*Please note: These instructions are provided to assist those who have chosen to download and use Thunderbird. KW does not provide recommendations on software downloads.
Why would someone choose this method over POP download?
- They do not have a Google/Gmail account or wish to import their emails into a non-Google account
- They have other reasons for being unable to dump their entire KW Email archive into their personal/other Gmail account (ex. storage space limitations on the receiving account, need more time to delete/organize messages, etc.) but still want to have access to the email archive
- If they want to keep their existing email account labels/email folder structure applied to the emails.
- They can no longer access their KW email account but have a Google Takeout download
Part 1: Get the .mbox file from your Google Takeout download
Estimated time: <5 minutes (not including wait time for Google Takeout export download link and Takeout file download time)
- If you have not done so yet, the downloaded Google Takeout compressed file must be decompressed to access the mail archive file. This is the file downloaded from Google and may be in .zip or .tgz compressed file format.
- Example filename: takeout-20220829T151350Z-001.zip or takeout-20220829T151350Z-001.tgz
- On Windows: Right-click .zip file >Extract All…>Select a Destination Folder>Extract
- On macOS: Double-click the .zip file > Folder is automatically extracted within the same directory as the .zip file
- Open the extracted folder (ex. takeout-20220829T151350Z-001). Within this folder, open the folder Takeout>Mail
- Locate the file titled All mail Including Spam and Trash.mbox. Do not open the .mbox for now. Note where it is located on your computer for now, as you will need its location in Part 2.
- Example file path: C:\Users\KWAgent\Downloads\takeout-20220829T151350Z-001\Takeout\Mail\All mail Including Spam and Trash.mbox
Thunderbird is a free, open-source alternative to Microsoft Outlook and similar applications for managing email, calendars, contacts, etc. It is made available by Mozilla (makers of the Firefox web browser) is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
Part 2: Download & Configure Thunderbird, open your emails
Estimated time: 10 minutes (not including installer download time)
- After extracting the .mbox file, go to Thunderbird.net and click the FREE DOWNLOAD button to download the installer > Open the installer & follow the installation instructions
- Once installation is complete, launch the newly installed Thunderbird app to begin set up (Launch Thunderbird and Set Up an Account)
- Thunderbird will open on the Set Up Your Existing Email Address wizard. Enter any non-KW email account info here and click Continue. Your .mbox emails will not be automatically synced at this time, but Thunderbird requires at least one type of account set up before you can proceed with importing the .mbox file:
Thunderbird can automatically detect the email server configurations for most popular email platforms such as Gmail, Yahoo, etc. Click the Done button or you can choose to configure these settings manually.
- Depending on your email provider, you may be prompted to enter your log-in credentials again in a pop-up window and allow Thunderbird to have access to your account.
- Account setup is complete! Go to Account Settings from the setup confirmation tab
Or from Settings>Account Settings at the bottom-left of the screen
- From Account Settings, click (1) Local Folders on the left sidebar. In the (2) Account Name field, rename the account from “Local Folders” to a name you want to associate with your old KW email archive (ex. your KW email address, “KW Email Archive”, “KW 2015-2022”, etc.). Click the (3) Browse button to change the “Local Directory” to the folder that contains your All mail Including Spam and Trash.mbox file, extracted from Part 1, on Step 3 (ex.C:\Users\KWAgent\Downloads\takeout-20220829T151350Z-001\Takeout\Mail\). Once this folder is selected, Thunderbird must (4) Restart to complete this change to settings.
- When Thunderbird restarts, your previous open tabs will reopen. Click the Inbox or Home tab. On the left sidebar, you should see two Folders: your non-KW email account you used for Account Setup and the Local Folder you just added under the Account Name you entered.
- Click the dropdown arrow next to the (1) Account Name to expand the folder, there will be a nested folder called (2) All mail Including Spam and Trash.mbox, which contains all your KW Emails.
If you only wanted a personal backup of all your KW emails saved on your computer, you can stop at this step. These emails are now only viewable in this convenient inbox in this instance of Thunderbird on your computer. If you want to import any of these emails into your other account so they are accessible from other devices and apps, continue on to Part 3
Part 3: Importing emails from local folders into Gmail
Estimated set-up time: 5 minutes (not including transfer/copy time)
The following steps are only necessary if you want to have copies in your personal email so you can access old KW emails on the go from your personal account or from other devices.
- Select all emails in the .mbox folder or utilize the Search box and Filters to target specific messages in your archive you want to import.
- Right-click selected messages > Choose Move To (original email will be removed from the .mbox folder permanently) or Copy To> Choose your email account folder > Select which folder in your email account you wish to move the messages to. Examples in screenshots below:
Custom folder/label (recommended): All nested folders within your email account folder that are not Inbox or [Gmail] represent a custom folder or label. All messages moved/copied to one of these folders will bypass the Inbox but are searchable within the Gmail archive and the custom label will be applied to these messages for easy identification/organization.
Inbox: Selected messages will be moved/copied to Gmail’s Inbox. No labels will be applied to messages originally sent to your KW email address. You would have to open and view the message header to see the original recipient or search Gmail by recipient to identify KW emails.
[Gmail] > All Mail: Selected messages will be moved to your Gmail archive, so they will not be in the Inbox but still searchable within Gmail. No labels will be applied to messages originally sent to your KW email address. You would have to open and view the message header to see the original recipient or search Gmail by recipient to identify KW emails.
- Leave the Thunderbird open to complete the transfer. You will see the progress of the transfer in the status bar at the bottom of the window:
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