by May 8, 2004 0 comments

If you were using a dual boot machine having Windows and Linux, you’d be facing a problem of having different mail clients downloading mail in their own databases. So it becomes difficult to see your mail from both OSs. Though there are some Linux mail clients that can understand MS Outlook’s format but they are difficult to configure. So, we tried Mozilla’s Thunderbird, available for both Linux and Windows, so that you don’t have to bother about the mail format and you can configure it easily. You can download both versions from

After downloading both the Linux RPM and Windows EXE versions of Thunderbird, install them on both the OSs. Installation in Windows is as simple as running the setup program. For installing on Linux, just double click on the RPM file and it will be installed. If you are using PCQLinux 2004 then you will get dependency error for xorg-x11-libs and xorg-x11-libs-data. You can download these two files from

Before configuring, make sure that at least one of your Windows partition is FAT32, where you can keep the shared mail folder as you can access and edit it from your Linux partition also. Now boot from Windows and run the following command from the command line.

>\Program File\\Thunderbird\thunderbird —p

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This will pop up a window that will ask you to create a new profile. Here, create a new profile, for instance ‘Mail’ at C drive. This will create a new folder with some random character at C:\Mail. Now start Thunderbird and configure your mail account by providing the mail server’s address and your user name. 

Now reboot into Linux. Now you have to create the profile under Linux. By default Linux creates the profile under a hidden directory that sits under your home directory. So it will look like ‘~/mozilla/default/<some _random_char>.slt’. Now mount your FAT32 partition that has your Windows mail profile to any blank folder by issuing the following command.

#mount /dev/hdxy /mnt/C:fat.

If you are a PCQLinux 2004 user, your FAT32 partition will automatically be mounted in /mnt/C:fat folder and you don’t have to issue the above mentioned command. Now copy the file called prefs.js from /mnt/C:fat\Mail\n2f3sarh.slt to ~/thunderbird/default/n2f3sarh.slt/prefs.js. This will migrate Windows’ preferences and settings to Linux.

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Now you have to edit the prefs.js file that you have just copied to Linux partition. Also change all the entries which have the hard coded path ‘C:\Mail’ to the folder on which C drive is mounted, such as /mnt/C:fat, in Linux. After modification the entries should look something like this.

user_pref(“mail.root.none”, “/mnt/C:fat\\n2f3sarh.slt\\Mail”);
user_pref(“mail.root.none-rel”, “[ProfD]Mail”);
user_pref(“mail.root.pop3”, “/mnt/C:fatn2f3sarh.slt\\Mail”);
user_pref(“mail.root.pop3-rel”, “[ProfD]Mail”);
user_pref(“”, “/mnt/C:fat/Mail\

Now, remove any lines that have an entry such as [ProfD]. These lines are relative paths that are generated automatically and can create problems when using Thunderbird from the Linux partition. Now if you download mail in any of the two OS, you will be able to access it from the other one as well just as it had been downloaded locally.

Anindya Roy

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