Monday, 8 August 2011

Are Your Emails Backed Up?

Have you ever deleted an email from your mailbox and thought "damn, I wish I hadn't done that...I actually need that email". A lot of people use free email systems like Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo. In this post I will show you how to backup all of your emails for free!

For this to work you will need the following:

  1. An email account with POP access (you may need to know the POP server for your email supplier)
  2. Register for a free Gmail account
  3. 10 minutes of free time

This is how I back up my emails and it works a treat, so I thought I would share it with you all!

Step One - Register for a free Gmail account

To do this you need to go to http://mail.google.com and click on the 'Create an account' button to the right of the screen. Pick an email that is descriptive, something like john.smith.backup@gmail.com (this way you won't confuse it with your main email account) and fill in all of the registration form.

Step Two - Setup Your Back Up Account

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 'Get Mail From Other Accounts' and click 'Add a 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 john.smith@gmail.com

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 to 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 (see below).

THAT'S IT! Your done, the only thing left to do now is test it. Send yourself an email and see it replicated to your backup email account. Note: In my experience the sent items tend to delay by 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.

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