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Fox a really long time I've had this CD in storage simply labeled:


Several times over the years I've tried to read this disc but to no avail. Being that I just went thru a bunch of old email, I thought I'd give this disc another go.

No dice. Won't read. It spins up but never shows the directory.

Ticked off at this point, I said to myself, Fuggit. I'm going to see if that old tale of cleaning a CD with toothpaste really works. It did have some minor scratches on it, so why not, right?

I took the CD into the bathroom and smeared toothpaste liberally all over the data side. Then I let it sit for a few minutes and cleaned it off afterward.

Very shiny.

After that, I popped in the disc not expecting much to happen.

I hear it spin up, the drive indicator light keeps flickering, but Windows isn't giving me the prompt to see the contents of the disc.

At that point I thought, Well, I'll just let it sit for a minute or two to see if anything happens.

Then while I was in the middle of browsing a web page, TA-FRICKIN'-DAH, a window pops up asking me if I want to see the contents.


The title of the volume says 2003. Now I know this thing is 6 years old. I see a bunch of DBX files. It's definitely a full mail backup. ROCK ON. I didn't care what the file type was, because all I wanted to do was copy these things to the local drive.

I go to copy and the drive spins down so low that I'm only copying 600kb a second, but it is copying. I got every file off of it.

Now I gotta figure out what type of archive format these files are. I had no clue.

After a quick internet search, it turns out they're Microsoft Outlook Express 6 archives. This means they'll easily import into Windows Live Mail with no b.s. at all.

I go to perform the import, and..


Every single mail gets imported in there and is placed neatly in an "Imported" directory under the local storage area. It even carried over all the folders as well.

Rock, rock on.

I examine the folders. This is a bunch of mail from 2001 to 2003. Several thousand emails. Mostly business related, but there were also some gems in there from girls I dated (with photos, thank you very much,) plus some cool files besides that.


I just recovered three full years of mail I thought was gone forever.

Life is good.

- - edit - -

A minor note to add. I'm now faced with an interesting problem. All this mail is categorized by folder, and I don't want to dump it all into my Hotmail account because that mail system only allows first-tier subfolder creation. This imported mail goes several tiers deep. I may actually have to switch back to Thunderbird just for better mail organization. And that means I'll have to go back to POP. I won't touch Gfail because that system lost everything I wrote both sent and received for all my 2006 mail, so that's completely out. It may have pseudo multi-tier with IMAP, but Gfail's support for that is slow and wonky in addition to the system just sucking ass in general.

It'll be interesting trying to figure out how to manage all this mail. I really don't want to stop using Hotmail as it works very well for me.

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