Avoiding Storage Fees by Backing Up Your Gmail

How to delete unused emails from Gmail without erasing any important correspondence.

I have had my Google Account for quite some time, like many seasoned internet users. Over the course of more than a decade of using Gmail, I have used up most of my allotted 15GB of free storage. While the vast majority of these are likely to be spam or unwanted material, there may be a few that are actually important to me, and I don't want to delete those without careful consideration. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, I highly recommend doing what I did and saving a copy of all of your Gmail correspondence on your computer.

If you need to restore an old email from Gmail, you'll need to do two things. Obtaining messages from Google is the first step, but there are more to come. The files that Google sends you will be in inbox format, which is unreadable by most programs on your computer. In any case, it's no big deal. Certainly, we'll correct the situation.

To Gmail or not to Gmail: that is the question!

It's simple to archive your Gmail correspondence with Google. To edit your Google profile, go to the site and click the profile icon. Simply navigate to "Data & privacy" and click the "Download or delete your data" link.

When you select "Download your data," you'll be able to choose from as many as fifty different kinds of information, including bits of your schedule, Chrome bookmarks, contacts, Drive files, Google Photos, and even your location history. For the purposes of this article, however, please check the box labeled "Mail." You may, of course, choose to save all of this information if you so choose.

With that box ticked, click "Next step." Set the frequency of export and the location from which you will be downloading (email is the default). Keep "Export once" selected if you only want to export the data once. When you are finished customizing your export, simply click the "Create export" button.

This is the waiting game! Google will handle the export and notify you when it is complete. Exports requested "via email" will be delivered to the user's inbox. Save a copy to your hard drive now. If you want things to stay organized, create a new folder and label it something like "My Gmail Backup" to keep track of these files.

Learn how to open the Gmail attachments you've downloaded so you can actually read them.

It's great to have a backup copy of your emails stored offsite, but that's only a little help if you can't actually access the information. These messages are stored in inbox files, so you won't be able to read them as you would a text file. Thankfully, once you've installed the necessary software, reading these files is a breeze.

Mozilla Thunderbird, an open-source email client recommended by How-To Geek, will be used so that you can access and peruse your past Gmail messages. Get the app from the app store and install it. If a pop-up window appears asking you to confirm your email address, enter any email address you like and continue.

When you're inside, select New > Feed Account from the File (Mac) or Menu (Windows) menu. First, name it, and then finish the configuration. If you change your feed in Thunderbird, you'll be taken there immediately. After getting to this page, select "Account Settings" and then "Browse" beside "Local Directory." By selecting this option, you can direct Thunderbird to your location of yours. mbox files. Click "Select Folder" and then pick the folder you created earlier. Next, restart Thunderbird if prompted to do so.

If you have a lot of emails, it may take a while for the app to finish loading after you relaunch it. But once it's done, you'll have local copies of all your messages and can browse them just like before. If you want to free up space on Gmail by deleting old emails, you should duplicate the.mbox files and store them elsewhere. In the end, having no backups is worse than having one bad one.


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