I have used many e-mail programs over the ~~years~~ decades - I may have written about this before, but with nearly 150 posts I'm starting to forget what I have written about and what I haven't.
I started using e-mail back in the days before the Internet with Telecom Gold, AppleLink, QuickMail and InterMail (which became Microsoft Mail then QuarterDeck Mail and finally Star Nine Mail) plus many BBS's (TBBS, CIX, CompuServe etc). Unix e-mail and various unix e-mail readers
E-mail really came into it's own with the modern internet and the POP3 / SMTP protocols for receiving mail and storing it on your own machine. This was way before the likes of Yahoo Mail, HotMail, GMail etc and IMAP servers.
Consequently I have almost all my important e-mail from 1997 onwards. Up until this year they been stored in various e-mail products and migrated from one to the next as the OS changed or the products were retired.
The coming version of the macOS won't run 32-bit applications anymore and the POP3 e-mailer that I am using is not going to run anymore. Thus, this year I started the migration with all new e-mail going to the new IMAP based e-mail program (so that I would never have this problem again) and started moving 22+ years of e-mail from my local drive to the IMAP Server.
For the record my e-mails have been stored in and migrated from:
- Claris E-mailer
- Outlook Express (mac)
- Entourage (Office 2001)
- Entourage (Office 2004)
- Entourage (Office 2008)
- Skipped Entourage (Office 2011) as it was junk
- Outlook (Office 365)
I have tried too many other e-mail programs to name them here. Most I have rejected. PostBox does look promising and I do use the Apple Mail program in macOS and Spark on iOS.
For most conversions I simple pointed the new e-Mail program at the old e-mail Database and everything would be migrated. Not so with the latest Outlook. I am having to export and re-import in stages all the messages (~100,00) in batches. It's is a slow process, but I'll get there by the end of the year and if needed I can switch to any e-mail program in the future without ever doing this again. Hopefully the IMAP service won't go away (I have an archive elsewhere if really really needed as I really don't want a single point of failure when it comes to my records).
Note: Most e-mail gets tossed, it doesn't have much use. A lot of personal or financial e-mails do and need to be kept, in some cases forever. Every now and again I run into something like - what was the name of the roofing contractor that we used on the building in Tennessee as there is a leak now, is it still under warrantee? It's a lot faster to search e-mail than paper records when its 10+ years ago.