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Locked into Outlook on Linux

Locked into Outlook on Linux Posted on May 12, 20168 Comments

Freedom Penguin’s founder & talking head – Matt has over a decade working with Linux desktops, his operating system experience consists of both Windows and Linux operating platforms. In addition to writing articles on Linux and open source technology for Datamation.com and OpenLogic.com/wazi, Matt also once served as a co-host for a popular Linux-centric podcast.

Matt has written about various software titles, such as Moodle, Joomla, WordPress, openCRX, Alfresco, Liferay and more. He also has additional Linux experience working with Debian based distributions, openSUSE, CentOS, and Arch Linux.

(Last Updated On: February 24, 2017)

Today L writes,

I use LinuxMint MATE on a 2nd pc dual booting with Ubuntu Unity 14.04 (soon to be MATE 16.04) but my main pc runs Windows 8.1 (pardon the expression…)
The only thing keeping me from ditching Windows is that i use Outlook 2010 and have many .PST files with email, calendar, and contacts which I need to keep.
I have googled replacements for Outlook such as Thunderbird and Evolution both of which would work going forward but have not found any app that can read and convert the proprietary MS .PST files. There was one app that escapes me that was able to convert the email in the .PST to a format that Evolution could read but it did NOT retain my subfolder structure which is how i keep things straight. It put ALL the individual subfolder contents into 1 huge Inbox. So that doesn’t help me.

One alternative would be to run Win7 in a Virtual Machine but i really don’t want to do that. So do you know how I can convert .PST files keeping the folder/subfolder structure and bring my Outlook Calendar over?
Thanks and sorry for long-winded…


Many years ago, I was in a similar situation. I was dual-booting between Windows XP and one of the popular distros of that time. In my case, it was worth it to me to simply walk away from Outlook and start over. I did this by using one of those programs for Windows you mentioned, that convert PST files into mbox. The mbox file type is compatible with just about any email client, so I was able to get everything moved into Thunderbird without much trouble.

Your situation differs, unfortunately, as your have extensive subfolders and whatnot within Outlook. And I honestly don’t have an answer that will maintain the directory structure as you export everything to mbox format.

My advice is this: From Windows, use one of those PST to mbox exporter apps. Next, boot back to Linux and install Outlook in WINE. This will give you access to the directory structure you need, but allow you to still use Linux full time.

Outlook

Option 2

A second and untested idea would be to subscribe to an Exchange provider. Many of them offer Exchange access for under $10 per month if you shop around. See if it’s possible to import your PST file into the Exchange account. If this works and maintains your directory structure, awesome!

The next step would be to get Thunderbird open and to install the paid version of ExQuilla. This addon will work with most Exchange servers and would maintain the Exchange directory structure…inside Linux. I use ExQuilla for one of my gigs that requires Exchange and it works really well.

Lastly, as an Option 2a, you might investigate and see if one could export your data to Outlook 365. No idea if this would work, but considering the bind you’re in, it seems reasonable to try it.

Any any rate, hopefully one of these options provides you with some relief!

Do you have Linux questions you’d like Matt to help with? Hit the link here and perhaps you too, can Just Ask Matt!

More great Linux goodness!

Matt Hartley

Freedom Penguin’s founder & talking head – Matt has over a decade working with Linux desktops, his operating system experience consists of both Windows and Linux operating platforms. In addition to writing articles on Linux and open source technology for Datamation.com and OpenLogic.com/wazi, Matt also once served as a co-host for a popular Linux-centric podcast.


Matt has written about various software titles, such as Moodle, Joomla, WordPress, openCRX, Alfresco, Liferay and more. He also has additional Linux experience working with Debian based distributions, openSUSE, CentOS, and Arch Linux.


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