outlook to Thunderbird

In today's digital landscape, data backup has become indispensable. Creating backups ensures data security, offering a reliable solution in the event of catastrophic data loss. When faced with data deletion or unavailability, having a backup allows for effortless data restoration.

If you're an Outlook user looking to get Outlook to Thunderbird migration, you're in the right place. This post will guide you through the most suitable method for this task.

Is Thunderbird a good replacement for Outlook?

Convert Thunderbird to Outlook is quite simple, you can transfer the Thunderbird emails as EML. File and upload it to Outlook. However, as in the below user case, you may want to find ways to transfer Outlook to Thunderbird.


User case: Can I transfer my existing email from outlook to TBird?

That is the actual email that is has been sent, received, and saved. I don't want to lose it for legal reasons.

Also will the address book sync with my Google contacts?


Users may need to transfer Outlook emails to Thunderbird for various reasons, and here are some fundamental ones:

🌟Benefits of Thunderbird:

Financial Benefit: Outlook is a paid email client while Thunderbird can offer a cost-saving advantage.

Sharing and Synchronizing: Thunderbird supports open-source add-ons, enhancing its functionality through user-contributed extensions.

RSS Management in Mozilla Thunderbird: Thunderbird includes a feature for managing RSS feeds, allowing users to conveniently organize and access their news subscriptions within the application.

Unread Folder Notification: Users can easily receive notifications for their unread folder, streamlining the process of staying updated on new messages.

Fast Message and Email Search: Thunderbird provides a quick search feature for messages and emails, ensuring efficient retrieval of information.

Built-in Export and Import Feature: The application offers built-in export and import capabilities, simplifying the process of transferring and managing data.

So as you can see so many advantages to saving files in Thunderbird, so that’s no wonder users may search for ways to get Outlook to Thunderbird migration.

How to transfer Outlook to Thunderbird

# 1. Transfer via Thunderbird’s ‘Native Import’ feature

To import Outlook Mail to Thunderbird using Thunderbird's Native Import feature, users can follow these step-by-step instructions:

Step 1. Open Thunderbird and go to Tools > Import.

Tool Import

Step 2. In the Select the type of material to Import section, choose the specific option and click on Next.

Select the Type of Material to Import

Step 3. Choose the Outlook option and click on the Next button.

Choose Outlook

Step 4. Review a summary of all the imported messages.

Review Backup Summary

Step 5. Preview the imported Outlook emails in Thunderbird.

# 2. Transfer via another manual way

This method is applicable when users need to transfer data between Outlook and Thunderbird located on the same system. The detailed steps for the manual method are as follows:

Step 1. Click on the Start button in the Windows OS, navigate to Default Programs, and then select Set your default program.

Step 2. Choose Outlook from the displayed list and select Set this program as the default option. This action makes Outlook the default email client for the system.

Select Default Program

Step 3. Launch Mozilla Thunderbird on the same machine, go to Tools, and select Import to initiate the process of moving emails from Outlook to Thunderbird.

Step 4. In the subsequent window, opt for the radio button corresponding to Mail and click Next to proceed.

Step 5. Choose Outlook from the following wizard and click Next, followed by clicking the Finish button.

Step 6. Open the Default Programs window again and set Thunderbird as the default email client for the system.

Easier way to backup Outlook emails to protect

Email backups are known to help prevent data loss by enabling users to recover email content that may have been deleted or lost. Backups can keep your emails available for longer and make tracking down lost emails faster. Here I recommend professional email backup software - AOMEI Backupper Professional. Its "Outlook Backup" feature can help backup Outlook desktop.

▣ Resourceful email items are supported: you can backup the entire Outlook mailbox including mail folders (Inbox, Outbox, Drafts, etc.), Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, and more. Or specify one or more folders.
▣ Multiple backup locations: you have the flexibility to choose your backup destination, whether backup emails to external hard drive, NAS, network location, or cloud client.
▣  Automatic backup: it offers schedule backup option to allow you easily set up daily, weekly, monthly, event triggers, or USB plugin backups.
▣ Backup methods: it offers intelligent backup modes, which allows you to create incremental and differential backup, ensure that only the changes are copied, saving you valuable time and storage space

Now you have a general knowledge about this email backup software, you can backup Outlook to cloud service so that you can access it any time and place you want. Here is an example to backup Outlook emails with Google Drive.

AOMEI Backupper

Easiest Windows backup software for personal use.

Step 1. Loggin your Outlook emails account in the Outlook desktop app and close it. And also make sure you can access to the Google Drive.

Step 2. Open AOMEI Backupper Professional, go to the Backup tab and select Outlook Backup.

Outlook Backup

Step 3. Modify a name to the Outlook backup task according to your preference. Click Add Outlook Data, then select the folders in your Outlook account as the backup source.

Add Outlook Data

Step 4. Click on the destination box, then choose Select a cloud drive, and choose Google Drive, and click OK.

Select a cloud drive

Step 5. Click on the Schedule Backup icon at the bottom of the page and customize the backup frequency as you need. Finally, click Start Backup to backup Outlook to Google Drive now.

Schedule Wake


If you're seeking a method for Outlook to Thunderbird migration, this post outlines the ideal 2 solutions. If you want more choices to store your Outlook data, you can use professional email backup software AOMEI Backupper Professional to help you.

Notably speaking, this software is versatile, for not only supporting Outlook, but also some other email services like Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud, and Exchange. Now download it and have a free trial!

Maggie · Editor
Maggie is a technical editor from AOMEI and troubleshoots technical problems against data protection. She has received professional and systematic technical training. With a focus on user experience, security, and problem-solving, she always puts herself in the readers' shoes and provides them with valuable technical insights.