How to Backup GMAIL Messages Locally.

Last updated on March 5th, 2019

This tutorial contains detailed instructions and various methods to back up your GMAIL messages locally on your Windows computer, for security reasons or for other reasons.

By reading this guide, you will learn how to download your email messages into a GMAIL archive, how to backup google mail messages in Outlook and how to backup Gmail by using the 'IMAPSize' utility or the 'Gmail Backup and Restore Utility'.

Backup GMAIL Messages

How to Backup/Save your GMAIL messages locally. *

* Notice: Methods 2, 3 & 4, needs the GMAIL IMAP Access to be enabled.

To Enable the IMAP access in GMAIL Account Settings:
1. Sign-In to your Gmail account using a desktop computer.
2. Click the Gear icon image on the top right and choose Settings.
3. On Forwarding and POP/IMAP section, Enable IMAP.

enable gmail imap access

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Method 1. Download GMAIL Archive.
Method 2. Backup Gmail Messages using Outlook.
Method 3. Backup Google Mail messages using IMAPSize utility.
Method 4. Backup GMAIL using Gmail Backup and Restore Utility.

Method 1. Download GMAIL Archive

1. Sign-In to Google My Account using a desktop computer.
2. Click Control your content.

backup gmail content

3. Click Create Archive.

download gmail content

4. Click Select None at Select Data to Include section.

download gmail archive

5. Turn On Mail and then click All mail.

5a. If you want to backup all of your mail, leave the default selection and click Next.

5b. If you want to backup specific Email folders, then click Select Folders
and then choose the Email folders (e.g. Inbox, Sent, etc.) that you want to include in the backup. After selecting the folders, click Done and then Next to continue.

download google mail content

6. At the next screen, customize the Gmail backup archive format, the archive size and the Delivery method * (or leave the default options) and click Create archive:

1. Choose the file type of the backup archive (e.g. .zip)
2. Leave the default archive size (recommended), or choose a different size for the created archive.
3. Delivery method: Choose how you want the archive to be delivered when its creation is completed. The available options here are the following:

a. Send download link via email: A link to download the archive will be send to your email.
b. Add to drive: The archive will be saved on your Google Drive and a link to download the archive will be send to your email.
C Add to Dropbox: Choose this option if you want to save the archive into your Dropbox. (You'll be prompted to sign in to your Dropbox account).
d. Add to Microsoft OneDrive: Choose this option if you want to save the archive into OneDrive. (You'll be prompted to sign in to OneDrive with your Microsoft Account).

save gmail messages locally

7. Now wait until the archive creation is completed. When this done, you will receive a notification mail in order to download your Gmail backup archive. *

* Note: The downloaded archive, contains your email folders in the "mbox" file format. To view the MBOX files, you can use the Thunderbird Email client. The detailed instructions can be found here: How to Open MBOX files in Thunderbird.

download google mail content

Method 2. Backup Gmail using Outlook

Step 1. Add you GMAIL Account to Outlook.

1. From Outlook menu, choose Add Account.

outlook add account

2. Choose Manually configure server settings or additional server type and click Next.
3. Select the Internet E-mail service and click Next again.

4. At the User Information section, enter:

  • Your name: The Display Name that you want to use (e.g. John Smith).
  • Email address: Your full Gmail Address (e.g. john.smith@gmail.com)

5. At the Server Information section:

  • Account type: Select IMAP.
  • At Incoming mail server type: imap.gmail.com
  • At Outgoing mail server (SMTP) type: smtp.gmail.com

6. At Logon Information section, type: *

  • User Name: Your full Gmail Address (e.g. john.smith@gmail.com)
  • Password: Your GMAIL password.

gmail imap setup

7. When done, press the More Settings button.
8. At "Internet E-Mail settings window" choose the Outgoing Server tab, and then check the My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication checkbox.
9. Then choose the Advanced tab and apply the following settings:

1. Use the following type of encrypted connection: SSL
2. Incoming server (IMAP) Port: 993
3. Use the following type of encrypted connection: SSL
4. Outgoing server (SMTP) Port: 465
5. Click OK to apply changes.

gmail imap setup

10. At the "Add New Account" wizard, click Next.

Step 2. Export GMAIL folders and messages from Outlook.

1. From Outlook main menu, choose Export or Open/Export or Import/Export (depends on Outlook version).

export gmail to outlook

2. Then select Export to a file and click Next.

export imap gmail as pst

3. Choose Outlook Data File (.pst) and click Next.

export imap gmail to pst file

4. Highlight your GMAIL account and make sure that the "Include Subfolders" checkbox is selected. Then, click Next.

export gmail to pst file

5. At the last window, specify a name for the backup file and the backup destination and click Finish.

outlook export gmail to pst

6. Now, sit backup and wait until the backup is completed.

That's it! To view the contents of the Gmail backup file, open the file in Outlook by using the Open –> Open Outlook Data File feature, from the main menu.

outlook open pst data file

Method 3. Backup Google Mail messages using IMAP Size utility.

The next program to backup all your email messages from your Google account utility, is the IMAPSize.* IMAPSize can download all your email messages, from all Gmail folders, in .EML format.

* Note: The IMAPSize is an old freeware Windows application that was developed back in 2009, with the main purpose to easily manage your IMAP mail accounts. IMAPSize contains incredible features * such as:

– It can display of all mailboxes in an account with visual alerts for the most space consuming mailboxes.
– The program has powerful search capabilities on single or multiple mailboxes.
– Copy messages from one IMAP account to another.
– It can perform incremental backups of the whole account.
– It can Replicate IMAP folder hierarchy to your local drive.
– To view all the features and to download IMAPSize visit this page.

– To backup your Gmail Folders and messages using IMAPSize:

1. Install IMAPSize on your computer.
2. Launch IMAPSize and then add your GMAIL account to the program, either by using the wizard that opens at program's startup, or by going to Account –-> New from the main menu.
3. At Add Account window:

    • Type your Google account credentials in the corresponding fields.
    • At Server field type: imap.gmail.com
    • Select the Use Secure Connection (SSL Port: 993) and the Smart INBOX options
    • Click OK.

backup gmail with imapsize

4. From the main menu select View –-> Options.

imapsize gmail account backup

5. Select a folder as the backup destination at "Root Backup Directory" section and click OK.

imapsize google mail backup

6. Then click the Account menu and select Account Backup.

google mail backup with imapsize

7. Select the Gmail folders that your want to backup and click Backup.

gmail mail backup with imapsize

8. When the backup process is completed, navigate to the specified location to view the Google email messages. To open the EML files you can use your email client program (Outlook*, Thunderbird, etc.).

* Note: To open the EML files in Outlook 2007, follow the instructions in this Microsoft article: Files that have the .eml file name extension do not open in Outlook 2007

Method 4. Backup GMAIL using Gmail Backup and Restore Utility,

The Gmail Backup and restore utility is a free software and can be used to save only the messages from your GMAIL Inbox folder, into a local folder on your computer, in .EML format.

1. Download the Gmail Backup and restore utility. *

* Important Note: The official download page for the Gmail Backup Backup utility, is the: https://code.google.com/archive/p/gmail-backup-com/. But, after installing the program, using the installer from the official page, we receive the  following error when the backup process is start: "Error: IMAP: SEARCH command error: BAD ['Could not parse command']". After searching for the error, I found a new version of the installer here, which resolves the mentioned problem/error.

2. Open the "gmail-backup-installer.exe" and follow the on screen prompt to install the program.
3. When the installation is completed, launch the GMail backup application.

4. At Gmail Backup settings:

1. Type your GMAIL credentials (username and password).
2. Then click the Directory button and choose a local folder to save the GMAIL messages.
3. At "Since date" & "Before date" fields, define the time period of the messages that you want to save.
4. When done, click the Backup button to start the backup.

Gmail Backup and Restore Utility

4. When the backup operation is completed, navigate to the specified backup location to view the saved messages.To open the EML files you can use your email client program (Outlook*, Thunderbird, etc.).

* Note: To open the EML files in Outlook 2007, follow the instructions in this Microsoft article: Files that have the .eml file name extension do not open in Outlook 2007

That's it! Let me know if this guide has helped you by leaving your comment about your experience. Please like and share this guide to help others.

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