Outlook Express to Apple Mail (.dbx convert .mbox)

With the release of Mac OS X Tiger, Apple has removed the option to import Outlook Express emails – so that poses me with a problem with our XP transfers.As always the solution is simple if you know where to look.(Note: If you are using Outlook, open Outlook Express and choose File / Import / Messages / Outlook)

  1. Open Outlook Express. Click on Tools / Options / Maintainence / Store Folder and make a note of it. (It’s nearly always C:\Documents and Settings\YOURNAME\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\NUMBERS\Microsoft\Outlook Express)
  2. You need to convert the .dbx files (that’s the format OE uses for mailboxes) into .mbox files (that’s the format Apple Mail uses for mailboxes). Go and grab dbxconv (download) and dump it into the same directory you noted above.
  3. Run….
    dbxconv -mbx -mbxextmbox *.dbx

    ….and wait, will take a while depending on how large your mailboxes are. 1-2Gb should not take more than about 40 minutes.

  4. You should now have a directory full of files with the extension .mbox. Get all of these files to your new mac (FTP / Intranet / CD Burn Etc.) Open mail and enter your account detials (default opening on Tiger). Then click File / Import Mailboxes / Other and then find your .mbox files on your computer (where ever you put them). The .mbox files will be grayed out so click choose and on the next screen click OK to begin the import. This may or may not take awhile depends on the amount of mail!
  5. Easy peasey, lemon squeazy. Your mail now has a new home!

If you can’t run dbxconv for some reason you can always use Entorage (use a trial, installed on all new macs, or download from Microsoft) – Just drag your mail messages out of outlook and into a folder(s) (organised of you wish), move files to the Mac, boot Entourage and drag the messages in (.eml files). Once they are all in you can click Import / Entourage in Apple Mail.

Added 21st May 2010:
The link no longer works, but a simple google search will find the program elsewhere for you.

9 thoughts on “Outlook Express to Apple Mail (.dbx convert .mbox)”

  1. When I tried this, all I got was one file named “extmbox”, it says it’s an _auto_file. Apple Mail can import it, but it looks like it’s only one of my Outlook Express folders.

  2. Ah, figured it out…just run:

    dbxconv *.dbx

    Now I’ve got all the .mbx files, and have imported them into Apple Mail…sweet!

  3. I heard about not bad application-open dbx file,
    tool that allows the user to recover lost messages from corrupted Outlook Express folders,extracts and saves the user’s messages from files with the dbx extension that Outlook Express uses to store folders, messages and news on the local disk,can be used to reindex large *.dbx files, which helps Outlook Express to start working normally again.

  4. I can’t get this to work. I downloaded the dbxconv.exe and put it in the same folder as the dbx files. I then click Run…and type dbxconv *.dbx. I then need to navigate the “run” command to the folder containing my dbx files and dbxconv. I click on the dbxcon.exe and it populates the run window. I press enter….an execution window opens quickly looking like it’s doing something…then closes…..and all of my dbx files are still dbx, not mbox. help?

  5. Did you find a solution? I’m trying this for the first time. I access the DOS prompt, locte the folder where I have my .dbx files as well as the DbxConv application (i.e. c:\email) My DOS prompt looks like this:


    I type the command dbxconv *.dbx and I get: Bad command or file name. All fiels in the folder are still .dbx

    Thanks much

  6. @Hector, you need to

    a) Be in the right directory (read the post, point 1)
    b) It’s easier if you just copy the dbxconv.exe into the correct directory.
    c) run the command

    *Bear in mind you need to download dbxconv, the link is also in the post ;)

    Good luck.

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