How can I store mail locally using IMAP?

Monica Schoonraad May 24, 2013

In the IMAP vs POP article IMAP vs. POP3: What Is It and Which One Should You Use? If you have ever set up an email client or app, you will have certainly come across the terms POP and IMAP. Do you remember which one you chose and why? If you are not... Read More , it is said that IMAP mail can be stored locally (permanently) as well.

How can I do this?

I have 4 mail accounts – Gmail, Hotmail and 2 PCs to be kept in sync using WLM and Outlook.


  1. Oron Joffe
    May 24, 2013 at 9:53 am

    IMAP saves locally by default (the messages are synchronised between the server and the local hard disc). They will only be deleted from the local hard disc if you delete them from your mailbox (either locally or by accessing your mail from another computer or client, and deleting them there). If you stop using an email account, the messages will NOT be deleted!

    The location of the local storage depends on the program you use. You can usually find it by looking for the word "storage" in the account information on the client.

    If you want to make a separate copy of the messages which will be saved *only* on the computr, you can create additional folders on your hard disc and copy the messages to them. The term for those local folders differs between email clients. For example, on Thunderbird they're called "Local Folders", in Windows Live Mail "Storage Folders" and in Mail on the Macintosh they are usually called "On My Mac" or something similar.

  2. ha14
    May 24, 2013 at 7:58 am

    Backing Up and Restoring IMAP Email with Thunderbird

    if you can IMAP server on your own PC then you can copy mails

    How do I import and export email, contacts, and calendars with Windows Live Mail?

    If you subscribe to Yahoo! Mail Plus, you can POP using a mail program like Microsoft Outlook, which allows you to save a copy of all of your mail messages in your local computer.

    YPOPs! - POP3/SMTP Access to Yahoo

  3. Bruce Epper
    May 24, 2013 at 7:15 am

    You pretty much have 2 ways to accomplish permanent storage of IMAP emails. The first is to never delete a message you want to keep forever. If you never delete it from the server, it will remain in you inbox until the end of time. Your other option with WLM or Outlook is to create a personal store (PST file) and copy all of your keepers there. The only drawback to this method is that these messages will only appear on the machine where you copied the file if it is later deleted from the original inbox. So if you are using 2 different machines and you MOVE a message from your Gmail inbox to your local store (or copy the message and delete the original), you will no longer be able to access that message from your second machine.

    All in all, what you are looking at doing here is an end-run around one of the biggest benefits of using IMAP in the first place: seeing all of your email from any location without having to resort to a web browser.

  4. Alan Wade
    May 24, 2013 at 6:36 am

    We need to know what email client you are using in order to give an accurate answer.

    • Mike D
      June 3, 2013 at 12:00 am

      You should be able to syn with outlook and it will pick up your mail from the client and store it on your computer at outlook.

  5. Rajaa Chowdhury
    May 24, 2013 at 4:47 am

    Will depend on the mail client you are using. The link explains how to do it in a Thunderbird mail client. Outlook, PostBox, etx. the menu navigation will be different but the concept remains the same. Refer to link

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