How Can I Save All My Emails for a Personal Backup?


First let's talk about Outlook, since it's the most common office email program, and then we'll discuss Gmail (Google Apps).

Outlook Options

Drag Emails from Outlook to a Folder

The easiest way to save multiple emails from Outlook is to select the ones you want to save and drag them to a folder in Windows Explorer (or Finder, if you're on a Mac). This saves the emails as individual .msg files with the subject as the filename, complete with any attachments. The downside: While you can later open these in Outlook, you won't be able to with another email client, since the .msg format is proprietary to Outlook. (If do you want to use a different program to read these, you'll need to look into MSG converter or viewer software .) If you're using Office 2011 on a Mac, however, dragging files will save them as .eml files, which can be opened in other email clients.

Export Everything to an Outlook PST File

For a full backup of everything, including subfolders, use Outlook's export function. In Outlook 2010, this is under File > Options > Advanced. When you save your folders as a .pst file, it backs up

your mail, calendar, contacts, tasks, and notes. This .pst file can be opened on another computer—again only by Outlook.

Use the "Save as" Command in Outlook

To save individual emails in Outlook, the File > Save as command will let you save messages is more universal formats, such as text, RTF, and HTML. Unfortunately, you'll need to save any attachments individually as well, and this is only ideal for saving a few messages at a time.

Use a Script or Third-Party Tool to Save Outlook Emails in Other Formats

Thankfully, others have tackled this problem of getting emails in batches out of Outlook. I used to use this VBS script to export selected folders from Outlook as individual .msgs. Unfortunately, I can't credit the original source of the script, but I had modified it to save the emails with the sender's name along with the date and subject for the filename. This script looks similar, but apparently you can change the format from MSG to something else.

There are also third-party utilities to accomplish the same with more advanced features, but they're not all free.

Gmail Options

If your company uses Gmail (Google Apps), there are several solutions that might work for you.


Category: Personal Finance

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