Gmail Backing Up
One of the biggest flaws of Gmail is that there is NO way to back up or archive your Gmail files to your home system. Everything is solely online. If you want to keep a copy for your records, or dump all your messages on a legal dispute and send them off to your lawyer, there's no easy way to do that. They are all safely trapped within the Gmail system.
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Here is how I got around it.
Download a free copy of Thunderbird mail software. Thunderbird is free, it's easy to use, and it will let you do archiving. Install it. Hook it up to your Gmail account. It is completely straightforward to do that - just enter your email address and password. Really, it's that easy. Choose the IMAP method so that you don't affect your Gmail stream at all.
Now your mail is in Thunderbird as WELL as in Gmail! Go to the messages you want to back up. Select them (click on the first one, drag the scroll bar, and shift-click on the last one). Right-click and use "save as". Put them all into a folder.
Voila! Your mail is now on your hard drive. It will save them as EML files which really are just text files - you can open these with any standard text editor.
Now that your messages are safely backed up, if you want to, you can delete the gmail copies!
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