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How to Backup Email

The simplest way to backup an IMAP email account, like a Gmail or Aol Mail account, is to use desktop client software.

Two popular services, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail, don't support IMAP, so, you're kind of "out of luck" with them.

The rest seem to support IMAP.

Two popular IMAP mail clients are Outlook Express (now called Mail), and Thunderbird (from Mozilla). Both are nice because they allow you to create local files, and also save the email in industry standard formats like .eml and .mbox.

You can also script Outlook Express to do some of your dirty work.

The typical backup solution is to create local folders -- folders that aren't stored on the server -- and copy the server's data into these local folders.

There are also IMAP sync tools that copy all the data from one IMAP account to another. These very in speed, and most aren't fase enough for frequent backups, but, they can be used to copy the data over.

If you don't have a second IMAP server (and you probably don't), consider using something like Debian to set up an internal mail server that's used only to hold backups.


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