There is a limit to how many system lockups one can stand before doing something about it, and I reached mine Saturday about noon. It took about an hour to identify the culprit: Windows Live Mail 2011 (yes!), which crashed faster and faster with each succeeding reboot. Okay, fine; we'll just do the old System Restore thing, go back three or four days, and pretend this never happened. And System Restore failed every time, regardless of the date selected. (I keep five restore points on hand.) The claim: a file was in use. (It would never occur to Microsoft to say exactly which file it was.) The alternative, of course, is to run it from Safe Mode. It made no difference.

If this thing is as hosed as it looks, I thought I'd better get the Windows 7 CD ready. I looked at it, decided I'd seen too much of it already, and pointed myself to Microsoft, where I paid actual coin of the realm for a copy of Windows 10, which I should have done last year but didn't. One need not shut down the other applications while the download proceeds, so I began looking at what I was facing, emailwise. At about the 95-percent mark, I discovered that there's no follow-on product for Live Mail; there was a newer version, but both of them have been swept away from all the usual download sites, Microsoft's and everyone else's alike.

Okay, then, I'll switch to Outlook. I already knew what it looked like; I've had an actual Hotmail account since they spelled it HoTMaiL. It was not, however, inclined to accept any of my other email accounts. (I have five.) Besides, I'm a POP kind of guy; the volumes of mail I accumulate would drown most IMAP providers. By then, I'd finished downloading Win10, and was ready to run setup. Nicely enough, they left me the option of keeping my existing apps along with my data files. I grinned, punched the button, waited while updates were sought, because with Windows, updates are always being sought.

Came the last screen, which advised that good old Security Essentials was no longer supported. Fine. Win10 has its own security tools. And then down came the chandelier: some probably worthless piece of executable I'd never even heard of, let alone seen, made its presence known, and Setup demanded I uninstall it manually and would proceed no further. I found a directory, scissored it out, and found a reference to it in the Registry, which I also sent to Sheol. Setup still thought it was there. I restarted from scratch, and got no farther.

So the course was set: find something else to work the mail. Rule One: No Gmail. Rule Two: It's got to handle at least four accounts. Rule Three: No Gmail. So I ended up with Mozilla Thunderbird version 60 point something, which was not too hard to get working. Now to move — whaddaya mean, there's no import function?

Eventually I found an add-on, in the classic Mozilla fashion, which would actually do the dirty work once I got the 20-odd storage folders set up. I made a copy of the entire WLM directory, because Windows. About 2.3 GB: 56,000 emails, each in its own little .eml file. All this file manipulation took about three hours, but by heaven, I got it done.

What? Import the address book? Windows would happily let me save the contacts in .vcf files, but Thunderbird doesn't do imports of addresses. I went looking for another add-on, found one, watched T-bird refuse to have anything to do with it. Apparently version 59 is the last version that would work with it.

Then again, the system hasn't crashed since the last boot. And I'll probably need that copy of Win10 when Microsoft pulls the rug out from under Win7, which is just a matter of time.

The Vent

#1088
  9 December 2018

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