A KMail to Outlook 2003 migration and conversion process

So you want to move your mail from KMail to Outlook 2003?

Kmail –> MBOX format –> Eudora-ize –> Outlook Import

For some reason you want to ditch open source Linux Kmail for M$ Windoze Outlook. (Maybe you even want to run CrossOver Office or Wine in Linux, and run Outlook emulated)

1. Where are the files?

So you have your mail downloaded into Kmail, probably sorted into folders. Where are these files?

The default location (~ = home dir) is usually: ~/Mail

However, if you're using Kubuntu, as in this example, they'll be located at: ~/.kde/share/apps/kmail/mail/

2. Converting to MBOX format (if needed)

For our purposes here, we require the “MBOX” mail format, which stores directories in single large files.

In the example case, the existing mail was in “Maildir” format. You'll recognize this if there are mutiple folders, including cur/, new/, with individually numbered e-mails inside. These will require conversion to MBOX format.

Open KMail. Open the Kmail Configuration dialog, and under 'Folders', change the default to “Flat Files” - MBOX. Make a new folder that is not a subdirectory of your existing mail. Call it “Export-box”.

Now, under this folder re-create every mail folder you wish to transfer, making sure (as is now the default) that they are MBOX format. Browse to your mail, for instance your Inbox. Select all (CTRL-A) and click and drag the selection to your new MBOX Inbox folder (which is a subdirectory of Export-box). Select “copy here”. Repeat this process for all folders/messages. Simply moving directories to an MBOX folder will not work. Follow this procedure.

Also note that this will not work with additional subdirectories- if you have Export-box/Inbox/something else/, it must be moved to Export-box/something else/ to survive the conversion.

3. Copy the MBOXes

Now that your mail is (or already was) in MBOX format, you'll see 0 byte placeholder files in the mail directory, named for your KMail folders. The actual MBOX files are hidden one directory deeper. To see them, browse (in Konqueror) to: ~/.kde/share/apps/kmail/mail/.Export-box.directory/

These files will be named for your subfolders in Kmail, with no extension. Copy these to your target Windows machine.

4. Manually import to Eudora

On your Windows machine (in this case XP SP2) that also has Outlook 2003 installed on it, Install Eudora 1.5.4 Light. Get it here. (This 2MB version works. Earlier versions might work. Newer versions work, but are larger.)

Browse to your Eudora installation folder, default is: C:/Eudora

Copy your KMail MBOX files to this directory. Rename them, adding the “.mbx” extension to all, so Eudora will recognize them.

Start up Eudora. Hit 'Cancel' on the options window. Click the 'Mailbox' menu and then the name of your imported folder(s), until you have opened them all at least once. This creates the .toc (table of contents) files for each MBOX file.

5. Import in Outlook 2003

Start up Outlook 2003. Click File menu → Import and Export. Select “Import Internet Mail and Addresses”. Select “Eudora …” (This claims to only import Eudora 2.x and up, but it works perfectly with 1.5.4 Light, with the possible exception of one error message which you can dismiss.) Uncheck 'Address book' leaving 'Import mail' checked. Click finish.

A progress-percentage bar will go by for each mail folder converted. At the end, you can choose to log the number of imported messages as a new e-mail in your Inbox.

You'll see your imported mail folders, with messages, now appear in Outlook. You can rename or move them around to your proper directory structure (which was probably destroyed as per step 2).

6. Revel in Success

Uninstall Eudora and delete the directory it leaves behind. Delete your KMail account and folders on your Linux box if you like.

That's it, you've done it. Hopefully you'll be happy with Outlook, as changing back isn't any easier.





Hey, personally, I use Thunderbird.

Software | How To | Do It Yourself

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