Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Uploading Outlook .pst to GMAIL

I was digging through old backups just recently and I decided to make some .PST files more productive ( e.g. searchable ). I could have opted for Google Desktop ( I think ) to sift through those backups but I instead followed the GMAIL road since I am in the process of trying to convince my wife to move completly to GMAIL from Outlook.

  • Step 1: install readpst ( link ) on a Linux machine ( I use Ubuntu primarily )
apt-get install readpst
  • Step 2: extract mail from the .pst file into mbox format
mkdir /tmp/mail
readpst "some-pst-file" -o /tmp/mail
  • Step 3: Configure Mozilla Thunderbird with GMAIL through IMAP: instructions can be found here.
  • Step 4: Install an mbox import/export extension for Thunderbird: available here.
  • Step 4: Import mbox folder hierarchy in Thunderbird: use Tools -> Import/Export in mbox/eml format -> Import mbox file menu option and select the appropriate dialog option ( I used #4 i.e. Select a directory where searching the mbox files to import (also in subdirectories ) ).
  • Step 5: Move the emails as desired.
  • It appears that the use of the IMAP interface through Thunderbird might be cause some "silent failures" from time to time. I suggest moving/copying emails by small batch in order to track & manage this shortcoming.
  • Also, I would seem that GMAIL's web-interface is not able to track "in real-time" the changes and of course this problem is compounded by the amount of moving/copying being done in a particular time interval.
Have fun :-)