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  1. #1
    Platinum Lounger
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    Reading archived mails (2000)

    I'm not familiar with Outlook (2000) but my better half has taken a real shine to it. A potentially difficult situation arises when she wants to archive mail then be able to read it from CD on a machine that may not have Outlook installed. My limited research thus far has tended to indicate that there's nothing (vaguely satisfactory) around in the way of a standalone .PST file reader, let alone a portable one... let alone a free one! <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>. All the "solutions" I've seen require Outlook, not only to be installed, but also currently able to "see" the archived files in question... rather pointless doing this exercise with that being the case!

    Anyhow, here's my proposal for this, and I'm hoping someone might have tried this or similar before and can comment on its viability. Let's say we're archiving all folders year by year, so as to end up with top-level folders like 2005, 2006, 2007, ... on an archive CD.

    1. Install Mozilla Thunderbird - Portable Edition on a memory stick, as well as possibly on her own machine, for convenience.

    2. Use the Thunderbird - Importing Outlook Emails and Addressbooks capability to create the "Outlook Mail folder" indicated, for the archiving operation e.g. the year 2005.

    3. Using the information in How do I export e-mail messages to another mail program or computer?, copy the Thunderbird mbox files to a 2005 folder on the CD.

    4. On the USB stick, create a profile called "Current", which Portable Thunderbird will look at by default.

    5. When wanting to view all the 2005 archive on a generic machine, copy the 2005 folder "Mail" sub-folder onto the USB stick, replacing the Mail sub-folder in the "Current" profile. (Maybe need to turn off read-only flags? If not, might be able to use directly from CD.)

    6. Browse 2005 mail by running Portable Thunderbid from USB stick. <img src=/S/crossfingers.gif border=0 alt=crossfingers width=17 height=16>

    Any thoughts on this appreciated.

    Alan

  2. #2
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    Re: Reading archived mails (2000)

    Well, chatting away amongst myself here, the method appears to work quite well. All mail folders/ messages are reproduced faithfully, including links & attachments. I'm sure the application files on the USB can be whittled down and settings tweaked appropiately, for this "specialized" usage. This might also be a good candidate for a little Autoit automation application, to select which archive year to view, then load same from source (CD) into USB Thunderbird, and Bob's the brother of one of your parents.

    Alan

  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Reading archived mails (2000)

    Even MAPILabs doesn't have a standalone PST viewer, the market has to exist. MS must really hold the license tight or something. I'm surprised that Thunderbird imports PST data, that is good to know
    -John ... I float in liquid gardens
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  4. #4
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    Re: Reading archived mails (2000)

    > I'm surprised that Thunderbird imports PST data, that is good to know

    Yep... and it seems to be doing a flawless job so far. The boss is very happy with the freebie system I've set up for her. <img src=/S/bow.gif border=0 alt=bow width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    Alan

  5. #5
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Reading archived mails (2000)

    Alan, what is the data format that T-Bird uses for the messagebase? Would it be easy to convert their messagebase to a big text file? (I may have a need for something like this. The Outlook PST export options are to structured data files.)
    -John ... I float in liquid gardens
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  6. #6
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    Re: Reading archived mails (2000)

    Tbird uses the "mbox" format, which is just a single text file. There's a bit of a rundown here: The mbox Format - How Email Programs Store Mail - About Email. I would think this file format would be the most conducive to your needs.

    Alan

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