Gmail / Import email from a mailbox file for Vault recovery


  • To provide instruction for importing and recovering old email from a mailbox file (.mbox) when:
    • You have recovered old email and want to import the messages into Gmail


  • 10262: Google Mail (email e-mail) 
  • Thunderbird 52.7.0
  • ImportExportTools 3.3.0


  1. Check your IMAP status in Gmail
    1. In your Gmail account, click the gear icon
    2. Select Settings from the drop-down
    3. Click the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab
    4. Locate the IMAP Access section
    5. Status should indicate that IMAP is enabled
    6. If it does not, click the button next to Enable IMAP
  2. Download and install Thunderbird
    1. Follow this link to download Mozilla's Thunderbird mail app 
    2. Follow the prompts to install Thunderbird
  3. Set up your Gmail account in Thunderbird
    1. Launch Thunderbird
    2. In the Thunderbird menu, select Options (or Preferences)
    3. Select Account Settings
    4. Click Account Actions
    5. Select Add Mail Account
    6. Enter your name, Gmail address, and Gmail password
    7. Click Continue
    8. With IMAP enabled in Gmail, Thunderbird will automatically pick up your Gmail settings
    9. Click Create Account
  4. Install ImportExportTools add-on for Thunderbird
    1. Follow this link to download the Mozilla ImportExportTools extension utility for Thunderbird
    2. Be sure to note where you saved the .xpi file
    3. In the Thunderbird menu, go to Tools
    4. Select Add-ons and then select Extensions
    5. Click the gear icon 
    6. Select Install Add-on From File
    7. Navigate to the downloaded .xpi file (step 1) and click Open
    8. Allow a few minutes for the file to process
    9. Click the Install Now button
    10. Exit Thunderbird
  5. Import email from the .mbox file for the label that you want to restore
    1. Restart Thunderbird
    2. In the navigation pane on the left, right-click Local Folders to deposit the .mbox file there
    3. In the Thunderbird menu, go to Tools
    4. Select Import/Export Tools 
    5. Select Import mbox file 
    6. Select Import directly one or more mbox files 
    7. Select OK
    8. Navigate to and select the folder that contains the extracted .mbox files you want to move to Thunderbird
    9. Click Open to import email from the selected label 
    10. Your .mbox file will appear under Local Folders in the navigation pane on the left
  6. Copy your imported email to your Gmail account
    1. Under Local Folders, select the folder with the name of the label that you are importing to Gmail
    2. Select all the email contained in the folder
    3. Right-click the selection
    4. Select Copy to - <gmail_account> - <label_name> 
      • gmail_account: the email address of your Gmail account
      • label_name: the path to the label where you want to import the restored email
    5. All email will be imported to the selected label 
      • Allow a few minutes for Thunderbird to import the email to Gmail
    6. Log in to your Gmail account and navigate to the selected label to review your restored email





Article ID: 27278
Tue 3/14/17 12:11 PM
Mon 7/12/21 12:09 PM
Can you resolve this issue yourself?
Yes! This is self-service with a smile.