importing email to OSX
December 8, 2004 5:32 PM   Subscribe

MailFilter: I've got a stack of old email stuff that dates back from when I used Outlook in OS9. I want to import it into an OS X mail client. Everything I've tried so far isn't working. [+]

Basically, the set up is this: I’ve got roughly four years of emails from my old machine that have been languishing in a folder for the past two years because I can’t work out how to import them into an OS X mail client. No matter whether I use OS X’s Mail, Thunderbird, or Entourage, it doesn’t work.

The problem – at least when using Mail and Thunderbird – seems to be that unless I have the application that originally created the file, any mail client I have refuses to deal with the file itself (no use when the original application was in OS 9, and I’m now running OS 10.3). This is despite the fact that said files are now classed, by OS X, as “Microsoft Entourage Database” files, though Entourage won’t import them.

Short of partitioning my hard drive so that it runs OS 9, and attempting the export the files all over again, what do I need to do?
posted by Len to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Maybe download a newer Outlook trial and then import into there, then try again with Mail?

(i was able to import old Eudora mail from '96 on (os8?) into Mail)
posted by amberglow at 5:39 PM on December 8, 2004

We ran into this at work. The official Microsoft solution is:

Make sure the filename of the personal folders ends in ".pst". Upload the file to a windows-based server. Download the file back to your harddrive. Open Entourage and import. It should now recognize the file as valid.

I realize that this may not help you if you have no windows server at home, but it's the only way we've found to successfully import the old Outlook personal folders into Entourage.

If you know someone with a windows laptop, try burning the file to a cd on the mac, dragging it to the desktop on the windows pc, opening it with Outlook 2000 or XP, resaving it, burning it to a cd on the pc and then putting it back on the mac. It sounds completely ridiculous, but who knows....
posted by sardonista at 6:03 PM on December 8, 2004

Sardonista: Given that everything else that I've tried so far (including trying to find a newer version of Outlook for mac, which unfortunately only works for OS 10.2 or older) hasn't worked, then that seems like the only option. I presume that if I'm burning the original file to a CD from my mac, I should just add the ".pst" to the end of the file itself, even though it's not there at the moment?
posted by Len at 6:09 PM on December 8, 2004

Yes. Outlook on a pc will not recognize a personal folders file unless it ends in .pst . For whatever reason, the microsoft mac business unit chose to enable Entourage to import windows-based personal folders files only. Saving it on a windows file system adds whatever metadata Entourage is looking for.
posted by sardonista at 6:52 PM on December 8, 2004

I suspect that copying the file to a windows server and back is just removing the old Mac OS file type and creator codes. A tool like MuchoFileInfo can be used to do this. Many programs will ignore any file extension if the type and creator are set. Make a backup of the original file before messing with it.
posted by D.C. at 4:41 AM on December 9, 2004

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