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Old 5 Jul 2021, 11:48 AM   #1
EPMike
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Any current email clients using a single file for data storage?

Does anybody know of any current email clients for Windows that save ALL their information in a single file? Along the lines of what Calypso/Courier did years ago.

The only one I've found is EssentialPIM, and it still leaves a bit to be desired.

Calypso didn't handle IMAP well, nor did it ever offer SSL/TLS access, which in this day and age has become a requisite.

I have tried all the clients I could find (contemporary and older)...including going back to archives I'd downloaded some 20 years ago to test out old applications. A few worked better than others, but none was even close to what I'm looking for (other than EPIM).

The current most common clients are lame at best in my opinion. Some make a TOTAL mess/nightmare of storage in regard to user data.

Even if there are some betas or alphas over on github or otherwise in development, I'd be interested in trying them out.

Not interested in portable apps that still make a mess of things....though it's better to copy a whole set of folders versus the labyrinth some require to move your data around, but still not what I'm looking for.

The single file method Calypso used was brilliant....and I'd love to find a worthwhile contemporary mail client using a similar approach.

Appreciate any insight or advice in this regard. Thanks...
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Old 5 Jul 2021, 11:57 AM   #2
jeffpan
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I guess no. even using sqlite for storage, there are at least two files.
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Old 5 Jul 2021, 09:25 PM   #3
JeremyNicoll
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A single file has a lot of disadvantages:

- if it suffers any corruption, you lose access to all your mail & settings. By comparison many applications keep each folder's mail etc separate so even if one folder is corrupted you can still access all of the others.

- even if most of your mail is old, and therefore only needs rare backups made, the whole file will have to be backed-up every time you make a backup, which might be very slow. If there are many folders only those that have changed will need regular backup. Since you should be doing that at least once per day, that will save a lot of time.

- if you sync that file to a cloud service it will likely have to upload the whole thing every time, because too many small changes wll have occurred inside it for the sync to be able to identify just the changes and sync those alone
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Old 6 Jul 2021, 06:45 AM   #4
EPMike
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Sure, there are pros and cons to every format and method. Corruption or other issues can happen with any system...it's not just dependent on the file format. With most of the contemporary email clients using hundreds to thousands to tens of thousands of files to store information, that exponentially raises the possibilities of single files getting corrupted. If it's a system or index file, you could be facing a massive mess (and potential loss of considerable volumes of data). And a system that has to manage that many files and locations has its own disadvantages and potentials for problems built in that a single file system doesn't. And with most of these programs storing their data in hard to find locations, the average person is not going to easily be able to fix an issue if there is one. A single file format, like the .box method Calypso used, meant you only had one file to manage, and as long as you did periodically back it up you could easily maintain things. I used this method for well over 10 years, and very few issues in that time (even with a file that grew to over a GB, and being used on lesser equipped systems than most of us have today). I had more nightmares with other applications (like OE, etc. back in the day) on a regular basis, and that doesn't even get into the maintainance or moving to a new computer, etc. issues. I am looking at the long haul and ease of maintaining and using an application for the duration, and not just here and now. Almost all of the current programs out there can work well for awhile, but once you have to move or backup or restore, you start to realize they weren't designed with that being an easy step. That's where the single file approach shines.

Super easy to backup and move to a flash drive or other location. You don't even need to setup a syncing backup or anything...unless you want to. But even if you do, it's easier to maintain one file, rather than having to setup an entire batch of folders or manually do a backup from within the program to safeguard yourself.

It also can keep your account information untied from the application. If ALL of that is stored with the information itself, you can easily have separate mailbox files for personal and business and other uses. And still have multiple accounts within each file. The value of this separation is huge!

In my opinion, and from many years of PC experience (dating back to the 80s), I find the advantages of a decently developed single file format far outweigh the minor disadvantages some may think are there. Likewise, I find the disadvantages of most of the email client systems FAR outweigh their advantages. We can all have our preferences and dislikes, and pros and cons exist in all methods...but I see far more pluses with the single file format (as long as it's done well) over a spread out method. It's a form of K.I.S.S. And done well, it makes every other system pale in comparison.
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Old 6 Jul 2021, 07:30 AM   #5
emoore
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PocoMail 4.8 was the successor to Courier but I suspect they didn't keep support for .box since https://www.aid4mail.com/supported-email-formats says they support "PocoMail mailbox files (*.idx, *.idb, and *.mbx)"

https://www.softpedia.com/get/Intern...il-Build.shtml has a trial version of PocoMail 4.8 (can also buy a version). No idea how reputable that is, I've always been wary of softpedia.

I suggest you investigate what file formats various email migration/forensic programs like Aid4Mail , xtraxtor, mailxaminer and sysinfotools email converter support.

Last edited by emoore : 6 Jul 2021 at 07:43 AM.
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Old 6 Jul 2021, 09:07 AM   #6
EPMike
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Thanks emoore - From what I recall, Rose City made arrangements with PocoMail to make a formal migration process to Poco from Courier (in otherwords, providing a one way path to convert to PC, but not to interchange). But it was a completely different program. I just tested the last version out and on a fresh install with no accounts added, and therefore no emails included, the data folder had 31 files and12 folders. It appears to mostly use a folder based .mbx format. And that you can choose the location of that data storage, it is one of the better of that type. But still not what I'm looking for out there.

I agree that I may have to look further into the actual file format and possibly source code and related options if I can find them. I had run across this a while back:

http://www.laurencejackson.com/Courex/

It's basically an exporter from Courier to Thunderbird, which may have some insights overall. But also not what I'm looking for. I can continue to load old .box files in Calypso, as long as I don't actually use it to try to send/etc. So, basically, old archives are not a problem to grab info from. I actually thought about migrating some domains MX records to a VPS with a dedicated mail server on it, but would need to set it to not be secure (since SSL/TLS is not supported in C/MC), but that seems like a step backwards at this point. EPIM is a better alternative at the moment, but still not ideal.

I'll keep digging around and will post back if I find anything. I continue to appreciate any further help in this quest.

Thank you...
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Old 7 Jul 2021, 05:37 AM   #7
jtayd
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Outlook does give one file per imap file etc. I believe pop 3 is saved in the main outlook file.
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Old 7 Jul 2021, 06:12 PM   #8
JeremyNicoll
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EPMike View Post
Sure, there are pros and cons to every format and method. Corruption or other issues can happen with any system...it's not just dependent on the file format. With most of the contemporary email clients using hundreds to thousands to tens of thousands of files to store information, that exponentially raises the possibilities of single files getting corrupted.
That's true, but the impact of such a corruption is very likely to be much smaller.


Quote:
Originally Posted by EPMike View Post
If it's a system or index file, you could be facing a massive mess (and potential loss of considerable volumes of data).
Usually email systems have (slow) processes which will rebuild index files by trawling through the contents of the data files.

It'd be unusual to have a "system" file that couldn't be fixed by a reinstall of the application itself.

Corruption is also (IME) more likely to happen when the files stored in each folder are compressed, especially if that's done in some proprietary-application way.

These days I'd rather store uncompressed data, not least because external file search utilities can search them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by EPMike View Post
And a system that has to manage that many files and locations has its own disadvantages and potentials for problems built in that a single file system doesn't.
Does it? Usually such systems have complete sets of files per user-defined account or user-defined folder. The architecture is simple.

The bulk of the issue of looking after the files is down to the file system.


Quote:
Originally Posted by EPMike View Post
And with most of these programs storing their data in hard to find locations ...
What? Like C:\Program Data\vendor\Application ?

I don't see that the location is the biggest problem.


Quote:
Originally Posted by EPMike View Post
... the average person is not going to easily be able to fix an issue if there is one. A single file format, like the .box method Calypso used, meant you only had one file to manage, and as long as you did periodically back it up you could easily maintain things.

The "average person" stands no chance of fixing anything in any broken software. I absolutely don't know how anyone, even techy, could fix a problem inside a single-file system, except by replacing the whole file. On the other hand, editing a plain text configuration file, or deleting a single folder's index so it's rebuilt is not too hard for a tutored user to do.
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