Technical Solutions to Import PST to Thunderbird Without Outlook

Today, emails no longer just mean sending messages to recipients electronically. Email clients have now availed the options for the user to solely draft their mails without an internet connection. This lowers the risk of sending mail by mistake. Microsoft Outlook is the most used email client in workplaces. Outlook users chose to have more than one accounts as they are familiar with the interface. Due to the same file format, users face consequences. Being in their comfort zone they choose to import PST to Thunderbird without Outlook.

Let’s focus on the reasons why one should migrate Outlook PST to Thunderbird?

Reasons to Migrate Outlook to Thunderbird

  • Compatibility: Many platforms like Windows, Unix, Linux, Mac OS, Ubuntu, etc. are compatible with Thunderbird. Thunderbird is considered as the most perfect email client for Linux and Unix users.
  • Mail Filtering: It automatically filters spam emails from all mail folders. It sort emails, based on the sender’s detail.
  • Data Security: Thunderbird has the foremost most secure infrastructure to date.

After focusing on the need to migrate PST files, let’s look at the variety of methods that can be used to migrate PST files to Thunderbird. Also, if you have Outlook PST files and want to move into MBOX file format then you can easily convert PST to MBOX.

Manual Methods to Convert PST to Thunderbird

Migrating Outlook mails to Thunderbird clients is a difficult task. There is no direct way available to convert Outlook PST files via Thunderbird. Therefore, PST files can only be migrated to Thunderbird by using the file conversion method.

Let’s discuss some of the manual approaches that can be used to migrate a PST file.

Method 1: Import PST to Thunderbird Without Outlook

  1. Set Outlook as a default program on your system. Set Outlook as a default program
  2. Go to the Start button and then search for the Control panel.
  3. In the Control Panel, double click on Programs and set your default programs.
  4. Choose Outlook from the Programs tab. Next, select ‘Set this program as the default category’Set this program as the default category
  5. Finally, click OK to save the changes.
  6. Open Thunderbird on your browser. Then, click on the Display the Thunderbird Menu option on the right-hand corner (symbol with three vertical lines).
  7. Go to the Tools menu and then click Import.
  8. Next, choose either ‘Select the type of material you want to Import’ or ‘Import Everything’ option and then hit Next.
  9. Choose Outlook as the file type and then hit the Next button.
  10. In the last pop-up, click on the Finish button to complete the import process.

This method will Import Outlook PST to Thunderbird successfully.

Method 2: Export Outlook with Google Takeout

  1. Open your Gmail account using User Id and Password.
  2. Next, go to Settings and choose Forwarding POP/IMAP. choose Forwarding POP/IMAP.
  3. In POP/IMAP, choose the radio button IMAP.
  4. Open Outlook, go to the ‘File’ menu and click on the Add Account option. add account
  5. Enter the sign-in details of your Gmail account and hit the ‘Sign-in’ button.
  6. The Outlook is now configured with the same Gmail account.
  7. Create a new folder in your Gmail ID and move the Outlook emails to that folder.
  8. Now, Log in to your Gmail account using Chrome or any other efficient browser and open Google Takeout.
  9. In the Included tab, under Select option: deselect all options and check the Mail option only. Also, make sure to
  10. enable the ‘Include all message’ under All Mail data included category. Click Next after making the necessary changes.
  11. In the Customize archive format tab, state the mode of delivery, Export type, File type, and Size. Now, hit on the Create Archive button.
  12. Once the archive is generated, you can now download the ZIP file that contains the outlook data in the MBOX file format. To download, click Download the ZIP file on your screen.
  13. Now, extract the downloaded ZIP file from the file directory. You will next receive the MBOX file that will contain all your emails, including spam and trash.
  14. Finally, import the downloaded MBOX file using the Thunderbird.

This is the second method to import PST files in case the first one doesn’t work properly.

Disclaimer – Users should be aware that the Thunderbird infrastructure does not have an inbuilt Add-on feature. To add any file user must download and install the Add-on Export/ImportTool, and set up Thunderbird to import files.

Limitations to Convert PST to Thunderbird

The user needs to have the technical experience to operate with the steps that lead to PST file migration to Thunderbird. Also, these methods are a bit tactical in terms of time. Nonetheless, they will take much time to execute as well as they will take more time in initiation.

Automated Approach to Import PST Files to Thunderbird

If the above manual approach doesn’t provide an optimized solution, then do try the automated tool for the most appropriate results. One such method a user can rely on is a PST Exporter. This utility confirms Email migration from one client to another. Furthermore, it aims to sort mails using the date-range filter and is suitable for batch conversions as well.


Above, we have discussed manual as well as automated methods to Import PST to Thunderbird without Outlook. Manual methods consume more time than alternate methods. Experts recommend tools specially built for a particular task. Handy methods are no more reliable in terms of data safety and data integrity. I hope you find this blog helpful!

About: Nisha Yadav