PC to Mac: Getting There

thunderbird.jpgMigrating your Outlook Express Contacts to Apple Mail

When I purchased my MacBook Pro a year ago, I had originally intended it to be my portable editing facility. In the current configuration, it has more than enough power to edit DV or HDV in the field with an attached G2 FW800 drive and a Sony HDV deck. My HP Pavilion DV8000 is also a 17-inch system, but weighs quite a bit more than the MacBook Pro. Little did I know that midway through this fall semester I would get extremely tired of lugging two laptops to work with me so I could get class work done on the Mac (thanks to Keynote being an awesome app) and my regular writing (DVICE.com, Major Spoilers, Coolness Roundup) on the PC.

Around November I decided to make the migration from using the PC laptop to using the Mac exclusively for everything I do. For the most part I have mirrored everything from the PC to the Mac, with two exceptions; Adobe After Effects (needs to be updated to run on Leopard), and my e-mail. I like Mac Mail a lot, but considering I have hundreds of contacts on the PC, moving them to the Mac as easily as possible is/was one of those final frontier things.

Of course Microsoft and Apple are never going to make it easy to migrate from one system to the other, and my contact list is no exception. Using the standard export/import features on both applications was not a success. Either no data would import, or about half the contact info would import, but not in the correct information cell.

Fortunately, an hour of searching the web for a short way revealed the answer – use Thunderbird as an in between step.

Take the jump for the step by step and save yourself the trouble if you are moving.

  1. On your PC download Thunderbird, the free email application by the same fine people that brought you FireFox. Note: Thunderbird looks like an awesome program, and you might want to check it out for yourself first. You might just find it does everything you need, and since it works on both PC and Macs, you can stop at step 1.
  2. When Thunderbird finishes installing, it will automatically scan your system for all mail programs and ask which one you want to import your contact list from. Since Outlook Express was found on mine, it began to automatically convert the contact list into a format Thunderbird understands.
  3. When the install and import is complete, open Thunderbird and export your contacts in the LDIF format. Save this file, and then move it to your Mac.
  4. On the Mac, open Address Book, and choose Import>LDIF, then navigate to the saved file.
  5. You’re finished! Surprisingly going through an independent third party allowed everything to import flawlessly, and I’ve now closed up shop on the PC latop for 99.5% of the daily tasks I do.

Hope this helps, I know it these kinds of things help when you are stranded in the middle of nowhere needing a little guidance.

Written by Stephen Schleicher - Stephen Schleicher is one of those guys that has always loved comics but never got into them until really late in life - like high school in the 80s. He just missed the Crisis on Infinite Earths, but has been around for every major crossover since. Stephen knows his way around video and film production having been a director, producer, editor, and motion graphics artist for projects ranging from small promotional pieces for Wachovia all the way up to regional videos for the Division of Emergency Management. As a prolific writer, Stephen began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen also freelances for the Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog. When not writing, Stephen shares his knowledge as a tenured faculty member at Fort Hays State University. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. Favorite Writers: Mark Waid, Geoff Johns, Paul Dini, Adam Beechen, Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges Favorite Artists: Dan Jurgens, Alex Ross, Adam Hughes, Freddie Williams III

2 Replies to “PC to Mac: Getting There”

  1. I did just that a few months back. I am a subscriber to Plaxo (www.plaxo.com ). One of the main features of this service is to keep your contacts up to sync in many places. I use this service to keep my Yahoo, Outlook, and Mac Addresses in sync all the time. I used to only have Yahoo and Outlook. But I was able to add Mac Sync easily too. I just installed the Plaxo client on my Mac and .. poof… it was all there. Simple as could be.

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