How to create a local back up for Gmail ?



E-mail services changed the entire spectrum of communication. Web based e-mail services like Gmail, Yahoo mail, Windows live mail are fabulous for anywhere access. Simplicity of going through mail in a browser has resulted in virtual rejection of desktop client. However, web based e-mail services don’t offer the luxury of local back up in case of loss of data. So, if there is a glitch on server side, like the one on February 28, which led to deletion of approximately 40,000 accounts, one has to start again from the beginning. Besides, sensitivity of data lost would be another cause for worry. Some of the popular ways to create a local back up are listed below:

Pop to alternate e-mail account: Through this method, we can export our mail to an alternate email account. Ideally, it should be completely different from the existing one. Suppose, if Gmail is the existing account, then Yahoo Mail or Hotmail should be the alternate account. Reminder: select “Enable POP for all mail (even mail that’s already been downloaded)” if you want to back up your old emails as well. Steps to enable POP for all mail:

  • Go to setting on the top-right corner
  • Click on Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab
  • Under POP download, check the box, enable POP for all mail
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    Creating Backup using Desktop Client: Most of the operating system comes with a built in E-mail client. However, not everyone can connect to corresponding Gmail account, download the data and create a local copy of the mailbox. Some of the apps may store data in proprietary format (Apple Mail, Outlook) rather than industry standard format like .mbox. To enable cross platform compatibility, Mozilla Thunderbird is fairly suitable. Setting up Gmail and Thunderbird:

  • On the Gmail web interface, click on setting at the top right corner. Look for the “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” tab and click the link.
  • Enable either POP or IMAP. Generally, POP will work just fine and it is simpler of two. Select “Enable POP for all mail”. One can control what Gmail does when your desktop client connects under the “When messages are accessed with POP” setting. Choose “keep Gmail’s copy in the Inbox” since we’re just using POP for backup purposes.
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  • Now start up Thunderbird, enter your username (the bit before in your e-mail address) and Google password. Thunderbird will begin downloading your e-mail, creating a local backup. There’s no need to mess with Thunderbird’s settings or since you’re just doing this for backup purposes.
  • Thunderbird should be opened periodically, so that mail gets backed up.
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    This method is considered relatively simpler. However, it has a slight drawback. Back up does not include the sent mail.

    Gmail Backup Tool: Gmail back up tool is another option. It backs up entire Gmail account including all attachments to a local folder on the computer. It is quite easy to use after downloading. Enter Gmail login details, specify a destination folder, set the inclusive date of the backup and it begins doing all the work. Click on the link below for the backup tool:


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