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

Olivier Nicole olivier.nicole at
Tue Aug 12 16:33:24 UTC 2014


>>> .... 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
> I am retreiving mail from my ISP using their POP3 server, as per the last
> 20-ish years. T-bird stashes it iv the Mail directory under my user .... No
> IMAP involved that I know off :-/ ????

Your first message was really unclear, so Paul assumed you were trying
to set-up an email server, while all you are doing is an email client.

First of all, with your new machine, can you access the POP3 server of
your ISP, can you read mail from there? Can you send mail too?

Once that is working, create a new test mail folder, find out where
Tbird did create that mail folder and copy your mail from the old
machine to the new machine with the same scheme as the new test



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