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the great email move

As some are aware from my ecstatic tweeting on the topic, I have switched this week from my PC laptop to a new MacBook Pro as my primary work machine. It’s been about five years since I used a Macintosh as my primary machine and I am, well, falling in love all over again. I could rave about my favorite features, but if you use a Mac you know what they are, and if you don’t you’ll just get jealous.

The thing I was dreading the most was The Great Email Migration. I had at least four years of email on my PC — yes I am a packrat, I have learned to live with this — and as I actually USE a lot of it, I wanted to keep it in some form that I could access. Like, say, email.

Lucky for me, NMC has Cogdog on tap, and he tossed me a link to this article about two ways to make the switch (one free, one easy). Turns out the easy way was only $10 away from free so I opted for that, and boy am I glad I did.

I downloaded the free test version of Little Machines’ O2M, which will convert five files just so you can see that it works, and I ran it. It worked. So I bought the full version, I made a backup of my .pst file from Outlook just in case, and I started it converting. If you do this, make sure you launch Outlook before you launch O2M, or O2M will not be able to find Outlook. Also, turn off your automatic send/receive for the duration or O2M might get confused.

I did not ask it to convert my calendar, since I use Google Calendar anyway. I did ask it to convert my contacts, but Outlook made 3 copies of my contacts some time ago (don’t ask) and I wasn’t sure which ones I actually wanted, so in the end I ignored the contacts file and just used my iPhone to update Address Book on the Mac, which worked fine. So all I really used O2M for was my email.

It took about 30 hours to convert all my email to the mbox files — I asked it to also convert all attachments, which is an option you can take or leave, so it took a lot longer than if I hadn’t done that. O2M does have some dialog box issues; if someone sent you email and used a secure signature, O2M will alert you for every single email, saying it won’t be securely signed anymore, and ask if you want to save it anyway (there’s no “yes to all” option), which stops the process each time until you click. I also got a repeated system error saying some process had quit unexpectedly, but this does not seem to have borked anything that I can find; and there was one other case where O2M popped up a dialog and stopped converting until I told it Yes to whatever it was, but overall it was pretty painless.

I ended up with a 3.7GB directory of my email, which I copied onto the Mac. I set up my Mail account and downloaded the new mail that had come in while I had Outlook disabled. Then, by following the very straightforward user manual on the O2M website, I was able to import my mail into Mail on the mac, which took a lot less time than saving it out — under an hour, all told. Finally, I renamed and rearranged my mail folders, since I was using some bizarre Outlook-enforced scheme of categorization that made no sense at all. All my mail came in fine, attachments and all. I had to mark it all as read, because I am that kind of OCD person, but that only took a few minutes too. Now I am happy as a clam with my email in place on my new Mac.

The only drawback — really, the only thing I miss about the PC, and I miss it very much — is that there’s no Xobni for Mac Mail. That would make life quite seriously perfect.

One Comment

  1. Alan says:

    So cool, the O2M was definitely the better way to go.

    Never thought email would be so shiny pretty, eh?