Gmail backup

I rely on my Gmail account for just about all of my email communication, and I’d be pretty sad if I lost some of my emails. After all I have emails dating back to the middle of 2004 in my Gmail account, and so it has almost 7-years worth of my email history. Over the years I’ve put a lot of trust into Gmail, but so much of the service is out of my control that I still feel like I need to make backups just in case my Gmail account mysteriously disappears one day.

A free program called IMAPSize is nice because it lets you view a breakdown of all your labels and the space used by each one, but it is also capable of doing incremental backups for specific labels or the entire account. By doing incremental backups only new emails that haven’t already been backed up will be retrieved, and so it should only be the initial run that takes awhile. Each email is downloaded as an individual EML file, which is a standard format used by many email clients. The EML files will keep all the header information intact so that you can still see the original dates and whatnot.

IMAPSize will work with any email service that provides an IMAP interface, but I’m going to focus on Gmail here. After you download IMAPSize you’ll be prompted to add an account, and these are the things you’ll need to enter in the fields:

  • Account: A descriptive name that only IMAPSize will use.
  • Username: <your_email>
  • Password: <your_password>
  • Server:
  • Port: 993
  • Use Secure Connection (SSL): Yes (checked)

After that’s done you can proceed with the various configuration options. You’ll find most of the options you’ll need in the Account menu, which includes calculating sizes and performing backups.

Curious what all IMAPSize is capable of? Here’s a rundown of features provided by the developer:

  • Display of all mailboxes in an account with visual alerts for the most space consuming mailboxes
  • Convenient storage quota display
  • Powerful search capabilities on single or multiple mailboxes
  • Delete attachments (all or individual) without downloading them
  • Save attachments locally from multiple messages (BETA)
  • Mailbox management (expunge, create, delete, rename)
  • Message management (change flags, copy, move, delete, etc)
  • Manage folder subscriptions
  • Modify message headers
  • Copy messages from one IMAP account to another
  • Perform incremental backups of multiple folders in your IMAP account
  • Perform incremental backups of the whole account
  • Replicate IMAP folder hierarchy to your local drive
  • Download/upload messages to/from mbox and eml files
  • eml2mbox conversion
  • mbox2eml conversion. This can be extremely useful in the process of moving messages from Thunderbird to Outlook.
  • Spam handles which provide a basis for visual alerts on spam messages
  • SSL connections
  • Minimizes bandwidth consumption wherever possible
  • Keyboard friendly – you can perform almost all operations without using the mouse

IMAPSize Homepage (Windows only; Freeware)