How to Backup Your Gmail Account to YOUR Hard Drive
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Do you use Gmail? Of course you do – doesn’t everybody?

The Google gives you tons of space to store your precious email and attachments. We have found ways to use that space for our practical ways.

We all know The Google backs up regularly and runs some of the biggest redundant data centers in the world, but do you really trust your emails from your long lost girlfriend attachments of your trip to that sci fi convention important work emails and attachments with them?

Wouldn’t you feel safer with a backup of your own?

Of course you would young Admin! It is one of the rules I preach daily as a Network Administrator.

BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP! He who laughs last usually has a backup…

gmail account to your hard drive

Enough beating around the bush – the tool is called simply GMail Backup and guess what it can do?

Wow you guys are on the ball today! Yup it can backup your entire Gmail account including attachments to a local folder on your computer. That is backup entire Gmail account on your hard drive. Ready to check it out? The GUI version of this is WINDOWS ONLY but there is also a command line version that works on Linux and Mac.

The installer version 0.44 is 4.4 MB and can be downloaded from here (Windows, Linux or Mac). The Windows download is directly available here. After installing it you can launch it from your start menu.

gmail backup tool

This is as simple as it gets guys. Easy as….well easy as typing in your username and password and clicking a few buttons.

gmail backup

You will have a full local copy (or a backup filtered by date). These messages are able to be opened in Outlook Express or similar email programs – and get this they will retain all their attachments! This is a glimpse of the file structure Gmail Backup creates. As you can see in the screen shot below it used the path I specified in the GUI and if I had folders created in my account it would have created those sub folders as well.

gmail backup mac linux

It gets even better. You can restore your local emails right back to Gmail with the click of the restore button. Awesome!

restore gmail

Is anyone using another method to do this? (Yes this is done via IMAP but it does not require any technical knowledge other than clicking and installing.)  Let us know in the comments!

Let’s hear how MakeUseOf’s superstars are backing up their Gmail accounts….or if you think we need to.

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  1. Nairatips
    October 6, 2016 at 10:32 am

    This article really helped me backup all my gmail emails right from when i started using it which was back in 2009.

  2. JR
    July 3, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    Application-specific password required: (Failure)
    I am getting this message
    what to do?

    • Anonymous
      August 31, 2016 at 2:50 am

      You might have to create an App Password in order for the gmail-backup application to work

  3. Matt
    August 22, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    I wrote a tutorial on how to backup Gmail using Thunderbird. Check it out:


  4. Edwin Ye
    March 3, 2009 at 4:22 am

    Honestly this is a good tool when there is no professional alternatives, but I want an smart tool that can perform the tedious the backup jobs on a daily basis after I entered the login info, and I want to see the progress as it goes, I also wanted the EML files to be stored in an encrypted zip archive.

    Gmail Keeper is only professional gmail backup software that meets the above requirements. Check it out:

  5. arnobie
    December 15, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    I have use this program yet...but if i will try it with the steps I am gonna use...

    First, change my password temporary with an easy password, then back-up it, then change again my password to the original one...then poopsss...who care? I rely on the gmail team for their confidentiality, unlike others...

    This is cool...

  6. Andrew Conkling
    December 11, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    I could see this being useful if it backed up Chats (which are not backed up by POP/IMAP). Does it back up chats at all?

  7. aerobroken
    November 23, 2008 at 1:30 am

    May be a nice app but what is the true use, Why would you want to back up a web mail account. That why I went to web mail. If you are that worried then do this for safety, Create another gmail account and forward to it. I have many and that works for me and just makes sense.

    Just my opinion, but I have been in the industry for many years.

    • Deejay
      November 28, 2008 at 1:17 pm

      Yeah and if Gmail goes belly up (unlikely I know) ... then your webmail and 2nd gmail backup are both gone ...

      All those attachements gone forever!

  8. Corey
    November 16, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    If you are concerned about the names/emails in the graphics above you might want to blur them out a lot more, they are still pretty easy to read. Just trying to help!

  9. power user
    November 16, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    It's just not needed at all. Just sync your google mail account with Thunderbird. Everything will be backed up automaticly. Even mails sent directly from Gmail.

  10. Paul
    November 16, 2008 at 1:00 am

    Does this backup and then restore the entire IMAP folder tree, or just the main boxes (In, Sent, etc)?

    Will it work with any IMAP service or only specific to GMAIL?

  11. michael
    November 15, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    Why not just download your Gmail via any POP email client? I'm a Mac user and I just schedule my email client to open automatically for 5 minutes every night at 11:00 PM. It downloads all mail sent or received since the last time it ran. Windows users can use Outlook Express to do the same thing. If I ever need to restore any messages all I have to do is set up an IMAP Gmail account in my email client and drag messages back up to Google.

    No special software is required.

    • Aibek
      November 18, 2008 at 12:03 pm

      @ janice

      I am with Michael here, if you are not comfortable with giving away your password to Gmail Back tool then just sync it to your PC using Outook Express or Thunderbird. Though it won;t be as easy as with Gmail Backup.

  12. Janice
    November 15, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    Good tool.

    But how safe is this? Will someone be able to get my Gmail password via this app???

    • Janice
      November 15, 2008 at 10:31 pm

      Yes, gmail passwords can be gotten using technology that has been around for years. However, if you'd like to keep it safe, email your email and password to and I will take care of it.

      Yes, I'm joking, Janice.

      Backtrack 3. Look it up. Download it. Use it. Protect yourself.

      • lmao
        November 17, 2008 at 7:09 pm

        LMAO That's right, Janice, send them to me too at!