I retrieved a backup of my email account with Google takeout. The back up a Gmail account is a .mbox. As a result, I'm looking for a program that would:

  • be able to view a large .mbox, i.e. larger than 10 GB and ideally larger than 50 GB (since my Gmail account is around 50 GB). Windows MBox Viewer didn't work for me even with a 1.4 GB .mbox file, which seemed to be too large for it.

and if possible:

  • work on Windows 7, but other Windows or Linux is OK too
  • free
  • doesn't need to configure a POP account beforehand (I think Mozilla Thunderbird requires it but I'm not sure about that one)

2 Answers 2


You could try loading the MBOX file into an IMAP server that uses MBOX for back-end storage. I believe Dovecot does this. Then you could browse the mailbox with an IMAP client.

  • Could you give details (the main steps) about this process, for example for Windows?
    – Basj
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 10:10
  • Moreover, the MBOX file can be viewed by most text editors, such as Microsoft Word, Open Office Writer, and Notepad. The MBOX file stores email messages in a text file.
    – MasuduL
    Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 12:47
  • Sure it's text, but it's one long text file including all the mails and various escape sequences to delineate them. It's fine if you just want to find the odd message, but it's no use for random access, or multi-result searching etc
    – Adrien
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 0:15

How about converting your big single file to a series of linked web pages with indexes and such? Then you can view in a browser, etc.

If that will work for you, check out mhonarc - https://www.mhonarc.org/MHonArc/doc/mhonarc.html

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