Nov 2, 2007
My Digital Life Editorial Team

Easy Way to Import, Upload, Backup or Store Email Messages into Gmail for Archive

GmailHave too many emails scatter around desktop email clients on local disk? The mails which downloaded and retrieved from POP3 mail server using program such as Outlook 2003/2007, Outlook Express, Netscape, Windows Vista Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird, Pegasus, Eudora or others, are stored and kept on local hard drive. E-mail messages stored in the e-mail client mailboxes can be read and browse offline and organize into folders using client’s database file.

However, over the time, the data files , such as Outlook Personal Folders data file .PST or mBox used in Eudora and Thunderbird will grow very big, making the client program less responsive. Beside, the locally stored emails and old mails archive also prone to high risk of accidental lost such as when hard disk crashes, or when reformatting/reinstalling operating system. Thus if your email messages is important to you for future reference or sweet memories, backup the mails somewhere else especially on a medium that is easily accessible is a must.

Archive and backup the mails by uploading and importing the mails into Gmail server is a good choice. Gmail now has over 4GB of storage space, enough for thousands if not millions of e-mails. What most important is that mails kept on Gmail is in safe hand. You can easily access the mails via web interface and free IMAP or POP3 support. And Google, provider of Gmail is reliable and unlikely to go bust or bankrupt in the foreseeable future, causing you have to move entire email archive stored in Gmail elsewhere again. Beside, users can also enjoy other features and benefits of Gmail, such as labeling of email messages instead of storing into folders and powerful quick mail search.

However, Gmail does not provide a way or feature to upload email into it. Previously, those people who wants to import existing mail messages into Gmail has to depend on Google GMail Loader (GML) provided by to upload old emails currently exists in local mail client. However, the mail loading to Gmail process is reliable, and often terminated halfway. Beside, only certain email clients with mBox, MailDir, MMDF, MH, and Babyl format. Those using Microsoft Outlook with .PST format or Outlook Express will have to convert or export the emails to mBox data file format. There are also other issues such as non working SMTP server, modified sender name, and timestamp of emails when viewed in Inbox or All Mail is not the original date and time the mails were received, but the time when the uploaded messages were received by Google server.

Now there is a very simply trick to import and upload existing old email messages into Gmail without hassle and problems mentioned above. The trick is to make sure of free IMAP access provided by Gmail. Any email client that supports configuration of multiple email accounts can upload emails to Gmail.

To import and upload existing emails to Gmail, firstly IMAP support must be enabled in Gmail. You can enable IMAP for Gmail by selecting Enable IMAP in Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab of Gmail Settings page. Then, open up the mail client you currently use to download and read emails. Inside the mail client, configure additional account for Gmail using IMAP protocol. Gmail Help provides guide on how to configure IMAP based Gmail access on some popular email clients.

Once IMAP accessed Gmail is configured, an additional IMAP folder for these Gmail IMAP account will be displayed on folders list or mail items list. To import and upload your existing mails to Gmail, simply drag and drop, or copy and paste (or cut and paste) if you no longer want the mails to have a copy in your local folders to Gmail’s Inbox folder in the new IMAP account in the mail client. Your email client may be hanged or not resposive while uploading, and the importing process may take a while to complete.

Once uploaded, the Gmail IMAP folder in email client will immediately synchronize and reflect the changes, and you can also verify the emails have been safely uploaded and imported into Gmail for backup or archive storage by visiting Gmail web user interface.

You can also move the email messages to a sub-folder under Gmail IMAP folder to automatically skip Gmail Inbox and archive it, but also applying a label to the email messages uploaded. You can also apply multiple labels to mail messages by simply copy the mails to many sub-folders.

Note that above trick only works on existing email messages currently reside in local mailboxes of email client, which has been downloaded from POP3 mail server, or can be accessed via IMAP or HTTP in case of Windows Live Hotmail (aka MSN Hotmail). If you are using webmail interface to access your email, and want to transfer the mails to Gmail, you can skip all these steps by making use of Gmail’s free Mail Fetcher function, provided your webmail service provider has POP3 access. Mail Fetcher allows users to directly import mail from a POP3 supported email service into GMail.

  • AdminCraft.Org


    You can simply use IMAP which is far better. If you are a Thunderbird user, use Google webMail Filer for Thunderbird

  • ashok

    I was asking help how to store email message in hard disk, instead the answer given is how to store email messages in gmail inbox., which is absurd.

  • GatesDaemon

    This is a great way to upload all my Giga bytes of emails. Thank you so much. Since i switched to Mac, i wanted a way to upload my outlook 2007 emails. This is by far the easiest method i found.

    Guys we all need to learn to appreciate someone's help. this is how life goes on..

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  • Antonio

    You are amazing, thanks a million. I accidently had mac mail pull all of my hotmail emails off line which meant i could not access them when not on my mac. This was the only solution to have all email on server again so i can read them if i need to from anywhere. You are a life saver as no on had a solution for me. Thanks a million. I since made sure that under setting in mail that the take mail offline was not checked. :)

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  • samson

    Wow, it works. Thank you for sharing this. Now I am ready to upload all of my archived outlook files to Gmail. It is 13 years of archived emails.

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  • plimento

    it sux, but here's how you do it:

    go to outlook, export CONTACTS file as (dos) for windows

    Upload that file to google,

    sync your pre with google contacts

    why has it got to be so hard

    the blackberry is seemles, but the pre is wireless

  • epool86

    hello, i have a big problem this morning..

    i try to enable push mail service on my phone, actually i just want to try it. i setup using my gmail account. suddenly all the email keep coming into my handphone non-stop..

    then when i login to my gmail (web-based), all my email is lost (including the old/archive email)..

    now i realise all my email is currently in my handphone. how to restore it back to gmail server? please.. i really need help now..

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  • Dierdre Monrroy

    VRy interesting to read it 😛 😀

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  • Amy DeBonis

    This is by far the easiest solution to import your messages to Gmail. However, you may run into some issues if you are trying to do this from a work server.

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  • crashedcar

    perfect!!! thank you so much!!

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  • Evan

    Hey, this is a really cool way of doing it, thanks for the advice. The best thing is the sheer space availble on gmail.

    Thanks mate.

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