I’ve saved all my important emails since 2002. This is my 2nd or 3rd computer upgrade since then. The other times, I was able to transfer my email easily into the mail program on my new computer.
But I ran into a slight glitch this time. My old computer was Windows Vista and my email program was Windows Mail. My new computer is Windows 8.1. It does not have Windows Mail. The recommended path is to go to Outlook and that’s fine by me. The problem was that Outlook 2013 (64-bit) on Windows 8.1 could not import Windows Mail emails.
The workaround was to import Windows Mail into an Outlook (32-bit) version, then export a .pst file from that and import it into the 64-bit version of Outlook. Well, I’m just lucky I had a 32-bit version of Outlook on my old computer because I had been using Outlook 2010 on it. I’m lucky it was 32-bit. It could have been 64-bit because my old machine was 64-bit. This just added one intermediate step, but that didn’t take too long, and now I’ve got my 12 years of important email in my new mail client and available for searching and reference.
What happened is I almost waited too long.
I almost waited until there was no longer a way to move from my old technology to a new one.
This reminds me to remind you of the big lesson you’ll learn the first time you lose something because you waited too long. So don’t do it:
1. Don’t wait until your hard drive fails before you decide backing up is a good thing.
2. Don’t wait until your computer is so old that you can no longer transfer your data onto a new computer.
3. Don’t use a non-supported genealogy program - think Personal Ancestral File (PAF) –and delay your switching to another program until there are no other programs available that can read in your data from that program.
4. Don’t leave your 8 mm or VHS videos you recorded untransferred to digital unless you are sure you still have a device that will play them to allow you to transfer them.
5. Don’t expect in 20 years from now that anyone else will keep these transfer technologies around. Even if you’re willing to pay for the transfer service, there may be no one who can do it for you.
6. But most of all, and number 1 for genealogists: Don’t wait to interview your older relatives and get what they know. Drop everything else and do that now. Searching online can wait. But the information in people’s heads may be lost forever should they become incapacitated or pass away before you talk to them.
Which reminds me. I’m not sure I have a working cassette player. I’d better go look.