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Can a profile be moved from an installed TB to portable TB?

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Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 2016-01-25 11:14
Can a profile be moved from an installed TB to portable TB?

Considering changing from installed version of TB to a portable version. Can the profile from my installed and running instance of TB be moved to the portable version. If so how? Does the profile manager function properly on the portable version? If so how is it invoked?

gmbudwrench's picture
Last seen: 4 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2007-06-25 05:00
I believe so

I believe so. As I understand it, the profile folders are identical whether portable or local install.

Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 2016-01-25 11:14
More precise questions about profiles

After a little more research more questions arise but they are also a bit ore specific.

With respect to invoking the profile manager it looks like you can launch the TB program as follows:
.\ThunderbirdPortable\App\Thunderbird\thunderbird.exe -p
This opens the Profile Management dialogue. Looks exactly like what happens when using the installed version. The default location for a new profile is as follows:
where ...random... is a generated random number.

While you can specify whatever directory you want it looks like it might work if you specify the following:

As indicated above an installed version of TB would use a user specific location for the default as follows:

However, the profiles are located using a file named as follows:
which in my case contains data such as the following:

I haven't been able to identify any file named "profiles.ini" within the file structure under the directory named "ThunderbirdPortable". This begs the question, "does ThnuderbirdPortable utilize such a file?". If so, where should it be placed?

I do notice that there is a file named "ThunderbirdPortableSettings" located as follows:
Which contains the following:


Insofar as it is quite unclear how a profile can be relocated it is hard to understand the usage of a parameter that keeps track of the "last profile directory". At the same time it pretty much implies that the profile may be relocated. Insofar as the drive letter (i.e., D: above) might change whenever a portable drive is mounted it would seem that this cannot be absolute in the case of the portable drive. This causes great doubt about the ability to relocate the profile to a different location than the one where the portable TB is installed. However, that is what I'd be most interested in doing. In that, locate the profile in a directory managed by a cloud service of some kind. Is there a way to do that?

Based on some research it looks like the portable instance of TB can be invoked using a command such as the following:
.\ThunderbirdPortable\App\Thunderbird\thunderbird.exe -profile "W:\Tbird\username\Profiles\go8kejci.default"
but this is NOT a natural thing to do using the packages distributed by Is it possible that a somewhat unorthodox method might be available for doing that?

John T. Haller
John T. Haller's picture
Last seen: 7 hours 18 min ago
Joined: 2005-11-28 22:21
Profile Manager Is Local

Thunderbird's profile manager is for local profiles. If you'd like multiple profiles with a single install of Thunderbird Portable, use the 2nd profile tool:

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 2016-01-25 11:14
Need to share exisiting profiles!

My problem is not so much the desire for multiple profiles as it is to share profiles. The referenced app brings up what I'd call the TB Get Started screen. In that, it seems to want to create a new profile. I have, and need to preserve, my TB profiles. The problem is how to get TB portable to work with the same profile being used by other instances of TB.

I tried substituting a symbolic link for "profile" in ThnuderbirdPortable\Data\ which to my surprise caused an error saying that the profile cannot be located. Windows Explorer has no trouble finding it. Why is that?

Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 2016-01-25 11:14
Sorry! My Mistake

The symbolic link works fine. The problem was that I failed to recognize that the profile was in use by TB running on another computer. I'm not ready to suggest that this experiment is a good idea but TB seems to working.

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