Backing up Mozilla Thunderbird

January 12, 2008

If you use Mozilla Thunderbird as your email client then you will need to know how to backup regularly so that in case of disaster you do not lose all your messages and addresses.

So how do you do this? Well there are a couple of ways and they are not that difficult.

1. Use a utility such as MOZBACKUP

Mozbackup will automatically backup the essential files for Mozilla Thunderbird as well as Firefox. The program will not backup all files in your profile, however almost all people will only need the essential files.

Mozbackup can be found at this link,

Select DOWNLOAD and then choose the INSTALL PROGRAM option to download.

Once you have the program downloaded you can double click to install it.

The program uses a wizard, so it is easy to use, just follow the prompts to setup manual or automatic backups.

You’ll just need to decide if you are putting the backup on removable drives such as a flash drive or onto rewritable CD or DVD.

2. Perform a manual backup

To backup Thunderbird manually all you need to do is make a copy of the profile folder to another location, such as a removable hard drive / flash drive or a rewritable CD or DVD.

If you are not sure how to backup to removable drives or DVD/CD, see my earlier post, How to backup your data.

So where is your data?

Windows 2000 or XP

C:\documents and settings\YOUR LOGON OR USERNAME\application data\thunderbird\profiles\profile name\

Windows 98 or ME

C:\windows\application data\thunderbird\profiles\profile name\

I suggest that you just copy the profiles folder and everything in it and you will be assured of getting everything you need if ever you have to restore due to a failure.

So thats it, as long as you get your profiles folder backed up onto a removable drive or CD/DVD regularly then you will be safe

To restore in case of a disaster all you need to do is the reverse. If a disaster has left you with a computer freshly installed with Thunderbird and none of your data then you just need to overwrite the newly installed empty profile folder with your backed up copy.

Backing up Outlook Express email

January 6, 2008

In the previous post we looked at backing up your “my documents”. This post will discuss backing up your Outlook Express emails. (next post will discuss backing up emails in Mozilla Thunderbird).

So what needs to be backed up.

1. Email messages and your personal folders

2. Your Address Book

3. Account Settings

I like to create a folder with 3 individual sub folders on your backup medium so that you have a place to store each of the 3 items listed above.

So the folders you create on your backup will be;

EmailBackup and this folder will contain 3 folders (Messages, Addresses and Settings).

So depending on whether you have a rewritable CD or DVD or Removable hard drive or flash drive for your backup you will need to open Windows Explorer and in the left hand window navigate and find the removable drive (or CD / DVD).

Highlight the drive in the left hand window of explorer and then select the menu options file / new / folder. Now you can type the name EmailBackup.

Once you have this folder created you can navigate into this folder and create 3 separate folders called Messages, Addresses, and settings.

So the above steps have created the folders which will contain your Outlook Express backups.

1. Backup Messages

So lets find the files you need to backup.

From within Outlook Express select Tools | Options | Maintenance, click the StoreFolder icon. You will see a dialog with the name of the folder that has your mail files.

Look in that directory in windows explorer and find files named after your mail folders and news groups. They all have a .DBX extension. These are the files you need to get to backup your email messages and folders.

So you will need to navigate to the folder that you found above and select all the files and choose edit and copy from your menu. Then navigate to the messages folder you created on your backup and choose paste to send these files to your backup location.

2. Backup Addresses

Your address book will be a file with your username and a .wab extension (username.wab)

Find the file by using Windows find. Click Start / Find / Files or Folders.

In the name box type *.wab and ensure that the drive being searched is c:\ (or other if windows is on a different drive).

Click find now.

This should find the Microsoft Outlook Express address book, if present. normally, this file will be the Outlook Express user’s name.

Once this file is located, select the file and choose edit / copy then navigate to the addresses folder created on your backup disk and choose paste.

You now have your address book backed up.

3. Backing up your Outlook Express Settings

I like to get users to save their Outlook settings using the tools menu.

Open Outlook Express: click Tools | Accounts | Export and specify the name of the file to save the settings. Make sure that this file is saved to the Settings folder that you created on your backup drive. Be sure also to save this information for every account if you have more than one.

So you have now backed up all messages addresses and settings for Outlook Express.

Next Post will show how to backup emails for Mozilla Thunderbird.

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How to backup your data

December 27, 2007

This document is based on backup in Windows XP, Vista or 98. The main principles will still apply to Macs and Linux, however your data will be in a different location to what is suggested here.

Most people with computers would be aware that you need to backup. Only trouble is most people are not sure what and how and how often they should be backing up.

So how often should you backup.

My golden rule is, if you have done enough work or taken enough photos or downloaded enough music that you would not want to have to redo the work, then it is time to backup.

So if you take photos everyday or work on documents everyday, then you should be backing up at the end of every day.

So what do you need to backup.

Basically you only really need to backup your work, your photos, music. You do not need to backup windows or your programs as you will have the windows disk and software disks with your programs.

In later posts I will provide instructions on how to backup emails and address books for Outlook and Thunderbird as well as your favourites.

So what method should I use to backup.

There are a couple of methods that I would recommend for the average PC user.

1. Rewritable DVDs (DVD RW) or Rewritable CDs (CD RW) or though the CDs are starting to get out of date they are still useful if you are only backing up less than 700 MB per Disk.

The advantages of backing up to media such as DVDs are:

The disks are relatively inexpensive.

You can make multiple copies and put some copies away or take to a friends house in case of fire or theft.

2. Portable hard disk drive or Flash Drives.

Portable hard drives are more expensive than Disks, however you can store much more data without the need to use multiple disks as you would have to with DVDs if you had a large amount of data.

So how do I backup.

First thing you need to do is determine what you need to backup and how many megabytes your data is.

So how much data can I store

CD-Rs hold 700 MB of data

DVDR or DVDRW hold 4.37GB (4700MB) note the slight difference here, please only try to put a maximum of 4.37GB onto a DVD.

Portable hard drives or flash drives: It will depend on how big the drives are and how much space you are already taking up on the drive.

Finding your data and its size.

Your My Documents

This includes Documents, Music and Pictures. (unless you have stored Music or Pictures outside the default location)

So your main location for data is your My Documents folder. For windows xp users this folder can be found by opening windows explorer (start, all programs, accessories, windows explorer).

Once you have windows explorer open you will see a folder in the left hand window called My Documents. You need right click on this folder and choose properties and then the general tab and see how many MB it says for size.

For Windows Vista users you will need to open windows explorer and in the left hand column you will see a Vista OS(C:), if you expand this you will see a folder called users, expand this folder and find your logon name, right click on this name and select properties and confirm the size in MBs or GBs.

So the main thing here is make sure that the available space on your backup media is more than the amount of data you intend to backup.

Backup procedure to portable hard drives or flash drives

So first we need to plug in the portable hard drive or flash drive to an available USB slot in your computer.

Next we need to create a backup folder on the portable drive. Open Windows explorer and in the left hand window navigate and find the removable drive, it will most likely be listed as one of the drives below your cd or dvd drive.

Highlight the drive in the left hand window of explorer and then select the menu options file / new / folder. Now you can type the name backup or whatever you want to call the folder.

Now all you need to do is navigate back to your My Documents folder (XP) or your Folder with your user name (Vista) as decsribed above.

Right click on top of your folder and select copy. Then navigate to the backup folder you created on the portable drive and right click on top of this folder and select paste.

A copy of your data will now be sent to your removal drive.

When you go to perform the copy and paste the next time, you will be asked to overwrite your existing files. At this point you can select yes to all and your data will be updated with the new files.

Backup procedure to CDRW or DVDRW

Before backing up your data to a rewritable DVD or CD the disk will need to be formatted (or prepared) using your burning program.

With Nero you will need to select prepare rewritable disk. Depending on which other program you have for burning you will need to choose to prepare rewritable disk. Once this is done your disk becomes equivalent to another drive.

You can copy files to the DVDRW or CDRW as is described above for the backup to portable hard drive.

So thats it for backing up your My Documents, Photos Music etc, next few posts will describe backing up emails to Outlook and Thunderbird as well as backing up your favourites.

Adjust Visual Setting for more speed from your PC or Laptop

December 5, 2007

Most people these days are in a hurry. Lots of things to do, and the last thing you need is for your computer to be running slowly. Here is a quick and simple way to get your XP or Vista PC or Laptop to run a bit better. The best thing is it should only take about a minute or so to do.

Adjusting Visual Settings in Windows XP

You will need to get to your system properties dialog box, and there are 2 ways you can do this.

If you have a My Computer icon on your desktop you will need to right click on it and choose properties.

If you don’t have the My Computer icon you will need to go to start and then Control Panel and choose the system icon.

Once you have the system properties dialog box open you will need to choose the tab which says Advanced.

Next to the option for Performance you need to choose Settings.

Then finally under the Visual tab you will have a number of boxes which are ticked.

Now remove all of the ticks except for the bottom two.

The two ticks to keep are, 1. Use drop shadows and 2. Use visual Styles.

Adjusting Visual Settings in Windows Vista

Ok for the Vista users we will need to get to the system properties dialog box and this can be done 2 ways.

If you have a My Computer icon on your desktop right click on it and choose properties.

If you don’t have the My Computer icon on your desktop you will need to go to the start button, Control Panel then choose Classic View from the left hand panel and find and open the System Icon.

So now we both should be able to see the option for Advanced System Settings in the left hand window, go ahead and choose that option.

Choose the Advanced tab and next to the performance section choose settings.

Under the visual tab you will need to clear all of the ticks except for,

1. Show Thumbnails instead of icons
2. Use Drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop
3. Use Visual Styles on windows and buttons

Select OK then OK again and your done.

Now the performance difference you get will vary depending on the how your machine was running originally. I do however almost always see a marked difference in the speed when opening programs and moving from one open program to another.

Please leave me a comment if you are unclear and need some help with implementing this procedure on you system.