by November 1, 2004 0 comments



Are you running a dual boot with Windows and Linux installed on the same machine so that you can hop between Windows and Linux, as and when required? Very often it may have happened that you would have wanted to access files in Windows partition when in Linux, and vice versa. Linux can mount or give access to data in Windows partitions. And more, if you are using PCQLinux 2004, it automatically makes Windows data accessible at /mnt/C:. Similarly using applications like Explore2fs (http:// uranus.it.swin.edu.au /~jn/linux/ explore2fs.htm), you can access data in a Linux partition from Windows.
But there is something missing! 

What if you download e-mail both in Windows as well as Linux. The case may be that you have downloaded an e-mail in Outlook Express and while in Linux you wish to refer to that e-mail to reply to it. Having access to the cryptic Outlook

Express files (the DBX files) is of no use unless you can import them in your Linux e-mail client like Evolution. 

DBX is a proprietary format used by Outlook, as opposed to Mbox format used by most Linux mail clients. Mbox is a simple plain-text based format. You can even open an Mbox file in a text editor to read the downloaded e-mail. 

Direct Hit!
Applies to:
End users, system administrators
USP: An easy to use utility to import from Outlook Express to mail clients on Linux
Links:
http://people.freenet.de/ ukrebs/dbxconv.html, www.winehq.com

Now, to view the Outlook e-mail in Linux, we will need to convert the DBX files to Mbox. This article explains the essentials. We are assuming that you are running PCQLinux 2004 and Win XP. If not, then the Windows partition may not be
automatically accessible and the path to the DBX files may be different. 

Locate the DBX files
Assuming that you have logged in as root in PCQLinux 2004, the Windows partition can be accessed at the directory /mnt/C:. Suppose you want to import the mails in the Inbox folder of Outlook Express. To locate the corresponding DBX file, change to the directory /mnt/ C:/Documents and Settings. Here you will find the directories corresponding to the user accounts on Win XP. Change to the directory named same as your login name on Win XP. You will find the required Inbox.dbx file in the subdirectory Local Settings/Application Data/ Identities//Microsoft/Outlook Express/. Note that under Local Settings/Application Data/Identities you will find a directory with a cryptic name, which will be different on different machines and for different users. In our case, the path to the Inbox.dbx file was

/mnt/C:/Documents and Settings/Shekhar/Local Settings/Application Data/Identities/{BB739BC6-9D71-4192-9BB9-A905E8D279B1}/Microsoft/ Outlook
Express/Inbox.dbx

Copy the Inbox.dbx directory to the /root directory. 

Convert DBX to Mbox
For this, you need to download a utility called dbxconv from http://people.freenet.de/ukrebs/
download/dbxconv.zip
Unzip the archive to the /root directory as

unzip dbxconv.zip -d /root

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This will produce a file called DbxConv.exe. Since it is a Windows executable, there are two ways to use it:

  • Boot into Windows, convert the Inbox.dbx file to a Mbox file using DbxConv.exe in Windows, re-boot into Linux and copy the Mbox file from the Windows partition to Linux.
  • Use WINE (Windows Emulator) to run the utility in Linux itself.

To avoid re-booting into Windows, lets go for option 2. Download Wine from http:// pr
downloads.sourceforge.net/wine/wine-200409141fc1winehq.i686. rpm?download.

Install the downloaded file as

rpm -ivh wine-20040914-1fc1winehq.i686.rpm

Wine is a program, which allows you to run Windows applications in Linux. Next, launch X Window in Linux. Open a terminal Window within X. Change to /root directory and issue the following command.

wine DbxConv.exe -mbx Inbox.dbx 

This will produce a file named Inbox.mbx in /root directory.

Import to Evolution
Evolution is a feature-rich e-mail client for Linux. It comes bundled along with PCQLinux 2004. If you have been working with Outlook, you will find working with Evolution similar-as far as the look and feel, and most functionality, is concerned.

Under the hood, Evolution uses the Mbox format for storing the downloaded e-mail. Evolution keeps one Mbox file for each mail folder, created in it. Suppose the mail folder name is Inbox, then you can find a file named mbox under the directory /evolution/local/Inbox. This file stores all the mail found in the Inbox. Here is the path to you home directory on Linux (which will be /root if you are logged in as root). 

On PCQLinux 2004, you can launch Evolution by clicking on Start Menu>Internet>Evolution Email. On Evolution, right click on ‘Local Folders’ and select ‘New Folder’. For ‘Folder name’, type in outlook (say) and for ‘Folder type’ select Mail from the drop down. We will use this Outlook folder to store the mail imported from Outlook Express. 

Importing the Mbox file created in the previous section is simple. Copy the Inbox.mbx file from the /root folder to /root/evolution/local/outlook and rename it as mbox. Following are the commands to accomplish this.

cp /root/Inbox.mbx /root/evolution/local/outlook
mv /root/evolution/local/outlook/Inbox.mbx /root/evolution/local/outlook/mbox

Next, close Evolution and re-launch it. Go to the Outlook folder by clicking on Local Folders>Outlook. And there you will see all your Outlook e-mail, with the attachments intact. Note that we used Evolution as an example but there is nothing stopping you from using any other Linux e-mail client that uses Mbox format-since almost all of them do, including the good old Pine.

Shekhar Govindarajan IT4Enterprise

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