Switching: Emails

15 10 2006

Switching from Microsoft Outlook Express to Apple Mail

This is an article written to assist those users who wish to switch, or indeed have already switched from Windows XP to the Mac OS.

When it came to my ‘big switch’ there were several things that I needed: my documents, my music, my pictures and my internet stuff (emails and bookmarks and so on). All of these were easily copied across to the Mac using a crossover cable, no problems there – but shock horror, my emails were another story.

Most Windows users will be familiar with the free email application which comes with Windows XP: Outlook Express. When I was using Windows, I was using Outlook Express to manage my SMTP email account, just because it was there and did everything I needed – why bother downloading a suitable alternative product?

Anyway, it turned out that I couldn’t just do a straight copy and paste, as Outlook Express stores emails in a proprietary Microsoft format, which can’t be read by Apple Mail.

Wondering what to do about the problem, it was then that I remembered once installing Netscape to test compatibility of my web site. Netscape had very nicely offered to import the Internet and email settings from Internet Explorer and Outlook Express.

Checking up on this I found that when it does this it stores the resulting emails in a standard .mbox format – which can then be read by any sensible email client. After performing said conversion, I promptly copied the new .mbox files onto the Mac, fired up Apple Mail and pointed it in their direction.

So the basic steps to import your emails from Outlook Express on Windows to Apple Mail on the Mac:

  • Install Netscape on the Windows box.
  • Allow it to import from your Outlook Express when asked.
  • Copy the newly created .mbox files to your Mac.
  • Launch Mail.app and show it where it can find them when it asks.
  • That’s it!

Note that I only tested this myself with Outlook Express, I don’t think Netscape can import from the full version of Outlook, so if you use the full version of Outlook this method may not work for you.

Note: This article was previously posted on my personal blog, and was re-written slightly as an article on this blog. It has now been recreated as a normal post as part of my rearranging.

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