General Question

ETpro's avatar

Does anyone know how to transfer email .mbox files from an old XP drive to a new Windows 7 one?

Asked by ETpro (34436points) October 11th, 2011

I have years worth of small business emails on my old XP drive. Everything is organized by customer and there are many hundreds of mailboxes in folders and subfolders. I rely heavily on the records there. So I MUST preserve them.

They were on an XP Pro SP3 drive, but it’s getting flaky. showing occasional errors on the boot sector, and XP is an abandoned dinosaur now, so it’s time to move to Windows 7. I have Windows 7 Ultimate installed and humming along on a new terabyte SATA drive, I can boot into either operating system. But the two operating systems have very different ideas about the folder structure where they store library files like mailboxes, email settings and address books.,

I installed my email client on the new Terabyte drive under Windows 7 and tried copying the contents of the mailbox folder from the old drive to the folder where Windows 7 puts its mailbox files. But this doesn’t work. The email client must build internal pointers as it works, and it apparently builds them differently in XP and in Windows 7.

I can’t use syncing programs because I can’t run them across the two operating system partitions. Any ideas on how to resolve this short of setting up a permanent partition and living forever with outmoded XP for email?

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14 Answers

blueiiznh's avatar

First, What Email client are you using?
Most email clients (Outlook, etc..) have tools to import the mbox files.
As long as you can present the file structure to the Win7 partition you should be ok.
I suggest booting the from the XP partition and copy the mbox files to an external drive that is formatted in NTFS byt the XP partition. You can then boot to the WIN7 partition and see the files fine and import them into your client.

ETpro's avatar

@blueiiznh I used Eudora up through version 7. It keeps nonstandard .mbx files instead of .mbox files, which are the current Internet standard. When Qualcomm dropped development on Eudora, I switched to Eudora OSE, the effort merging the Eudora GUI with their open source Thunderbird back end. OSE came with an import tool that could transfer Eudora’s .mbx files to Eudora OSE. That worked flawlessly.

I installed Eudora OSE on the new Windows 7 drive, noted where it was putting its mailbox files under Windows 7, and copied the mailbox files from the XP location to the supposedly proper place on the Windows 7 drive, but nothing doing. They do not work. Further, I can’t set the mailserver settings I need in Windows 7. I use Google Apps and Gmail to handle both Gmail and my domain mail. The outgoing mailserver was set under XP to
jameshollomoon –

Eudora OSE in Windows 7 won’t allow that setting, so I can’t get it to use anything but Gmail. No domain mail incoming or outgoing.

Right now I have to boot in XP to use email at all. If I can get Eudora OSE working in Windows 7, then I can use Microsoft’s syncing app to transfer the settings to Outlook.

blueiiznh's avatar

@ETpro once we know the email client the OP intends on using, it may be clearer. There are plenty of mbox file import utilities out there.

Lightlyseared's avatar

The file systems of XP and 7 are not the problem. The problem is you have to import your emails into Eudora OSE to access them as OSE uses a different structure to the original eudora (ie the Thunderbird back end). According to mozilla’s website OSE has a Eudora Power Importer to migrate files to the new format so you should look into that.

ETpro's avatar

@blueiiznh I’d really prefer to stick with Eudora OSE. I had that tunning fine on the XP drive but can’t even set the required mailserver settings in it when it’s running under Windows 7. I tried Outlook in desperation, but it was no help, and I’d prefer to stay open source.

@Lightlyseared The problem is HOW do I import settings from one drive under SP to another under Windows 7.

XOIIO's avatar

You sould switch to an online email like Gmail, email clients totally kill the point of having an Email, and this is another reason why.

ETpro's avatar

@XOIIO That’s a non starter unless there is a way to transfer all the mailboxes to the online app. It’s occurred to me that I might try installing Vista on the old XP Pro drive, then Windows 7 over Vista. You can’t upgrade directly from XP to Windows 7, but Vista supposedly picks up XP settings and then you can put Windows 7 over Vista. That might solve it for me. Anyone have any cautions about that?

XOIIO's avatar

@ETpro There are some ways to transfer, its in the google help forums

Lightlyseared's avatar

If you’re hard drive is damaged installing 2 OS on to it on top of each other may not be a good idea.

ETpro's avatar

@XOIIO Thanks. That may be the answer.

@Lightlyseared I’ve already pulled all the files off of it. I have nothing to lose in trying so long as it remains accessible from the new C: drive.

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blueiiznh's avatar

@ETpro if you are still in need of help, I can set up a VM and duplicate your setup and walk through it.

ETpro's avatar

@blueiiznh That’s an incredibly generous offer. I’d want to pay you for the effort if it’s needed. But I think I am on the trail of a solution. I’ll exercise it first and call for help if it blows up in my face.

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