Sunday, July 02, 2006

Eudora to Outlook Migration Update...

My previous blog entry regarding the Eudora to Outlook migration got some interest, so here are a few brief updates:

a) It's official. The MS Outlook import tool *really* sucks. Even if you first convert to Outlook Express, it just can't deal with a lot of the HTML emails and some customer Eudora tags. It left a lot of emails virtually unreadable. Thanks to an anonymous poster to my original blog entry, I found Aid4Mail which is commercial software that specializes in these imports. It worked MUCH better than the Outlook tools. It batch transferred all four years of email perfectly into Outlook. I just had to start it before going to sleep and in the morning it was done (remember this is over four years of email). Microsoft, you should consider licensing this technology! It's really in your benefit for such migrations to actually work.

b) As I mentioned in my previous posting, MS Outlook search sucks compared to Eudora. It was clear that I'd have to install one of the Desktop search products to get back some of the benefits of good search. I initially tried MSN Search as I thought it'd work best with MS Outlook. It was OK but it took too long to fire up after hitting enter on a search. So I installed Google Desktop Search and that works like a charm.

c) I mentioned that we use sanitizer at Zend which renames many attachments to attachment-xxxDEFANGED-doc. I hacked together a VBA script which went through all my years of email and renamed those attachments to be the correct original file name. I then also wrote a filter which would run on incoming messages and fix the attachment names. It's probably the worst code I've written but VBA is like PHP in that you don't have to know the language to use it :) You can find the filter at the following URL.
In order to use it, you should setup a Rule that filters incoming messages that have attachments. Also you need to create a directory c:\temp\attach which I use for temporary storage while extracting and reattaching attachments (Outlook doesn't support renaming attachments so you have to export and import them). Anyway, don't judge my coding skills by this code. It's pretty ugly and doesn't do any error checking. That said, it's been tested on a few hundred thousand messages and seems to be rock solid. It also logs what it does in C:\AttachmentFilter.txt. If you want the script that I used to bulk update all my emails, send me a note and I can send it to you. This code can be freely used for whatever purpose you wish.

So I think that completes my Outlook migration. Feel free to ping me if you have any questions.