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How do I import my saved webmail "mbox" into a desktop e-mail client

This document explains how to import the commonly used "mbox" format mailbox files into Thunderbird (Win/Mac), Mail.app, Outlook Express, and Outlook XP/2003.

Select your preferred email client:


Thunderbird (Win)

Close Thunderbird.

Windows XP: Move the mbox file to C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\<eight random characters>.default\Mail\Local Folders\

Windows Vista: Move the mbox file to C:\users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\<eight random characters>.default\Mail\Local Folders\
  • To locate "Application Data," click the Tools menu, select "Folder Options," click "View," and select "Show hidden files and folders."
  • After moving the mbox file, run Thunderbird.
  • The imported mailbox will be located under "Local Folders."

Thunderbird (Mac)

Move the mbox file to <user>/Library/Thunderbird/Profiles/<eight random characters>.default/Mail/Local Folders/ and run Thunderbird. The imported mailbox will be located under "Local Folders".


Mail.app

  1. Choose "Import Mailboxes..." from the File menu of Mail.app

  2. Import data from: "Other" and click Continue

  3. Navigate to the mbox file's location and select "Choose"

  4. Select the mbox files to import

  5. The imported mailbox will be located in the "Import" section of Mail.app


Outlook Express

There is no direct way to import mbox files to Outlook or Outlook Express. Therefore, if such an import is necessary, an intermediary such as Eudora is required.

  1. Download and install the latest version of Eudora for Windows.

  2. Append the extension ".mbx" to your mbox file (ex: rename "InboxMBOX" as "InboxMBOX.mbx").

  3. Move this file to the directory C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\Qualcomm\Eudora

    • To locate "Application Data," click the Tools menu, select "Folder Options," click "View," and select "Show hidden files and folders."

  4. Open Eudora, double-click the name of the mbox file (to finalize creation of the mailbox), and quit Eudora.

  5. Open Outlook Express, and select File -> Import -> Messages...

  6. Select "Eudora Pro or Light (through v3.0)", and click Next.

  7. Navigate to the directory that you moved the mbox file to, and click OK.

  8. Click Next, Next once again, and Finish.

  9. The imported mailbox will be located in the "Local Folders" section of Outlook Express.


Outlook XP/Outlook 2003

In order to import the mbox to Microsoft Outlook, you need to first import it to Outlook Express, as described above. After this has been completed, you can import from Outlook Express to Microsoft Outlook:

  1. Open Outlook XP/2003

  2. Click File -> Import and Export...

  3. Select "Import Internet Mail and Addresses," and click Next.

  4. Select "Outlook Express 4.x, 5", make sure "Import Mail" is checked, and click Finish.

  5. The imported mailbox will be located under "Outlook Today - [Personal Folders]."


Instructions from UW-Madison Division of Technology



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