Archive your IMAP e-mail offline in Thunderbird

Thunderbird is an excellent e-mail client and has built in e-mail archiving, however one thing that it doesn’t do intuitively is an offline archive. Here’s the situation: you have an IMAP account in Thunderbird and you want to archive some old e-mail offline (take it off of the IMAP server completely). Simply using Thunderbird’s archive feature will create an Archives folder in your IMAP inbox and move everything to there which isn’t exactly what you want. Instead what you need to do is actually move these e-mails to a new location under your Local Folders. Once the move is complete you can verify that they are indeed now stored locally and (optionally) delete them the IMAP account.

Hopefully this helps out anyone else looking for a solution to an offline IMAP archive!


  1. Great info on Thunderbird IMAP archiving. Which version do you find the most STABLE?? Are you using the latest version?
    Word on the street is that older versions are more reliable – like around 14.x to 17.x. Have you heard about this?

    Honestly, I think Mozilla really dropped the ball on Thunderbird. Anybody with common sense hates (gasp!) Outlook! All they have to do is keep the fcuking thing relatively bug-free and stop with all the fancy features that bring in more bugs. It’s a friggin ’email’ app! And just like prostitution is the oldest profession, an email client (that includes webmail) is probably the most widely USED app on the planet. But Mozilla just can’t seem to leave well alone.

  2. I usually keep current with Thunderbird and it’s been stable for a while now because, similar to Outlook, Mozilla is no longer adding new features to it. It has been shifted to a community driven development process and so far that hasn’t really brought anything new. That said I’ve never had an issue with its stability on any version.

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