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How to Backup and Restore Your Gmail Emails

Although your Gmail email is safely stored on Google’s massive servers, it is always a good idea to have your own backup.

The instructions here are for Windows, but the Linux version is practically identical. If you use another platform, see the links at the end of this article for further instructions.

To get your backups working in Windows, follow these steps:

Note: If you have hidden your All folder, you must show it before starting the backup.

1. Download Gmail-Backup. This is a free download, however there is the option to make a donation as with all open source programs. Do a Google search for the Gmail backup and it is the first result. You must scroll down to find the link for the .exe file for Windows.

2. When the download is complete, install Gmail Backup by running the downloaded file. Follow the instructions and keep all the defaults.

The installation creates an icon for the Gmail backup on the desktop.

3. Double click the icon to start the program.

4.Specify your Gmail username and password.

5. For Server, enter imap.gmail.com.

6. Select your preferred backup folder and name the backup file.

Notes:

  • The file is called GmailBackup-YYYY-MM-DD.zip by the way. This date format ensures that your backup files are listed in date order. So if you are used to a different date format, don’t change it here. The .zip file extension tells Gmail Backup to save the backup in a zip file.
  • We recommend that you create a new folder for the backup files.
  • If you’ve been using Gmail for a while, you may need to change the date range to back up all your emails. The date range can be used to speed up subsequent backups by skipping emails that have already been backed up.

7. Click Backup. If you see an error message that you cannot access IMAP folders, it is because your All Mails folder is hidden. In this case, you will need to show the folder before starting the backup.

8. When you see the message “Completing account backup …”, the backup is complete.

To restore your emails from a backup, follow these steps:

1. Start the Gmail backup. Gmail Backup remembers your Gmail login and the name of the last backup file.

2. Enter your password. Verify that the backup file name is correct.

3. Click Restore.

You will receive a message: “End of account restoration …” This means that the restoration is complete.

Note:

You can back up one Gmail account and restore to another Gmail account. This can be useful if you want to try the restore feature or if you want to move emails from one Gmail account to another Gmail account.

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