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Moving Opera Mail

By Dave Redfern (Writer),

Published: 22 February 2012 14:11 in Resources

Tags: mail, opera,

When the time comes, what is it like to move mail and settings that are in Operas Mail client?


My last post on Operas built-in mail client was... a long time ago now (in computing terms at least!). I have used it pretty much every day and now have over 400MB of mail, filters, rules etc. It has performed very well, and has been an overall pleasant experience.

But every so often the time comes when you have to move computers, or your hard disk dies and you need to restore. In this case, my mail was on a Windows 7 machine that has been left to its own devices while I work on a Mac. Last night after having to power up / down, locate etc the bits I needed on the old machine, I finally decided to migrate the mail. This is something that any Outlook user does not look forward to - especially if you are not using Exchange or IMAP accounts. There is no way to export the account settings reliably and the PST files can be buried in the file system (Outlook 2010 is better - the POP PSTs are now in C:/Users/<User>/Documents/Outlook Mail - IMAP folders (that can be rebuilt) are still under C:/Users/<User>/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Outlook/ (or something like that).

Previously I had not ever tried moving an Opera mail store so there was a certain amount of trepidation before embarking on this. First things first: locate the mail store.

Turns out that on Opera has a couple of locations for storing its various bits:

  • AppData/Roaming/Opera - settings, wand data, sessions
  • AppData/Local/Opera - mail, widgets, icon cache etc.

On Windows 7, AppData is a hidden folder by default that can be made visible by going to Folder Options and Options and selecting "Show Hidden Files and Folders".

With Opera closed, a quick copy and paste to the NAS and mail all backed up.

Next, importing into Opera on the Mac.

Again, you need to make sure that Opera is not running before making changes to the files / folders within the profile folders. The Mac locations are a bit different to Windows (and Linux). There are two main folders:

  • /Users/<User>/Library/Opera - settings, wand data, sessions etc
  • /Users/<User>/Library/Application Support/Opera - mail, widgets etc.

On OSX Lion "Library" is hidden, but can be made visible by some command line foo (I haven't bothered with this though). Snow Leopard has the Library visible by default - you can argue the pros and cons of this the same as hiding "AppData" on Windows Vista / 7.

First up for me was removing the existing mail settings I had been using. The mail I was importing had them anyway so no loss there. The next steps I performed entirely on the command line.

My NAS share is mounted by default under /Volumes/<User> which is where the backup mail had been placed. So after cd'ing to the backup folder on the NAS I made a few checks for sizes and then from within the main "mail" folder:

cp -Rv * /Users/<User>/Library/Application Support/Opera/mail

After a while (there were 12,000+ files to copy), it finished. And now time to see what would happen with Opera when I started.

Opera took a while longer to open than normal, but when it did all the mail was automatically picked up, including the folders, the rules, accounts, settings, passwords - Send & Receive, after a little stutter just worked.

Well that was a relief.

In summary 

It would be better if the mail store was in a more useful - or at least more visible - location. It can be changed via the opera:config settings, but again the default should really be something like: <User>/Documents/Opera/Mail.

With that said, moving the mail this time has to have been the least painful experience I have ever had! Previously I had battled with various versions of Outlook and trying to relocate the PST files, accounts etc, then for a while I was using Evolution and had a hell of time moving from Linux to Windows - which was one of the reasons for adopting Opera.

While Operas mail client won't be to everyones tastes, those that do use it can be fairly sure that should they decide to reinstall or even change OS completely, their mail will go with them with the minimum of fuss.

Now if Opera would add the contacts to Opera Sync...

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