Mozilla Mail woes

I’ve just spent some time trying to migrate over to Mozilla Mail. I failed miserably. Let me explain why. Firstly, I fired up Mozilla Mail; no problem. Then I told it to import my Outlook Express addressbook. Also, no problem. I was pretty optimistic at this point.

Next, I told it to import my Outlook Express mail. This is where it all went horribly wrong. First off, it didn’t let me choose which mail folders I wanted to import; I certainly didn’t want to bother importing all of them. Instead, it just rushed right ahead and spent about 20 minutes churning my hard disk and converting the file formats.

After all of this was done, it spewed out a bunch of error messages at me; you see, Mozilla Mail can’t handle mail folders that have slashes (/) in them, because it creates them as actual filesystem folders. Instead of doing something sensible, like changing the slash character to something different in the filesystem and referring to it with a slash in the programme, it just skips over the folder. Or not quite. To be honest, it just buggers up completely.

“Well,” I thought to myself, “I don’t really care about all of the folders with slashes in them, they were just archived stuff. I can live with this.” So there was all of my mail folders displayed in Mozilla Mail, contained in a subfolder called ‘Outlook Express Mail’. I am really irritated when programs do this, I wish they’d just merge the folders right in. Thus came my second mistake: trying to move all the folders back into the root mail directory. Cue 20 more minutes of hard disk churning and an increasingly impatient Adrian.

“Chill,” I told myself. “You’ll only have to do this once.” All the folders were now moved – but to the Sent Items folder. Clearly my pointer had slipped. I sighed to myself, and then tried viewing the messages. It didn’t work. I’d try clicking on them, opening windows, viewing the message source – I couldn’t see anything. I thought that maybe this was because I’d put them in the Sent Items folder and Mozilla Mail didn’t like this. So I tried moving them to the root directory – which didn’t work. I couldn’t move any of the folders. I couldn’t even delete any of the folders properly, it just didn’t register.

I was pretty damn annoyed by now – I was about an hour down and 500MBs of disk space had just been eaten up. Since I couldn’t delete the mail from inside Mozilla, I shut it down and deleted it all manually, and started the entire process again. Still no joy. I then bade Mozilla Mail goodbye for the foreeable future.

I know for a fact that Mozilla Mail works very well for some people, and I’m sure that in some circumstances it is much better than Outlook Express. However, it is absolutely terrible for a user like me who has tens of thousands of emails and likes doing weird stuff like putting slashes in his folder names. All of the stuff I have mentioned above are already acknowledged bugs, so maybe they will be resolved eventually, but until then, I can’t recommend it to Outlook Express power users.

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