I am currently in the process of moving to a Mac at work (yes!) and my main concern in the switch was moving all my email from Outlook. If you don’t know already (though you might expect) Outlook uses a proprietary format called .PST. There is no obvious way to just migrate the messages and your folders to another system… at least on the surface. Turns out there are actually a few ways, but by far the easiest was this simple guide at Riches Communications.
The basics are as follows…
- Install Mozilla (Full version with email) or Thunderbird on your PC.
- Import Mail from Outlook (Tools / Import)
- On my machine this took about 30 minutes. I have a few GB of email with plenty of attachments included courtesy of a boatload of work projects.
- Mozilla uses the standard .mbox format which can then easily be imported into the email program of your choice. I actually have to use Entourage, though this absolutely works in Mail.app and certainly Thunderbird (which probably does not require the renaming). Entourage incidentally uses a proprietary message store as well, but can at least handle the standards on import.
As I mentioned I had a lot of mail so this took a while as you have to repeat the import loop for each folder and you can only import one at a time. Other than time and the manual nature of this process it’s actually quite painless and totally works. I imported all my mail to my personal PowerBook at home and burned the mail database to a DVD so I can easily import it today on my new machine at the office.
I think it’s interesting to note that you can’t actually import your mail (with all your folders) into Outlook Express! It will import some of your mail – actually just the inbox which leaves you hanging since most people do not maintain all their mail in a single folder.