MozBackup – Backup tool for Firefox & Thunderbird profiles

Although this isn’t strictly web development, I figure that many of us are likely to (if you haven’t already) encounter this issue at some time –particularly with Firefox– so it’s worth mentioning here.

This week I found the buzz of setting up my shiny, new, dual LCD PC was tempered by the tedious task of getting the all the software and settings I like set up just right again. Of course, this comes with the territory of setting up an out-of-the-box computer, but often things were much harder than they should rightly have been.

Thunderbird was a great case in point. While it operates beautifully, I was quite surprised at the level of hoop-jumping that was expected to do something as simple as move mail and settings from one install to another. I’m apparently not alone either as Matt (Magain) was saying he had to import his mail into Eudora and then export it to Thunderbird to get a satisfactory result.

Mozbackup in actionAnyway, rather than bleat about this, the good news is I did find a third party solution that not only reliably transfers Thunderbird’s mail, filter settings, accounts and extensions, but also backs-up your Firefox bookmarks, extensions (not 100% reliably), saved form details, saved passwords, cookies, certificates, downloaded files lists and history.

MozBackup is a client app from Pavel Cvrcek. After an hour of fruitless folder shuffling, I used Mozbackup to transfer over a gig of mail between clients in 4 or 5 clicks. It was simple, effective and best of all, free.

Pavel, I thank you.

Any chance of them building this into Tbird?

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  • http://www.deanclatworthy.com Dean C

    Why on earth firefox doesn’t have a backup facility I do not know. Other than security I can’t think of a reason. And even if that’s the case, why not offer an option on install to enter a password to access to a “Profile” manager, where you can export everything :)

  • http://www.sitepoint.com AlexW

    Couldn’t agree more, Dean.

    I didn’t mention it, but Mozbackup does off the option of passowrd protecting your backups too, so there should be no security concerns using this.

  • Ben

    I found this neat untily a few months ago and its excellent as you have mentioned. Never again do I fear a full reformat because this makes it painless to backup and restore.

  • http://www.deanclatworthy.com Dean C

    You only have your dozen other applications settings to port over now Ben ;)

  • http://www.sitepoint.com Matthew Magain

    Actually Dean C has a good point. A Windows backup app that knows where the preferences and data live for a stack of popular apps, not just the Mozilla ones, would be incredibly useful. In theory everything should write to somewhere in My Documents or Application Data, but reality is quite a different story.

    Configure the app based on paths and versions of Adobe, Macromedia, . Then once you’re set up, backup everything with one click.

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  • http://fairsky.us/home Joshua Paine

    If you have the same Windows username and it’s the same version of Windows between installs, you just copy the folders in your application data folder for firefox and thunderbird and when you launch them on your new system everything just works.

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  • Shadoefax

    There is a new Firefox extension that backs up and restores your extensions, themes, cookies, preferences and bookmarks.

    It goes beyond just backing up … it actually creates installable xpi and jar files that can be ported to other computers or profiles.

    More info here.