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Setting up some kind of email system. Answered

I recently got to a new computer. After transferring some of my email I kind of got fed up. So I want to create an email system for myself. ( No I do not want to write one. ) But I don't know much about email. Here is what I want. I don't want to store my email "inside" my client/MUA. I want it all in some folder on my computer that I will just "my pile of email" for now. That way I can try all sorts of clients and it's easier to switch if I find something better. Plus I get email from lots of different accounts. Old accounts I keep ( gmail, hotmail ), and yahoo gives me ten. I want "my pile of email" to be saved on a partition readable by both UNIX and Windows (XP), because I dual boot. i also want either to retrieve and send my email. I also want to process my email. Meaning that things with attachments have the attachments extracted. Various email groups, I want to be put into separate subfolders. I have a lot of other processing I want done. I figure the basic setup to consider is fetchmail to get the mail, sendmail to send the mail and procmail to process the mail. Where do I go from there though? ( If you have other suggestions, I am willing to listen. ) I can't decide which format to keep my pile of email in. To a degree it doesn't matter for now, but I want to make sure that I can convert to some other format when I become more knowledgeable. I can't decide whether on XP to use cygwin versions of programs, or just run linux in a VM for email stuff. lot's of other questions, but let's get to those when we flesh out my system.