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How to Import Windows Live & Outlook Contacts to Thunderbird

How to Import Windows Live & Outlook Contacts to Thunderbird

Microsoft Outlook is undoubtedly one of the most prevalent email clients, which are widely used for personal and business usage. In the mailbox, the contacts are the critical components for most of the Outlook users. If the Outlook contacts are synced with Thunderbird, then there is no need to concern because the connections can be transferred. The reason behind this is because vCard as both email clients provide support for this file format. Therefore, it is always best to import Outlook contacts to Mozilla Thunderbird format to perceive a hassle-free data migration.

Depending on varying situations and preferences, it is observed that firms may need migrating email platforms from MS Outlook to some cost-effective clients like Thunderbird. After the process of migration is confirmed, the critical task remaining is to import Outlook contacts into Mozilla Thunderbird.

The contacts are certainly the most significant components of the mailboxes, so it is imperative to transfer them carefully. Consequently, there will be no single attribute negotiated throughout the process. The Comma Separated Values (CSV) is the typical file format extensively utilized by both the email clients, i.e., Outlook and Thunderbird. Therefore, it is advisable to transfer all your Outlook Contacts into this file format for effortless transfer.

Now discussing Windows live mails; the need may arise to import them into Thunderbird. These mails are supported with Windows 7 and all the below versions. This is the reason why most users have to export Windows live mail into any other well-known email applications. It will eventually become an obsolete email client as compared to other email clients. In addition to that, the majority of the users attempt to transfer Windows Live mail into Mozilla Thunderbird.

It is generally observed that Thunderbird enables rapid and effortless message search. This is because it is an update and open source free email application. Therefore, the user should transfer their email data of Windows live mail into Mozilla Thunderbird.

Why Export Microsoft Outlook Contacts to Thunderbird?

In simple terms, Thunderbird is recognized as a desktop-based email application which could be flawlessly accessed on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. This application is found to support .mbox format which can be easily read in other email clients, for instance, Window Live Mail, Apple Mail, and The Bat, etc.

One of the prominent reasons for transferring Outlook data into Thunderbird MBOX file format is that it is an open-source application. Besides being effortless to install, this application is free to download all the latest versions of Windows operating systems. Furthermore, extensions are accessible for Calendar and Task list features.

Outlook indeed presents multiple functionalities; however, it is a paid service, and everyone cannot afford it. On the other hand, Thunderbird offers cutting-edge functionalities, and it is available at free of cost. Many users choose this email client because of its simple-to-use interface and personalized features. It is commonly observed that individual users or start-ups prefer using Thunderbird to accomplish their work.

This application assists to work in an ordered manner and also executes search function rapidly. Therefore, emails can be easily recollected within seconds. When connected to an Exchange Server, MS Outlook functions efficiently. However, if it gets connected to POP3 or IMAP, then it is unable to sync data. This is the prominent reason why there is an enormous demand to transfer Outlook PST contacts to Thunderbird.

The email client presents a chat feature which connects users on Facebook, Twitter, IRC, and other social networking platforms. It is known that the Thunderbird desktop can be conveniently customized with an assortment of themes. Owing to a wide range of features and benefits offered by the Mozilla Thunderbird, small business set-ups usually find it an affordable emailing solution.

How to Import Outlook Contacts to Mozilla Thunderbird?

If you are willing to transfer Outlook contacts to Thunderbird, then you need to follow two stages. First of all, you need to export contacts from MS Outlook and then import Contacts to Thunderbird.

Stage-1: Exporting contacts from MS Outlook:

The detailed procedure is as below:

  • Step-1: Firstly, launch the MS Outlook and then tap on the ‘File’ menu
  • Step-2: Now you have to select ‘Options’ from the list that pops up
  • Step-3: Consequently, the Options window will get opened, from there, click on ‘Advanced.’
  • Step-4: In this step, you need to click the ‘Export’ button present under the Export section. Here, Outlook shows Import and Export Wizard.
  • Step-5: After the above step, you need to click on ‘Export to a File’ in the Import and Export Wizard dialog box shown to you; after that, tap on ‘Next.’
  • Step-6: In this step, you need to click on ‘Comma Separated Values’ from the format list shown below the Create a File of the Type section
  • Step-7: Now you need to select the ‘contacts folder’ present inside the Select Folder to Export From section where the files will get exported.
  • Step-8: Once selected, you need to choose the desired destination location within which the exported files would get saved. To find the destination location, tap on ‘Browse’ and enter the path. After the path gets selected, tap on ‘OK.’ Consequently, the export procedure will begin.
  • Step-9: After the export procedure gets completed successfully, tap on Next, and finally tap on the ‘Finish’ button.

Once all the above steps are executed flawlessly, the users will be capable of exporting contacts from MS Outlook easily. Take a look at the second stage to import the exported files into Thunderbird account.


  • Stage-1: Importing exported files into Thunderbird:
  • Step-2: Initially, open Thunderbird account and tap on the ‘Tools’ menu
  • Step-3: Now you have to choose the ‘Import window’ from the drop-down menu.
  • Step-4: In this step, you need to tap on the radio button linked to Address Books under the Import window to import the contacts files. After that, you have to tap on ‘Next.’
  • Step-5: A list of options will be shown and from there click ‘Text file’ (LDIF, .tab, .csv, .txt).
  • Step-6: After the appropriate file selection is done, tap on ‘Next.’
  • Step-7: In this step, browse and specify the location in which the exported files need to be saved.
  • Step-8: Now double-click the CSV file, and then you have to click the checkbox related to the first record containing field names.
  • Step-9: After the above step, click the ‘Move Up and Move Down’ button to check the Outlook contacts fields similar to that of the Thunderbird contact fields.
  • Step-10: Make sure the primary email properly aligns with the email address. Also, make sure the last name properly aligns with its proper name.
  • Step-11: Lastly, click on ‘OK’ and then finally click on the ‘Finish’ button to end the procedure.

Occasionally, it happens that you may face issues with importing the fields. For instance, when all record data to import pops up within the first field row when present inside the Import Address Book window. This happens because exported.CSV file contains semicolons instead of commas. Since the separator in Windows Regional settings does not correctly match the separator for the Thunderbird locale, this issue may occur.

Also, it may happen that you have exported a.CSV file with the help of an English Windows version and attempting to import it in a non-English version of Thunderbird. During such cases, you have to prepare the list separator match within your Regional settings before exporting the.CSV file. Alternatively, you can edit the previously exported.CSV file with the help of a text editor and then substitute all semicolons by commas and again implement the import procedure.

How to switch from Windows Live Mail to Thunderbird?

Windows Mail is essentially the default mail client incorporated with Windows Vista. This email client is bundled with Windows Live Essentials. It is known that both client programs save emails in the .eml file format. Intending to export messages from either Windows Mail or Windows Live Mail into Thunderbird, the user needs to export messages from the Windows application.

Subsequently, they need to import them into Thunderbird. Along with importing messages, if you wish to import contacts from Windows Live Mail to Thunderbird, you need to implement a similar procedure.

To search for the location of the email files present in Windows Mail or Windows Live Mail, navigate below path:

Tools > Options > Advanced > Maintenance > Store Folder.

In case you do not observe Tools, navigate the below path:

File > Options > Mail… > Advanced > Maintenance.

How to import Windows Mail Messages?

The process of importing Windows Mail (.eml files) inside Thunderbird is accomplished by enabling the third-party add-on ImportExport Tools. You need to download and install this add-on to transfer messages into Thunderbird. Follow the below steps:

  • Step 1: First of all, export your messages from Windows Mail in the ‘.HTML format’.
  • Step 2: Now open Thunderbird and prepare a folder within ‘Local Folders’ to save your imported mail and then choose it.
  • Step 3: In this step, you need to ‘Right Click’ the folder and choose the following: ImportExportTools > Import all messages from a directory > also from its subdirectories.
  • Step 4: After the above step, browse through the .eml files folder. It is essential to keep in mind that the default location for Windows Live mail is as below: C:Users<username>AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindows Live Mail (or Windows Mail).
  • Step 5: Finally click ‘Open,’ and your Windows Live messages will get imported.

How to manually import Emails to Thunderbird from Windows Live Mail?

The name manually may indicate the process to be tedious, but actually, it is a straightforward process to import emails into Thunderbird manually, so follow the below steps:

  • Step 1: In your local machine, launch Mozilla Thunderbird application.
  • Step 2: Once the application opens up, you need to expand the folders below the anticipated profile, for instance –inbox, drafts, sent items, etc.
  • Step 3: Choose the ‘Windows Explorer’ option and then open the folder on hard disk containing the Windows Live Mail EML files.
  • Step 4: In this step, open the Mozilla Thunderbird and EML folders both so that you will be able to watch them on your screen.
  • Step 5: Select those EML files which you wish to migrate by pressing the Ctrl key and simultaneously selecting once on each EML file. Once selected, release the Ctrl key.
  • Step 7: As the last step, right-drag anyone out of the EML data files from the EML folders and after that drop it into any folders of your choice in your profile within the Mozilla Thunderbird.

(It is essential to note that the drag and drop method is beneficial for a limited amount of data. However, if you have thousands of emails, then it may be a time-consuming procedure to select every email. The process is also not suitable if you wish to transfer Windows live mail emails into Thunderbird at the organization level. Therefore, in such cases, this manual procedure will not be helpful, so go through the below method.)

How to export Windows Live Mail Mailbox to Thunderbird with the use of Third Party Tool?

Using the aforementioned manual method may prove to be time-consuming and may lead t loss of your relevant data. To eliminate such issues, there is an effortless approach to carry out the conversion task successfully. The third-party tool, i.e., EML to MBOX Converter is software which can be used easily to migrate emails, calendar data, and contacts into Thunderbird. There will be no hassles while using this tool since it is developed with a simple-to-use interface even. Hence, any users can efficiently perform the export process without anyone’s assistance. You can get this tool from the below link:

With the use of this software, there will be no loss of user data. Besides, this application is only compatible with Mac Operating System. Its other outstanding features may assist you later on. It can serve as an all in one utility for importing emails, calendars, and contacts from Windows live mail to Thunderbird.


Due to the advantages of Thunderbird as discussed above, it becomes crucial to import Outlook contacts and Windows Live to this application. Based on your need, you can use the software or manual approach to accomplish this import process.

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