Back Up Your Gmail emails

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 2, 2007
Updated • Mar 15, 2014
Backup, Email, Gmail

If you are using Gmail, or Google Mail as some call it, exclusively via the service's web interface you are putting all eggs in Google's basket and none in yours in regards to recovery options.

While it is unlikely that Google will terminate its email service it has happened in the past that emails were lost and could not be recovered anymore. If you did not create backups, those emails may have been lost forever.

It is therefore important to take matters into your own hand and back up all of your Gmail emails regularly to a location that you have access to.

Even if Google or a hacker would delete all of your emails, you would still have access to the backup. One of the easiest Gmail back up options is to use a desktop email client.

You can use Thunderbird for that, or the excellent Mailstore home, both of which are free to use.  Let me show you how you can backup all of your Gmail emails using Mailstore Home. Download and install the program to your system to get started.

Archive Google Mail emails

Once you have started the program click on Archive E-Mail on the left sidebar.

A list of options are displayed on the right, including options to back up emails from installed mail clients or email files. Since our emails are on the Gmail server, we need to add the account to the program. Click on the Advanced button and select Google Mail from the menu.

Here you are asked to enter your Gmail address and password. Remember that you need to enable IMAP in Gmail under Settings > Forwarding and POP/IMAP > Enable IMAP before you can connect to your account. If you have enabled two-factor authentication on Gmail, you furthermore need to create an application password first as you won't be able to connect to the account otherwise.

google mail

Follow the process with a click on the next button. If everything turned out right, all of your Gmail emails should now be transferred to your local system. Depending on how many emails you have in the account, it may take a while before the process finishes.

You can use Mailstore to search and read all emails that you have backed up even if they get deleted on Gmail, and even export them in different formats so that you can load them in other clients.

The program displays all accounts that you have added to it on the left side. Here you can select it to display all emails that you have received sorted by date.


  1. You can change the sorting to sender or subject instead, and reverse the sort order as well.
  2. You can use the Backup to HDD or USB option in the main menu to back up the messages to another device or location.
  3. If you want to search, use the search option displayed on the start page. It enables you to search only a specific account or folder that you have backed up.

Tutorials & Tips

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  1. jasray said on February 11, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    What to do when recovery is necessary if drive is encrypted?

    Note: If you encrypt the drive, you may not make use of the recovery disc that you can create using EaseUs.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 11, 2014 at 7:16 pm

      You need to gain access to TrueCrypt to make available the contents. If you have another Windows machine, you can extract the backup, move it to a USB Flash drive, and restore the backup using this unencrypted version.

  2. Karl J. Gephart said on February 11, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    I assume EaseUS Todo Backup Free will allow me to create a VHD or ISO so that, after using my system bootup disk, will allow me to recover my files quickly and easily. Windows restore is so slow.

  3. GK said on February 12, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Use Encrypting File System and just copy the files. Backup your EFS key certificate.

  4. Maelish said on February 12, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    I have great success with Crashplan. It has a feature that allows you to backup to another computer that could be on the same network or across the country. Best of all, that feature isn’t tied to the regular Crashplan subscription. So it’s a win-win for me.

  5. Noel said on February 14, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Martin, this is a great tip. I use it quite often, but lately I am looking into softwares that would offer me one click back up of certain folders on my HDD, but copy as it is, instead of XML or other format.

    I used a program in the past that backed up everything ‘nicely’ in XML format and when it was time to restore, I could not restore a single file, since then I am using Syncback to back up files ‘as is’, but clicking 10 different profiles is pain, one click would be better, any suggestion?

    FBackup offers such option but for only one time back up. For incremental back ups, you got to pay up.

  6. Norman said on February 27, 2014 at 10:02 am

    There is this other solution too. It gets things dne quicker. Just pointing it out. Its called Rollback Rx. Naturally its useful only when the underlying hardware is healthy. Say incase you were infected by a virus or were caught unaware because a file was accidently deleted. Rollback offers 256 bit AES which is really all you need unless ofcourse a fanatic terrorist is after your data. Periodic physical backup are just as necessary.

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