Gmail Back up via Fetchmail

Posted on March 4, 2007

GmailTaking my life out of Outlook and placing it fully into Gmail + Google Calendar has been great. My personal productivity is way up and accessing my e-mail and schedule has never been easier. However, as soon as I made the move I began thinking about the back up issues since I depend on having my e-mail archives for a number of things. Sure, I could POP everything to Outlook or Thunderbird but I wanted a better solution than that. Thanks to Lifehacker that solution came a couple weeks ago and I finally implemented it this weekend.

The basic solution is to use the old command line and fetchmail. Since fetchmail was originally written for Unix you’ll need a Unix emulator. I went with the one Lifehacker suggested. It’s called Cygwin and it works like a charm.  For instructions on how to get Cygwin up and running check out this Lifehacker post.

The solution that Lifehacker presents not only backs up all of your Gmail easily into a mbox file that can be accessed in either a text file reader or an e-mail platform like Thunderbird, it also explains how to set up a batch process that will run your Gmail back up automatically at a set time each day. Now that’s a solution!

Here are a couple notes from my installation that should make yours easier:

The command line can be scary but if you follow Lifehacker’s instructions you shouldn’t have a problem. This solution shouldn’t take too long to implement and it is well worth the time. Click here to head over to the Lifehacker post and set-up your automatic Gmail back up and sleep easy.


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