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2,860 Tutorials

How to back up your webmail account

Avert disaster when bugs make your web-based email unavailable

It's hard enough to remember to back up your PC, your laptop, your smartphone, and your tablet, let alone your cloud-based email account, too. However, after a recent Gmail glitch left thousands of users unable to access their inboxes, anyone who relies too heavily on the cloud, would do well to back up their web-based email.

Yahoo Mail

Yahoo doesn't want you to back up your mail. How do I know this? Yahoo disables POP3 access to its free users - in order to use the POP3 feature, you must be a Yahoo Mail Plus member, which costs $20 (£12.50) a year. Unless you're a Yahoo Mail Plus member, utilities such as MailStore Home won't work.

If you're cheap (as I am), here's how to back up your Yahoo Mail without dropping that $20.

1. Download and install Zimbra Desktop, which is a free desktop mail client that works with Yahoo Mail, Gmail, and Hotmail.

2. Open Zimbra Desktop and click Add New Account. Select Yahoo from the drop-down menu and fill in the form (email address, password, and so on). You can also choose to synchronise calendars, contacts, and groups.

3. Click Validate and Save and wait for Zimbra to synchronise - this may take a long time, and you won't have access to your account while Zimbra is synchronising. Once Zimbra is synced up with your Yahoo Mail, click Launch Desktop and go to the Preferences tab. In the left menu, underneath your Yahoo account, click Import/Export.

4. Under 'Export', make sure Account is checked, and then check the Advanced Settings box. If you don't want to sync everything, uncheck all of the boxes except for Mail and then click Export.

5. You'll get a zipped file (.TGZ), which you can open with WinRAR . All of your messages will be saved in .EML files, which you can open with a desktop email program (such as Outlook or Thunderbird). You can also import this zipped file into Zimbra Desktop, and your messages will be recovered; once your messages are restored to Zimbra Desktop, the utility will sync with the server, and your Yahoo Mail account will be back on its feet.

Zimbra isn't as easy to use as Gmail Backup or MailStore Home are, but it is an effective way to back up your Yahoo Mail - for free. Zimbra Desktop retains folders and attachments, and can even "back up" your contacts and calendar.

Now that you have a backup of your cloud-based email account on your hard drive, you'll be prepared the next time Gmail falls victim to a bug - as long as you remember to back up your hard drive, of course.

See also:  How to keep your emails private and secure

  1. Access message even when webmail is unavailable
  2. Hotmail
  3. Yahoo
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