Made the leap to a surface... now for my mail

Discussion in 'Alternatives to Mac Hardware' started by pauliet, May 6, 2017.

  1. pauliet macrumors regular

    Sep 20, 2016
    Belfast, UK
    so I bought into the surface book and it suits my workflow needs well.. perhaps I'll return in the future but that's in the future.
    For now I'm embracing windows 10...I just have one challenge.. all my businesss mails which I need to keep around 7 years of history for..
    Pretty much all of it is off mail server and so only on my mac, in a variety of mailboxes (mbox) and emlx files. I've googled and found a variety of alternatives for the approach to conversion but would welcome any first hand experience of migrating including any instances where the folder structures (and obviously attachments) were retained.

    And once I've dealt with that I need to figure the best way of carrying this new shiny toy :)

    Thanks in advance,
  2. malsan macrumors member

    Aug 17, 2008
    I'll be doing a similar conversion next week. I migrated my office Mac mini to an HP Elitedesk 800 G3 mini, with a Surface laptop or refreshed Surface Pro to replace my MacBook Air next month. My emails are archived in MailSteward on the Mac, and I have exported those to an mbox file and imported it to Postbox without issue in the past. However, that was on the Mac. On the PC, I will probably use Postbox instead of Mail, but I am trying out Mail, Thunderbird, Outlook, and eM Client next week. I am hoping that the mbox import to Postbox on the PC will be as easy as it was on the Mac. I'll let you know how it goes.
  3. malsan macrumors member

    Aug 17, 2008
    Finished my conversion today. It was not as painless as I thought it was going to be. The messages still on my mail server did not need manual copying or conversion, but my email database archives did. On my Mac, I stored my emails with MailSteward which exports to several formats including mbox, sql, and tab or comma delimited text files. The mbox export from MailSteward did not export the files from the attachments, so I could not do a straight dump into mbox and and import into Postbox or Thunderbird on the PC. I ended up creating a database and importing the emails into it on Windows from tab delimited text files. The attachments will have to be manually decoded, but I saved all the important ones in other folders as they originally came in, so that is not really much of a problem for me.

    On Windows, I had no trouble importing an mbox file into Postbox and Thunderbird that was created from an Apple Mail export to mbox. The messages and attachments were imported without incident in my test.

    I tried to find a way to import anything into Windows Mail, but could not find a way to do anything other than setup a POP, IMAP, or Exchange account. It is a super basic program, but it probably satisfies most users, who are doing basic email tasks with a popular email provider.

    I looked at Outlook, and I was disappointed that they didn't find a way to put the kitchen sink in there, as they obviously shoehorned in everything else - well, everything but support for generic CalDav and CardDav servers. The irony is not lost on me that I had to return my CalDav and CardDav servers to iCloud to be able switch to Windows. The account import for Calendars, People, and Mail will sync with Apple's and Googles CalDav and CardDav servers, but not directly with others. I know that you can use the Apple CalDav setup and manually input the other server, but I would rather not risk corrupting my calendars and contacts. I do not believe that Outlook can import mbox files without conversion to pst. There are a ton of utilities that claim to do that without data loss.

    Unless you hide the ribbon, Outlook's UI is too cluttered. I could never see myself using it and still being able to focus on emails. I know you can hide the ribbon, but for email, you should be able to design a minimal but functional and attractive UI. I think Postbox has hit a good balance there.

    For my archived email, I prefer a separate database where I can run more complex queries than search in an email program allows. Now I just have to figure out how to manually export new emails to my database. I may end up going with an email archiving program, or I could probably get one of the Postbox or Thunderbird import/export add-ons to accomplish selective exports.

    On a hardware note, my HP EliteDesk 800 mini G3 is really responsive for everything I've thrown at it so far. My email dumps were around 6GB and the import using a USB C flash drive was a few seconds. The first time, I thought it did not copy but was leaving the file on the flash drive, but it had copied all of it over. On a down note, it came out today that HP either purposely or sloppily put a keylogger on the system as part of their media key control program. Less than I week back to PCs after 15 years away, and I am starting to remember why I left in the first place. I am hoping that the slack or corrupt software practices aren't as bad with Microsoft's hardware, but their slow rolling of CalDav and CardDav support is ridiculous.

    Good luck with your email transfer.
  4. pauliet thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 20, 2016
    Belfast, UK
    awesome write up.. I've been distracted for a couple of weeks and surviving on none of my old emails but will further investigate your observations and approach ...
    its a real shame that something so integral to the use of a operating systems such as osx and or windows does not provide for cross compatibility or better still convergence on a specific convention... but hey, a homoenized mail experience.. that would detract from the things that make some approaches to mail great!

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3 May 6, 2017