Migrating Mail Spool Files to Google

How to move old style spool files or mbox file to Gmail

Unix mail uses a single text file to store messages as a folder, called a spool file or mbox. Many email clients used this format or can export folders to this format.

If you need to move such a “folder” to gmail, there is a python script that can handle it, see:


  • On a unix host or mac download this to the directory where the spool files are located.
  • In gmail, under mail settings, Label, create a label for the mbox you want to move up to gmail. This is like a folder, label is just googlelese.
  • Then you can run:
  • python ./imap_upload.py –gmail –box foldername ./path/to/mbox
  • where foldername is the name of the label, and ./path/to/mbox is the location of the mail spool file.