DON'S FREEWARE CORNER - MAR 2017
©2017 Donald R. Snow - This page last updated 2017-05-10.
BACKING UP YOUR GMAIL AND OTHER GOOGLE INFORMATION
These Freeware Corner notes are published in TAGGology,
our Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group (UVTAGG)
monthly newsletter. They are also posted on my Freeware
Corner Notes page on http://uvtagg.org/classes/dons/dons-classes.html
where the links are active and there may be corrections and
additions and other related notes and articles.
GMAIL AND OTHER GOOGLE ITEMS
Many of us use Gmail, as well as other things from Google such
as Google Maps and Google Groups. Google is a reliable
company, but you may want to have a backup copy on your own
computer of your Gmail and other Google information just to be
on the safe side. This Freeware Corner article will
discuss how to use the Google Takeout program (free) to
back up all your Google information, including all your Gmail.
You get an mbox compressed file of all your email and
other selected Google data that you can store where and how
you want, on your own computer, on a flash drive or external
hard drive, or in the cloud.
THE GOOGLE TAKEOUT WEBSITE
The Google Takeout website is https://takeout.google.com/settings/takeout .
It is free and has a list of all the 30 or more Google
items that may be in your Google account, including Gmail,
Google Maps, Google Drive, your Google Profile, and many more.
You can also get to this Google Takeout menu from your
Google account, but it's buried so deep that it's hard to
find. Here are the steps to get to it in Google:
Settings > Accounts > Google Account Settings >
Control Your Content > Create An Archive. Another way
to find it is to do a Google search for "site:google.com
takeout" (without the quotes). This is a Google site
search which only searches the Google website for the word
FORMING THE ARCHIVE
I elected to form a compressed file of my Gmail, my Google
Maps, my Google Drive, and my Google Profile. It started
collecting the data and said it might take hours or days even,
and that it would send me an email when it was finished.
I elected to have the compressed file sent to my Dropbox
account and Dropbox almost immediately sent me an email that I
had now connected a new app, Google Download Your Data, to my
Dropbox account. But I never received an email about
when Google had finished the archive. I finally found
the file in my Dropbox under Apps > Google Download Your
Data and it is 17.4 GB. Google Create An Archive >
Manage My Archive says it can't tell me about any downloads of
this file because the file was uploaded to Dropbox.
After I found it in my Dropbox, I made a copy on my
desktop so I could work with the archive file. I have no
idea how long it took, since I didn't keep checking and don't
know when it finished. I tried again to form an archive
of just my Gmail and save it in my Google Drive account and a
1 MB file showed up there almost immediately, but that must
just be the start of the archive, and I have no idea of where
the final file is, since I can't find it. What follows
below is what I did with the Google Archive file I copied from
READING THE MBOX ARCHIVE FILE
The file extension .mbox refers to the format that many email
programs use to store emails and is the format that Google
Archive produces with all your Gmail. Google suggests
that to look at it you set up the free email program
THUNDERBIRD on your computer and open the mbox archive in
that. THUNDERBIRD is a good email program and I used to
use it for all my email. However, I decided not to set
up another email program on my computer, but just find and use
an mbox viewer instead. I downloaded the open-source
(and hence, free) program WINDOWS MBOX VIEWER from https://sourceforge.net/projects/mbox-viewer/
and ran the program. It wanted to know which folder to
go to, so I told it the folder on my desktop where I had
copied the archive backup files from my Dropbox, and it
immediately showed me the mbox file from the archive ready to
open. I clicked to open that file and it took 3 or 4
minutes to read and "parse" (computer jargon) the entire 17.4
GB of emails and attachments and then showed them in panels
that look almost like an email program. It saved the
attachments so they open by clicking on Attachment. It
has a search feature that I tried and that seems to work fine
and allows me to search the entire collection of emails for
words, inclusive dates, etc. So now it appears that I
have a complete and searchable backup file on my computer of
all my Gmails and their attachments as of the date I formed
the archive. I think I'll form these backups every few
months from now on, so I'll have complete copies of all my
emails on my own computer that are searchable without being on
the Internet. I can keep a couple of generations of
backups and delete the older ones.
OTHER EMAIL ACCOUNTS
If you use some other email program and it doesn't have an
easy way to back up all your old emails, you could consider
getting a free Gmail account and setting a filter in your
regular email account to automatically forward a copy of every
email, received or sent, to your new Gmail account. Then
you could back up your whole Gmail account to preserve it.
Of course, this wouldn't back up earlier emails before
you started this system. Many years ago I started
sending myself a copy of every email I write, so I'd have
copies in my Inbox. Google doesn't have a feature that
will do this automatically, so I have to remember and add my
address as a Cc: in each email I write. But when I do
that, I have a copy of every email I have written and can
archive them or move them to boxes (labels in Gmail).
All my written Gmails are in my Sent Mail box, but
sometimes I can't find them there for some reason. Also, if I
send Gmails from another computer, the Cc copies still go to
the Inboxes on all my computers.
OTHER BACKUP OPTIONS
Here are a couple of other ways to backup your emails, but
most of them will only back up your emails from now on and
won't back up what you have already received.
1. If you use an email program that uses the mbox
format, and many do, find the mbox file and make a copy of it
somewhere else on your computer. This will backup all
your emails that there are.
2. With any email program set up a filter to forward a
copy of each email to your EVERNOTE account. When you
set up your EVERNOTE account, free or commercial, you were
assigned an email address that any emails sent there are put
into EVERNOTE notes, each into a separate note. They are
all searchable there, but may push you over the 2 Gig limit
for a free account. Premium accounts are unlimited in
what they can store.
3. Gmvault - http://gmvault.org/index.html .
This is a program that seems to be popular to back up
your Google emails, but I haven't used it.
Note: I'm still trying to find a good way to back up all
my and my wife's old Juno emails from years ago. I'm
still paying for our old Juno accounts since there are lots of
old emails there and I haven't learned how to save them off.
I'm sure there is a simple way, but I just haven't taken
time to learn how to do it.
HELPFUL ARTICLES ABOUT BACKING UP EMAILS
Google Helps -- https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/3024190?hl=en
Stanford -- https://answers.stanford.edu/solution/im-graduating-can-i-use-google-takeout-back-my-google-apps-data
Ubergizmo -- http://www.ubergizmo.com/how-to/backup-restore-gmail/
University of Connecticut -- http://g.uconn.edu/how-to-use-google-takeout/
Lifehacker -- http://lifehacker.com/5934343/how-can-i-migrate-my-google-data-from-one-account-to-another
YouTube tutorial -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBwfSX1bkaU
How-To Geek -- https://www.howtogeek.com/216189/how-to-create-and-download-an-archive-of-all-your-google-data/
Since many of you use Gmail, I hope that this Freeware Corner
note gives you some ideas of how to back up your emails.
I write these notes as much for my own benefit as for
yours and this is one that I've been thinking I needed to
learn how to do for a long time. I hope it helps you,
too. And I still have to figure out how to back up old
emails from other accounts that I was using before Gmail.