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Mozila ThunderBird and PST files

royce2020 asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Is there an extention to Thunderbird that allows it to read and write to PST files?
After a little Googling, I've found a number of extentions and applications that will import my data from the PST file into Thunderbirds local folders, but that's not realy what I want.

Company IT policy is that all of our emails/contacts/calendars/ect have to be held on a network drive as a PST (and it has to be a PST, I've already checked that) so that it can be backed up and accessed from other computers. At the moment, I'm running Outlook and Thunderbird in tandem, with the "leave messages on the server untill I delete them" option turned on in both of them so that one dosen't "steal" mail from the other.

So, what do you think people?
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Hi royce2020,

First, you are trying to subvert your company policy - if this is not the case, then you should be able to speak with IT and ask them what you can do.

Second, you will not be able to open up a PST file from Thunderbird, so there is going to be no clean solution

Finally, PST files are not supposed to by used over a network anyway - that isn't really your problem though :)



I'm not actualy looking for a clean solution. Any sollution will be fine.
And I'm not subverting anything, when I was checking about putting .MAB files of the server, the line was the file had to be a PST, but any application could be used to read it.
Thinking of which, does anyone know of any (non-microsoft) email client that can read and write PSTs?

Here is another way to open PST files


When I said no clean way, I meant no way that is going to take less than an hour each time, each way.

You can export thunderbird emails to OE and then from OE to Outlook - but you would have to do that each time.

What is this company policy?  I suppose you could script something that copies your thunderbird email from the desktop to the server (while renaming it to PST) then another that downloads it back down to your desktop in the morning and converts it back to thunderbird...

Whether or not that would still work with the policy, I don't know

Storing pst files is deprecated by Microsoft, which raises the question: is this policy of theirs a sound policy?


Using a third party program to read/write PST files could incur the wrath of IT if it screws up something.  It depends however on how the reading/writing is done.  If it is done by driving the Microsoft supplied Library files then there is no problem.  If it is done by directly manipulating the file then there will be a problem if something goes wrong.
The point about network PST's had already been mentioned - my apologies, Redseatechnologies

No problems mate, I only get defensive in the Exchange TA :))


I have found a like minded person in the IT department who has been trying to sell the idear that there are infact other email clients in the world that can't read PST files, and has been fobed off with the reply that users "wouldn't do that". So now he has a user who does (that's me) the powers that be have graciously allowed me to "Trial" putting my Thunder brd files of the server, where the PST file would normaly be.

One problem solved.

My new problem is that Thunderbird won't *import* the data from my PST either. The accepted wisdom here is to export the data to OE then import it from OE to ThunderBird, but OE won't import it ether (although I have no problems importing to ThuderBird). I tryed MaillNavigator as sugested by redseatechnologies but it won't let me export unless I pay them (which I won't do for an app I plan on only using once). What do you think my next move should be?
Open the PST in Outlook, export it to OE, then export it to thunderbird.

Does the PST open correctly in outlook?

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The PST opens fine in outlook.
Where is the "export to Outlook express" command in outlook 2003? I can't find it, the only thing I've found so far is the "Import and Export" command on the File menu, but this only lets me export to a PST(which is kind of piontles realy), or a single folder (and I have several) to a text file ether coma or tab delimited, which I can't work out how to get into OE.
In OE there is a command Import->Mail and if I select "Outlook" in the wizard it fails with a MAPI error.


I've figured out the MAPI error, you need to be a administrator to import into OE (how are restricted users supposed to use this rubbish?). But all of my emails are now in the inbox, hudreds of them. Is it posible to get mail from Outlook to OE and keep the folder structure? My folders are all sub folders of the Inbox.

Exporting to OE is done from OE (sorry, it was misleading)

What is the error you get?

Are you selecting Microsoft outlook, or Microsoft exchange from the import messages part of OE?

When you import, get it to import ALL folders - then it will bring the folder structure over


Figured it out.
OE was automaticaly importing another PST that I had made with "No Encryption" after I found an articile on the web that said that this sort of PST could be read with a text editor. After biffing that, and putting the correct PST in outlook, all went smothly, from Outlook to OE then OE to ThunderBird.

Yay! Now that I've sorted this out, I can do it for some other people too.

Thanks all for your help.

No problems, good luck with it

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