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mdf



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Topic # 145319 14-May-2014 20:40
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​TL;DR version - Is it possible to save an email to the C: with email metadata available for easy use?

This seems like it should have an easy solution, but I've been stumped so far.

I use Outlook for an email account. I'd like to store some emails outside the .PST file, filed together with other related files (word docs, spreadsheets and .PDFs mainly). It's easy enough to save or ​drag and drop emails from ​O​utlook to an ordinary folder  on the C:. Emails saved/copied/moved this way aren't that usable for subsequent reference though. The subject line of the email becomes the file name, but other metadata (in particular, the email fields like sender, recipient, sent date etc.) isn't there. In Outlook, I search and sort on this information all the time. Windows Explorer even includes metadata tags / file properties / column choices for this email information (I'm not sure of the proper terminology for this, and this might be one of the reasons I am struggling to find an answer). The problem is that Outlook's default .MSG file format doesn't populate this metadata. I've tried all the other Outlook file formats with the same result.

I've also tried other email progra​m​s that save emails in different file formats. It seems that .EML files do populate email metadata / file properties anticipated by the Windows Explorer columns. Of course, Outlook won't save emails in the .EML format (however Outlook 2013 does seem to open .EML files).

What I'd like to do is either populate the ​email metadata / file properties for .MSG files, or save Outlook emails in the .EML file format. I've found a couple of commercial solutions that adopt one of these solutions or the other, but aren't ideal. One option (MessageSave) modifies the existing .MSG metadata. So, for example, the date modified appearing in Windows Explorer is modified to the date the email was sent. My concern with this approach is that it is pretty easy to re-modify the "date modified" information. The other option converts .MSG to .EML. However, all the commercial solutions seem to be focused on some kind of mass conversion (either moving email systems, or for the purposes of legal discovery or audit) For example, SysTools Outlook Conversion. But the tools available under this approach seem much more comprehensive than I need. For example, outputting entire folder trees. So while I don't mind paying for an off-the-shelf solution, I'd prefer one that was a bit more targeted at what I'd like to do.

Any suggestions?

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  Reply # 1045271 15-May-2014 07:35
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What is your understanding of metadata? Do you mean email headers? Thunderbird should save eml files with all headers in them, I could test that tonight.

Mailstore might be a good solution.




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  Reply # 1045434 15-May-2014 11:50
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Yeah, I'm not sure about terminology, which might be part of my problem. The information from the email header about sender, recipient, date sent and so on. Saving things from Thunderbird as a .EML definitely does populate this information in the Windows Explorer fields. I was hoping to find a way to do it using Outlook though - I'm much more familiar with Outlook and have it set up nicely with my usual assortment of rules, filters and views. It's also linked to an Office 365 account.

Mailstore looks like a nice solution, but it's probably more than I need. I was also hoping not to have another repository of information. I really want to keep emails and some other (non-email) files stored/filed nicely together.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1045441 15-May-2014 11:58
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Look over my recent post history - about 2 or 3 weeks ago, I started a thread asking about this and found my own solution which basically involved writing a little script inside outlooks vb editor, then setting up a rule so messages would be saved to the C: drive in a specific folder by their subject and date/time as the file name.




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  Reply # 1045498 15-May-2014 12:34
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Do you really need to see it in a windows explorer preview? Double click it and it'll open. Or save it as a PDF and have a full text search program running.




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  Reply # 1045574 15-May-2014 14:38
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It's not about using the preview pane, rather being able to sort by the column headers (you can select email fields like date received, sender, email address etc. in Windows Explorer). So rather than opening up every email to find the one from ABC@XYZ.com, you can just sort the sender column alphabetically. Searching on a particular address isn't as good, as there may be heaps of emails sent to ABC@XYZ.com that will produce false positives.

I think I've found a way to do it, of sorts. If you save an Outlook message in plain text (.txt) you get a little bit of the message header (to, subject, from and reply-to). If you rename this to an .eml file (which works fine, and the renamed file will open in Outlook and Thunderbird - though I've not tested what it does to the formatting), then Windows Explorer automatically parses this info to populate the additional email column fields/metadata. Unfortunately, this is missing any date fields. If you manually cut and paste the full message header into the .txt/.eml file, you get all of the email column fields/metadata, but is a lot more of a pain.

If I can figure out a script to automate this, it will work well. Ish.

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  Reply # 1045583 15-May-2014 14:49
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Sounds pretty ad hoc to me. Why can't you leave it in Outlook and use its search?




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  Reply # 1045600 15-May-2014 15:05
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Yeah isn't that what search is for....

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  Reply # 1045746 15-May-2014 19:27
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A few reasons. Mainly, as I've said, it makes a lot more sense to keep files related to a particular matter together (regardless of file type) rather than storing emails in one place and other non-emails somewhere else. That's just me and just in this particular context, so might not be as important to others. I've also found that once your Outlook PST file gets to a certain size, Outlook starts slowing down and the chance of corruption (and loss of all emails) increases. Finally, one message per file means you can do incremental backups (i.e. just new emails) rather than having a single huge PST file that would require a full backup each time.


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  Reply # 1045771 15-May-2014 19:59
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I still think a PDF is a good enough option if it were me, but that won't work for you?




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  Reply # 1045796 15-May-2014 20:38
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Yeah, the scripting idea lasted all of 30 minutes before I got frustrated and canned it.

I've just downloaded a trial version of MessageExport. It does way more than I need it to, and it is a bit spendier than I had hoped for (USD80), but on first impressions it seems to work really well.

My free alternative is to use Thunderbird with the same email account on IMAP. Dragging and dropping to the relevant folder files a copy of the .EML file and automatically fills in the relevant Windows Explorer columns.

I'll see how long I can hold out using two clients or migrating fully to Thunderbird. If not, I guess I will shell out for MessageExport.

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  Reply # 1045798 15-May-2014 20:40
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Actually, I should try Windows Mail on a Windows 8 box. Does anyone know what format Windows Mail saves emails as?

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  Reply # 1045950 16-May-2014 00:05
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mdf: Actually, I should try Windows Mail on a Windows 8 box. Does anyone know what format Windows Mail saves emails as?


Its mostly gobbledy gook - the windows mail message store is the worst I have ever seen - so many customer reindexing and rebuilds I have done over the last few years, more so than I ever needed to do with dbx files from outlook express or pst files from outlook.




Ray Taylor
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www.ruralkiwi.com

There is no place like localhost
For my general guide to extending your wireless network Click Here




mdf



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  Reply # 1046012 16-May-2014 07:46
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Good to know, thanks.

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