Email Import/Export Solutions

The web is full of free solutions for exporting mail but the pitfalls are rarely mentioned. This page lists the advantages and disadvantages of various methods and explains why using Aid4Mail is usually better.

There are three types of methods you can use to transfer email:

  • the integrated Import feature of your mail program;
  • one or more free programs/services to create an importable format;
  • a commercial solution like Aid4Mail.

The Pitfalls

The main problems encountered with free mail export solutions are that they can be extremely technical, time-consuming, and not very accurate. They may work fine for simple text-based email messages, but can demonstrate severe problems if messages contain any of the following:

  • File attachments
  • Embedded images and other media
  • Diacritical marks (like é, è, ç)
  • Non-Latin characters
  • Digitally signed emails (signed MIME)

To make matters worse, these problems may not be immediately evident because they only appear in certain email messages, and may be discovered once it is already too late and the originals have been deleted.

The screenshot on the left, below, shows some of these issues after a conversion from Outlook using the Thunderbird import tool. Note the problems with accented characters, the misplaced image, and the altered Chinese attachment name. On the right is the email message as it should be displayed, after conversion with Aid4Mail.

Converting from Outlook using Thunderbird’s import tool.
Converting from Outlook to Thunderbird using Aid4Mail.

Read on to see which mail conversion solution best suit your needs...

1. Integrated Import/Export Feature of Mail Program

This is often the obvious choice for users of mail programs that support the files to import. However, few realize that these integrated conversion tools are less than perfect and can sometimes result in the loss of valuable email information.


  • Free.
  • Easy to use (when it works).
  • Usually fast (for limited number of accounts).
  • In some cases can import address books and account settings.

Disadvantages may include:

  • Limited import/export options:
    • no support for your source files or target format,
    • cannot choose which mail folders or files to import,
    • cannot choose where to save imported mail folders,
    • cannot be automated (critical for large scale migrations).
  • Expects source mail in a specific location.
  • Fails to work if a special file is missing.
  • Poor conversion leaves certain types of email messages unreadable.
  • Loss of mail information such as:
    • email attachments,
    • inserted contents like pictures,
    • original message date,
    • status information (read, replied, flagged).

See some examples of poor email conversion.

2. Other Free Conversion Methods

This solution is often suggested on blogs and forums, and suits technical people who know what they are doing and don’t mind spending a lot of time over their conversion. It’s typically a manual process that involves using several free tools or services; each cover a small part of the conversion process to create files that can be imported by your email program.


  • Free.

Disadvantages may include:

  • Time consuming.
  • Difficult to follow.
  • Poor conversion leaves certain types of email messages unreadable.
  • Loss of mail information such as:
    • email attachments,
    • inserted contents like pictures,
    • original message date,
    • status information (read, replied, flagged),
    • folder hierarchy.

See some examples of poor email conversion.

Using a free solution will save you money, but is it worth all the disadvantages? You may lose important mail data and only discover the problem weeks or years later when it’s too late.

3. Aid4Mail Software Solution

Aid4Mail is based on years of expertise in the field of email processing. It is suitable for both small and large scale mail conversion projects, from home use to large corporate migrations.


  • Fast.
  • Easy to use.
  • Many conversion options, including:
    • choose which mail folders or files to export,
    • choose where to save exported mail folders.
  • Supports over 40 email programs and file formats:
    • Office Outlook, Windows Live Mail, Outlook Express,
    • Mozilla Thunderbird, Eudora, Apple Mail,
    • Outlook MSG and PST files, DBX, mbox, EML,
    • IMAP accounts, Gmail,, Yahoo! Mail,
    • and more...
  • Business editions can convert mail to special formats like PDF, CSV, and XML.
  • Supports local mail files that are disconnected from their email program (for example unmounted PST files).
  • Handle mail files on external media (CD, DVD, USB drives).
  • More accurate than competing solutions (including commercial ones).


  • Not free (price starts at just $19.95 US)

If you need an easy and reliable way to:

then the wait is over. Get Aid4Mail now and start migrating your email today.

Try Aid4Mail for Free

Take advantage of our free trial and start using Aid4Mail today. There’s no sign-up form to download Aid4Mail and you can run it in trial mode for as long as you need. This way you can verify that Aid4Mail is fully compatible with your system and does what you require.

Aid4Mail is delivered in a quality installer that doesn’t make any irreversible changes to your system. All its files are copied together under the folder of your choice. You can easily uninstall Aid4Mail at any time by using Add/Remove Programs in the Windows control panel.

How Your FREE Trial Works

Aid4Mail operates in trial mode until a license is purchased and the product is activated. In trial mode, all features are available but with the following limitations:

  • A trial mode screen is displayed for 8 seconds each time you start the wizard.
  • Processing is limited to a maximum of 50 messages per mailbox.
  • A numbered trial tag is added to the subject line of exported messages.

If you need to run performance tests on an unlimited number of emails during trial mode, add the /NoLimit switch to your Aid4Mail command line. Using it removes the 50 emails per folder trial limitation. Instead Aid4Mail replaces all exported subject lines with a trial notice.

These limitations are removed once you purchase a license and activate Aid4Mail.

System Requirements

  • Operating System: Aid4Mail runs under Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP, 2000, Server 2012, 2008 and 2003. Both Windows 32-bit and 64-bit are supported.
  • Software Requirements: Office Outlook (32-bit version) or Microsoft’s free standalone version of MAPI must be installed to process mail to or from Outlook/Exchange profiles, *.msg and *.pst files.

Ready to Buy Now? It’s Quick and Easy

Choose Your Edition of Aid4Mail for Email Import/Export Solutions:

Note that, as with competing tools, you’ll need one license per end-user mail account. A single license is enough if you use several personal accounts—all accessible from one PC. You may use Aid4Mail on two computers when transfering mail from the old one to the new.

Aid4Mail ProfessionalAid4Mail Home
Price $39.95 US $19.95 US
Usage Private and professional For private mail only
(please choose)
Interface Wizard Wizard
Supports MS Exchange Yes No
Search/Filter Emails Yes No
Convert to XML, CSV, PDF Yes No
Custom Scripts Yes No
License Activation Online Activation Code Online Activation Code

Please note that you need one license per seat or one license per end-user mail account, whichever is greater. See the Aid4Mail End User License Agreement for details on usage conditions or the EULA Comparison Chart for a quick overview.

Aid4Mail MigratorAid4Mail Console
Price From $480 US Included
Usage From 20 seats From 20 seats
Validity From two months  From two months 
Interface Wizard (GUI) Command line (CLI)
Supports MS Exchange Yes Yes
Run from a server or thumb drive Yes Yes
Convert directly from PST to PST No Yes
Batch process multiple PST files No Yes
Run from scripts, batch files, … No Yes
Run as a Windows Service No Yes
License Activation Offline key file Offline key file

IMPORTANT: please check your computer meets the system requirements before buying!

Your order will be processed by cleverbridge via the secure SSL protocol, so your private data remains safe and confidential. PayPal and all major credit cards are accepted. You can also use a purchase order if you're a registered business and your order exceeds 100 USD.

Your personal license details and a printable invoice will be delivered to you by email immediately after your order is accepted.


If you need a fast and accurate email discovery tool, you can trust Aid4Mail to do the job for you. Get your license now and start exporting your email today, or test drive Aid4Mail for free in trial mode and see for yourself how well it works.