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I have a large email archive that I need to make accessible on my Macbook. The archive is currently in a Microsoft Outlook PST file from a Windows machine. I'm aware of tools like O2M to convert it to a file format suitable for a Mac client. The PST file is 14GB in size. My Macbook Pro is a 16GB model with the top-end CPU.

But my question is, what client is best suited to provide access to an archive of this size, and what file format is best used behind it? It's obviously a very large archive and I would not be surprised if Mail was not able to cope. I would prefer to avoid running a mail server on my machine to keep ongoing maintenance simple. Something that integrates with Spotlight would be a bonus.

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It really depends on what you're looking to optimize for, effort to implement or $$$ spent:

1) You could spring for Outlook for Mac which will know how to import your PST and will also make its contents indexable for spotlight. Downsides include the $$$ and the memory overhead involved in launching Outlook when you want to get into the details of an old email you were looking for.

2) Use some conversion tool to get those emails into Apple Mail. It will handle the quantity just fine (at least it does for my slightly smaller ~10G archive). Spotlight integration is obvious here, but you also get quick view support when you use spotlight from a finder window.

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  • Thanks webmarc. It's great to get some confirmation that Mail can actually handle pretty big mailbox files. I'll steam ahead and use Mail.
    – Ollie C
    Sep 11 '14 at 17:42

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