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Ask Max: What's the best way to transfer Mail files from an old Mac to my new one?

Asked on 10/29/2009:

I am going to trade in a G5 Power Mac running 10.4.11 for new Mac Pro 2.66ghz Quad this week. I have read mixed things about migration assistant especially when it comes to applications. I believe this is how my iPhoto library was corrupted when I upgraded from a G4 to a G5 and I would like to avoid these same issues.

How do I transfer my emails in Apple's mail program, both inbox items and archived/saved emails, from the old machine to the new one when it arrives without using migration assistant?




The good news is that you can move the mail file over fairly easily. There is are two folders and a file you need to copy from your home folder. The home folder is in your hard drive in the "Users" folder and then in a folder with your unique user name. The home folder is indicated with a " ~ " symbol and I will use the symbol in describing the files locations.

First copy the preference file: ~/Library/Preferences/

Then grab the main mail folder ~/Library/Mail/

And lastly the Mail Downloads folder ~/Library/Mail Downloads/

On the fresh system copy these back to your new Users account, in there respective places. Then when you launch the new mail app it will look just like the old one.

- Jacob

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