Migrating from Eudora – Frequently asked questions


  1. What do I have to do with my existing mail folders?
  2. Will I lose anything in the conversion?
  3. Where will my attachments go?
  4. Why do I need to move from POP to IMAP? What’s involved with that?
  5. May I choose to move to an email application other than Thunderbird?

What do I have to do with my existing mail folders?

You’re not required to do or change anything.

However, changing your email client is a good time to clean up your collected email. Mail applications run faster and return search results quicker when they have less mail to manage, so if you are holding onto mail you no longer need, consider deleting it.

When email is being transferred, it will also go through a new scan for viruses. The less scanning required, the faster the transition will go.

Will I lose anything in the conversion?
Your existing mail and mailboxes will absolutely be preserved. As an extra fail-safe, we will leave archived copies of your old Eudora mailboxes stored on your computer even after the Eudora software has been removed. This will expand the window of time for you to recover any old mail that somehow manages to slip through the cracks.

Existing Eudora nicknames for individuals transferred well to Thunderbird in our tests. Unfortunately, group Eudora nicknames do not convert.

A few features do not convert from Eudora to other mail applications. For instance, if you extensively use Eudora filters to automatically sort incoming mail, you will have to recreate those processes in Thunderbird. (This will be necessary because the folders and files for your stored email will be changing.)

There are some other Eudora-specific features and preferences that will not carry over in the conversion, such as color-coded labels. (Thunderbird has a similar feature, called tags, but your existing labels won’t convert.) If there’s a specific Eudora feature that you are concerned about, be sure to bring it up with the ITS staffer who is working with you on your software conversion.

Where will my attachments go?
After the conversion, you will still have access to your existing email attachments.

It’s important, though, for former Eudora users to know how newer email clients store attachments. Thunderbird and other email applications do not put attachments into a separate folder. If you delete a message, you also delete the files attached to it. You’ll want to get in the habit of saving copies of important files that people send to you.

You’ll also want to be careful when you forward messages that include attachments. If you you edit an attachment somebody has sent to you, the recipient of the forwarded message will receive the original, unedited version. After you save changes to a document, you’ll need to make sure that you remove the old document and attach the revised version to the message before forwarding.

Why do I need to move from POP to IMAP? What’s involved with that?
A quick reminder: POP is the original form of email delivery. POP mail is only stored on your computer’s hard drive, and has therefore proven more susceptible to problems relating to lost or damaged files. Reliance on POP also makes it harder to use email as we move around between multiple computers at home and work.

IMAP mail is stored on a server. Having everyone on IMAP enables future strategies for web mail, data security, and other developments. The majority of us at Swarthmore have already switched to using IMAP, but we strongly feel it is time to finally standardize on the newer format for everybody.

We have identified the current POP mail users by reviewing our mail servers. We will contact you if you are in this group. By default, we will help you migrate your inbox and sent-mail to your new IMAP account. We will leave your other mailboxes on your local hard drive, where you can still access them and search through them in your chosen mail client (Thunderbird, Outlook, or Apple Mail). We will provide you with directions for moving your other mailboxes to the server if you wish to access them from other machines.

Remember, even though IMAP stores some or all of your mailboxes on a server, your mail program will be preset to automatically cache your mail on your local hard drive. If you lose your network connection, you can still search and view your existing mail.

May I choose to move to a an email program other than Thunderbird?
Yes. Some people have already grown very comfortable with an email client that they use elsewhere. In other cases, there are specific software features that people have come to rely on, such as syncing with a mobile device.

ITS also supports Apple Mail on the Macintosh and Microsoft Outlook on Windows. When Client Services/Help desk staff contact you about upgrading your mail client, be sure to mention your preference.

For more information about each supported email application, we recommend the following sites:


Apple Mail


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