I backed up all emails in Outlook 2003 that resulted in a pst file. Wiped out computer and installed Ubuntu 12.04. Opened Thunderbird and after clicking on Tools and Import... nothing shows up in the From: box. Some research I found said to install readpst but after it's installed I'm still having trouble figuring out how to run the program.

Is there another option? Some other way than typing code that I don't understand to convert the pst file to thunderbird email file and import/integrate the saved/backup up outlook 2003 file into thunderbird?


I just tried installing the pst plugin myself. It turns out it's too old. So I guess you'll have to use readpst.

The following instructions are taken directly from here

  • Open the file manager and navigate to the directory where your pst archive is located
  • right-click somewhere in the directory and select "open in terminal"
  • in the terminal run:

(just copy these 2 commands and paste them into the terminal with Ctrl-Shift-v)

create dir for your exported mail

 mkdir pst-export

export the pst archive

readpst -D -M -b -e -o pst-export name_of_your_archive.pst

Make sure you change name_of_your_archive.pst to the correct file name.

  • open thunderbird
  • go to Tools > Add ons
  • in the search bar type: "import export"

enter image description here

  • install the importexport tools
  • you will be asked to restart thunderbird -> do so
  • right-click your mail account folder and create a new folder (temporary) where you want your outlook mails to go to.

enter image description here

  • right-click the new folder and choose import/export > import all messages from a directory > also from its subdirectories

  • finally choose the directory where you exported your pst archive to. In this case: pst-export

this will take a while. When it's done you can move the emails to any directory you want. Hope this helps.

  • Thank you for your response. I downloaded the program and had trouble figuring out how to use it. I could not open, or extract the pst files. I could add my pst file to an archive and then extract but trying to figure out how to go from there was confusing.
    – crazydogz
    Mar 5 '13 at 19:15
  • @crazydogz The plugin I suggested was incredibly old. Sorry about that. I'm not a thunderbird user so take everything I say with a grain of salt. Couldn't find any other ways besides readpst, but the revised method should work and is pretty detailed. Mar 5 '13 at 20:07
  • as of mar 16 this add-on does not appear when searched for "import export"
    – awd
    Mar 13 '16 at 14:31

If you want to do this with readpst then Here you can find how to do it.

  • 2
    Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference.
    – hhlp
    Mar 5 '13 at 19:03
  • I thank you for the response. I was able to copy and paste all of the command lines except there were a few that would not work ... "make" response "missing operand" and "su - root" and "readpst -r 'my file name' - out" ... plus the error "warning: pointer targets in passing argument 1 of ‘strlen’ differ in signedness [-Wpointer-sign]" ...what am I supposed to do with it now?
    – crazydogz
    Mar 5 '13 at 19:14
  • I'm still working at it and finally got down to just one error: Opening PST file and indexes... Error opening PST file: No such file or directory Error opening File
    – crazydogz
    Mar 5 '13 at 19:57

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