Two easy ways to back up Gmail to your computer or local drive

DECEMBER 4, 2015

Most of us use Gmail, Google’s email service, for almost anything – including important communications such as business emails. We won't even begin to talk of those rare family and friends' photos that were emailed to you before the advent of DropBox and cloud services.

However, you have also probably heard of people getting their Gmail accounts hacked resulting in them losing precious emails and data. It is also possible to get shut out of your own Gmail account. 

So how do you minimise the risk of losing your precious Gmail data. Back-up. Yes, Google backs up its servers so you are pretty safe, but you probably will also feel safer having your Gmail backed up locally.

Ideally, use a simple program called Gmail Backup. I know, Google made this program in 2009 and they have not updated it, but it still works.


For web-based email services

Here’s another solution that should work with any web-based email service.

Set up a local mail client to access Gmail, using the IMAP (as opposed to POP) protocol. IMAP synchronizes the mail on your computer with the mail on the server (in this case, Gmail’s server). Old messages as well as new ones will download and stay in local storage.

Depending on your program, you will probably need to change a setting to make sure that it will download everything. For instance, with Outlook 2013:

1.   Press Ctrl-Alt-S to bring up the Send/Receive Groups dialog box.

2.   Select All Accounts and click Edit.

 1019 outlook step 2

3.   Select Use the custom behavior defined below.

4.   In the Folder Options section, right-click your email address and select Check All Subfolders.

1019 outlook step 4


5.   Right-click the address again and select Apply Options to All Checked Subfolders

6.   Then, above Folder Options, select Download complete items including attachments for subscribed folders.

Continue to use Gmail on the web. But every week or so, load your local mail client and sync it.

One problem: If you archived a message in Gmail, and didn’t give it a label or move it to a folder (really the same thing in Gmail), that message won’t be backed up.

---article sourced from