How do I extract hundreds of attachments?
April 20, 2006 1:32 AM   Subscribe

I need help extracting hundreds of attachments from Mozilla Thunderbird.

I have about 700 voicemails that have been emailed to my Gmail account as attachments. Each voicemail was emailed to me as a separate email. These emails have been downloaded with Mozilla Thunderbird and stored locally.

I'd like to extract (in an automated fashion) every one of these attached .WAV files from Thunderbird into some local folder (eg. c:\voicemail\) where I can easily read/play them and interact with them.

In Thunderbird, it appears you can only extract attachments one at a time. By hand. Solutions? I'm open to converting to other mailbox formats and using other software if necessary.
posted by fake to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I asked this here and got a great answer.
posted by RoseovSharon at 2:07 AM on April 20, 2006

Thank you!
posted by fake at 2:16 AM on April 20, 2006

The "Attachment Extractor" extension is definitely the right tool for this job, but for others in a similar vein it's worth noting that Thunderbird's mail folders are just great big text files consisting of all their constituent mails, complete with full headers, concatenated. If you look under Tools->Account Settings to find where the Local Storage folder is kept on your disk, then open up the Inbox file from that folder in a text editor (Wordpad works well for this on Windows) you'll get the idea.

It's pretty easy to write scripts to do just about anything with mails in this format. Even without scripts, you can accomplish useful things. For example, just the other day I had occasion to combine mails from two different Thunderbird profiles into one; all I had to do was append the second profile's Local Folders/Inbox and Local Folders/Sent files to the other's.
posted by flabdablet at 2:38 AM on April 20, 2006

Absolutely great info, flabdablet, thanks-

Forgive me for my n00biness... but how did you append the one file to the other? Cut and paste in a text editor, or some more straightforward method?
posted by fake at 2:50 AM on April 20, 2006

I cut and pasted with Wordpad. That's the most straightforward GUI way I can think of.

There are assorted command-line methods for this:

type file1 >>file2

will append file1 to the end of file2 (assuming both are text files).

copy file1+file2 file3

will make file3 the concatenation of file1 and file2, assuming that both are text files, and

copy /b file1+file2 file3

will do the same thing for binary files.
posted by flabdablet at 6:13 AM on April 20, 2006

A combination of the two techniques solved the problem neatly... thanks so much!
posted by fake at 6:41 AM on July 13, 2006

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