Over the years, we've had good success with our Mailbag Assistant software, an application that can read mail files and makes it quick and easy to search, organize, and view your messages. Although it can also convert mail to generic formats, that feature was never its primary purpose. As we were receiving more and more queries from customers looking for way to export their messages to other mail client programs, we decided to research the mail conversion market.
First we looked at the import/export tools available in mail client programs. Most only offered support for a limited number of mail formats. Often, they were incapable of importing messages unless the mail files were stored in the default location. Good luck if you're trying to import your archived mail stored on CD or DVD media. Another problem with the mail client import tools is that you usually cannot choose which mail folders to import, it's either all other nothing, and you cannot choose the target folder and how to save messages. Most of the time, message status information such as "unread", "read", "replied", and "forwarded" is not restored.After much searching, our first surprise was to find that very few software solutions existed. We tested all those that offered evaluation versions and analyzed the quality of their conversion. That was our second surprise. Most of those tools produced very poor quality conversions, often losing information during the process. Some programs lost message attachments, others lost pictures embedded in emails, a few lost the contents of HTML-formatted messages, and none were able to restore message status information.
All these findings encouraged us to develop a new tool that would solve all these issues and add some new, unique features along the way. After nearly a year of full-time development, Aid4Mail, was born - a tool that packs a lot of power and flexibility in a user-friendly wizard interface. Aid4Mail supports more than 20 mail client programs and helps you migrate your email messages with great accuracy, export them for viewing through Internet Explorer, MS Excel, or a database, convert them to extract or re-insert attachments, and archive them to save space or for compliance with legal requirements. It processes all messages without losing any information, including those with file attachments and embedded contents like pictures and background images.If you get a lot of email that you need to keep, you know how quickly your mail files grow. Most mail clients recommend that you regularly archive your older messages to avoid building up huge mail files, which have a greater risk of getting corrupted. Unfortunately, none of these programs offer ways to create compressed archives to save space. Furthermore, what do you do with mail archives that use a proprietory format and can no longer be read in 5 or 10 years time because the mail client no longer exists?
Aid4Mail offers a powerful archiving feature that enables you to save all your mail directly into highly compressed ZIP files, a format natively supported by Windows XP. Attachments are stored in a separate folder within the ZIP files, allowing easy extraction, and mail folders are stored in a non-proprietary mailbox format that most mail clients can read, guaranteeing compatibility with future systems.
In one of our tests, we used a PST file from Office Outlook that was 1.05 GB in size. When this file was copied to a ZIP file using traditional methods with highest compression, the resulting file archive was 829 MB - too big to fit on a CD-ROM. When that same PST file was archived with Aid4Mail, the resulting ZIP file with all messages and attachments was only 314 MB large - small enough that you could fit two of these onto a CD-ROM. We don't know any other product that can match this space saving.Our customers also asked us for an easy way to convert messages to HTML files for viewing through a browser. The disadvantage with converting an email to an HTML file is that attachments and embedded contents need to be saved in separate files. Finding which files belong together when you have a lot of mail can become quite a headache. A good solution is to convert emails to MHT Web archive files (or MHTML documents). These files can be viewed in Internet Explorer and message contents look very similar to what you would see in your mail client. Message attachments can be extracted and saved to disk right from within your browser, simply by clicking on the attachment link.
Aid4Mail creates index pages grouped by mail folder to make it easy for you to access your messages through Internet Explorer and any other browser that supports MHT files. The pages are built according to templates that you can customize if necessary.There are three versions of Aid4Mail: Standard, Professional, and Enterprise. The Professional and Enterprise versions offer similar capabilities but use different licensing models. Both can handle more than 25 mail clients and mailbox formats. The Enterprise version also includes a Win32-console version of Aid4Mail that power users can run from batch files and other applications. The Standard version provides an economical solution for the needs of most home users, but lacks business features like support for Office Outlook and compressed mail archives.
Aid4Mail runs under Windows 95/98/ME/NT4/2000/2003/XP, and supports Office Outlook (including PST and MSG files), Outlook Express, Eudora, Netscape Messenger, Mozilla Mail and Thunderbird, The Bat!, Pegasus Mail, PocoMail, Opera Mail, Forte Agent, Calypso, Courier, PMMail, FoxMail, EML message files, maildir folders, generic mailboxes (mbox, Berkeley mail format, BSD mail format, Unix mail format), Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Internet Mail, and Microsoft Windows Messaging clients.Key Features
- User-friendly wizard interface.
- Supports most of the popular mail formats.
- Can process mail folders and files from any drive, even CD-ROMs.
- Fast, reliable, and accurate mail conversion.
- Correctly exports email with attachments, embedded contents, and status information.
- Easily extract file attachments, embedded contents, and email addresses.
- Can rebuild Eudora, PocoMail, Calypso, and Courier messages back to standard MIME format.
- Can strip attachments from messages and even save emails in plain text format.
- Can export mail from Office Outlook and PST files.
- Can import mail into Office Outlook and PST files.
- Supports all compatible Enhanced MAPI clients.
- Can read and write Outlook MSG files.
- Can export mail to MHT format for viewing in Internet Explorer.
- Can export mail details to tab-delimited file for import into a database.
- Can create highly compressed mail archives stored in standard ZIP files.
Fookes Software, based in Switzerland, is the creator of award-winning products including NoteTab Pro, NoteTab Light, Mailbag Assistant, Easy Imager, Easy Thumnails, and Aid4Mail. You can visit Fookes Software at http://www.fookes.com/.
Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.