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Gmail Down? Time to Backup your mails!

By Debjit on September 8th, 2009 

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Recently, Gmail was down! And all of us panicked, didn't we. Though we were sure that all our messages were safe, but going by the way things are happening at Google these days, you never know! I know I'm exaggerating, something like this happening is 99.9% impossible, but this gives rise to my QoTD.

Question of the day: What are we going to do if Gmail crashes/stops/fails/vanishes all of a sudden?

Well, each one of us would have at least one unique answer to that question. One common answer though would be nothing. We really can't do anything if such a thing happens. Unless we have made a back up of all our mails at some other place.

For this, you need to have POP/IMAP enabled in your Gmail Account.

The basic difference between POP and IMAP is that, IMAP provides two-way communication between the Gmail Account and the client which you would be using for accessing/downloading your emails, whereas POP just lets you download the messages to your computer.

Here, a client basically means a software like Microsoft Outlook, Thunderbird etc.

The various POP clients supported by Gmail can be found here, and the IMAP clients here.

Before all of this, you need to have POP/IMAP enabled in your Gmail Account. For doing this, follow these steps:

  1. Open your Gmail Account
  2. Go to Settings
  3. Click on Forwarding and POP/IMAP
  4. If you just want to download your Gmail emails to your email client, then use POP. You have two options, Enable POP for all mail, or Enable POP for mail that arrives from now on. Select the option which you prefer.
  5. Or enable IMAP, if you want to access Gmail with all its functionality, i.e. sending and receiving mails through your client
  6. Click on Save Changes.
  7. Now, depending upon whether you have chosen POP or IMAP, you have to configure your client. For configuring your POP Clients, refer this, and for IMAP, this.


There's another way, and a very simple way at that, of securing a copy of your emails by forwarding a copy of your email to another email account, say a Yahoo! account, or a Hotmail/Windows Live  account. Follow these steps if you prefer this:

  1. Open your Gmail Account
  2. Click on Settings
  3. Click on Forwarding and POP/IMAP
  4. Here, specify an email address to which you want a copy of your mail to be sent.
  5. Click on Save Changes.


There are some other ways of backing up your Gmail emails, like using a software called Gmail Backup. But some users might not be comfortable keying in their username and password to a third-party app.

These were some of the many ways you can use to keep your messages safe, there might be many like the one mentioned above. If you happen to find any other app or an alternative method, do tell us by posting a comment. 🙂


Gmail Down? Time to Backup your mails! was originally published on on February 25, 2009 - 12:16 am (Indian Standard Time)