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Moving more mail into Gmail April 25, 2008

Posted by Peter Hornby in Uncategorized, worklife.
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I spent a lot of time some months ago moving substantial quantities of mail from a work-based Outlook mailbox into Gmail. I started on the next step yesterday – moving mail from the Entourage 2004 mailbox on my wife’s Mac into GMail, using the technique written up by Zoli Erdos – configuring an IMAP connection to Gmail, and mapping local folders to Gmail labels.

This didn’t go desperately smoothly, but it seems to be working now. The technique is comprehensively written up by William Smith on the Entourage Help blog. Unfortunately, as noted by commenters, there’s something screwed up in the process, and the timestamp you get in Gmail is not the original Received-Date. So the first attempt didn’t work, and I deleted (in Gmail) the messages with the bad timestamps.

Commenters came to my aid, describing the workaround of using a third mail account, configured using IMAP, and then setting Gmail’s Mail Fetcher to get the messages from the third account using POP. So I set up a temporary Gmail account, and gave it a shot. Well, that didn’t work either. For some reason, my Entourage aborts the IMAP upload to Gmail, in an oddly random manner. Some small number of messages are uploaded (and the number is not the same each time), and then Entourage throws up an “Error 1025” (whatever that is), and a message of “Unable to append message to folder”.

So, back to my friends, William Smith’s commenters. There seemed to be evidence that Apple’s .Mac mail service could be used to supply the third mail account. So I signed up for a free trial, and tried again. This time, it all worked – almost. The messages uploaded to .Mac fine, and Google Mail Fetcher started pulling them in to Gmail. All went well – I transferred several thousand messages – until I got to a particular folder in Entourage’s mailfile. All the messages in this folder were uploaded to .Mac, Google Mail Fetcher reported, eventually (because this takes a serious while – no, I mean HOURS), that all the mails were fetched, but only half of them ended up in Gmail. Very odd.

This time, my buddies the commenters were no help, nor was the Gmail help system. I tried again, uploading the messages which had got lost to .Mac. Same thing. All uploaded OK, all pulled into Mail Fetcher OK, around half seemingly thrown on the Gmail floor. I spent most of this afternoon trying to work out what was going on, until, eventually, I had a forehead-slapping moment. I realised that the messages which were being thrown away were exactly the messages that I’d uploaded with bad timestamps way back in the first step, and which were still sitting in my Gmail Trash folder, waiting for the executioner’s axe. Gmail thought I already had these messages!

So, I emptied the Gmail trash, started over, and everything seems to be running sweetly.

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