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Importing Mac OS X Mail email into Thunderbird on Windows XP

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Zaan
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Post Posted November 23rd, 2005, 6:26 am

As you'll see in the subject line, I'm trying to get my email from Mac OS X Mail into a Windows XP install of Thunderbird 1.0.7.

The instructions on the site are a little bewildering, as they seem to imply that there should be an mbox file inside each mbox folder, or something of the sort.

Inside each mail folder (eg inbox.mbox), I find two things:

- a folder titled messages, containing many .emlx files, which I presume are the emails I want to import.
- a file titled info.plist

Which one should I move and whereto? Are the instructions on the site only valid for performing this operation under Mac OS X? Or is it possible that they describe an older version Mail? Or, of course a valid option, is something wrong with me?

I've just copied the entire Mail folder out of ~/Library on Mac OS X onto my Windows desktop, and I've tried importing both the inbox.mbox type folders, and the messages folder inside it, both to very limited avail (they both show up on the left in the tree structure, but there are no messages shown).

Thanks for any help you may provide.

Daifne
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Post Posted November 23rd, 2005, 9:15 am

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Damian
 
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Post Posted November 23rd, 2005, 9:52 am

Zaan wrote:Inside each mail folder (eg inbox.mbox), I find two things:

- a folder titled messages, containing many .emlx files, which I presume are the emails I want to import.
- a file titled info.plist


Yes, this is an innovation that came in with Tiger. RFC 822 actually recommends that individual messages should be stored as single files: I believe that is thought to give better protection for one's data. However, the change is doubtless more to do with the needs of Spotlight.

If the directions you found don't mention the .emlx format, then they are probably out-of-date.

The easiest way to shift the mail across, anyway, will be to eschew fiddling with the files and do it via an IMAP email account. Simply upload them to the server, then download on the other machine.

You can get a free IMAP account here:

http://www.bluebottle.com/

Zaan
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Post Posted November 23rd, 2005, 11:00 pm

It does appear that the instructions are outdated.

I've tried using Emailchemy, and that seems to work, except that the program costs about $30 to use, which I'm not really willing to pay for one time use. Free use is possible, but it actually changes the email subject and sender fields into reminder to pay.

About the IMAP option: I don't really know how to tackle such an operation. I should have mentioned that I have no Mac OS X systems available, at all. I'm actually working on a backup of my recently deceased iBook G4. All I have is the folder Mail out of the OS X user library on my windows desktop.

Are there any other options, or is the IMAP option still open, and how would I go about such a thing then?

Zaan
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Post Posted November 23rd, 2005, 11:05 pm

Oh by the way, it seems the instructions are only valid for Mail 1.x. Apple did change the way email is stored with the release of Mail 2.0 in 10.4 (Tiger).

Might this be a missing feature that could find its way into Thunderbird?

Damian
 
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Joined: September 24th, 2004, 11:27 am

Post Posted November 24th, 2005, 5:01 am

Zaan wrote:About the IMAP option: I don't really know how to tackle such an operation.


Unfortunately, you can't, if your Mac can't connect to the Net. With IMAP (unlike POP3) the mail lives on the server, so all you'd do is drag and drop messages from your local folders to a folder that's up on the server.

I should have mentioned that I have no Mac OS X systems available, at all. I'm actually working on a backup of my recently deceased iBook G4. All I have is the folder Mail out of the OS X user library on my windows desktop.

Are there any other options


There is an application that will convert emails in emlx format back into the standard mbox format. Perhaps that may help:

http://www.timgaden.com/hawkwings/2005/ ... converter/

Zaan
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Post Posted November 24th, 2005, 5:56 am

I've seen the application to convert emlx to mbox, but it doesn't solve my problem since it's an OS X app and I'm completely without OS X right now.

I am, however, pleased to say I've found a way to solve this rather specific problem, and I'll jot it down here in case anyone ever finds themself in the same situation:

it appears that MS email programs store their email in files with an .eml extension, and it appears that these files are interchangeable with what Apple puts in its .emlx files.

Knowing this, and to make work easy, I put all the individual .emlx from the various mbox folders I found into one folder, and then used a renamer application (more script minded people can undoubtedly do this with a simple line of code) to strip away the x at the end of each filename.

Then I fired up Outlook Express, which asked me for all kinds of information, trying to help me set up my email. I cancelled this with one swift click. I then proceeded to drag the 1500 .eml files I now had right onto the inbox in the left tree structure pane of Outlook Express. OE accepted them without any hiccups.

I then closed OE and opened Thunderbird, and was able to simply use the import tool under the Tools menu to extract those messages from OE.

As far as I know, it's not possible to remove OE from the equation. I tried to point Thunderbird to the folder filled with eml files during an OE import, and an Outlook import, and an Entourage import, and a Eudora import... all to no avail.

Anyway, I've got my email set up, so my problem is solved.

Thanks to all who've replied.

Zaan
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Post Posted November 24th, 2005, 6:15 am

Arrr, it seems I spoke too fast.

Every message gets appended with some ten lines of XML which Apple apparently used to identify these messages. Also, many of my own messages seem to be missing, though that me be my doing.

So the search for a real solution is on again.

zaan
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Post Posted January 20th, 2006, 1:13 am

The problem is now officially solved. There is now a Windows version of the program emlxconvert, which will convert Mail 2 files into mbox files, which can be imported into Thunderbird.

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