Sunbird Portable Support

Many of the most common issues that arise when using Sunbird Portable are addressed here. Please read through the various topics to see if any of them address your question. You can also post a note to the Sunbird Portable Support Forum.

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Sunbird Portable-Specific Issues

General Mozilla Sunbird Issues

Installing Sunbird Portable

To install Sunbird Portable, just download the ZIP file at the top of the Sunbird Portable page and unzip it anywhere on your portable drive. To do this in Windows XP:

  1. Click the Download Now! link at the top of this page to download the file.
  2. Save it to your desktop, so it's easy to find.
  3. Once it's done, double click the Sunbird Portable zip file on your desktop.
  4. Click once on the PortableSunbird directory and click Edit and then Copy on the menu.
  5. Double-click My Computer and browse to your portable drive to the directory you want to install in.
  6. Click Edit and then Paste from the menu.

The directions will be a little different if you're using another version of Windows or if you've installed another ZIP utility like WinZip. In that case, check the help file of your ZIP utility to learn how to unzip the file.

Using Sunbird Portable

To start up Sunbird Portable, just double-click PortableSunbird.exe where you installed Portable Sunbird on your portable drive. Then, use it just like you would a local copy of Sunbird. There are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Stay Safe - When using portable apps, it's always a good idea to practice Safe Portable App-ing.
  • Removing Your Drive - When you're done, exit Sunbird and then wait for the activity light on your removable drive to stop flashing. This may take a minute or more on slow drives or computers. Then select the 'Safely remove [device]' option from the icon in the system tray. If you remove the drive while it is writing, you may lose data.

Upgrading Sunbird Portable

To upgrade to a newer version of Sunbird Portable, make a copy of your existing profile folder within the PortableSunbird directory on your portable drive. Then download the new version of Sunbird Portable and copy your profile from the old version into the new version.

Copying Your Local Sunbird Settings

If you're using a local copy of Sunbird, you may wish to just copy your local Sunbird settings right into Sunbird Portable. Your local Sunbird profile is usually installed in C:\Documents and Settings\[user]\Application Data\Mozilla\Sunbird\Profiles\??????.default\ Just copy all of those files to the profile directory within Sunbird Portable. Sometimes, certain profiles will cause the launcher to fail or hang..

Using a Second (or Third) Profile with Sunbird Portable

A second profile can allows you to setup another set of settings (calendars, tasks, preferences, etc) for Sunbird Portable that you can use independent of your main settings. This is useful for sharing a flash drive with someone, testing extensions and configuration options or separating our work from personal details.

To use a second profile, install the Sunbird Portable 2nd Profile 2.0 app in the same PortableApps directory that SunbirdPortable is in (so, if Sunbird Portable is installed to X:\PortableApps\SunbirdPortable, you'd install this to X:\PortableApps\SunbirdPortable2ndProfile). In the Menu, it will show up as "Mozilla Sunbird, Portable Edition 2nd Profile". You can easily rename it to something more useful by right-clicking and selecting rename. When you run it, it will start Sunbird Portable up with your second profile without affecting your main profile. You can even install a 3rd or 4th profile by installing the 2nd Profile app again to another location (like X:\PortableApps\SunbirdPortable2ndProfile_Copy_1 so the platform will update it automatically) and then renaming it in the Menu.

Running From a CD (Sunbird Portable Live)

Sunbird Portable supports running from a CD right out of the box, and it's a snap. Start off by downloading and installing Sunbird Portable to your hard drive... it doesn't matter where. Run it at least once to generate the default settings. Then, customize it as needed, being sure not to move SunbirdPortable.exe or any of the other critical files. Next, download SunbirdPortable.ini and save it to the same directory as SunbirdPortable.exe. Then, burn the whole SunbirdPortable directory to a CD and you're ready to go. Note that Sunbird doesn't actually support running directly from read-only media, so the portable app and the profile are copied to the local PC's temp directory and run from there.

If you use Sunbird Portable from a USB flash drive with a write-protect switch, you're covered, too. The Sunbird Portable Launcher will automatically detect when you protect the drive and offer to run your files locally for you.

Additional information about the options in the INI is provided in the readme.txt file within the SunbirdPortable\Other\SunbirdPortableSource directory. Please note that you must follow Mozilla's Trademark Distribution Guidelines if you are distributing your customized version to anyone else.

Known Issues

The following are known issues with this package:

  • Calendar Creation - Calendars should not be created with a location specified, so they end up created within the profile\Calendar directory.
  • Trojan/Virus detected - Some free antivrisu products like AntiVir and Avast, on more than one occasion, have claimed there is a trojan or virus in the launcher. This is due to poor trojan detection in both products that will occasionally mis-identify many NSIS-based applications as trojans. It will usually occur after a definitions update. You should contact your antivitus provider and let them know of their mistake.


I made some modifications to the official version of Sunbird to make it more USB key friendly (decreasing total install size and the number of writes to the drive, which will increase drive life). These changes are listed here so you'll know what they are, and so you can recreate the process, if so desired.

  • Extension-Friendly Launcher - PortableSunbird Launcher is included by default. It will alter the paths to any extensions you install to work relatively. Just be sure to close/restart Sunbird before switching PCs.
  • EXEs and DLLs Compressed - All EXEs and DLLs were recompressed using UPX. This gets our installed size down to one that works on 16Mb drives. Additionally, it will speed up use of Sunbird when you're running over USB 1.1. The options used were: --best --compress-icons=0 --nrv2d --crp-ms=999999 -k
  • JARs re-compressed - The JAR files in the chrome have been recompressed at the maximum level. (For the curious, JAR files are just ZIP files with a different extension)
  • Default Profile - A default profile has been added.
  • XUL Cache Disabled - XUL caching is disabled, speeding USB access and decreasing install size (1.0 RC and later)

Version History

  • 0.5 - July 4, 2007
    • Sunbird updated to 0.5
    • Launcher streamlined (old functions removed)
    • Improved installer with better upgrade support
  • 0.3.1 Rev 2 - February 27, 2007
    • Fixed name change in launcher
  • 0.3.1 - February 27, 2007
    • Update to 0.3.1
  • 0.3 - November 22, 2005
    • Update to 0.3
  • 0.3 Alpha 1 - November 22, 2005
    • Test release using Sunbird 0.3 Alpha 1
  • 0.2 (Revision 4) - November 10, 2005
    • Updated Launcher to 1.1.0
      • Added support for Data/Apps split directory structure
  • 0.2 (Revision 3) - May 26, 2005
    • Updated Launcher to 1.0.9
      • Full compatibility with calendars within the Calendar directory now
      • Compatible with remote calendars
    • Disabled XUL cache
  • 0.2 (Revision 2) - February 5, 2005
    • Fixed path issue in CalendarManager.rdf
  • 0.2 - February 5, 2005
    • Updated to Sunbird 0.2 release
  • 0.2 RC2 - January 31, 2005
    • Full package release
  • Preview 1 - December 3, 2004
    • Released Sunbird Portable Launcher 0.0.3
    • Posted full instructions for creating Sunbird Portable install