From the KnowledgeBase

Title:
Moving On: What email program can import the mbox file from Digital Suitcase?
Synopsis:
How to import your zipped mbox file into an email program if you used the Digital Suitcase


Solution:

The following instructions are written for faculty, staff and graduate students using Exchange email who are leaving Princeton University, and have used the Digital Suitcase to export their Exchange email.


Outlook Users
If you use the Digital Suitcase to export your Exchange email messages into a file format known as "mbox" you can import your mail into many popular email programs, but not Microsoft Outlook. If you want to continue using Microsoft Outlook, manually move your email messages from the mail server to your own computer using kb.princeton.edu/3992 for instructions.

The Suitcase server compresses, or "zips" the mbox mail file to make it smaller and quicker to download. Before you can import the mail, you first have to unzip it. If your computer is running Windows Vista, 7 or 8, or Mac OS X version 10.4 or higher, then your operating system is already capable of opening zip files.


Proceed with the instructions specific to your operating system and e-mail program.

Thunderbird (Windows)
Thunderbird (OS X)
Mac OS X Mail


Thunderbird for Windows

To unzip the file from the Digital Suitcase server, double-click on it. When you have unzipped the downloaded file, you will see a folder named "netID.e-mail.mbox" (where netID is your actual netID). If you see a folder named simply "netID.e-mail", open it to find the "netID.e-mail.mbox" folder.

If you are using Windows, you can import your mail into the Thunderbird e-mail program. If you do not have a Mozilla-based e-mail program installed on your computer, follow the instructions provided in kb.princeton.edu/9595 to download and install.

  1. Launch Thunderbird and look in the "Local Folders" section. If you have messages stored in the folders there, rename the folders to something unique so that they won't be overwritten by any imported mail folders.
  2. Quit the e-mail program (it should not be running while importing messages).
  3. Open the netID.e-mail.zip folder. Inside, you should see a separate file for each of the e-mail folders that you use (e.g. "INBOX", "Sent", etc.)
  4. Click one of the files, then press Ctrl+A on the keyboard to select all of the files in the folder.
  5. Press Ctrl+C on the keyboard to copy all the files into the computer's memory.
  6. Double-Click the "My Computer" icon, either on your desktop or on the Start Menu.
  7. Navigate to "C:\Documents and Settings\yourNetID" (In Window 7 and Vista, navigate to "C:\users\yourNetID")
  8. If you see a folder named "Application Data", double-click on it. If the folder is not there, type "\Application Data" (without the quotes) to the end of the text in the address bar of the window. (In Vista, the folder is called AppData)
  9. Double-click on "Thunderbird", then "Profiles" (In Windows 7 and Vista, double-click on "Local" then "Thunderbird" then "Profiles")
  10. You should see a folder with a randomized name, such as "firngf5k.default". Double-click on it, then on "Mail", then on "Local Folders"
  11. Click one of the files in the "Local Folders" window, then press Ctrl+V on your keyboard. The mail files that you downloaded will begin to be copied into your Thunderbird profile, so Thunderbird can display them.

When all files have finished copying, launch your e-mail. You can find your imported mail under "Local Folders". Please note that all messages will be marked as unread. If you like, you can select each folder, then hold the Ctrl, Shift and 'C' keys all at the same time. This will mark all the messages in that folder as read. Also, any "nested" mail folders that you had before will no longer be nested. For instance, if you had a mail folder named "Courses" with a sub-folder named "Econ", you will now have one folder named "Courses" and another, at the same depth, named "Courses.Econ".


Thunderbird for Mac OS X

To unzip the file from the Digital Suitcase server, double-click on it. When you have unzipped the downloaded file, you will see a folder named "netID.e-mail.mbox" (where netID is your actual netID). If you see a folder named simply "netID.e-mail", open it to find the "netID.e-mail.mbox" folder.

You can import your mail into Thunderbird on Mac OS X using these steps:

  1. Make sure that the Thunderbird program is not running.
  2. Open the netID.e-mail.zip folder. Inside, you should see a separate file for each of the e-mail folders that you use (e.g. "INBOX", "Sent", etc.)
  3. Click one of the files, then press Command+A on the keyboard to select all of the files in the folder.
  4. Press Command+C on the keyboard to copy all the files into the computer's memory.
  5. Open a Finder window by clicking on the Finder icon in the Dock.
  6. Navigate to your "home" folder. The name of this folder will match the name you use to log in to the computer, and the icon will look like a house
  7. In your home folder, navigate to Library > Thunderbird > Profiles
  8. You should see a folder with a randomized name, such as "firngf5k.default". Double-click on it, then on "Mail", then on "Local Folders"
  9. Click one of the files in the "Local Folders" window, then press Command+V on your keyboard. The mail files that you downloaded will begin to be copied into your Thunderbird profile, so Thunderbird can display them.

When all files have finished copying, launch Thunderbird. You can find your imported mail under "Local Folders". Please note that all messages will be marked as unread. If you like, you can select each folder, then hold the Command, Shift and 'C' keys all at the same time. This will mark all the messages in that folder as read. Also, any "nested" mail folders that you had before will no longer be nested. For instance, if you had a mail folder named "Courses" with a sub-folder named "Econ", you will now have one folder named "Courses" and another, at the same depth, named "Courses.Econ".


Mac OS X Mail

To unzip the file from the Digital Suitcase server, double-click on it. When you have unzipped the downloaded file, you will see a folder named "netID.e-mail.mbox" (where netID is your actual netID). If you see a folder named simply "netID.e-mail", open it to find the "netID.e-mail.mbox" folder.

To import your e-mail into Mac OS X Mail, follow these steps:

  1. Click on "File" in the menu bar, then on "Import Mailboxes"
  2. On the "Import Data From..." window, select "Other", then click "Continue" (In MacMail 3.2, there will be no "Other" option, but you will be able to import "mbox files" as an option on this menu)
  3. Navigate to the location of your netID.e-mail.mbox folder. Select that folder, then click "Choose"
  4. Make sure that all the mail folders you want to import are checked, then click "Continue"

The mail import process may take several minutes if you have a lot of mail. A progress bar will indicate how far along the process is. You can use other applications (besides Mail) while the import is happening. When the import process is complete, you can find your mail under the folder named "Import".


Related Links:


Last Updated:
January 28, 2013

Solution ID:
9822