Please read this page in its entirety before performing
an address book conversion and import!
We are finding that on some PC's, the
user's old email address books are either:
importing at all into Thunderbird at all OR
importing into Thunderbird, but the user's private
distribution lists are not there.
UNIT has developed a web-based script that will fix this problem by converting the user's old
Personal Address Book (and other address books) - which
*.na2 (Netscape 4.x) and *.mab (Netscape 7.x
and Thunderbird) extensions into *.ldif files which
can then be imported into Thunderbird's Address Book.
Before you get started:
The first thing you must do before
beginning this process is to turn on all Hidden Files on
the user's machine. To do this:
under the Advanced Settings, under Hidden
Files and Folders, select "Show hidden files and
folders." It may be a good idea to also uncheck "Hide
extensions for known file types."
Filenames of Netscape and Thunderbird Personal Address
In Netscape, the default Personal
Address book file is called PAB.NA2 (4.x) or
In Thunderbird, the default
Personal Address Book file is called ABOOK.MAB or
Users may also have created other
address books, which also will have the .na2 or .mab
extensions on them.
The global LDAP directories, such
as the Villanova, Villanova Faculty/Staff, and Villanova
Distribution Lists, also have these extensions, but
cannot be converted and imported using this tool. They
must be reinstalled through Thunderbird (call Helpdesk).
Locations of Netscape and Thunderbird Personal Address
All address book files should have been moved
over to the following location during the PC Refresh:
Go to that folder and locate all .NA2 and .MAB
files in that folder (excluding global LDAP
directories and HISTORY.MAB). Make a note of all
the address book files, the file sizes, the dates, and their locations.
The largest file with the most recent date should be
the user's old personal address book.
If you cannot locate any of these files
there, look for them in C:\Program
Important Note about Address
Books in Thunderbird
Once you convert a user's old address
book file (.na2 or .mab) into an .ldif file (using
the conversion tool below), you
will then import the ldif file into the user's current Thunderbird
address book. Thunderbird already has a built-in
address bookcalled Personal Address
Book and the filename in the user's profile is
called either ABOOK.MAB or IMPAB.MAB.
Address Books that are imported will
NOT import into the user's existing Personal Address
Book, but will be created as an alternate address
book. Therefore, if you are importing the user's old
Personal Address Book, they will end up with two
Personal Address Books: 1) the first one will be
Thunderbird's built-in Personal Address Book, which
cannot be deleted or renamed; 2) the other one will
be the imported Personal Address Book.
Because you cannot delete
Thunderbird's default Personal Address Book, the
user will become very confused and frustrated by
having two Personal Address Books. Thunderbird is not as flexible as Netscape in that,
although it will allow you to move address book
cards from one address book to another, it will
not allow you move distribution lists between
Therefore, you will need to follow
the directions at the bottom of this page to replace
the default Thunderbird Personal Address Book with
the newly-imported address book. Directions for
doing this are at the bottom of this page.
If your user ends up with two Personal Address
Books, please be sure to follow these steps to
fix the problem.
Performing the Address Book Conversion
Once you locate the user's .na2 and .mab
http://pab2ldif.villanova.edu/ and follow the steps
Click Browse... and locate the
user's first address book (if there is more than one).
Double-click the user's address book file
and then click Begin Address Book Conversion.
You will see the screen below, telling
you that the conversion is in progress. Please be
patient... There really is no reason to click the "Click
here" link. Just wait a moment until the conversion is
conversion is done, you will be asked if you want to
Open or Save the file, as in the screen print below. Click
Save as... window appears:
Desktop in the Save in... section.
the file File name as is.
the Save as type: section to All Files
- THIS IS IMPORTANT!
The *.ldif file should be saved to
Repeat this process with all
user-created .pab and
.mab files in the user's directory, but do not do
the Villanova directories with .na2 files.
import the .ldif file into the user's Thunderbird
Open Thunderbird. If you don't know
the user's password, click Cancel at the
password dialog box. You can get into the
address book without a password.
Click Tools and select
There is no need to select a
particular address book to do the import into.
Thunderbird will import the .ldif file as it's own
Click Tools and select
Locate the converted *.ldif file that
you saved to the Desktop and click it once to select
it. Click Open.
Wait for the import to finish. Click
Finish when it is done.
You will be brought
back to the Address Book and will see the new
address book there (it may be called Personal
Address Book or it may have another name). See the
next section for directions on how to make this new
address book the default address book for the user.
Repeat the process above to import
all of the user's other address books (NOT LDAP
Making the Newly-Imported Personal Address Book the
Default Personal Address Book
Now that you have imported the user's old
address book, you will notice that there are two address
books, one called Personal Address Book (which should be
empty) and the newly-imported address book, which may be
called Personal Address Book or it may have another name.
Verify that the newly-imported address book
has all of the user's personal distribution lists in it (if
they had any).
To make the newly-imported Personal Address Book
the default address book, you must follow
Close the Address Book and close out of
Open My Computer and drill down to
C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application
profilename is the user's profile, which is a
combination of letters and numbers). If there is more
than one profile, click View, Details and find the
profile with the most recent date). That is the user's
Locate the abook.mab file (which
is the Thunderbird default Personal Address Book) and
rename it abook.old.
Now locate the newly-imported .mab file,
which may be called impab.mab or impab-1.mab
or abook-1.mab. It may also be
called something else with an .mab extension (click
View, Details to see the date stamp on these files so
you can locate the most recent - and probably the larges
- mab file).
Rename this file to abook.mab.
Go back into Thunderbird and open the
Address Book. The Personal Address Book should now
include the user's old Personal Address Book entries.
Once you are sure the Personal Address
Book includes all the user's old entries and lists, you
can then delete the other address book.
If you have problems, please contact
the Helpdesk @ 9-7777 or send an e-mail to