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How to Import / Convert Maildir to Thunderbird in a Best Possible Way

Sherry James ~ Published: September 26, 2018 ~ 5 Minutes Reading

Do you want to import Maildir or Maildir++ emails into Thunderbird account or profile? Then, read the blog and know the simple technique to convert Maildir to Thunderbird MBOX file format in easy ways. But, before that let’s know more about Maildir and Thunderbird.

Maildir is used as a directory by the number of email applications to save all messages, each with a unique name. Moreover, Maildir file format is a structured file format to keep email messages in an organized form. Or you can say that Maildir file stores only email messages and that in the structured format. Apart from all this, Mozilla Thunderbird is also capable of creating create Maildir file format to store emails. If users want to maintain email messages in Maildir format, then they can change the settings of Thunderbird.

However, Thunderbird does not provide any option to import Maildir into Thunderbird. In some cases, users have Maildir files from other sources that they want to move in Thunderbird but do not knowhow. Keeping this requirement in mind, the blog will let users know how to convert Maildir to MBOX file format in the best possible way.

Why Users Want to Import Maildir into Thunderbird

“Initially, I used to work on Maildir files and all my data was stored in it. But as the time passed,  the number of emails sent or received also increased along with the workload. Thus, it became difficult for me to manage so many emails in one place. Hence, I decided to move to some other email client and then I came to know about Thunderbird. It is a free and open-source desktop-based email client. But before switching to it, I have one question. Will it be possible to convert Maildir to Thunderbird? If yes, then please tell me how?”
“I  work in cybercrime branch as a forensic investigator. Currently, I am working on a case where some emails saved in Maildir file are suspected as the important key to solve the case. In order to investigate that file, I need to open it. And, on my local machine, I have Mozilla Thunderbird.  Is there any way through which I open Maildir files in Thunderbird application?”

Note: No doubt, Thunderbird is the popularly used desktop-based email client, but there are some limitations. Among all such drawbacks, one is that Thunderbird provides an option to create Maildir file but there is no facility to import Maildir to Thunderbird.

The Best Way to Convert Maildir to Thunderbird

If a user is looking for some manual solution to import Maildir emails to Thunderbird, then please note that it is not possible. The only possible solution requires third-party applications and can be done in two different parts:

a) Convert Maildir files to MBOX
b) Import MBOX to Thunderbird

Part 1: Convert Maildir to MBOX Format

In order to export Maildir emails to MBOX format, a user needs to take the help of some professional solution because manually it is not possible. Maildir to Thunderbird MBOX Converter is one such application that a user can try without worrying about risks. It is one of the easiest ways to convert Maildir files to Thunderbird MBOX format. The software is designed in such a way that it exports single and multiple Maildir files to MBOX format in no time. It can transfer even all sub-directories of Maildir file like .tmp, .cur, and .new on Windows OS machine. Now, to know how to convert Maildir to Thunderbird, follow the steps mentioned below:


download now

1. First of all, download, install and launch the software on the local machine.

download the tool

2. As you open the application, choose the folder containing Maildir files from the left pane.

3. The software will generate an instant preview of data stored in the Maildir file.

preview maildir files

4. Now, from the top left corner, click on the Export button


5. After that, you need to choose MBOX option as Export type.

choose mbox

6. Then, you need to choose the desired destination by clicking on Browse button.

7. In order to customize the migration process, click on the Advanced Setting option.


8. Here, you can apply various filters to convert selective data from Maildir files.


9. Next, you need to click on the Export button to begin the conversion process

10. When the process is completed successfully, you can check the resultant MBOX file at the destination location.


Part 2: Import MBOX File to Thunderbird

After completing the process to convert Maildir to Thunderbird MBOX file format, its time to import MBOX to Mozilla Thunderbird. For this, a user needs to take the help of ImportExportTools add-on by Mozilla. It let users perform many import/ export task in an efficient manner. Now, after installing this add-on in Thunderbird, a user can follow the steps mentioned below:

1. Open Thunderbird on the local machine

2. Go to Tools from the Menu bar and choose ImportExportTools NG option

3. After that, you need to click on the Import MBOX file option

4. Click on the Import directly one or more MBOX files option

5. Browse to the location of MBOX file and click on the Open button

6. The desired MBOX file will get imported successfully in the Thunderbird account

After following part 1 and part 2 carefully, a user can easily convert Maildir to Thunderbird without any loss of data.

Note: If users face any problem importing MBOX file with the free add-on, they can take the help of Add MBOX to Thunderbird Tool.




Accessing Maildir files in every email client is not possible. Thus, users search for a solution to convert Maildir to Thunderbird profile or account as Thunderbird supports Maildir file. Keeping the queries of users in mind, the blog explained the best possible way to import Maildir files to Thunderbird. A user can have a look at the process discussed above and perform the migration in an efficient manner.