A Step-by-Step Guide to Archiving Messages in Thunderbird

If you're an avid Thunderbird user, you're in luck! Thunderbird offers a handy feature that lets you keep your mailbox organized and clutter-free by archiving messages.

Whether you want to maintain a clean Inbox or ensure you don't exceed your mail server's quota, archiving is the way to go. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the process of archiving messages in Thunderbird and configuring the archiving settings according to your preferences.

This guide will show you how to setup archiving to remote storage or a different location on your hard-drive, such as a second drive.

1. Create a folder on remote storage network or second hard-drive

  • Open Windows File Explorer and navigate to the network storage or your second drive. 
  • Create a new folder: ThunderBird-EmailArchive
  • If you manage multiple accounts in Thunderbird, then create subfolders within this new folder.

2. Update Local Storage Location

  1. Right click on Local Folders, and click settings
  2. Change Message Storage > Local Directory to the new Folder created in step 1
  3. Thunderbird will restart after this has been chosen

3. Configure Archive Location and Your Archiving Preferences

Set the Archive Location

The location for archived messages can be customized for each email account you have in Thunderbird.

Follow these steps to configure the archive location

  1. Open Thunderbird and navigate to the email folder structure and create a new Folder under local folders called: ArchivedEmails

  2. Click the Thunderbird menu button () and navigate to Account Settings.
  3. Under the desired email account in the left panel, choose Copies & Folders.
  4. In the Message Archives section, adjust the settings in the "Keep message archives in" option.
    1. Check the option Keep message archives in
    2. Choose Other and select the location of the folder you created under Local Folders (This is mapped to the network drive or second hard-drive)
    3. You can also disable archiving if it's not required.

Remember, changing the archive location will affect messages archived from that point onward.

Define Archive Folder Structure

You have the flexibility to determine how your archived messages are organized. Follow these steps:

  1. In the Message Archives section, click on the Archive options... button.
  2. Here, you can decide how you want your archived messages to be stored:
  3. Keep them all in a single folder.
    1. Arrange them in yearly or monthly subfolders.
    2. Maintain the original folder structure of your messages.

Managing Multiple Identities

For those with multiple identities under one email account, Thunderbird has you covered:

  1. Separate archiving location and folder structure can be set for each identity.
  2. This allows you to customize archiving based on your preferences for each identity.

3. How to Archive Messages in Thunderbird

Archiving messages in Thunderbird is a manual process, allowing you to maintain full control over which messages you want to archive. To get started, follow these simple steps:

  1. Select one or more messages that you wish to archive.
  2. Click on the Archive button or press the keyboard shortcut A.
  3. Avoid selecting more than 2,000 messages at a time for optimal performance.


Archiving messages in Thunderbird not only keeps your mailbox organized but also ensures that you have efficient control over your email storage. With the ability to configure archiving settings as per your needs.

Thunderbird's archiving feature is a valuable tool that makes email management a whole lot easier.