The hatred that I have toward Microsoft is a screaming inferno that wells from the core of my body and projects outward through the cosmos. The heat of this burning anger is not decreased when I am faced with a proprietary Microsoft format that uses the company’s illegal software monopoly to lock out all competition. In this case, I found myself in a position where I had to convert Outlook’s
.msg files into something that the rest of the world can read.
After a little googling, I found that if one had the emails in Outlook on a Windows machine, then Thunderbird could import them directly. So I figured all I had to do was load the
.msg files into Outlook, use Thunderbird to import them, then get them into
mbox format. Using Outlook Express 6, there seemed to be no way to load them into Microsoft’s little virus vector. Double-clicking one of the
.msg files would open it for viewing, and it appeared that one could subsequently save the message to an Outlook folder, but I could not find a way to do it en masse. I also had a password-protected
.pst file, but I managed to get nowhere with that.
At this point I was fuming. I thought Microsoft’s products were supposed to all work wonderfully with each other. Did I need to pay $500 dollars or whatever for a non-“Express” version of Outlook which contained the needed funtionality? The intuitively obvious
File -> Import did not allow one to select files… did I miss some option hidden away in Microsoft’s idiot-proof, user-friendly software?
I asked a friend for help. Claiming that his “google-fu” was superior to my own, he quickly proved the point by finding a perl program called msgconvert.pl written by Matijs van Zuijlen. Once I installed the program’s dependent modules, I was converting
.msg files left and right. Running the conversion, I got lots of warning messages like:
This MSG file contains Unicode fields. This is currently unsupported.
Unknown property 10F3
foo_email.msg must be an OLE file at ../msgconvert.pl line 732.
Despite these messages, I was able to create an
mbox file that appeared to be valid. I managed to load the file into Thunderbird using the technique described here. Basically, Thunderbird does not explicitly have a way to import
mbox files, but simply closing Thunderbird, dropping an
mbox file into your “Local Folders” folder, and starting Thunderbird will give you what you want. Viewing the emails, I found they looked pretty good – formatting was a bit weird in places, but everything else seemed fine, including attachments.
So in the end, Microsoft can take all their
.msg files, crush them up into a nice big wad, and cram it.