Converting OLM to PST

If you happen to be reading this post you probably already know what the title means. If you are still in the dark then let me explain:

Microsoft Outlook 2011 for Mac exports/imports all email to a file called OLM. Additionally it can only import email from PST files (ie files exported by Windows versions of Outlook). This basically means you can take your windows emails and move over to a Mac OSX machine quite easily. If how ever if you are disenchanted by the OSX version of Outlook then moving back is not so easy. If you Google there are a number of “paid” tools around which can convert the OLM to PST for you. I have a problem with the word “paid”, I believe it should be free. Why should I be locked into a platform, I should be able to take my data anywhere with me.

If you look for free solutions the best suggest you

1) create a new gmail account
2) connect to it using IMAP
3) copy all you email over to gmail
4) connect a Windows Outlook to the same Gmail account
5) pull the email back into your favorite version of Outlook

There are two issues I have with this

a) What if you are have huge number emails and they have big attachments. You are going to be waiting for a while for all this to be sent to the “cloud” and then back to your windows machine
b) Security. I’m totally against sharing my email with another party who probably will keep the email indefinitely. Think photos / confidential documents that were sent to you in emails.

The IMAP method however has merit. It not only allows conversion between OLM and PST but in reality it could be used to move from any email/operating system to another without issue. You are basically doing Source -> imap -> Destination and this a really novel technique.

To avoid my issues I am proposing to run a IMAP server locally. This way my data never leaves my local LAN. Here’s how to start

  • On your windows machine download hmailserver (free). It may ask to you install .NET2 if its not already install, let it do its thing.
  • During the install it will ask you for a admin password. Type one in and note it down
  • Once installed (no reboot required), start up “hmailserver Administrator” and select connect. Then type in the admin password you set during the install

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 10.32.27 pm

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 10.36.24 pm

  • Click Add domain and type in a random domain (can be anything). I chose to use convert.com, then click save

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 10.39.06 pm

  • When you click Save, the domain is added to the “Domain” tree. Expand the convert.com item and click Accounts -> Add
  • Provide a username and password (eg test) and then click Save

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 10.42.32 pm

  • Change the STMP message size from 20480k to 200480k, this will allow large attachments to be copied over
  • In Settings -> Protocols -> IMAP -> Advanced, change the Hierarchy delimiter to “/” from the default of “.” This is incase you have used “.” in your folder names

Now you can configure up Mac Outlook 2011 to connect to the server. Note the Incoming / Outgoing server should the ip address of the windows machine.

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 10.44.30 pm

  • You should now be able to drag all your folder from Mac Outlook over this imap account
  • Then use the same IMAP settings in the destination email program and pull the email over. Note that Oulook 2013 by default only syncs the last three months of emails. Change this slider to all the way to the right ie “All”
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