A. For this to work, your BT email account must be accessible by
email applications. (Thunderbird is an email application.)
If you have a Basic email account only accessible by web browser,
you would need to pay BT £7.50/m for Premium Mail.
I do not know how BT.com Backup Tool works. It might have the
B. I will assume you do not have Thunderbird on your computer.
Thunderbird is an email program which can do both IMAP and POP3.
Forté Agent can do POP3 but not IMAP.
To download emails from more folders than your BT Inbox folder,
we will be using Thunderbird's IMAP capability.
C. The first thing to do is to download Thunderbird and install it.
* If you are running Windows 7 or later, download the latest
version 115.x.y of Thunderbird from
* If you are running Windows XP or Vista, download Thunderbird
version 52.9.1 from
D. When you first start Thunderbird, Thunderbird will ask you to
set up your email account.
Enter the details for your BT email account and click 'Continue'.
If you entered your BT email address above, Thunderbird should
automatically find the correct settings.
Make sure that IMAP is selected above, not POP3.
Thunderbird's folders pane should now show your BT email account
together with all your BT email folders under it. Similar to this.
When using IMAP, whatever you do to an email on your computer is
also done to the email on the server.
* If you delete an email in an email account folder where the
email account is using IMAP, the email is also deleted on
the email server.
* If you remove an email from an email account folder where
the email account is using IMAP, the email is also removed
from the folder on the email server.
This is quite different to an email account using POP3, like
what Agent uses.
Be careful that you do not do something which could lose emails
that you want to keep.
D. The next thing to do is to download all your BT emails into
For each folder in your BT email account in Thunderbird,
1. Right-click on the folder and select 'Properties'
2. On the 'Retention Policy' tab, make sure 'Don't delete any
messages' is selected.
3. On the 'Synchronisation' tab, make sure 'Select this folder
for offline use' is ticked and click 'Download Now'.
E. As for getting these emails from Thunderbird into Agent.
Each email folder in Thunderbird will corresponds to two files on
your hard drive, a file with no extension and a file with a .msf
The file with no extension is an MBOX file which you can try to
import into Agent. The catch with IMAP is that Thunderbird IMAP
accounts (only) use a different MBOX format which is not 100%
compatible with importing into Agent. You can try to import the
MBOX file directly from an IMAP account into Agent and most emails
will import correctly, but a few emails may be cut off part way
The way to get around this is:
1. Create a new folder inside "Local Folders". "Local Folders"
is a Thunderbird special account with no server.
2. _Copy_ the emails from the IMAP folder into the folder inside
*** IMPORTANT *** IMPORTANT *** IMPORTANT ***
Copy, don't move. If you _move_ the emails out of the IMAP
account the emails will also be removed on the server.
You don't want to burn your bridges yet, in case you need to
try or do something else.
3. Import the MBOX file for the folder inside "Local Folders".
The MBOX files for "Local Folders" and POP3 accounts can be
imported into Agent without the problem of some emails being cut
off part way through.
F. To find the two files for a folder so you can import the
one which is an MBOX file (the file with no extension).
1. Select the account itself in Thunderbird's folders pane and
click "Account settings" at right of the right-hand pane.
2. For "Local Folders", scroll down the Account Settings panel
to find what it says for "Local Directory".
For an IMAP account, select the Server Settings panel at
the left and then scroll down the Server Settings panel to
find what it says for "Local Directory".
3. If an email folder is directly under the account, the two
files will be directly inside the local directory.
Note: if the folder is empty then there may be no MBOX file.
4. Where there is a nested email folder, there will be a hard
drive folder with a .sbd extension and with the two files
One final thing to be aware of. If you delete an email in
Thunderbird, don't compact the email folder in Thunderbird, and
then import the email folder's MBOX file into Agent, it is likely
that the deleted email will be imported into Agent as if it had
not been deleted.