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Thread: Howto: Share Thunderbird & Firefox data between Ubuntu & Windows

  1. #1
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    Howto Thunderbird/Firefox profile share XP & Dapper

    Hi,
    Here it is finally.
    Howto Thunderbird/Firefox profile share XP & Dapper

    If you are running a dual boot PC, it would be nice to be able to manage the same emails, addresses and bookmarks from either the Windows or Ubuntu OS. It would even be nice to do this from separate PC's regardless whether they are running Ubuntu or Windows.

    Basically what has to be done. You should have a separate FAT32 partition that can be accessed by any other PC or OS and shared for read and write (always mounted and maybe NFS and Samba installed, with sharing activated). You cannot use the Windows NTFS as there are some issues with linux writing to an NTFS partition. If on a dual boot PC, either of the OS's should be able to read this partition. On separate PC's, the PC with the partition must be running and could even be your gateway/server PC.
    Each installation of Thunderbird and Firefox stores all its data, such as all the mail and mailboxes, account settings, addressbook, extensions, bookmarks etc. in a profile folder. If you could share the same profile it means that adding or deleting something will show on any installation.
    What has to be done is to move the profile to a FAT32 partition and ensure that all the PC's and OS's can see this partition and profile and can read and write to it. Then you have to create a new profile on each installation, which in actual fact only means a new name and pointing it to the shared new location of the profile. Then test each installation to make sure it works.
    A problem to keep in mind is that if you already have two different profiles in use you will have to sacrifice one as you cannot combine two. It is also a good idea to save you present profiles somewhere as a backup in case something goes wrong and you need to fall back.

    To access the profile manager:

    Windows - run thunderbird.exe -profilemanager
    or firefox.exe -profilemanager

    Linux - run ./mozilla-thunderbird -profilemanager
    or ./firefox -profilemanager

    The profiles can be found in:

    C: / Documents and Settings/user/Application Data/Thunderbird/Profiles/xxxxxxxx.default
    C: / Documents and Settings/user/Application Data/Mozilla/Firefox/Profiles/xxxxxxxx.default

    for Windows or for Ubuntu

    /home/<username>/.mozilla-thunderbird/Profiles/xxxxxxxx.default
    /home/<username>/.mozilla/firefox/xxxxxxxx.default

    The steps:
    1.Boot in Windows and create a FAT32 partition by using any good partion tool (i.e. Acronis etc) to a size you think is sufficient for the data you will store there i.e. 10G.
    2.Now create a folder called Mozilla_Profiles and inside this folder, two folders called Thunderbird and Firefox
    3.No reboot to Ubuntu. Go to the System menu icon in the kicker panel, Remote Places or Storage Media should show you your FAT32 partition. Ensure that the partion is mounted and that you can share it with NFS and Samba. Test from all your installations.
    4.If you have decided to use your old Windows profile for sharing, reboot to Windows and locate you profile as shown above and only copy the Profiles folder in the Thunderbird folder, leave the config file there as this is the one that finally points to the new location, over to you new FAT32 folder Mozilla_Profiles/Thunderbird.
    5.If you are using the Ubuntu profile, boot to Ubuntu and do the same.
    6.Now you need to point Windows to its old profile in the new location Run the profile manager (see above) and select Create new profile, Begin creating, use the default name such as Default User (or a name you want) and with Choose Folder find the profile you have moved at its new position and select and Finish. Go into the profile manager again and ensure that your new profile is the default or delete the old profile, but do not select the delete files option (in case you need to fall back and can then just repoint back to old folder)
    7.Now start Thunderbird and go to Account Settings, select the Server Settings and change the Local Directory to the mail account name found in your new profile location inside the profile folder (see what it was called before changing)
    8.Restart Thunderbird and see if you can see all your mails, addresses, extensions, send and receive mail
    9.If this is OK then all you need to do is point all your other Thunderbird installations to this same file in the same way regardless of it being an XP or Ubuntu PC
    10.For Firefox the same procedure is followed, but after pointing to the new profile location with profilemanager the change is complete and you will be sharing bookmarks, extensions etc.

    Since posting this some contributors have suggested an easier practice that eliminates a seperate fat32 partition and will allow you to leave the partition on one, usually your main installation i.e. ubuntu and share with your windows profile see this: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=469666
    Last edited by Matchless; August 2nd, 2007 at 10:29 PM. Reason: Updated
    Regards,
    Matchless

    Proudly kubuntu!

  2. #2
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    Re: Howto Thunderbird/Firefox profile share XP & Dapper

    Has been updated
    Regards,
    Matchless

    Proudly kubuntu!

  3. #3
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    Re: Howto Thunderbird/Firefox profile share XP & Dapper

    The above howto is concerned with profiles in a FAT32 shared partition. I have been successful in applying it to an Ext3 shared partition using the Ext2 Installable File System For Windows on my NTFS Windows partition. With this setup it seems that the "share it with NFS and Samba" part is no longer required, since the shared partition is native to Linux and the Ext2 filesystem driver does the work on Windows.

  4. #4
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    Re: Howto: Share Thunderbird & Firefox data between Ubuntu & Windows

    I like this very much! And will try it out. This is what we need, howto's to make Windows work with Linux instead of adapting linux to work with Windows!
    Thanks
    Regards,
    Matchless

    Proudly kubuntu!

  5. #5
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    Re: Howto: Share Thunderbird & Firefox data between Ubuntu & Windows

    This is my take on the howto, using the Ext2 installable filesystem driver for Windows.

    I shall assume that Firefox and Thunderbird have been installed on both Linux and Windows, and that the shared data partition, /home is 'E:' on Windows.

    You now have two sets of profiles. One for Linux, one for Windows. What will happen is that the Windows installation of Firefox and Thunderbird will use the Linux set of profiles.

    Boot into Windows. Find the profiles for Firefox and Thunderbird as per Matchless's instructions. You can also type %AppData% into the run program dialog box.

    In the Mozilla/Firefox folder you will find profiles.ini
    This is a simple settings file. You will only need to change IsRelative and Path.
    Path should point to the profile folder on the Linux installation of Firefox.
    Code:
    IsRelative=0
    Path=E:\<linux-username>\.mozilla\firefox\xxxxxxxx.default
    Do the same for the Thunderbird profiles.ini in the Thunderbird folder, except that now Path should point to the profile folder on the Linux installation of Thunderbird.
    Code:
    IsRelative=0
    Path=E:\<linux-username>\.mozilla-thunderbird\xxxxxxxx.default
    Consequently, if you already have settings (e.g. mail) that you want to import, you should copy them over to the Linux profile folders. Of course, the plugins for each version of Firefox and Thunderbird have to be installed separately (they cannot be shared).

  6. #6
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    Re: Howto: Share Thunderbird & Firefox data between Ubuntu & Windows

    I dont want to share the entire firefox folder. Rather I only want to sync/share bookmarks.html, cookies.txt, and signons.txt. Reason is because I use different extentions and themes for firefox in xp/vista/dapper/osx. they all will share using a FAT32 parition.

    As for Tb, you can always map the user mail direstories to a common r/w volume. It would not effect what ever extentions and/or themes you use for what ever OS platform.

  7. #7
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    Re: Howto: Share Thunderbird & Firefox data between Ubuntu & Windows

    I'm having trouble with this.

    Firstly, it's just thunderbird I need to share, and it's Windows 98 so it's already FAT32. The drive is shared and working fine.

    I created a directory c:\thundershare and copied the contents of
    c:\windows\application data\thunderbird\profiles\xxxxxxxx.default
    into it.
    Namely four directories: chrome, extensions, mail, us and a few files.

    When I created the profile in ubuntu, and told it to use that directory, it created a whole bunch of new ones, all ending in .sbd

    The mail one is mail.sbd and appears to contain the same stuff as mail from the windows installation, but without the actual content. Just blank.

    What am I doing wrong?
    Some people say I'm a man of few words, but the fact is that most people talk too much without actually saying anything.

  8. #8
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    Re: Howto: Share Thunderbird & Firefox data between Ubuntu & Windows

    Hi,

    I tried this out and came to the point where I should edit profiles in Firefox Profile Manager. But there is no Profile Manager for Firefox here. Where do I find it ? I searched in the Add/Remove Prog., in 'Alacarte Menu Editor' ... I only found the profile Manager for Thunderbird.

  9. #9
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    Re: Howto: Share Thunderbird & Firefox data between Ubuntu & Windows

    you have to type (in Linux):

    mozilla-firefox -profilemanager

    or (in Windows), create a shortcut and add to the path (after the quote):

    -profilemanager

    Anyway, I've got the problem that I can't see the folders I created in Windows when I log back into Linux.

  10. #10
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    Re: Howto: Share Thunderbird & Firefox data between Ubuntu & Windows

    you have to type (in Linux):

    mozilla-firefox -profilemanager

    or (in Windows), create a shortcut and add to the path (after the quote):

    -profilemanager

    Anyway, this works great! I did however have to remount the partition for Linux to recognize the folders that I made in Windows. No big.

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