Backup Thunderbird Emails with Attachments on a Mac External Hard Drive

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Published on
February 16th, 2022

Updated on
February 21, 2022

4 minutes Read

It is always a good move to have a backup of emails on the hard drive because if in case you accidentally delete the emails from the server then you will already have a backup. On the other hand, attacks by hackers and viruses can also damage the file in which all the emails and mailbox items are stored. Therefore, having a backup of all the emails is a better choice to make. Many Mac users face problems when they backup Thunderbird emails with attachments on an external hard drive on their mac devices. So, in this article, we will show you different methods to download all Thunderbird emails to an external hard drive on a Mac machine. Either you can backup and download Thunderbird emails manually or through an automated solution. So, you will have to make a final choice.

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Ways to Backup Thunderbird MBOX File Emails on a Hard Drive

There are two ways to have the backup of all the emails on your local mac machine. You can try the manual method first and if it doesn’t work then you should try an Automated Thunderbird Backup Tool.

Manual Backup Process

  • Open Mozilla Thunderbird and then install the Import Export Tools NG add-on to your account.
  • Then you will have to restart the Thunderbird after installing the add-on.
  • Make a right-click on the folder you are willing to back up and then click on Backup.
  • You will have to choose the EML format if you backup Thunderbird through ImportExportTools NG.
  • Now, click on the Export button to save the folder you have chosen. 
  • Choose the location as an External Hard Drive and the folder will be saved as EML on your mac machine.

Shortcomings of Manual Method

  • The manual method needs a lot of technical expertise and knowledge.
  • The options available to backup Thunderbird emails into various file formats are limited.
  • You will need a lot of effort and time to execute the manual method.
  • The manual method is time-taking and the accuracy is also low.
  • You might also lose the email attachments while backing up Thunderbird emails manually.

Use Mac MBOX File Converter

  • Download and Install MacSonik MBOX Converter on your Mac machine.
  • Open the tool and add the Thunderbird MBOX File that has to be downloaded and backed up.
  • After Adding the Thunderbird MBOX File, click on the Next button to continue and you can see all the emails of Thunderbird on the left side of the software wizard.
  • Choose the Emails and Folders that you are willing to back up on Mac and then click on the Next Button to continue.
  • Now in the Save As option, you have various options like PDF, PST, MSG, HTML, EML, TXT, and EMLX to backup Thunderbird Emails.
  • You must choose the file format that suits you the best and then move to the next step.
  • You can choose CSV to export contacts from Thunderbird to CSV on Mac.
  • Now mark the Remove Duplicate Email box if you don’t want any duplicate items in the resultant file.
  • You can also use the Date Range Filter if you only want to save emails from a particular date to a particular date.
  • Then define the location on your Mac Machine as the External Hard Drive you have plugged in.
  • Finally, click on the Convert button, and your Thunderbird MBOX file will be backed up and downloaded to the external hard drive on a Mac device.


Now you know how to backup Thunderbird Emails to the external hard drive on mac through manual and automated ways. So, the ball is in your court and you will have to decide which method will be effective for the backup. If you have thousands of emails and want to backup all of them then you will need an expert solution and it is the Thunderbird MBOX Converter.

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