IncrediMail to Outlook Conversion Explained
Despite the seeming similarity of nearly all email applications, the real difference between them lies in the storage formats they use. Whereas the most common EML format has a clear structure that consists of a header, body and an optional MIME-encoded attachment part, other email formats can use a cardinally different approach to storing data. For example, IncrediMail (www.incredimail.com by IncrediMail Ltd.) stores emails in a way that makes direct export to other email applications highly complicated without resorting to third-party tools and special techniques.
IncrediMail as an Alternative to Familiar Email Applications
IncrediMail is one of the most remarkable and non-conventional email clients on today’s market offering a host of message decoration options, colorful themes and animated notifications. All these blows and whistles create a unique communication environment and user experience that appeals to the creative kind and everyone else bored with lackluster and business-like interfaces of the more commonplace email applications. However, the program appears to be quite intrusive in terms of placing its shortcut in the Startup folder, replacing the default search services and browser start page, among other things. This excessive penetration into the user’s system becomes irritating for people who prefer more control over their operating system, browsers and commonly used software. Besides, as colorful and fun as it is, IncrediMail can hardly be called a proper piece of software for corporate or business use, which is exactly why so many people abandon it after having played with it for a while.
What is the IncrediMail Message Format?
IncrediMail has always stored its data in proprietary formats. Version 1.x used a delimited text file for messages, but starting from version 2.0, the program uses IMM (IncrediMail Mailbox) files, its own database format that is completely incompatible with any existing alternative clients. Since emails are stored in the database and attachments are saved to an outside folder, it’s nearly impossible to create associated message/attachment pairs without knowing the internal format and, therefore, using third-party tools.
How to Migrate from IncrediMail to Outlook?
If you are trying to move your messages from IncrediMail to Outlook (or pretty much any other email application), you have a few options to choose from. In this article, we’ll try to cover all of them, highlighting their advantages and downsides. All of them are based on extracting individual messages and attachments from IMM files and repacking them into the necessary destination format. The level of process automation, however, will differ, as will the amount of effort required for a successful migration.
Method #1 – Manual and 100% free
As the saying goes, if you want to do something well, do it yourself. An otherwise great idea, it will only work if you need just a few messages converted. In all other cases, it will be a tedious, nerve-wrecking routine.
The concept is very simple: open IncrediMail and start dragging and dropping the necessary messages onto your desktop or to a particular folder on the hard drive. Please note that each new file will have the same name, so you will have to rename the previously extracted one to avoid a naming conflict. As you can imagine, migrating over a dozen messages using this method will soon turn into an exercise in futility. Therefore, if you need more automation, we recommend resorting to alternative approaches.
Method #2 – Try Freeware
Free conversion tools save you the trouble of having to handle each message automatically – and they help you save if you are on a budget. However, you probably know that there is a catch with everything free. First of all, just as all free and open source software, free converters may have all kinds of unnecessary extras attached to them. These add-ons, plug-ins and other components may clog your system, occupy the remaining free space on your web browser panels and even spy on you by copying your contacts list for spamming, capturing your browsing history or doing other unwanted things without you even knowing.
Yet another disadvantage of free conversion tools is the level of commitment that their developers demonstrate. Most of these products make it to a second or – at best – a third major release and are abandoned never to be updated again.
If you search for free IncrediMail to Outlook tools online, you will soon find that there aren’t many around. Most probably, you will stumble upon:
IncrediConvert – a program that’s been around for a while, but currently no longer supported. Unfortunately, IncrediConvert only supports IncrediMail 1.x files and won’t work with version 2 and above.
IncrediMail Converter Reynardware – free, but the latest version stopped at 0.53 back in 2010 with no signs of activity ever since. The product seems to support IncrediMail 2.x files, but only dumps messages to the EML format onto your hard drive, so you have to do the rest. However this allows to transfer IncrediMail emails to another emails clients such as Live Mail, Outlook Express, Thunderbird. It is enough to drag them to desired folder. And after that you may use standard options to import these emails into Microsoft Outlook.
Therefore, if you are using a modern version of IncrediMail and need to migrate to Outlook, you can’t do without a proper commercial product.
Method #3 – Get the job done with a tool made for it
If you have a budget, obtaining a proper product for your IncrediMail to Outlook conversion purposes will be the shortest route from A to B. Specialized conversion tools ensure the integrity of your data, accurate conversion of encodings and speed that other methods aren’t even close to. In addition to the technical simplicity of the process, commercial tools offer such advantages as professional technical support, regular updates and offers from product developers. The latter are committed to making their products better and selling more copies, which guarantees that you will always have the highest-quality, up-to-date conversion tool.
We have downloaded and tested some of the most popular IncrediMail to Outlook conversion tools:
IncrediConvert by Rauno Palosaari – very small and very old version of the converter. Supports only IncrediMail mailboxes of version 1.0. No more developed as source codes were lost (in accordance with software author). Extracts IncrediMail emails to EML files without any efforts and can be used via the command prompt.
Alternative download URL: http://incrediconvert.en.softonic.com/
IncrediMail to Outlook Transfer the only software that can handle the email migration from IncrediMail 2.5 (newest version of IncrediMail) to Microsoft Outlook or PST file. Per our investigation IncrediMail 2.5 using the new IML format for emails and stores attachments separately. IncrediMail to Outlook Transfer product shows that it capable to import emails from IncrediMail 2.5 email store to Outlook without any losses and troubles. This software offered in two separate versions: 32 and 64 bit and can be licensed for Home and Business use.
IncrediMail to Outlook Converter from Megasoft – the program has a simple interface, demonstrates outstanding speed and can save messages directly to the default Outlook User Profile, a hard drive folder or a standalone PST storage file. Low memory usage, automatic detection of the location of IncrediMail storage files. Support of 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Outlook. Supports to extract and convert emails from IMM files of any size. One of the most balanced tool in our review.
Best IncrediMail to Outlook Converter by IncrediConvert GMBH – another one fast and convenient utility for IMM emails migration. I allows to save IncrediMail data to EML and PST formats as well as import IncrediMail emails and attachments to Outlook directly. Software manufacturers also offer the special IncrediMail Recovery software for those who wants to repair damaged IncrediMail messages and restore deleted IncrediMail emails. The software supports 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Outlook 2010, 2013 and any previous version of MS Outlook. It works with IncrediMail storages of XE, 1.0, 2.0 versions and handle email storage files of any size. The most balanced tool in our review. It is receiving 5 of 5 possible stars.
Incredimail to Outlook Migration Tool from MaiMigra – support of IncrediMail 1 and 2, output to EML files on the hard drive or direct transfer to Outlook, a simple UI, automatic search for IncrediMail message and attachment files. Works with Outlook 32-bit edition only, do not support 2013 Outlook. We found some inconsistence during the email migration – many attachments were lost by this tool.
IncrediMail to Outlook Converter from PCVARE Solutions – batch mode support, preservation of the original text formatting, careful handling of header details during conversion, support of all major versions of Outlook and MS Windows but only 32-bit. Can’t handle IncrediMail files over 2 GB. Very high cost for limited usage time.
CataSoftware Incredimail to Outlook Converter – simple and intuitive UI, transfer of emails and attachments, automatic detection of IncrediMail data folders, fast conversion. Supports only 32-bit Outlook and can’t work with IncrediMail storage files which more than 2 GB.
Please share your thoughts on the programs that really helped you out with email migration.