Moving Outlook email (data) to Linux Evolution mail client

First I thought switching from MS-Outlook to Linux Evolution mail client will be easy. Evolution does not offer any easy method to import data directly from Outlook. After searching bit, I found solution:

MS-Outlook -> Import using Mozilla Thunderbird Under Windows -> Import using Evolution under Linux

You know, that is why I like the idea of using an IMAP server. No need to worry about import and export stuff. All you need to do is reconfigure Evolution/Thunderbird under Linux.

Anyway here is what I did to migrate from MS-Outlook to Linux client:

Step # 1: Import mails from Outlook using Thunderbird

  • Download thunderbird for Windows XP
  • Install Thunderbird
  • Start Mozilla Thunderbird
  • Do not setup Thunderbird as your default email client.
  • Since this is your first run, it will prompt you to import mail and other settings.
  • At Import dialog box, select Mail > Next
  • Select Outlook > Next
  • Within few minutes it will migrate all emails from Outlook to Thunderbird. Click Finish and shutdown Thunderbird application.

Step # 2: Transfer Thunderbird mail to Linux desktop

First, you need to find out your profile folder under Thunderbird application (you can also use Windows Explore to find out Thunderbird profile folder):.
Click on Start > Run > Type the command


And hit [Enter] key

Type the following commands to locate Profile folder:

C:> cd %APPDATA%\\Thunderbird
C:> cd Profiles

Now locate directory called “Local Folders”. Again use CD command to go to Local Folders:

C:> cd “Local Folders”
C:> cd “Outlook Mail.sbd”

Copy all files from “Outlook Mail.sbd” folder to USB pen or use network connection to copy files to your Linux home-directory (~/.mozilla-thunderbird)

You are done. Now you can open mail using Linux thunderbird client.

Step #3: Import mail to Evolution

Copy all mails (files) from ~/.mozilla-thunderbird to ~/.evolution/mail/local directory.

Or, use GUI tools. Open Evolution > Click on File > Import. This will start Evolution Import Assistant program. Now just follow on screen instruction.

This is fine, if you have 1-2 desktop system. Now, just imagine having 250+ desktop system migrations from Outlook to Evolution. If anyone aware of bulk import or export method just comment it back below 🙂

See also:

  • Don’t forget to visit mozillazine migration articles. It will save lots of time for sure 😀
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27 comments… add one
  • Badger Nov 27, 2010 @ 9:57

    There is no need to use Thunderbird. All you need to do is install evolution-pst extension and import .pst file directly. Works very well.

  • Bel Nov 18, 2010 @ 22:40

    I was able to get the Outlook Mail.sbd from my windows folder. But how will i copy the files inside of that folder to linux home-directory? (~/.mozilla-thunderbird) I don’t see a mozilla-thunderbird. Should i install thunderbird in ubuntu 10?

  • venkat Jul 26, 2010 @ 11:12

    Dear Sir,

    This is venkat, i previous used Linux with mail and evoulation.Afterwards backup the evoluation mail i saved. Now i am using Windows 7 Preium ,so that i want use back mails in the previous .

    How to i can access the above. Please clarify the same.

    Thanks & Regards’

  • godspiral Nov 3, 2009 @ 19:48

    you can point windows evolution to the mail store in your linux directory. windows tools to mount ext3 as a drive letter.

  • Brian McNeil Oct 11, 2009 @ 17:14

    Okay… I have what I think is a real challenge here.

    Thunderbird imports my email from Outlook just fine – I have already done this a few times as I poked and tweaked Thunderbird to see how I could configure it. But, I never stopped using Outlook as my main mail store; I wanted to really know what my options were, and what would be the best.

    Well, it looks like Evolution is the best solution.
    It is tightly integrated with Ubuntu 9.04, right down to double-clicking on the desktop clock and getting a calendar integrated with it. Seriously nice.
    AND, as I want to be able to continue to dual-boot, AND get at my email in either Ubuntu or Windows, it was a great find to discover there is a Windows version of Evolution available.

    However, every single thing I have looked up says you cannot change the default location for Evolution storing mail from your home directory. This is bad. I need it on an NTFS volume so I can see it in Windows.

    How on Earth do I deal with this?
    There are hints that Evolution can via some sort of message rule automatically move email somewhere else. What do I need to do here to have a shared store and all mail sent or received either in Windows or Ubuntu, go into that shared store and both OS Evolution clients be able to see it?

    This is made somewhat more difficult by having six email accounts on a variety of servers – some with, and some without their own SMTP-auth server, and a 1.5Gb store of mail in Outlook that goes back over 15 years.

    Anyone up to *this* challenge?

  • Rebecca Apr 13, 2009 @ 22:26

    Something isn’t clear to me. I have the files from the Outlook Mail.sbd folder. However, trying to import them to Evolution from the GUI isn’t working, for some reason. As I’m not importing from an older version of anything, I’m trying to import the individual files, but, however, they don’t have an extension Evolution recognizes. There are files without extensions, and some with a .msf extension.

    Do I need to have Thunderbird on Ubuntu as well in order to import, or is there some other step I’m missing here?

  • Rebecca Apr 13, 2009 @ 22:10

    Ah, please disregard. Tried doing a search in Windows Explorer for the folder and it turned right up.

    Thanks a lot!

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