Using GMail to Backup Your Emails

The Great Outlook Cloudmark Crash of 2007 got me thinking about backing up your emails.

Sure, Outlook has got an archive feature and even a backup plugin for your personal folders (Outlook 2003/2002). But this obviously wouldn't work if that software itself was the one that crashed, or if your computer's hard disk bit the dust.

Enter GMail: Turns out you can configure it as a backup of sorts (and still let you use Outlook in a normal way). In GMail's Settings > Accounts tab, you can ask it to get mails from your other email accounts, fetch and store the emails (directly to the Archived folder, bypassing the inbox), and leave a copy of the emails on the server for your Outlook to fetch later on.

The tutorial from Gmail's Help Center has a step-bystep direction on how to do this: Link

If you don't have a GMail account, you can get one for free directly from Google.


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Ah, pooh. Gmail is easy and convienient, and for sending emails to friends such as "Hey man, I just ate the best roll" It's perfect. I keep a gmail for exactly that reason.

Homeland security is going to be looking at all of your emails anyhow. Why not?
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Well Sid, regular email is susceptible to packet sniffers, so I don't see any additional problem over unencrypted connection to retrieve them.

Regarding Google reading your emails - true, but privacy is an illusion when it comes to your regular email over POP3 anyhow: most of us use shared servers, which are susceptible to crackers and snooping admins. And how hardened are most people's computer anyhow? At least with Google, they've got top notch security to protect the data (at least from outside factors!)

Google has been criticized for its privacy policy and how long they retain user-deleted emails - true again. Even if there is a privacy policy, there's no way of double checking if your data is truly purged from Google, or in that matter, any computer.
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GMail is pretty neat (nearly 3 GB of mail space!) and the price is sure right. Just be advised that there are a lot of known security issues with it. By default, it uses an unencrypted connection to retrieve user data. There is a way around that, but it's an extra step. Also, Gmail automatically scans (i.e. reads!) all incoming and outgoing mail (even from non-subscribers) and has the ability to cross reference and store things it finds to establish a dossier on you, even combining this information with your web search history. They won't confirm or deny what they store on you, for how long, and for what purposes, but they've got more computing power and capability than the NSA in this area. Finally, another "issue" people have raised with Gmail is that Google is very sketchy about how long they retain user-deleted emails and to what extent these are really ever purged or restricted from prying eyes. So yeah, it is convenient, but there are a whole lot of things that privacy experts are quite worried about and Google refuses to address. Caveat emptor.
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Do you really want Google to have access to the contents of all your email?
I do the opposite - mail from Gmail goes to Outlook then I delete it from Gmail in box and trash.
If you really want to back up your email then use a backup hard drive.
Google has the worst privacy on the net.
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