So Migrating My Wife’s Stuff From Her Palm Centro To Her iPhone 5 Was A Challenge…. [UPDATED]

….. in a whole bunch of ways. First, let me get something out of the way. She’s the type who refuses to upgrade her technology as long as it continues to work. This often creates great difficulty when she does decide to upgrade. Or her technology will just die which means that she’s forced to upgrade in a panic. This situation is a lot of the former.

For starters, she was using Palm Desktop as her personal information manager and she was using Outlook Express for her e-mail on a Windows XP computer. Most of this was not going to work with her iPhone. Thus I would have to migrate her stuff to Outlook 2003 as that was part of the Microsoft Office install on her computer. Now I’ve been at this long enough to know that when migrating data from one program to another, it’s easier to just pay for a program to do it properly rather than to try and muddle through some sort of free and labor intensive process. So in this case, I decided to use a program called InfoMigrator for Outlook to move her contacts, calendar and to-dos, and notes from from Palm Desktop to Outlook 2003. The program costs $29,95 and it worked exceedingly well. It took 45 minutes to migrate everything to Outlook and it worked perfectly. I should also note that it also migrates data from ACT! by Sage, IBM Lotus Notes, Google Gmail Contacts and Google Calendar. So it’s not a one trick pony.

Although I didn’t know it at the time, my next challenge was going to be moving her mail from Outlook Express to Outlook. Both programs have the ability to migrate data to Outlook. That’s usually painless and quick. So when I used the Outlook Express function that exports directly to Outlook, I found it bizarre that significant portions of her e-mail were missing once the export was complete. After some experimentation, I figured out the reason why. Her Outlook Express e-mail databases were corrupt to some degree. All her e-mail between 2008 and 2010 had issues importing, but the e-mail was still there and accessible. I then tried one of my usual fixes for this problem which was to use the rebuild function in Outlook Express to rebuild the e-mail databases. Here’s how you do it:

  • In Outlook Express, click Work Offline on the File menu so that no new messages will be arriving.
  • On the File menu, point to Folder, and then click Compact All Folders. Go find something to do for the next 30 minutes if you’ve got a lot of e-mail.

That’s worked for me in the past to solve issues like this, but it didn’t work this time. That’s when I went to Plan “b” which was to create a new Outlook Express identity and then import the mail from the old identity to the new one. From there, I used Outlook to import the mail Outlook Express. All her e-mail came across just fine.

Now here’s the stuff I couldn’t do for her. I could not make her contact, calendar, notes and to-do items sync via iCloud for two reasons. First, iCloud is not compatible with Windows XP. Now I could do a hack to make it work as described here. But I’m not big into hacks, so I wasn’t going there. The second reason is that you need Outlook 2007 to sync your contact, calendar, notes and to-do items via iCloud. Thus, she’s going to have sync via the supplied Lightning to USB cable using iTunes or via WiFi once enabled via iTunes. The latter would be an improvement on her Palm Centro which only did syncs via USB or via Bluetooth (the latter she couldn’t do because she didn’t have Bluetooth on her computer). If she wants iCloud access on her computer, she’s going to have to get a Mac or a Windows 7 (or Windows 8) computer and upgrade her copy of Office as well. If you have an iPhone, you want iCloud. Thus she’s going to have to make the move. At least with all the work I’ve done, it will be easy to do.

When my wife returned from her trip, I was able to sync using the Lightning cable and everything but the tasks came across. From my research, I need to have iCloud to get tasks. And even then, it may not be to her liking. I also tried out the WiFi sync. It seems to be unbelievably flaky. But I managed to get it to work only after accessing my wife’s iTunes library using the Home Sharing feature from my MacBook Pro. That’s not a big deal as my wife will sync with a cable 100% of the time. I also pulled her photos from her Palm Centro and put them on the iPhone as that was a big deal for her.

There’s only two things left to do. First, I have to show her how to use it. Second…. and this is really hard. I have to find her a Hello Kitty iPhone 5 case. Good luck to me on that front.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that my wife had an application called eWallet on her Palm Centro. She wanted to keep using it on her new iPhone 5 and I was able to make that happen as they had a version for iOS. I’ll also note that I e-mailed them for advice in terms of upgrading on Saturday afternoon. They got back to me Sunday evening and within 30 minutes I had everything working. Nice!

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