How can I set up two separate copies of Thunderbird in Windows 7?

Thom Carpenter May 26, 2011
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Just moved to Windows 7 on a new PC and chose Thunderbird to replace Outlook Express. Set up my spouse on TBird – she has two accounts, an extensive address book, and a huge set of historical email folders.

Can I create a totally separate incidence of TBird just for me that operates under its own desktop icon? I have four accounts and a considerably less complex address book. I would like a second TBird where all of my email isn’t co-mingled or involved with hers in any way. Where I can have my own folders for historic mail, and our address books don’t collide.

Is this possible? Or, do I have to use a totally different software package (like The Bat, or Pegasus, or ???)?

  1. TeacherMac
    April 14, 2012 at 6:05 am


    I think you were quite rude to Tina since you couldn't be bothered to Google the answer yourself!

    Close Thunderbird completely and then right click on an empty area of your desktop and select New then Shortcut and browse to "C:Program FilesMozilla Thunderbirdthunderbird.exe" name the shortcut Thunderbird (or whatever you like). Right click on the shortcut and select Properties.

    At the end of the Target line add a space followed by "-p" (Without the quotes).

    Your Target line should be: "C:Program FilesMozilla Thunderbirdthunderbird.exe" -p

    Do not forget the space before -p

    You'll have the option to create a new (additional) profile do that and set up your accounts. (I use 8 profiles).

    Now to switch profiles just close Thunderbird and restart using the shortcut and select the profile you wish to use.


    • Tina
      April 19, 2012 at 5:37 pm

      Thank you! Isn't that essentially what I described as one of the options? I could have explained how to create a shortcut of course, then Thunderbird would only launch with the Profile Manager when using the respective shortcut.

  2. Asad
    March 31, 2012 at 1:30 pm being rude, but could you just ansewer the question

    • Tina
      March 31, 2012 at 2:39 pm

      Maybe what Thom is asking is not possible. No one else could explain how to do what he was asking. And
      I simply shared all the alternative solutions I could come up with.

      If you know how to do it, please share! If you are looking for the same thing, please ask a new question for a better chance to receive an answer. New questions are seen by all our contributors and dozens of other people.

  3. Tina
    May 26, 2011 at 5:50 pm


    why don't you create two different Windows user accounts for yourself and your wife? This way you wouldn't have to share a desktop and any other programs. Moreover, you would automatically have two separate installments of Thunderbird, as the profile is saved in the respective user account, i.e. separately. If you had two different Windows profiles, you could simply switch back and forth between them without having to close open programs.

    If you don't fancy running separate Windows user accounts, you could also create two different Thunderbird profiles and always launch Thunderbird with the profile manager. The profile manager allows you to select which profile Thunderbird launches with. However, this means you would have to close and restart Thunderbird each time to switch from one profile to another.

    To launch Thunderbird with the profile manager per default, do this:
    1. Click the [WINDOWS] + [R] key combination.
    2. Enter this into the run box: thunderbird.exe -profilemanager
    3. Thunderbird will now launch with the profile manager. Here you can create a new profile. To always launch Thunderbird this way, uncheck the "Don't ask at startup" option.
    4. Next time launch Thunderbird like you always did.

    You can also edit a desktop shortcut to launch Thunderbird with the profile manager, i.e. make Thunderbird launch with the default profile per default, but launch it with the PM when that shortcut is used:
    1. Right-click the respective shortcut, e.g. desktop, quick launch or start menu shortcut, and select > Properties.
    2. In the > Shortcut tab, add > "-profilemanager" (without quotes!) to the > Target: line, which should then look something like this (including quotes around the path!):  "C:Program FilesMozilla Thunderbirdthunderbird.exe" -profilemanager
    3. OK your changes and in the future use that shortcut to launch Thunderbird with the PM.