How to backup your emails…FOR FREE!
Being the local go-to-geek for all my friends and family I often get asked general questions regarding all things geeky. Surprisingly, a number of friends have asked me how best to backup their emails. Saying things like “I deleted an email the other day by accident and now I can’t get it back…what do I do?!”. To which my answer is usually “nothing”. Unfortunately once something is deleted, its usually gone for good. So in this article I will show how to backup your emails in very simple way for absolutely free.
Ok, to achieve these backups we’re going to create a free Gmail account and set our email to automatically be collected by Gmail. So, your emails will always exist in Two place, thus, a backup :).
First you need to go to http://mail.google.com and click on the ‘Create an account’ button to the top right of the screen. Pick an email that is descriptive, something like email@example.com (this way you won’t confuse it with your main email account) and fill in all of the registration form.
Right then, we now have our free Gmail account, sign into it. Click on the cog icon in the top right hand corner of the screen and click on ‘Mail Settings’. In here you will need to setup a couple of labels (one for Inbox and one for sent items), some filters and POP collection from your actual mailbox.
Ok, lets start by setting up the POP collection from another account. In the settings window, click on the Accounts button. Then you are looking for ‘Check Mail From Other Accounts (using POP)3′ and click ‘Add a POP3 mail account you own’. You will now be asked for your email address – enter your mail email address. For the purposes of this example we will use firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click ‘Next Step’ and change your user name to your email address and enter your password (this is the password you use to check your emails). Finally click no when it asks you if you want to send from this address and click finish.
Right, that’s the hard bit done. We now need to setup our labels and filters. Back in our settings screen, click on to the labels tab and create 2 new labels. One called something like ‘Inbox Backup’ and the other ‘Sent Items Backup’ (these labels can be anything you want to be, this is what I call mine).
Now click on the filters tab, again, we need to create 2 filters. One for our Inbox and one for sent items. Click ‘Create New Filter’ and put your main email address in the To field and click ‘Next Step’.
Now select the following settings, Skip Inbox, Mark as Read & Apply the Following Label (select the Inbox label you just made). Finally click, Create Label.
Now create another filter in the exact same way apart from 2 differences. Firstly, instead of putting your main email address in the to field, this time put it in the from field. Click next step and select all the same settings again but pick your Sent Backup label as the target.
THAT’S IT! Your done, the only thing left to do now is test it. Send yourself an email and see its replicated to your backup email account. Note: In my experience there is usually a delay of around 10 minutes before they come through. Don’t worry though, they will come in.
You can even set this up to backup multiple email accounts to one place, just add another account you own then create another set of labels and filters. Now if you ever delete an email by accident, simply sign into your backup email account, find the email you deleted and forward it on to your main account. Hey presto! A full email backup :)