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Convert Windows Outlook mail to Apps
Converting the corporate Windows user who has all their old email in .pst files for years back? Help them on their way by getting their mail out of the proprietary .pst format and into standards based mbox format. The process sucks a little bit, but it does work if you have both machines on the same network.

On your current Windows machine:
  1. Start on a Windows box with Outlook and .pst files (Personal Folders)
  2. Download Netscape 4.7X for Windows
  3. Launch Netscape, launch Netscape Mail
  4. Select File -> Import, choose Outlook 97/98 (regardless if you have Outlook 2000/XP), select Outlook profile (if you have one)
  5. Ensure all your .pst files and mboxes are selected (Personal Folders)
  6. Wait for the Import to finish, Quit Outlook and Netscape
On your Mac running Jaguar:
  1. Launch
  2. From the Finder, Connect to Server and connect to your Windows Machine
  3. Navigate to the Windows machine - C: -> Program Files -> Netscape -> Users -> YourUsername -> Mail -> Outlook Mail.sbd
  4. Copy the Personal Folders from the Windows machine to somewhere in your Home Directory (I chose my Documents folder)
  5. From, choose File -> Import Mailboxes ... select standard mbox files
  6. Point towards the directory where you copied the Personal Folders from the Windows machine
  7. Ensure all the mailboxes are checked
When it's done, look in the Import Folder in the "On My Mac" folder, and ensure all your imported mail is there. This method should should keep the dates and attachments intact. If you find you have TNEFs, use TNEF's Enough to extract them.
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Convert Windows Outlook mail to | 19 comments | Create New Account
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Another Option
Authored by: ctuft on Oct 04, '02 02:53:47AM

This seems like it would work pretty well, but I found another option. Check out LibPST at:

I was able to get this compiled on my linux system and convert my .pst archives to mbox format without any issues. It's command line and fairly simple to use.

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Re: Another Option
Authored by: mingking on Oct 05, '02 01:07:15AM

Unfortunately I couldn't get this to work for OS X.

I first had to clean up some macros to get it to build. When the bin was run, it created no output. I stepped through the code and it looks like it is looking at a little-endian format with big-endian file accesses. When it reads the signature (the first 4 bytes) they are swapped, and the bin exits.

I don't know yet how to switch for little-endian reading. I know I could re-write it, but I don't want to go there right now. I'm looking for an easier solution.

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Another Option
Authored by: eddyer on Nov 17, '02 09:10:10AM

Being a linux/unix ignoramus, I'll ask "will it run from the command line in OS X?"

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It may now work with OS X
Authored by: mingking on Nov 29, '02 09:52:06PM

It looks like the author recently added support for running libpst on OSX (endianism issues).

As noted in a post of mine below, I got version 0.4 of libpst to build and run on OS X. Unfortunately the tool was unable to export my .pst file. It may just be my file - it may work for others.

I have contacted the author and hopefully he will be able to resolve the issues that I still have (an unexpected header tag in my .pst file).

Anyone that uses libpst should at least send a note of thanks to the author. The amount of work he has put into this is huge - admirable to say the least.

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People without home networks
Authored by: dabeatles on Oct 04, '02 03:29:45AM

I use airport to share the internet in my house, but I don't have any sort of printer or file sharing set up. There's no reason why a person couldn't simply burn the files from the Netscape mail folder to a CD-RW or copy them to a zip disc and move them to a Mac that way. Also, you could copy the files from the Netscape folder into a zip or stuffit file, e-mail the file to yourself, and download it on the Mac. (Yes, for the computer-savy, those ideas are basic, but not all users would think of all of the options.)

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the CLI is not the issue...
Authored by: mingking on Nov 26, '02 08:31:00AM

This program *only* runs from the command line. That is not the porting issue. The issue is that the format of the .pst file is written in little-endian format (being a M$ specification). The original author was most likely using an x86 box to run Linux, and therefore he wrote it with a little-endian view of the world. Since the PowerPC of the Mac is a big-endian processor, code running on it reads the file with all of the multi-byte values swapped (you might need to look up what big vs. little endian means somewhere). Code can be written to be endian-agnostic, but it is more work for the author, and unfortunately this code was not written that way. It *assumes* the machine that is running the code is running on a little-endian processor. (Note I am not dis-ing the author of libpst - he did a tremendous job reverse engineering the file format. That was a big job in and of itself.)

I spent a few hours trying to isolate the parts that need modification, but it just became too much for me right now. (not technically, just time-wise). Maybe some day I\'ll get a chance to continue the work, but no guarantees. If someone would like to collaborate on this, post here and let me know.

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the CLI is not the issue...
Authored by: mdurell on Nov 29, '02 02:10:15AM

From the author's readme:

"The should now be runnable on big-endian machines, if the define.h
file is first modified. The #define LITTLE_ENDIAN must be commented
out, and the #define BIG_ENDIAN must be uncommented."

In other words, a quick edit to the define.h should be all that's needed.

I can say this about libpst:

Firstly, it's not really a lib. Maybe that's a component but the main programs are executables. In other words, no worry that you'll have to write your own C program to access the features of this software.

Next, it seems to work and it's fast too! I had just converted last night several PST files by doing the imap hack. Using libpst it was a LOT faster. I'm about to run it against a 600 MB pst file as soon as it's done copying off my slooooow USB drive. The caveat: YMMV.

I plan on finding all the misc pst files I have lying around and extract the mailboxes from it and run those through a custom perl script I wrote to copy messages into a folder based in the month and year in the timestamp of the message header. This means I'll have easy access to all my mail including the ability to grep directly in an open (doesn't get much more open than ASCII text) and human-readable format.

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endianism issues
Authored by: mingking on Nov 29, '02 09:38:35PM

Awesome - big-endian support in libpst 0.4! That wasn't available back in October when I looked into this. I'm glad the original author went ahead and added that - when I tried to do it my head nearly exploded slogging through the complex data structures that make up a .pst file.

I built the new (0.4) code after resolving a few minor build issues, but the resulting tool didn't work on my .pst file. I have contacted the author about the remaining issues. It may be that my .pst file is just a version that he hasn't seen before. For others, it may already work on your files.

If you need help on building libpst for OS X (like I said, there were some minor issues getting it to build in the latest dev tools) let me know and I can share what I found. Or wait until the next official release and maybe the author will resolve those build issues as well as do whatever it takes to read more .pst file versions.

Isn't it great that us OS Xers are able to share with the Linux community?

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the CLI is not the issue...
Authored by: tomaz on Nov 23, '03 08:58:44AM

If you apply this patch to libdbx 1.0.3, it will run correctly also on big endian machines (you must define BIG_ENDIAN as 1):

< void _cbo (unsigned char *a, int len)
< {
< int i;
< unsigned char ch;
< for (i=0; i<(len/2); i++) { ch=a[len-1-i]; a[len-1-i]=a[i]; a[i]=ch; }
< #endif
< }
< #define cbo(a,b) (_cbo ((unsigned char *) (a), (b)))
< cbo (&(signature[0]),4); cbo (&(signature[1]),4); cbo (&(signature[2]),4); cbo (&(signature[3]),4);
< cbo (&indexptr, 4);
< cbo (&itemcount, 4);
< cbo (&(tindex.self), 4); cbo (&(tindex.unknown1), 4); cbo (&(tindex.anotherTablePtr), 4); cbo (&(tindex.parent), 4);
< cbo (&(tindex.indexCount), 4);
< cbo (&(index.indexptr), 4); cbo (&(index.anotherTablePtr), 4); cbo (&(index.indexCount), 4);
< cbo (&(blockhdr.self), 4); cbo (&(blockhdr.size), 4); cbo (&(blockhdr.u1), 2);
< cbo (&(blockp.val), 4);
< ((FILETIME*)bufx) = &(email->date);
> ((struct FILETIME*)bufx) = &(email->date);
< cbo (&(hdr.self), 4); cbo (&(hdr.nextaddressoffset), 4); cbo (&(hdr.blocksize), 2); cbo (&(hdr.nextaddress), 4);
< cbo (&(hdr.self), 4); cbo (&(hdr.blocksize), 4); cbo (&(hdr.unknown2), 2);
< cbo (&(, 4); cbo (&(fol.parent), 4); cbo (&(fol.unknown6), 4);
< cbo (dest, 4);
< memcpy((FILETIME*)dest, &buffer[pos], 8);
< cbo (&((FILETIME*)dest)->dwHighDateTime, 4); cbo (&((FILETIME*)dest)->dwLowDateTime, 4);
< // DEBUG_EMAIL("[%d] value copied was %#X%X\n", __LINE__, (FILETIME*)dest->dwHighDateTime, (FILETIME*)dest->dwLowDateTime);
> memcpy((struct WIN32_FILETIME*)dest, &buffer[pos], 8);
> // DEBUG_EMAIL("[%d] value copied was %#X%X\n", __LINE__, (struct FILETIME*)dest->dwHighDateTime, (struct FILETIME*)dest->dwLowDateTime);

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the CLI is not the issue...
Authored by: tomaz on Nov 23, '03 09:00:23AM

(apply the patch to libdbx.c)

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Authored by: mingking on Nov 26, '02 08:34:34AM

My last post should have been a reply to the suggestion above of using libpst. I accidently replied to the main post instead of the sub-post. Unfortunately there seems to be no way to edit posts in this forum, otherwise I would move it. Sorry.

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Another method...
Authored by: robg on May 09, '03 08:49:23AM
This was submitted as a new hint by Anonymous, so I thought I'd add it here. Anonymous writes:
Here is a quick how-to for those of you that need to bring over e-mail from a Windows PC running Outlook to Mail on Mac OS X.

I have only tried this with the source mailbox being Outlook 2002 SP2, with Outlook Express 6 (build 2800) being used in the conversion process (on Windows 2000 Pro SP3), and the target being Mail 1.2.5 on the Mac (10.2.5). It will most likely work on earlier versions, so try it out.

Steps on Windows PC:
  1. Open Outlook Express, click File on the menu bar, select Import, choose Messages.
  2. Select Microsoft Outlook from the list, click Next
  3. Choose the Outlook profile you wish to import from, click OK.
  4. Verify the import worked, then close Outlook Express
  5. Download a free tool called DbxConv and extract it to a temp folder Windows explorer and browse to: C:\Documents and Settings -> username -> Local Settings -> Application Data -> Identities -> -> Microsoft -> Outlook Express, and copy the .dbx files that contain your e- mail (should be same name as folder in Outlook Express) to the temp directory with DbxConv in it.
  6. Open a command prompt, change to your temp directory, and type dbxconv *.dbx.
  7. The resulting files will be filename.mbx, rename these to filename.mbox.
  8. Transfer these .mbox files to your Mac.
Steps on Mac PC:
  1. Launch Mail, create your folder structure to match Outlook if you want it that way.
  2. Click File on the menu bar, select Import Mailboxes.
  3. Choose Standard mbox files, click the next arrow.
  4. Browse to the location of the mbox files, click Choose, the mailboxes should be selected.
  5. A folder will appear in Mail called Imported Messages (expand this), drag the e-mail from these folders to your desired folders in Mail.
This method will bring over the e-mail messages with attachments, and only these headers: From, Date, To, Subject, Mime-Version, Content-Type, Content-Transfer-Encoding, X-Priority, X-Msmail- Priority, and X-Mimeole. This should be acceptable for most people, as I figured e-mail that you are importing usually would be considered old or 'archived' e-mail where only the content is important.

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Convert Windows Outlook mail to
Authored by: beedee on Sep 03, '03 12:54:58PM

Here's an easy method for .Mac users:

1. Open up Outlook on your PC
2. Add your .Mac account (IMAP,,
3. Synchronize the account on Outlook
4. Create a new folder on your .mac account named "Outlook Import" or whatever you want
5. Drag your old Outlook messages over to the new folder, and viola! Now when you open up your .Mac account in, all your imported messages will appear!

(Note: Occasionally a message will have an invalid header of some kind and .Mac will reject it. This happend to me, but I just forwarded the few messages that had this problem to myself.)

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Convert Windows Outlook mail to
Authored by: sauy7 on Dec 21, '03 09:26:58PM

I've tried this technique on Panther but it only imported the first message in each of the Outlook folders selected.

I then tried the Outlook Express dbx to mbox method described below, and that worked for all messages.

FYI I don't have a .Mac account so could not try that method.


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Convert Windows Outlook Express mail to
Authored by: wsduan on Dec 29, '03 02:23:39PM

Another method: using "Gazymail" program

In windows:
1.Open outlook express, drag and drop (or save) one or more mails to *.eml files.

In Mac OS X:
2. To Copy those *.eml to Mac OS X disk.

3. Open Gazymail, then drag and drop those files into Gazymail.

4. Selecting Gyazmail menubar: File>Export>Unix mbox, to produce a mbox file.

5. To open and select the menubar File>Import mailbox...>standard mbox mailboxs (mbox) select the mbox file. All has completed.

I use a Chinese encode system (Big5) and this method also works fine.

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Convert Windows Outlook mail to
Authored by: micbru on Aug 21, '06 06:26:42PM
I just downloaded and installed a program called Outlook2Mac from on my old PC. The license cost me $10 (US) and I was able save my old Outlook 2003 emails to a USB drive (in mbox format). All that I had to do was drag those converted files to my Mac desktop and then drag and drop them into my Entourage folder. It literally took only 10 minutes from start to finish. Now I have all of my old emails. As a new Mac owner, I spent over an hour on the phone with Apple Support this past weekend trying to resolve this issue. They had no clue as to how I could do this. I highly recommend this method.

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Convert Windows Outlook mail to
Authored by: mailer on May 16, '07 07:30:17PM

This product automates the process of exporting Outlook email to mbox format even more

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Use emailchemy (2 steps)
Authored by: v8media on Dec 20, '07 06:25:23PM

I've had to do this so many times. Very annoying. Most of the time, you don't have the original Windows machine, which makes most of this not possible.

Instead, buy Emailchemy and run the advanced email conversion on it, select the pst format (or whichever you have, that seems to be the one I always have to do), select your file, point at a spot to have it save your converted files and call it good.

The $28 is easily worth not having to boot Windows and go through all that frustration.



Ian Page-Echols
visuals, interactive/installations, video, mac support

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Convert Windows Outlook mail to GMail or anything else
Authored by: dave21 on Feb 18, '08 08:01:52AM
I've had to convert emails and address books more times than I'd like to admit. I shelled out for a commercial product after using free open source tools for all these years. My latest endeavor involved using address magic personal to convert to Gmail. It worked easily. I'd recommend it to anyone with these issues in the future. Please feel free to recommend other products, as I'm always open to hearing about other solutions to email conversion issues.

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