reptile7's JavaScript blog
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The SheepShaver Chronicles, Part 9
Blog Entry #136

Now that we know how to connect to the Internet in the SheepShaver environment, what about email, huh?

Webmail and Outlook Express

I have Webmail accounts with Google (Gmail), Excite, and EarthLink.

The Software Restore iMac HD.img installation that we carried out in Blog Entry #131 placed Internet Explorer 4.5 and Netscape Communicator 4.61 on the Classic HD disk - they're in the /Internet/Internet Applications/ directory; more recently I have installed iCab 3.0.5 on the Classic HD disk.

In the emulated environment:

• I can access my Gmail account when using Netscape or iCab without incident. When using IE, my Google sign-in is unsuccessful, throwing an error that reads, The identity certificate uses an unknown signature algorithm.

• None of the browsers is at all compatible with Excite Email, which has been a notoriously difficult service since its "upgrade" last year.

• As for accessing my EarthLink account, none of the browsers is completely satisfactory. iCab does the best job but, even with an AirPort connection, has trouble loading messages that contain images. Netscape hangs (no errors are thrown) when trying to load IE has major problems rendering my "myEarthLink" pages but I can still get to my Webmail account with it; however, 100-150 pixels' worth of message content runs past the right edge of the browser window (regardless of the window's size) in most cases and a horizontal scrollbar is not provided.

I prefer the use of email clients to Webmail services because I like to be able to read and work with email messages when I am offline. The iMac HD.img installation also placed Outlook Express 4.5 on the Classic HD disk, again in the /Internet/Internet Applications/ directory. Setting up Outlook Express is not as trivial as is setting up OS X's Mail but it's still pretty simple, only taking a minute or so if you have at the ready the necessary information: the Account name/Email address, the Account ID (i.e., your ISP username), the POP server for receiving mail (e.g.,, the SMTP server for sending mail (e.g.,, etc.

At least on my computer, Outlook Express 4.5 in the emulated environment only displays the textual parts of email messages - all images are stripped out (maybe this happens in a non-emulation environment as well, can't remember).

Netscape Communicator's Messenger also qualifies as an email client, but in order to access Messenger's messages offline it is first necessary to choke off a Netscape attempt to connect to the Internet, and thus I find Messenger a bit of a nuisance to use.

Rescuing Outlook Express email messages

When my G3 iMac died last September, its Outlook Express 5.0.6 program held about 30 messages in various folders: "Inbox", "Sent Items", etc. Now, my life would have gone on had I lost those messages, but SheepShaver has enabled me to rescue them all, as follows:

(1) I first bring the G3 iMac Outlook Express 5.0.6 folder into the SheepShaver environment and copy it to the Classic HD disk. (Outlook Express 4.5 will in fact read text-only Outlook Express 5.0.6 messages but, as noted above, is not suitable for messages with images.)

(2) Outlook Express 5.0.6 respectively stores its incoming and outgoing messages in Messages and Database files that are located in the root volume's

/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Identities/Main Identity/

directory. (You can verify this by 'reading' these files with TextEdit or with Terminal via the cat command.) Accordingly:
(a) I create a new Documents folder on the Classic HD disk.
(b) I bring the G3 iMac Microsoft User Data folder into the SheepShaver environment and place it in the Classic HD Documents folder. (The G3 iMac Documents folder contains a bunch of other stuff in addition to the Microsoft User Data folder that I didn't want to bring along.)

I launch Outlook Express 5.0.6: after about 25 system components are installed...ta-da! - all of my old messages are waiting for me. And Outlook Express 5.0.6 displays these messages in the emulated environment very nicely. To see message images requires connection to the Web, but we've solved that problem.

Besides the Messages/Database messages, I have on my G3 iMac's hard disk a small collection of Outlook Express email messages that I had saved as separate files for one reason or another; for example, I saved in the EarthLink TotalAccessTM folder a "See what we've added to EarthLink Toolbar -- and it's FREE!" message. (EarthLink has been shamefully slack vis-à-vis porting its security software to the Mac platform, but that's another topic for another time.) If I bring these files into the SheepShaver environment and then drag/drop them into the Outlook Express 5.0.6 "Inbox" folder, I can open and read them too.

BTW, you can still download Outlook Express 5.0.6 directly from Microsoft here.

We'll wrap up our SheepShaver series with some concluding remarks and by tidying up a few loose ends in the following entry.


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