Import Your Mail into GMail using Thunderbird and GMail Loader (GML)

Today I had the pleasure to use this great piece of software by Mark Lyon called GML. First of all it does what it says. In other words you need this if you had enough with POP3 and IMAP accounts, and you want to move them all in the great webmail by Google, called GMail.

The procedure goes likes this:

  1. You grab Thunderbird
  2. You setup your POP3 or IMAP account in Thunderbird
  3. You make sure that messages in your INBOX and SENT ITEMS are readable offline (in case of IMAP, you have to make sure that all messages are downloaded). To do this, right click Inbox or Sent Items, go to Offline tab and click Download Now.
  4. Wait until all mail has been downloaded (may take some time depending on your connection speed).
  5. Right click in the account, choose properties, there choose server settings. Make sure you copy in the clipboard the path in Local directory. Now you're done with Thunderbird. Close it.
  6. Get GML and run the exe (for MacOSX/Linux users use .py sources). It's pretty easy. Note that you have to put the correct SMTP server else you will get errors.
  7. Now for inbox, it is the INBOX file in the path of your mailbox is the local dir you copied above. (NOTE: INBOX, not INBOX.msf). Point to that file, fix your gmail address and click the "Send to Gmail". Wait (may take a long time, do not worry, program seems to be unresponsive, that's not true however). You can track the progress if you login in your and you'll one by one see the mails coming.
  8. Do this again for the Sent file (again file without .msf).
  9. Now close the GML. Go to (if you haven't done it already) and select the messages that you migrated, mark them as READ, and you may want to archive them by hitting Archive.

You're done! Close the PC, make yourself something cool to drink, you did a great thing today! Enjoy your success.

PS. It works, I did it twice.
PS2. Outlook users will end up with mailbox (mbox) format or maildir (less likely). There are ways to make it work with those formats, but I did not bother. Google it and good luck!

10 thoughts on “Import Your Mail into GMail using Thunderbird and GMail Loader (GML)

  1. I tried several times to make it work with python – only with your directions I was able to make it work. So happy it works! Finally!

    Thank you so much for putting this up 🙂

  2. But this will erase all the original time/date stamps from the emails right? This is a problem if I need to lookup emails based upon when they were originally recieved in my inbox…

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