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Back Up Thunderbird Message Filters

Published: 15-12-2013 | Author: Remy van Elst | Text only version of this article

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This tutorial shows you how to backup and restore the mail message filters in Thunderbird on multiple platforms. The filters are in a plain text file located in your thunderbird Profile folder. On Mac OS X for example this is under the /Users/<username>/Library/Thunderbird/Profiles/<profile>/ImapMail/<mailserver>/ folder. (If you use IMAP.)

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The file is named msgFilterRules.dat and the contents look a bit like this:

name="From is:"
action="Move to folder"
condition="AND (from,is,"

The above example moves any email coming from the email address to the folder Folder on the IMAp account.

To back up all the filters, do the following:

To restore the file, to the following:

Under any normal Linux distro the path probably is like this:


For Mac OS X the path is like this:


For Windows the path probably is like this on pre Vista machines:

C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\<profile>\ImapMail\<mailserver>\msgFilterRules.dat

The latter versions of Windows (vista, 7, 8):


If you want to convert these Thunderbird rules to .procmailrc rules a script for that can be found here:

Tags: debian , filters , os-x , procmail , thunderbird , tutorials , ubuntu , windows