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Thread: Thunderbird Mail Import Problems

  1. #1

    Default Thunderbird Mail Import Problems

    I tried importing my mail from Thunderbird.
    It did not maintain any folder hierarchy - it flattened everything into one inbox.

    I guess I could swallow this if it at least took the folder hierarchy and somehow attached it in terms of tags. But, as it stands I'm left with a huge pile of messages, with only "search" as my navigator. I don't like that. I like tags.
    But I don't want to manually tag thousands of messages that already had some
    structure to them (metadata).

    Did I do something wrong?
    Is there a different way to import?


    Also I don't see any threading of mail messages. Isn't this possible with EF?

    Are all of these problems specific to Thunderbird or would I
    have the same issues with Apple Mail or anything else?

  2. #2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PianoDon305 View Post
    I tried importing my mail from Thunderbird.
    It did not maintain any folder hierarchy - it flattened everything into one inbox.
    How did you import the mail? If you drag in a bunch of mailboxes, they’ll be treated as flat and stored wherever you dragged them to. If you drag in a folder, EagleFiler will create a folder and import the mailboxes (and subfolders) into it, preserving the hierarchy.

    The Records source displays all files and messages regardless of folder. You can untwist the triangle next to Records to browse individual folders and mailboxes.

    Quote Originally Posted by PianoDon305 View Post
    Also I don't see any threading of mail messages. Isn't this possible with EF?
    EagleFiler has thread-savvy sorting, but it does not display threads hierarchically.

  3. #3

    Default

    How did you import the mail?
    I did a drag as I recall. But just to double check, I did it again. This time to be specific I dragged the folder called Inbox.sbd in the Thunderbird directory to EF. I did get subfolders this time - I don't know what was different.

    I don't see the email item however that were in the top most level of the inbox itself - only the items in each of the subfolders. What happened to my inbox messages?


    I also see a strange "artifact" file corresponding to each of the subfolders.
    This file has unrecognizable text in it. Do I just delete these? Is this to be expected?


    EagleFiler has thread-savvy sorting, but it does not display threads hierarchically.
    Please pardon my ignorance, but could you explain a little more precisely what this means? How would I get EF to display messages in a thread-savvy way? If I click to sort on a column like the "date created", how does that change things?

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PianoDon305 View Post
    This time to be specific I dragged the folder called Inbox.sbd in the Thunderbird directory to EF. I did get subfolders this time - I don't know what was different.

    I don't see the email item however that were in the top most level of the inbox itself - only the items in each of the subfolders. What happened to my inbox messages?
    The “Inbox.sbd” folder contains the mailboxes inside the inbox mailbox. There should be an “Index” file next to it that contains the messages in the inbox.

    Quote Originally Posted by PianoDon305 View Post
    I also see a strange "artifact" file corresponding to each of the subfolders.
    This file has unrecognizable text in it. Do I just delete these? Is this to be expected?
    If you’re referring to the “.msf” files, Thunderbird creates those to store its own bookkeeping information. You can delete them from your EagleFiler library, or not import them in the first place.

    Quote Originally Posted by PianoDon305 View Post
    Please pardon my ignorance, but could you explain a little more precisely what this means? How would I get EF to display messages in a thread-savvy way? If I click to sort on a column like the "date created", how does that change things?
    If you sort by date, EagleFiler does a strict sort by date, not paying attention to the threads. If you sort by Title, EagleFiler will sort by subject, ignoring prefixes like “Re:” and “Fwd”, and subsort by date. So that should have the effect of grouping the messages by thread.

  5. #5

    Default

    The “Inbox.sbd” folder contains the mailboxes inside the inbox mailbox. There should be an “Index” file next to it that contains the messages in the inbox.
    I don't see anything indicating it is an index file. I do see a "Inbox executable" file.
    see attached screenshot of directory.



    If you’re referring to the “.msf” files, Thunderbird creates those to store its own bookkeeping information. You can delete them from your EagleFiler library, or not import them in the first place.
    Note from screenshot that there is a .msf for every subfolder. So, I don't have a choice. If the recommended method is to drag and drop the Inbox in order to maintain hierarchy, then I get these msf's too. So, I guess the answer is they have to manually be deleted. Not that big of a deal. (may want to add a note in documentation.)

    If you sort by date, EagleFiler does a strict sort by date, not paying attention to the threads. If you sort by Title, EagleFiler will sort by subject, ignoring prefixes like “Re:” and “Fwd”, and subsort by date. So that should have the effect of grouping the messages by thread.
    Thanks for clarifying for me Michael. This helps a lot.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PianoDon305 View Post
    I don't see anything indicating it is an index file. I do see a "Inbox executable" file.
    Sorry—I meant to say that the messages for the Inbox mailbox will be in a file called “Inbox”. If it shows up as an executable, that’s probably a permissions error on your Mac.

    Quote Originally Posted by PianoDon305 View Post
    Note from screenshot that there is a .msf for every subfolder. So, I don't have a choice. If the recommended method is to drag and drop the Inbox in order to maintain hierarchy, then I get these msf's too.
    Right: there’s no choice if you’re importing a hierarchy. I’ll make a note about this in the next revision of the manual.

  7. #7

    Default

    Sorry—I meant to say that the messages for the Inbox mailbox will be in a file called “Inbox”. If it shows up as an executable, that’s probably a permissions error on your Mac.
    I tried dragging this Inbox folder to EF. Now what I got was:
    1. it imported flat - no hierarchy/folders (not good)
    2. but (unlike Inbox.sbd) it DOES have latest inbox entries (that's good)
    3. Missing many records. When I imported by dragging Inbox.sbd I got 6240 records. However, here I only got 1862 records. I traced through a particular subfolder and found EF had imported some of the messages from that folder but not others. I didn't get any errors during import. And, When I look in the log file I don't see anything unusual.
    4. Also, this import was done in like 10 minutes. The previous one (with Inbox.sbd) took an hour or two with indexing.

    I'm still evaluating this tool and have high hopes for it. But after all I went through trying to import my bookmarks/webarchives, now this is really frustrating me. I just want to get all my data into EF - that should be easy right?

    I can't believe I'm the only person who is running into these problems importing stuff. Am I missing something in the documentation or something?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PianoDon305 View Post
    I tried dragging this Inbox folder to EF. Now what I got was:
    1. it imported flat - no hierarchy/folders (not good)
    2. but (unlike Inbox.sbd) it DOES have latest inbox entries (that's good)
    3. Missing many records. When I imported by dragging Inbox.sbd I got 6240 records. However, here I only got 1862 records.
    I thought you had an “Inbox” file and an “Inbox.sbd” folder. There shouldn’t be an “Inbox” folder.

    The “Inbox” file contains just the messages in the inbox. So it should be flat. The “Inbox.sbd” folder contains the mailboxes that are inside the inbox. So it should produce a hierarchy (that excludes the top-level inbox messages). Based on your above description, it sounds like the import is functioning properly.

    In order to import both the messages and mailboxes in Thunderbird’s inbox, you’ll need to import both “Inbox” and “Inbox.sbd”.

    If the “Inbox” file contains messages from one of the submailboxes, you may need to have Thunderbird compact it (using File > Compact Folders) so that it removes from the file the messages that are no longer in that mailbox.

    Quote Originally Posted by PianoDon305 View Post
    I can't believe I'm the only person who is running into these problems importing stuff.
    Well, (a) most EagleFiler (and Mac) users don’t use Thunderbird, and (b) importing from the other mail programs is easier.

  9. #9

    Default

    I thought you had an “Inbox” file and an “Inbox.sbd” folder. There shouldn’t be an “Inbox” folder.
    Right. I should have said file - not folder.

    The “Inbox” file contains just the messages in the inbox. So it should be flat. The “Inbox.sbd” folder contains the mailboxes that are inside the inbox. So it should produce a hierarchy (that excludes the top-level inbox messages). Based on your above description, it sounds like the import is functioning properly.

    In order to import both the messages and mailboxes in Thunderbird’s inbox, you’ll need to import both “Inbox” and “Inbox.sbd”.

    If the “Inbox” file contains messages from one of the submailboxes, you may need to have Thunderbird compact it (using File > Compact Folders) so that it removes from the file the messages that are no longer in that mailbox.
    This is the information I needed. I have been trying a bunch of things to no avail. I had no clue to try Compact Folders (never heard of it before).
    This seemed to work on my small test case. And, as you suggested I had to import both “Inbox” and “Inbox.sbd”.
    I'll try it on my large (real) Thunderbird import tonight.
    Thank you for your help.

    Just to summarize the procedure I'm using to Import from Thunderbird ...

    1. In Thunderbird, Select Inbox; From File Menu "Compact Folders" .
    2. Drag Inbox "File" (which will contain the messages of your current inbox) to EF
    3. Drag Inbox.sbd "Folder" (which will cause EF to import all subfolders and messages) to EF
    4. As a result of the import, EF will import one .msf Thunderbird file corresponding to each of your subfolders. This is metadata used by Thunderbird and no longer needed. If desired, you may want to delete these.

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