Archiving and Accessing Netscape, Mozilla, SeaMonkey, and Thunderbird Mail on CD
(Updated 12/20/06)

It has caught my attention on various Forums, and Newsgroups, that users often allow their Inbox Mail folder to grow to an exorbitant size. The Inbox is clearly not intend to be used for storage. With an excessively large Inbox, the user risks losing all Mail.

Why not create an Archive folder for all but the current Mail, i.e., the last month's, or last week's, etc., mail. You can then create subfolders within the Archive folder for mail backup to CD. Once the Archive Folder begins to grow to a disproportionate size, then burn the Archive Folder to CD. Example

Once burned to CD, the Mail Archive can be accessed directly from the CD in the Mail & Newsgroups Accounts. Set up a "dummy" account in the Mail & Newsgroups Accounts, pointing the Local directory path to your CD-RW drive.

You will be able to send Mail from the Archive CD if you configure the "Dummy" account" as follows:

Netscape, Mozilla, and SeaMonkey:

Edit | Mail & Newsgroups Account Settings
Dummy Mail Account | Copies & Folders
When sending messages automatically:
Place a copy in:
Sent folder on: Select your Default Mail Account


Tools | Account Settings
Dummy Mail Account | Copies & Folders
When sending messages automatically:
Place a copy in:
Sent folder on: Select your Default Mail Account

Following are step by step instructions on creating the CD Mail Archive. In the event you need a visual aid, I have created Screen Shots which illustrate how the "Dummy" account is created.

Open the Browser
Access Mail & Newsgroups Account Settings
(Tools | Account Settings for Thunderbird)

Click on New Account
Select: Email Account
Your Name: Archive
Email Address: archive@someplace.invalid
Select: POP
Incoming Server: archive.someplace.invalid
Incoming User Name: archive
Account Name: archive@someplace.invalid
Your default SMTP (outgoing) Server will automatically be entered
Click: Finish

Click on the newly created "archive@someplace.invalid Account Name"
Select: View Settings for this Account
Click on Server Settings: Point the "Local directory" path to either your CD-RW drive, e.g., F:\Archive

With the CD in the CD-RW Drive, you can write to the CD directly from Mail & Newsgroups by copying from the Default Mail Account, directly to the archive@someplace.invalid account.

An easy way to copy would be a right click, and select: "Copy To"
Select the archive@someplace.invalid account from the drop down menu.
CAUTION: Be aware that older versions of DirectCD require that ALL programs be shut down before burning.

Exit the Browser
Prepare the CD:
Use a rewritable (CD-RW) CD, or it will not be possible to Copy, Delete, Reply and Send messages on the CD.

You can follow the same process by using a CD-R, but you will only be able to "view" the messages. You will not be able to Add, Delete, Reply and Send, or Compact folders, empty Trash, etc.

I use "DirectCD" for burning data, and my CD-RW drive is F:\, so will use that drive for my example

On the CD, create a folder named: Archive
In Netscape, Mozilla, and SeaMonkey, navigate to:
~ \Application Data\Your_Browser\Profiles\profilename\xxxxxxxx.slt\Mail folder on the HD

~ \Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\xxxxxxxx.profilename\Mail folder

Copy the contents of the Mail Account folder, except the MSF files, to the F:\Archive folder. See this Screen Shot for an example of the CD Archive Folder directory. You can see that I have created three "dummy" accounts, naming them CDArchive, CDArchiveII, and CDArchiveIII, for my three main accounts.

NOTE: If you copy only select files/folders, e.g., the Archive file, you must also copy the Archive.sbd folder, which contains any subfolders in the browser Archive folder.
This is often confusing, as in Windows Explorer, the Mail Folders, Inbox, Sent, etc., are files. Whereas in Mail & Newsgroups, Inbox, Sent, etc., are folders.

Now, leave the CD in the CD-RW drive
Open your Browser
Go to the archive@someplace.invalid Account
Click on Inbox, or any other Mail folder
Your Mail should now be viewable

New MSF files will be written for each folder you open, and you will be able to detect that they are being written by looking at the lower taskbar. In the "Total" column in the left pane, you may see question marks (???) instead of a numeral. Once the folder is opened and the MSF files written, then the number of messages will appear.

NOTE: the CD must be placed in the CD-RW Drive before starting the Browser.

Follow the above instructions for each Mail Account, with unique naming, e.g., archive2@someplace.invalid.

If you have questions, you can reach me here:

WindowsBBS Netscape and Mozilla Forum


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