How to view mbox files?


Okay, the problem is you have a lot of e-mail one day that you should delete to clean up you inbox and let you have more free space to work with. Making a backup isn’t the problem and the ‘big guys’ like Google, Microsoft and other main companies all give you tools to generate backup files. Which is great!

What is a .mbox file

Mbox files can contain your e-mail messages. All messages in an mbox file are concatenated and stored as plain text. This is a great way to backup and archive a large number of e-mail messages to a single file.

How to make the .mbox file readable again?

Now a couple of years later you need to extract a specific e-mail. Ha, you were smart, because you remembered the backup you made! The only problem is: “how do you make this .mbox file readable again?” This question took me a morning to figure out.

On the internet you will find all sorts of options and smart software packages to convert .mbox to .pts or readers that will give you access to the e-mails in your file. The main problem with most of them is that the trials won’t let you search or are limited to a specific number of e-mail. So if you need to unpack a large file, I recommend Thunderbird.

The best option? Thunderbird.

After a long search and trying a lot of software packages I came across Thunderbird, the e-mail software developed by Mozilla, the open source giant! If I had know this before, the whole process might have taken me 5 minutes.

Here is how to read .mbox files with Thinderbird:

  1. Download Thinderbird,;
  2. Connect with one of your e-mail accounts;
  3. Go to MENU sign and select the Add-ons tab.
  4. Go To Extensions;
  5. Search for ImportExportTools NG and install the file.
  6. Now Restart Thinderbird;
  7. Place your cursor on one of your folders, like your inbox (or create a new one).
  8. Right click and select ImportExportTools NG > import mbox file.
  9. Now find the file or folder and let the tool do the work.

.mbox to .Pst converter

You could also try to convert the .mbox file to .pts so you can import the e-mails to your Microsoft Outlook. You can use:

  1. Softaken MBOX to PST Converter,
  2. Stellar Converter for MBOX,

Convert .MBOX files to Gmail

With The BitRecover MBOX to Gmail Wizard you can unpack the MBOX file and let the messages be imported to your Gmail account. Check

MBox Viewer

Rather like a quick access? You can try out one of the available MBOX viewers:

  1. SysTools MBOX Viewer,
  2. Kernel MBOX Vieuwer,