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Mozilla mailbox in dual-boot machine

Notes on solving one little annoyance on a dual-boot system - how to share a mailbox from both OS?

I've a dual-boot machine running Windows XP and Mandrake 9.1 at home. I frequently see people asking in Linux newsgroups how to share the mailboxes in such a situation between the two OS. Here's my setup - it may not the perfect setup, but it works for me :-) May be it is useful to you too.

Here's what it lets me do. Send and receive e-mail from either OS. Use mailboxes from either OS. Doesn't let me share addressbook.

First, I chose Mozilla Mail as the mail client. I used to use Evolution in Linux, but that was too bloated for my tastes. Rest of these instructions assume that you too prefer to use Mozilla. I'm also going to assume you use POP mail - possibly from your ISP. Let us assume the incoming server is

My version of Mozilla is 1.4.

First, setup your E-mail account with server settings and user information, in both OSes.

Now, create a folder in Windows for storing your Mail. I call mine as Mail/ Please note that I've a FAT32 partition in my machine. I didn't create this folder in my native XP partition, because XP filesystem is mountable as read-only under Mandrake.

Find out where Mozilla created folders for this mailbox. You can find that in Mozilla mail by going to Edit - Mail and Newsgroup Account Settings - - Server Settings, from the last text input box at the bottom of the window, named Local directory. Change this location to full path to Mail/ Now, go to Windows Explorer and copy all files from original location to the newly created folder. Restart Mozilla Mail to see if you can see all the folders.

Now, boot to Linux. Mount the Windows drive under Linux - if you use Mandrake, it would already be there under /mnt/. Start Mozilla Mail. Go change the Local directory to the same location as your Windows Mail directory - it could look like /mnt/win/Mail/ Restart Mozilla Mail and verify if all folders are there.

If you've spare machines, a much better option might be to run an IMAP server in your local network. Then, direct all your mails to the IMAP mailbox. Configure your mail clients to read mail from this one.

  1. My solution is to use the IMAP mail service on my mailhost. Which is fine if your provider offers it of course.

    I've also started using Thunderbird rather than Mozilla mail, definitely recommended.

    Posted by: Andy Todd on July 7, 2003 03:36 AM