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Syncing Thunderbird Protable Across Machines

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Last seen: 14 years 4 months ago
Joined: 2010-02-13 07:51
Syncing Thunderbird Protable Across Machines

First, If this is answered somewhere please direct me there. I've been looking for a long while without success.

What I want to do is:
Run Thunderbird on several devices, a netbook, desktop, flashdrive, and so on...
And have an automated one click solutions to keep them all in sync.

Unfortunately IMAP accounts are out due to my work's accounts.

Last seen: 14 years 4 months ago
Joined: 2010-02-13 07:51
How far I've gotten...

I decided to install Thunderbird Portable on all the machines and then look at how I could use autoplay or context menus (right-clicks) to sync the programs.

I looked into Toucan but could find a way to automate the whole sync process. Am I just not techie enough? Has someone got a way of doing this?

In the end I used Microsoft SyncToy (I hate microsoft) because there is an easy way to get it to automatically carry of out sync's of pre-paired folders.

So this is what I did in full:
1. Installed thunderbird portable on my computer.
2. Migrated everything across to thunderbird portable.
3. Scrapped my old thunderbird. Now I have Thunderbird portable on my USB drive and on my PC.

4. I downloaded and installed SyncToy on my PC in D:\SyncToyPC
5. I opened SyncToy
- created a new folder pair
- set the left folder to C:\ThunderbirdPortable (PC folder) and the right to G:\ThunderbirdPortable (USB folder)
- Choose to Synchronise the folder
- Name the pair Thunderbird
- Save and close the program

Almost done, I've got two identical programs and a sync program with a saved pairing to sync them together.

6. I opened Notepad and created a file called 'autorun.inf' on my USB drive root directory. In the notepad file I wrote this;

LABEL=Richard's Email
ACTION=Open Emails

Shell\Option1=Sync Thunderbird
Shell\Option1\Command="D:\synctoyPC\synctoycmd.exe" -R

6. Save it, and I'm done.

Now I have a USB that when I plug it in allows me to open Thunderbird from the list (though probably switch to portableapps menu soon). And, if I right click the drive and press Sync Thunderbird it will automatically sync the PC and USB drives Thunderbirds.

For my other computers I can repeat this process, creating different context menu options. It should work in windows 7 if I hold shift as I insert the drive. If someone right click on the Sync Thunderbird on another PC nothing will happen as there will be no D:\SyncToyPC folder.

As you can see this seems to be a messy solution and I can't help but feel there must be a better option than this.

So if there's techie out there that can help please do, hopefully you can see this newbie has tried to sort it out for himself before asking the oracles.


The solution is in front of me, if I could only figure it out.

Aciago's picture
Last seen: 8 months 1 week ago
Joined: 2007-01-24 14:23

Why not try installing dropbox and use dropbox portable, setting your thunderbird profile to run inside the dropbox folder...

It's just an idea...

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
and the bus is interrupted as a very last resort,
and the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort,
then the socket packet pocket has an error to report Biggrin

Last seen: 4 years 4 months ago
Joined: 2007-12-17 05:43

I tried copying my TBP onto dropbox to see how it would perform.

The answer was that it decided to lock files that TBP was trying to update by synicing them when TB started a mailcheck. I ended up with a crashed TBP and a corrupted set of mailbox indexes. Not great Sad

Last seen: 14 years 4 months ago
Joined: 2010-02-13 07:51
Nice thought...

Shame it seems not to be too easy but a nice idea, especially as I am just learning and installing dropbox for my itouch.

Thanks tho.

The solution is in front of me, if I could only figure it out.

J Neutron
Last seen: 1 month 2 weeks ago
Joined: 2008-06-10 19:26
Too Much

IMHO, you are moving too much stuff around.

You should move just the \ThunderbirdPortable\Data\profile folder. The profile is what makes Thunderbird "yours" instead of "theirs". It contains all of the configurations, the mail, the extensions, calendar-data (if you use Lightning) and WebmailData (if you use Webmail).

On my system, the entire \ThunderbirdPortable folder weighs in at 69MB, while the profile folder is only 37MB. That means moving around only half the stuff.

neutron1132 (at) usa (dot) com

Last seen: 4 years 4 months ago
Joined: 2007-12-17 05:43
not moving, syncing

He isn't moving anything, he's just maintaining multiple synced copies.

Syncing the whole thing means that they'll stay in sync properly when he, for example, updates TBP to a new version.

The extra time for SyncTool to keep the app in sync as well as the profile is in the order of a second or two, so really not worth the saving.

To the OP, I do pretty much exactly the same, though I use unison to do the syncing rather than SyncToy, and replicate my entire drive, not just TBP.

The advantage for me of Unison is that I occasionally use the system for a backup before testing something, and Unison easily allows me to copy the "old" clean version back over the changed and unwanted one. SyncToy is a lot less friendly at doing such things.

That said, Unison is a pig to configure in comparison to it.

Last seen: 14 years 4 months ago
Joined: 2010-02-13 07:51

Thanks for the Unison suggestion, but not being too savvy I might steer clear of the pig of configuration.

Is there any solution to the problem of needing to sync between each application?
If I use program on my flashkey, and my desktop before syncing, then one overwrites the other! It's a bit of a bummer.

Anyway thanks to all, seems like there isn't a straight forward option out there I am missing. Shame, the dude working on an opensource mailbox sync app didn't carry it on.

The solution is in front of me, if I could only figure it out.

Last seen: 11 years 5 months ago
Joined: 2010-03-30 01:47

I am still working on wrapping unison into a portable apps package. I am running a free SSH server on my 'server' and a pretty complex script to connect and start unison with just the right options.
The script is automatically started when I launch portableapps and I only have to enter my server logon and am good to go. The script launches unison every 3 minutes and that I do in a star topology, keeping (currently) 3 PA installations in sync with one master repository.

The only problem is, that the general setup looks quite different for each user, so this will only make sense if you already have a ssh server running.

Is there still interest for that? I could post some of the code.

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