Saturday, March 6, 2010

Rescue mail migrating from Eudora 7 to Eudora 8

Since Eudora 7 was such a great achievement -- I paid a heavy price by trusting too much, too long, and "upgrading" to Eudora 8. For those others who ended up paying the same price, here is what I learned about the way out:

1. Initially, mailbox migration from Eudora 7 to Eudora 8 seemed easy, except that all attachments get disassociated. When I started that migration, I wish the Eudora 8 folks had warned me of that, and pointed to their obscure webpage which suggests INSTEAD of the provided migration tool ... the use of other tools like Aid4Mail or Eudora Mail Cleaner. The search engine in Eudora 8 didn't really work either, from the start.

2. A few months later... all the mail in all my mailboxes but inbox just disappeared. Years of stuff. When I asked what could be done on the Eudora 8 forum...
no suggestions. The Eudora 8 mailboxes are actually Thunderbird mailboxes.
In my case, they had somehow become corrupted. (Maybe Vista to Windows 7 had something to do with it.)

3. I tried copying the Profiles file to a new Mac at work, and using Eudora Mailbox Cleaner. EMC worked fine on Eudora 7 files (with some tricks), but not
on this stuff. Eudora Mailbox Cleaner converts Eudora 7 mail to Thunderbird proper or to AppleMail, but for the sake of features and stability I went to Apple Mail.

4. The only thing which worked to save my correspondence in Eudora 8
was Aid4Mail Professional... writing to a pst file, imported to Outlook.
I can't modify some things in that folder (maybe not anything?),
but I do have full access to see all the mail, finally. The mail in "empty" mailboxes suddenly
became visible again.

5. Based on this mess... to get back Eudora 7 functionality at home,
where I had tried Eudora 8, I will now be using Outlook with the Neo Pro extension (which gets back a lot of what we had in Eudora 7).
At work, I have ported my old Eudora 7 mailboxes to Apple Mail,
where a certain extension will get back a lot of the old functionality -- though Apple Mail by itself is not bad, a whole lot better than Outlook for folks with a complicated life.
(Aid4Mail will let me back up the apple mail to outlook, even though our Exchange server at work does not allow me to upload Apple Mail folders.) (Also -- thank to my colleague who showed me how "special folders" -- created by clicking on an innocuous looking plus sign icon on the lower left -- let me do searches much closer to Eudora's than I had expected.)

OOPS: Neo Pro does what my colleagues claimed, but the plug-in recommended by local apple users doesn't look right. Instead, I will extend apple mail by getting rocketbox. It's at an early stage, but its does do the right kind of search already; combined with the nice filing capabilities of Apple Mail, it gets me where I need to be. The rocketbox guy plans extensions which would get
apple mail back up to all the things I needed in Eudora 7...

6. Should I have just kept using Eudora 7 and not upgraded? At work, they would not let me, for security reasons. (That's what drove me to switch to iMac at work.) At home, the mess of someday moving that email worries me...
though with Aid4Mail or use of Eudora 7 as a client of gmail with the IMAP option maybe I should not have worried so much. Still, gmail supports both Outlook and AppleMail as clients; Eudora 7 works... to some degree...
with a few tricks... for now... but Outlook with NeoPro sounds better.

7. A friend suggested getting SE-Linux to run on my home PC, to get me security at home as good as what I now have at work, or maybe even better. The Evolution programs are said
to be as good a Microsoft Office. But Outlook without the Neo Pro extension is not really adequate for me, and it sounds like a pretty big project in a lot of ways.

8. Recommendations for use of Eudora Mail Cleaner (a Mac-only program):
leave a few hours for it to do the job (if you have gigs of stuff), and do not do anything when it seems to be hung up on a small task. Don't use the script to rebuild mailboxes when it is done;
just do it all by hand, and be patient. (Rebuilding mailboxes is faster than the initial conversion...
but it's best to select, say, 10-40 mailboxes, and then hit mailbox-> rebuild... group by group
until you are all done.) But when the input was corrupted Eudora 8 mailboxes, the result
was full mailboxes with empty messages -- UNLIKE the result with Aid4Mail, where I can read everything just fine. (Is it read-only? Haven't figured that part out yet. Ideas welcome.
Can't rename or delete anything I have tried... even as administrator..).

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