Backup Your Gmail Account to a Hard Drive

The very manner in which we stored our data saw a sea change with the rise in popularity of cloud storage. One of the earliest entities to bring cloud storage to the masses was Google with its email service, Gmail. Among the chief attractions of a Gmail account was the large cloud storage space on offer. Most users would be hard pressed to stretch the 10GB of email storage space that Gmail offered. And one could unlock even more space by paying Google for it.


However, there are still many who would like to possess a backup of all their emails on Gmail; preferably on a hard drive. Quite a few also tend to be uncomfortable with the idea of storing their important emails on cloud. Luckily, there exists a way for you to back up your Gmail account onto a local hard drive.

Gmail Backup


Yup, that is the name of the program. A quick visit to their site will tell you that the program hasn’t got an update for quite a while but rest assured, it continues to work just the way it did in the past. The program is also free; so download and install it on your computer.

Starting Up the Program

Once you launch Gmail Backup, there will be a form requiring you to fill up some details. The downloading of your emails can begin once you are done filling up this form. Once you do begin the download, remind yourself that this can take time. And no, the slow rate of download does not have anything to do with your internet connection (at least not if your connection is rated lower than 1 mbps). However, this slow rate of email download is only prevalent for the first backup. When you take out backups subsequently, the download rate should match up to your internet connection’s speed. One thing that helps in a faster download/backup is checking on the box next to the option reading ‘Newest emails only’.

Reading Your Downloaded & Saved Email

The Gmail Backup program saves all your downloaded emails together in an .eml file. This is a format supported by some commonly used Microsoft programs. You can read the saved .eml files using Outlook Express, Windows Live Mail, and Windows Mail. However, these files cannot be opened with Outlook.

Some Drawbacks

Although mostly beneficial, using Gmail Backup throws up a couple of undesirable niggles. For instance, you will need to part with all the labels you might have created to organize your Gmail account. Also, since every mail is put into a standalone file, you will miss out on the conversation feel; something quite unique to Gmail. However, this drawback is offset by the fact that you will refer to these backups only in emergencies.


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