Profile Manager - Create and remove Thunderbird profiles

Thunderbird Thunderbird Last updated: 03/07/2024 66% of users voted this helpful

Thunderbird saves your personal information such as messages, passwords and user preferences in a set of files called your profile, which is stored in a separate location from the Thunderbird program files. You can have multiple Thunderbird profiles, each containing a separate set of user information. The Profile Manager allows you to create, remove, rename, and switch profiles.

Starting the Profile Manager

Note: You can manage profiles from the About Profiles page when Thunderbird is open. If Thunderbird won't start or you need certain options, you can also start the Profile Manager when Thunderbird is closed.

Manage profiles when Thunderbird is open

Go to Help > Troubleshooting Information through the Thunderbird hamburger menu TB68_Hamburger_Menu_Button_Win or menu bar. If the Thunderbird menu bar is not visible, press the Alt key on your keyboard to temporarily make it visible.

TB68_Help_Menu_1_Win or TB68_Help_Menu_2_Win

On the Troubleshooting Information page that opens, click the about:profiles link.


This will open the About Profiles page shown in the image below.

TB68_About_Profiles_Page_Win about:profiles macOS Fx52_about-profiles-linux

The following options are available:

  • Create a New Profile Click this and follow the prompts in the Create Profile Wizard (see the Creating a profile section below for details). After you finish creating the new profile, it will be listed in the Profile Manager. The new profile will become the default and will be used the next time you start Thunderbird.

To manage profiles, find the profile you want to change and choose from these buttons underneath that profile:

  • Rename Click this to change the name of a profile in the Profile Manager. Note: The folder containing the files for the profile is not renamed.
  • Remove Click this to delete a profile. (The profile in use cannot be deleted.) Don't Delete Files is the preferred option. See the Removing a profile section below for more information.
  • Set as default profile This option allows you to switch profiles. Click this to make Thunderbird use this profile by default at startup.
  • Launch profile in new browser When you click this, another Thunderbird window will open using that profile.

Start the Profile Manager when Thunderbird is closed

If you have multiple installations of Thunderbird, see below.
  1. If Thunderbird is open, close Thunderbird.
  2. Press Windows Key+R on the keyboard. A Run dialog will open.
  3. In the Run dialog box, type: thunderbird -P
    You can use -P, -p or -ProfileManager (any of them should work).


  4. Click OK. The Thunderbird Profile Manager (Choose User Profile) window should open.
If the above instructions do not work or if you have multiple installations of Thunderbird, use the following instructions instead.

Multiple Thunderbird installations

You can have multiple Thunderbird programs installed in different locations. To start the Profile Manager for a specific Thunderbird installation, replace thunderbird.exe in the above instructions with the full path to the Thunderbird program, enclose that line in quotes, then add a space followed by -P.

Thunderbird (32-bit) on 64-bit Windows
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Thunderbird\thunderbird.exe" -P

Thunderbird (32-bit) on 32-bit Windows (or 64-bit Thunderbird on 64-bit Windows)
"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Thunderbird\thunderbird.exe" -P


  1. If Thunderbird is open, close Thunderbird.
  2. Using Finder navigate to /Applications/Utilities.
  3. Open the Terminal application.
  4. In the Terminal application, enter the following:
    /Applications/ -P
    Note: If your Thunderbird application is in a location other than /Applications/, adjust the entry.
    Important: there's a space after the path, before -P (You can use -P, -p or -ProfileManager after the path; any of them should work.)
  5. Press Return. The Thunderbird Profile Manager (Choose User Profile) window should open.
Firefox Profile Manager
Note: You may need to adjust these instructions if Thunderbird is installed in a non-default location (for example, when multiple installations exist).

If Thunderbird is already included in your Linux distribution or if you have installed Thunderbird with the Thunderbirdpackage manager of your Linux distribution:

  1. If Thunderbird is open, close Thunderbird.
  2. In Terminal run:
    firefox -P

The P is capitalized. Alternatively, you can use -ProfileManager instead of -P.
The Thunderbird Profile Manager (Choose User Profile) window should open.


If the Profile Manager window still does not open, Thunderbird may have been running in the background, even though it was not visible. Close all instances of Thunderbird or restart the computer and then try again.

Creating a profile

After starting the Profile Manager as explained above, you can create a new, additional profile as follows:

  1. In the Profile Manager, click Create Profile… to start the Create Profile Wizard.
  2. Click Next and enter the name of the profile. Use a profile name that is descriptive, such as your personal name. This name is not exposed on the Internet.


    Firefox Profile Manager macOS

  3. Disregard the Choose Folder prompt unless you wish to choose where to store the profile on your computer.
    Warning: If you choose your own folder location for the profile, select a new or empty folder. If you choose a folder that isn't empty and you later remove the profile and choose the "Delete Files" option, everything inside that folder will be deleted.
  4. To create the new profile, click FinishDone.

You will be taken back to the Profile Manager and the new profile will be listed.

Removing a profile

After starting the Profile Manager as explained above, you can remove an existing profile as follows:

  1. In the Profile Manager, select the profile to remove, and click Delete Profile….
  2. Confirm that you wish to delete the profile:


    Delete Profile - macOS

    • Don't Delete Files removes the profile from the Profile Manager yet retains the profile data files on your computer in the storage folder, so that your information is not lost. "Don't Delete Files" is the preferred option because it saves the old profile's folder and allows you to recover the files to a new profile.
    • Delete Files removes the profile and its files (including the profile bookmarks, settings, passwords, etc.). If you use the "Delete Files" option, the profile folder and files will be deleted. This action cannot be undone.
    • Cancel interrupts the profile deletion.

Renaming a profile

After starting the Profile Manager as explained above, you can rename a profile as follows:

  1. In the Profile Manager, select the profile to rename, and then click Rename Profile….
  2. Type a new name for the profile, then click OK or press Enter.


Note: The folder containing the files for the profile is not renamed.


These options are only available when you start the Profile Manager when Thunderbird is closed.

TB68_Profile_Manager_Win Firefox Profile ManagerFx31ProfileManger-Lin

Work Offline

Choosing this option loads the selected profile and starts Thunderbird without connecting to the Internet. You can view previously viewed web pages and experiment with your profile.

Use the selected profile without asking at startup

When you have multiple profiles, this option tells Thunderbird what to do at every startup:

  • If you check this option, the selected profile becomes the default, so Thunderbird will automatically load it every time it starts, until you choose a different default profile. To access other profiles, you must start the Profile Manager first.
  • If you uncheck this option, Thunderbird will show you the Profile Manager each time it starts, so that you can select a profile to use.

Moving a profile

To copy all of your Thunderbird data and settings to another Thunderbird installation (e.g. when you get a new computer), you can make a backup of your Thunderbird profile, then restore it in your new location. For instructions on how to back up and restore a profile, see Backing up a profile. If you need to move your Thunderbird data (accounts, messages, passwords and other data) to a new computer, see Moving Thunderbird Data to a New Computer.

Recovering information from an old profile

If you have important information from an old Thunderbird profile, such as bookmarks, passwords, or user preferences, you can transfer that information to a new Thunderbird profile by copying the associated files. For instructions, see Recovering important data from an old profile. You can also switch to a previous profile to recover old profile data. See Recover user data missing after Firefox update for details.

Was this article helpful?

Please wait...

These fine people helped write this article:

Illustration of hands


Grow and share your expertise with others. Answer questions and improve our knowledge base.

Learn More