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By chun-mee at 2005-02-13 18:16
Sharing Mozilla Mail Messages and Settings on a Dual Boot Linux/Windows Set-up
(A Simple Solution for Sharing Mozilla Profile - Mail, Bookmarks, and Settings- Across Two Or More Operating Systems)

This document explains how to share the same Mozilla Mail messages and settings on a computer with a dual boot installation of Windows and Linux. You will be able to share the same Mozilla suite profile across the two operating systems installed on the computer, which means complete availability of E-mail settings, E-mail messages and POP3 and SMTP accounts, browser settings such as Mozilla bookmarks, the master password for the security device, the homepage and so on.
In short, my solution gives total access to the entire suite across Linux/Windows, and that includes Composer, Address Book, the whole nine yards.
What is required?
In order to share the Mozilla profile, one must have:

* an available partition formatted FAT32 - preferably a third one different that the root (Linux) or the administrator one (Windows). Both Linux and Windows will write and read on it safely; moreover the partition can be on the same hard-drive or not. (Here are instructions on How To Create A Shared FAT32 Partition).
* permission to write on the FAT partition from both operating systems where one is running Mozilla from. I only tested this running as root, however Stuart was kind enough to send his suggestions on how to gain Non-root user access to dual-boot Mozilla settings on FAT partition.
* passwords to log in as root and administrator, respectively
* an installation of matching Mozilla versions on both OSs (when versions do not match funny things can happen)

First off, back up the existing messages and settings -everything in the profile folder. Mozilla stores E-mail messages in a profile, and it uses a format that is readable from both Linux and Windows.
Where is the Mozilla profile? Well...
In Windows 2000 and XP, look for C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Application Data\Mozilla\Profiles\default (or another name given to the profile)
Under Linux, the profile created should be in root/ in .mozilla/default (or another name given to the profile).
Step-by-step instructions
Supposing that this is a fresh installation, right after partitioning, boot into one of the OSs and install Mozilla. Start Mozilla.
Step 1
After starting the default profile, go to Tools > Switch profile > Manage profiles > Create profile > Next > Enter new profile name. The name that you type here becomes the folder where the profile will be stored (for example mine is called dual). Now, go on to > Choose folder - here choose the path to the FAT partition where the profiles will be stored, for example /hda3/shared/
Finish creating the profile, and start Mozilla with it. Now exit Mozilla.
Step 2
Locate the folder where the new profile is stored, it should be named something like jdi34lhm.slt; similar to the name of the profile that you have backed up earlier. We will call this folder with already existing mail and settings oldprofile123.slt.
Write down the name of the newprofile123.slt folder that has just been created in the new profile directory, and then rename (or delete) this folder.
Paste here the oldprofile123.slt profile directory from the location where you have backed it up (CD-ROM, network, etc). Now rename it with the name that Mozilla had just created for the new profile - newprofile123.slt.The name just written down a minute ago. Start Mozilla. All settings and email, including Master Password for the security device, should work normally. Test E-mail. Exit this OS. Start the other OS.
Step 3
Start Mozilla and create a new profile with the same name in the same destination folder on the FAT partition.
This is it! Congratulations!
Start Mozilla with this new profile. The same email and settings should work here too.
Now you can send and receive the same Mozilla E-mail from two different OSs!
Note: You can create a new folder or a draft message to test this and go back to the other OS once again to make double sure that everything is working.
Simple as it may sound, this solution took me hours to figure out.

Non-root user access on FAT partition
Portions of this material have been possible with help from other contributors, to read what they have contributed please continue to the link below:
Known issues:

* When running mismatching versions of Mozilla on each OS, such as 1.7.0 under Linux and 1.7.5 under Windows, expect strange behavior. Preferences will get rewritten with each new boot to the other OS.
* Hibernation mode - Making changes in one OS and then reverting from hibernation under the other one will obviously wreak havoc. Files will get corrupted. Beware.


* This page has no affiliation whatsoever with owners or makers of the applications presented here. This reading matter does not advertise or endorse brands mentioned, it simply happens to be the set-up that I use or like to use. Sources and resources are always quoted.
* It should be possible to share the same profile between three or more OSs installed on the same machine. Let others know if you are successful in doing so.
* If your fat disk is removable, that means you do not even need to dual boot, you can do this from two different machines as long as the fat disk is mounted on both.
* This has been tried and proved to work on my set-up: Mozilla 1.7 for Linux and Mozilla 1.7.3 for Windows, Slackware 10 Linux dual-boot with Windows 2000. My guess is that this should work with any Mozilla 1.x version, most Linux distros and most Windows OS versions.
* Personal note: I have been courting Linux a long while before I dared try it, and one of the main reasons to hold me back was exactly that I could not share the same E-mail across platforms. The moment I found this workaround (certainly not originally intended by Mozilla developers, and I wonder why not suggest it as a wishlist feature?) I decided not only to boot more often to Linux, but to move there and stay with it. I reckon that there are many users out there who would like to give Linux a spin - this is one less reason to procrastinate.


* This method is empirical.
* Everyone holding a root password is solely responsible for what they do to their machine.
This page has no affiliation whatsoever with owners or makers of the applications presented here. This reading matter does not advertise or endorse brands presented here, this simply happens to be the set-up that I use or like to use.

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