Google webMail Filer For Thunderbird - gHacks Tech News

Google webMail Filer For Thunderbird

Lets say you have used the Mozilla Thunderbird client for some time and have decided to move to the cloud, more precisely to Gmail or Google Mail.

Question is, how do you get your emails and the folder structure over to Gmail? Sure you could do that manually; create the folders over on the Gmail website and forward each and every of your emails to your Google email address. But that's not very practicable if the mail count exceeds a few dozen. What if you have thousands of emails neatly sorted in folders?

Update: the Thunderbird extension is no longer available. We suggest you use the excellent (and free for personal use) MailStore Home software to back up emails and migrate them to your Gmail account. You may also be able to import emails directly on the Gmail website as you can specify Pop3 or IMAP mailboxes that you want to import there as well. End

Google webMail Filer for Thunderbird

google webmail filer

You need a third party software like Google webMail Filer for Thunderbird then. The free open source application can process Thunderbird mbox (mailbox) files and import them into Gmail.

Users need to supply their Gmail username and password so that the application can import the mails into the account. That's a problem for some even though the program is open source and theoretically at least possible to find out if something shady is going on (it is not). Still, since most computer users don't have time to analyze source code or the ability to read it in first place, some may skip the software because of the requirement. It would have been better if the program would use Google's official authentication options instead.

I'd still recommend to change the password as soon as the operation has completed successfully. The mail export itself is very simple. It begins by entering the Gmail username and password into the required fields before loading a Thunderbird mail folder using the built-in file browser.

The program scans the selected folder and displays all mbox files in a listing. Each can be selected individually or all by selecting the Tootle Selection option. A click on start filing starts the export of the mails to Gmail. The program monitors the size of the Gmail inbox to block uploading once an 85% fill rate is reached.

Note that you get mailbox folders returned by the program; it is not possible to link mailbox folders with particular emails unless you analyze the folders through other means first.

Users interested in the portable software can download it and its source from the developer homepage over at Admincraft. The software is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows and requires the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5.

Closing Words and Verdict

Google webMail Filer For Thunderbird is a useful program for Windows users who want to move their emails from the desktop email client Thunderbird to Google's Gmail service.

Summary
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Software Name
Google webMail Filer for Thunderbird
Operating System
Windows
Software Category
Email
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Comments

  1. LogicDaemon said on January 7, 2011 at 10:29 pm
    Reply

    if this ‘filer’ does not move filters, the more straight, standard and easier way is to set up Google mailbox in MT with IMAP, and then just copy whole directory structure of MT with drag-and-(ctrl+)drop!

    And also what about Google’s (non-web) application for mail uploading / moving to the cloud?

    1. AdminCraft.Org said on January 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm
      Reply

      Hi,

      “if this ‘filer’ does not move filters, the more straight, standard and easier way is to set up Google mailbox in MT with IMAP, and then just copy whole directory structure of MT with drag-and-(ctrl+)drop!”

      Google does not support Thunderbird filters, or any other filters of any sort!!
      Google mail has its own filters which are not interoperable with any other software/service. What you mention is impossible/inapplicable.

      Google IMAP is heavy enough to break on broadband connections. Lowlevel IMAP interaction is much reliable.

      “And also what about Google’s (non-web) application for mail uploading / moving to the cloud?”

      You mean Google Mail Uploader, which is obsolete (as of august 2010) and worse in many aspects:

      – Works only with Google Apps Premier domains.
      – Limits the user to existing TB profile, if any. If you don’t have TB configured for at least one profile, you are pretty much screwed.
      – Single-threaded, the interface hangs while working.

      Thanks!

      AdminCraft.Org
      The System Administrator Website

      1. AdminCraft.Org said on January 8, 2011 at 1:28 pm
        Reply

        Oh, I also forgot to mention that Google Mail Uploader does not recognize TB folder trees correctly, you will end up seeing only top level folders.

        Thanks!

        AdminCraft.Org
        The System Administrator Website

  2. AdminCraft.Org said on January 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm
    Reply

    @ Martin:

    You are welcome anytime you need to discuss security issues with my code, if you happened to have found any!

    Although – as with any GPL software or even commercial software – Google webMail Filer for Thunderbird comes with no warranty what-so-ever, it has nothing to do with any user credentials it handles. It only uses them for its intended purpose, does not store them or leak them in any way.

    The security risk is as equal to you typing your credentials into the command line window with openssl s_client, if you know about openssl.

    Thanks!

    AdminCraft.Org
    The System Administrator Website

  3. LogicDaemon said on January 8, 2011 at 5:39 pm
    Reply

    @AdminCraft.Org:
    [quote]
    Google does not support Thunderbird filters, or any other filters of any sort!!
    Google mail has its own filters which are not interoperable with any other software/service. What you mention is impossible/inapplicable.
    [/quote]
    First there is lab feature for exporting and importing filters, so this is possible.
    Second, of course 1:1 mapping of MT filters to Google format is impossible, but many cases are real enough. Especially counting “sorting” filters, which are used most often IMHO (filters which look for a phrase in subject or check sender address and place message to appropriate folder)

    [quote]Google IMAP is heavy enough to break on broadband connections. Lowlevel IMAP interaction is much reliable.[/quote]
    I am sorry, but what do you mean? I’m quite technician, and never heard of any “low-level IMAP”.

    I uploaded hundreds of megabytes with MT to Google IMAP mailboxes when migrated there, and nothing broke (configured MT according to Google recommendations first). The time of upload, I have been using synchronous 2M connection.

    However I had to make it in several stages, due to google’ s bandwidth limits. Have you found way to work around them?

    1. AdminCraft.Org said on January 9, 2011 at 5:16 pm
      Reply

      [Quote]First there is lab feature for exporting and importing filters, so this is possible.
      Second, of course 1:1 mapping of MT filters to Google format is impossible, but many cases are real enough. Especially counting “sorting” filters, which are used most often IMHO (filters which look for a phrase in subject or check sender address and place message to appropriate folder)[/Quote]

      There is a Labs feature, correct, but this is for Google’s own filters. Proprietary. Non-Interoperable. However, your thoughts are interesting: I might add a filter-conversion feature to my software :)

      [Quote]I uploaded hundreds of megabytes with MT to Google IMAP mailboxes when migrated there, and nothing broke (configured MT according to Google recommendations first). The time of upload, I have been using synchronous 2M connection.[/Quote]

      In the case of my customer (referring to my article http://admincraft.org/arts/gmail.filer.html), which was the reason I wrote the software, it was hundreds of trees with many thousands of subfolders allotting 10-20 GBytes in each account. So it must be a different story. The bandwidth available was synchronous 10MB.

      Nevertheless, Thunderbird – latest 3.x – was failing to sync downstream a single message with 4MB attachment. This is what I mean by “high-level IMAP”. I do not really know what does Thunderbird do to cause this failure. Could it be issuing IMAP commands in batches, which makes sync more long and difficult (remember the GBytes)?

      Whatever the reason is my tool works, IMHO, faster and more reliably.

      [Quote]However I had to make it in several stages, due to google’ s bandwidth limits. Have you found way to work around them?[/Quote]

      Unlike Thunderbird, Google webMail Filer for Thunderbird creates a new connection for each mbox file, then closes it once done. This eliminates the need to stage sync jobs. Yet, the user will not be interrupted.

    2. AdminCraft.Org said on January 9, 2011 at 5:42 pm
      Reply

      It is also possible to add support for individual huge mbox files. But, this would be an over-kill. Why?

      I had this one user who has been using Google’s IMAP on Thunderbird. His account had more than 8GBytes of used space, however, when his account was suspended (for intensive use), the error message complained about time of activity, not amount of activity!

      In your case, however, I think you were hitting the connection threshold per user (check here http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=97150) which is only 10.

      This has been an interesting discussion.

      Thanks!

      AdminCraft.Org
      The System Administrator Website

      1. LogicDaemon said on January 9, 2011 at 9:53 pm
        Reply

        I don’t think so: default MT connections number is limited by 5, and I manually lowered it to 1. But I’m using basic account, so my restrictions (on traffic) might be tighter.

        [quote]Nevertheless, Thunderbird – latest 3.x – was failing to sync downstream a single message with 4MB attachment.[/quote]
        I see this thing quite often, and don’t know what causes it. Re-indexing corresponding IMAP folder causes all messages to re-download and the failed message usually downloaded correctly. However, due to very long download times of large folders, I had to set 100K limit in “do not download messages larger than” in MT.

        However this is far offtopic now.

        Thanks for the tool anyway, will consider!

  4. jtravis said on February 23, 2012 at 11:42 pm
    Reply

    Any idea what the following error indicates?
    Error@webMatch.0: The given key was not present in the dictionary.
    Aborted: 2012.02.23@14.17.41

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