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Thread: Forced to migration from Zimbra

  1. #1
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    Red face How to save emails - forced to leave Zimbra account

    Hi guys,

    I would really appreciate some advise. I'm forced to give up my Zimbra account, but I really need to save the emails and access them again in the future. Could anyone explain, what I neet to do?

    I have seen that I can export my account to a "Tar-GZipped" (.tgz) format file. But I wouldn't know what do with it afterwards. Can I view its content in any other mail client than Zimbra?

    Any help would be very much appreciated!

    Thanks, Juliana
    Last edited by Jules4u; 12-13-2010 at 04:38 AM.

  2. #2
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    Yes, that tar-gz file contains everything from your Zimbra account. It has your entire directory structure and keeps each mail message as a single .eml file (with the option of associated metadata).

    Any modern email program should be able to read those .eml files.

  3. #3
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    Default About "Tar-GZipped" (.tgz)

    Quote Originally Posted by odeleon View Post
    Yes, that tar-gz file contains everything from your Zimbra account. It has your entire directory structure and keeps each mail message as a single .eml file (with the option of associated metadata).

    Any modern email program should be able to read those .eml files.
    I'd need to export, periodically, Zimbra email files saved-messages and Sent -- to archive them -- as simple / simplest text files, no tar or compression etc. How to do this?

  4. #4
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    It is better to export the emails as a .eml file so they can be opened and used by another mail client such as Outlook. Use a program like 7zip (free) to unzip the compressed archive.

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    Thanks but I have had 20+ email etc. reader programs over the years, all of which changed formats or disappeared or did other strange things. That is why I archive now in plaintext: the one unchanging / unchanging thing in digital, I figure, always & forever will be the ability to stringsearch plaintext, which is all I need functionally for archival search & retrieval.

    In other words .tgz & .eml may look permanent & unchanging, but I have a few unreadable 1984 Borland Sidekick files encoded in Microsoft extended-ASCII which won't read French, on 5 1/4" floppies, so I'm living proof that this stuff changes.

    Here is what I am doing, tho. Zimbra Export lets me choose files, thank goodness -- I thought it only would tar everything -- and the exported .tgz gets un-tarred and un-zipped easily by my mac. The result is two files each, one containing text and the other containing .tgz metadata: I can see all this can be read by Outlook, Mac or Windows, and I assume importing it back into Zimbra enables it to be read there. Good news.

    The only problem appears to be that Windows doesn't come bundled with utilities for un-tarring and un-zipping, as Mac does. So I'll get some, the 7zip you mention maybe. In the meantime I'll export to Mac and save both the .tgz and the unpacked files there: that unzipped text file gives me what I need, & if both Zimbra & me stay around I can use the .tgz there easily, yes. I'd feared an ascii-mess when I unpacked that zipped file, but it's readable in Notepad thank goodness.

    Thanks very much for your suggestions -- spurred me on to get this done. I really like Zimbra -- lots easier than pine.

    p.s. When you work on your fonts let me put in my bid for two favorites, Baskerville or even better Book Antiqua: I know they're not scalable but they're pretty -- offer us a selection, so we can do the prettified stuff that way, and the numbers & columns in Courier New... :-)

    p.p.s. I see that .eml looks like just the tcp/ip headers -- very useful -- added onto the message text... Some day someone will come along and "improve" that extension, tho -- .eml will become .xeml or .eml2 or .eml.pdq.xyz -- and then my systems won't be able to find the files... So I'm staying with my .txt which at least I can remember. Worst thing about standardization is that it never is.
    Last edited by kessler; 08-02-2011 at 02:32 PM. Reason: add-on

  6. #6
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    True. The .eml file format may change. But, at the very basic level, you have a plain-tect RFC-822 compliant file, which means it's well documented and you could (when the day comes) most likely be able to script something to parse that.

    OR, the mail message wasn't just text, and had some binary attachments, such as a PDF document or a JPEG or PNG image (or whatever); and it would have the base64 encoding of the attachment which, right now, you can decode with some basic command line tools (at least on linux). It's not 100% "future-proof", but then again it's very difficult to guarantee forward-compatibility.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for this, good suggestions -- I like your term future-proof, too, makes a good t-shirt slogan.

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