Saturday, March 24, 2007

Thunderbird vs Outlook 2007 migration in Vista

There is so much pain involved in moving to Windows Vista and/or Office 2007. I have had the opportunity to move a few computers over to Vista from XP, and I've dropped one of my monthly contracts as a result. I'll finish the migration, but I lost way too much time and money because of the following gotchas:
  1. Microsoft Outlook 2003 and earlier versions do not export data & settings properly to Microsoft Outlook 2007(specifically Personal Address Books and to a lesser degree email account settings)
  2. Vista does not maintain backward compatibility with Windows XP applications(Quicken 2005 is one of them)
  3. Dell Computer refuses to sell a new laptop to home users unless the laptop comes with Vista
  4. Hardware drivers that function with XP may or may not work with Vista(I've seen the most problems with USB devices)
  5. Vista crashes Windows Explorer frequently because of DEP(Data Execution Prevention) bugs
  6. Vista is very slow, even with new OEM hardware that has Vista pre-installed.
Here's one way to migrate from Outlook 2003 to Outlook 2007 on Vista:
  1. Connect both computers(old & new) to the same network
  2. Create an empty new shared folder on your old machine that is
    readable & writable by all users.
  3. Verify you can connect to the shared folder from your Vista
    machine.(push Winkey+R, then type
  4. Create a new folder on the share & delete the new folder as a test.
  5. Run Programs | System Tools | Windows Easy Transfer with both machines connected the network & step through the wizard.
  6. Go do something else for several hours while both of your computers are running the transfer.
  7. When the transfer is completed create a new mail settings profile on the Vista machine from control panel - enable the option to be prompted for which mail profile to be used upon Outlook 2007 startup.
  8. Start Outlook 2007 using the new profile. Manually input your email account settings.
  9. Open up the .PST file that was (hopefully) copied over from your Windows Easy Transfer. Manually copy (that's right - one subfolder or group at a time) your items from the old .PST file into your new Outlook profile. Don't try to copy the parent Inbox folder or you'll get an error message _after_ the copy fails. You'll need to _Select All_ the individual emails in the parent Inbox folder and copy them to your new Inbox folder. Afterward any child folders of the parent Inbox folder can be copied.
  10. Once you've copied over your Contacts, Calendar Items, Tasks, Notes, and emails you'll need to make sure your contacts are used as Address Book lookups from the To: field in new messages.
  11. Right Click on a contact folder >> choose Properties >> Outlook Address Book >> Show this folder as an e-mail Address Book. Repeat for any additional Contacts folders to be used for addressing e-mail.

Unnecessary complicated and painful in order to grant the user similar functionality that existed on the previous machine.

Here's how I migrated another user from Thunderbird running on XP to Thunderbird running on Vista:

  1. Download & install MozBackup on both old & new machines.
  2. On the old machine run MozBackup to create a backup of Thunderbird mail account settings.
  3. On the old machine run MozBackup a second time to create a backup of Thunderbird mail messages, address books, extensions, and other settings.
  4. On the new machine run MozBackup and choose restore. Point to the file created in step 2.
  5. On the new machine run MozBackup and choose restore. Point to the file created in step 3.
That's it. I recommend Thunderbird over Outlook 2007 for ease of migration.

I'm sure we'll see service packs from Microsoft released before the end of 2007 due to the premature release of their new office suite & operating system. Stay away until the Service Packs are available!


Anonymous said...

Lars! Thanks so much on the tip about MozBackup! It worked, and I'm so relieved! I got this cool new computer with Vista, but my excitement quickly turned to frustration when I wasn't able to transfer my email settings on Thunderbird. I found your post through Google, followed your instructions, and now I'm business with email on my new Dell!

Much appreciation!


Anonymous said...

Yeah thanks heaps, mozbackup saved me bigtime oh ..and your tutorial of course

Anonymous said...

thanks!, this was a time saver after 10 minutes of trying to move my emails to vista I googled and found this explanation, didnt take 2 minutes two do!!!

Anonymous said...

It worked great, Lars. Thank you so much for the superb tip!!


Anonymous said...

this tute was good stuff. all data migration should be as simple as the mozilla tool: run a simple prog twice to get your data. . . wow why didn't _I_ think of that.

Anonymous said...

Migrationen of Thunderbird from XP (UK) to Vista(DK) via MozBackup didn't work for as expected for me.
Accounts and settings worked fine with MozBackup, but I did not get my folders or my mail into Vista.
Tried to google my problem and found this solution to the folder and mail problem.:

Lars Rasmussen said...

Kim, copying over your Thunderbird settings on any Windows machine from the %AppData%\Thunderbird directory is a great solution if you are migrating from Thunderbird on a previous installation to a new installation of Thunderbird on a separate computer.

You can use this same trick to move back and forth between Thunderbird to and from Linux and Windows as well! Thanks for pointing it out, as there is no need for Mozbackup if you can copy/backup the %AppData%\Thunderbird directory on your own.

Anonymous said...

Wow...this trick worked like a charm. Saved me so much trouble. I was starting to stress out about how I was going to transfer my Thunderbird emails from my old XP-based computer to my new Vista computer. MozBackup could not have made it any easier.


See This Blog said...

QUESTION: Can I transfer my entire email profile (settings, emails, etc) from Thunderbird to Outlook 07?

Charlene said...

THANK YOU so much for the Mozbackup tip and info...just got a new windows Vista machine and was trying to figure out how to migrate thunderbird email and found your post through googling :) AWESOME!


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much...yours was the easiest and most efficient help I found. Worked like a charm. My pc's are not networked so I used the MozBackup and saved the backup to a flash drive and restored it from the flash drive onto my laptop. worked like magic.

Alexis said...

Couple days ago my friend was in my home. He told me some interesting things,and one of them was - recover contacts from ost. I tried this tool and was surprised,because of it restored all my old damaged emails. Besides this tool liked me and I have been using it for several days.