How to transfer Mail from old machine to new FreeBSD box ....

Paul Kraus paul at
Tue Aug 12 15:58:54 UTC 2014

On Aug 12, 2014, at 11:56, William A. Mahaffey III <wam at> wrote:

> .... Well, I am down to the snorting post, the last task I need to complete before putting my new FreeBSD 9.3 box into service, replacing this one (AMD64X2 3800+, FC14 64-bit, terminally patched up several years ago). Unfortunately, it looks like a bit of a doozy. I need to get the Mail directory from the old machine to the new one. To start with, I just copied the whole thing. 35 min. later when it was done, I invoked T-bird on the FreeBSD box & none of the Mail-directory was visible :-/. That method worked AOK the last time I used it, 10+ years ago when I put the old box into service :-). That was also the last time I tried, last time I needed to do that. Is what I am doing supposed to work ? If not, how am I supposed to do this ? Mind you, there are yearly archives going back into the '90's, which I want preserved. The whole Mail directory is ~20 GiB :-/ .... thunderbird.x86_64 17.0.7-1.fc14.remi on the Fedora box, thunderbird 31 on the FreeBSD (box std,) .... TIA for any pointers ….

How is your client accessing the email? IMAP?

Did you remember to install and setup your IMAP server? I use dovecot. Remember to use the same format on the new box (either MailDir or Mailbox, whichever you used on the old).

Or just setup the IMAP server on the new box, configure your email client to see both, and use it to move the email over.

Paul Kraus
paul at

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