Category Archives: Mail

Dovecot: convert mdbox to mbox format

Dovecot comes with a proprietary mailbox-format (sd/mdbox) that provides some benefits in regard of compression and performance but is not really readable with nothing else than an editor.

It seems that there are very little information on how to convert the sd/mdbox-fomat to mbox (at least nothing copy and paste like if you aren’t a dovecot admin and have no clue ;))

So here is one possible-way it could be archived:

To work around adapting the dovecot-config and running a dovecot-service for dsync to use, we can also pass configuration parameters (by default dsync uses the dovecot-configuration file stored at /etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf) directly to dsync.
With that trick there is no need to configure & start a dovecot service.

An example command to convert a mailbox in mdbox-format located in the users home dir under mail to mbox format would look like:

dsync -o "mail_location=mdbox:~/mail" backup mbox:~/dstest

Converting to other formats like maildir might require additional configuration parameters within the /etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf file as namespaces or similar.

Override options specified via “-o” must be passed directly after the dsync command and before “backup”

For converting a mailbox the “backup” attribute is recommended as this will do a 1-way-sync.