How to backup or download emails from Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail (, Outlook, Thunderbird, and more [Guide]

Email is a mainstay in the lives of many people. I’d venture to say many people who feel naked if they ever lost access to their email accounts and/or their emails. So a question often asked is: how do I backup or download my emails? This guide answers that question. More specifically, we will show you how to backup/download (and restore) emails for any email account on any email service — including Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail (, Outlook, Thunderbird, and Microsoft Exchange.


Before we begin, please understand that the method to backup/download (and restore) emails works with any email service that provides IMAP or POP3 access. This includes popular email provides like Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail/ and less popular email provides like NetZero, Comcast, Earthlink, etc. Any email service that gives you access to IMAP or POP3 can be backed up by following the instructions we provide in this guide.

The best part? The method we are about to show you backs up/downloads emails and attachments.

Also please note: for the purposes of this guide, we will be using a program called MailStore Home. MailStore Home is a free-for-non-commercial use program that allows users to easily backup/download (and restore) emails. The catch to MailStore Home is it is free for non-commercial use only; if you want to use MailStore Home to backup a commercial/business email, you need to purchase the business version MailStore Server for US$190. MailStore Home/Server is a Windows program (Windows XP SP3, Vista, Win7, and Win8); as such, you need a Windows computer to be able to backup/download (and restore) emails by following the instructions provided in this guide.

That said, let’s begin.

[NOTE: If you use two-factor authentication, you will need to disable it before proceeding further.]


To backup or download emails from any email service, do the following:

  • Download and install MailStore Home (or MailStore Server). Take note MailStore has a portable version, too — you are asked if you want to use the portable version during installation of MailStore. You can use either the installer or portable version, it doesn’t matter.
  • Once installed, run MailStore.
  • When you have MailStore running, click on Archive E-mail:


  • What you do next depends on what type of email account you want to backup.
    • If you want to backup email from Outlook, Windows Mail, Thunderbird, Windows Live Mail, and Seamonkey, click the relevant button under Email Clients and follow on-screen instructions.
    • If you want to backup email from a web email account (e.g. Gmail or Yahoo), type in your email address (e.g. under Email Account and click Start:


    • Next type in the password for your email account and click OK:


    • Now MailStore will try to automatically find the proper settings for your web email service. (This takes up to 5 minutes.) If found, you will get a message that a profile has been created — click OK at the message:


If your email service settings are not automatically found, MailStore will ask you to manually enter the IMAP, POP3, Microsoft Exchange settings:


At this point you need to find out if your web email service supports IMAP, POP3, or Microsoft Exchange. This can typically be done by Googling or asking support of your email service. Once you have the relevant information, enter it into MailStore by selecting the proper Server Type (IMAP, POP3, or Microsoft Exchange) and Encryption (TLS or SSL), and typying in the Server Name (e.g. with SSL for and Hotmail users); click OK when done:


You will now need to wait while MailStore tests the settings you entered. If the settings are not accurate you will be given an error and told to try again. If they are accurate and you used IMAP, you will be told your email is now ready to be archived:


If the settings are accurate and you used POP3, you will be told only your main inbox can be archived and asked to continue (click Yes)…


…and then you will be told you are ready to start backing up:


  • Once you have successfully added your email account, all you have to do is double-click the account name under Save Profiles


…and wait while MailStore backs up your emails:


  • Once the backup/download has finished, click Close:


  • Done! You have successfully backed up/downloaded your emails. Repeat this process whenever you want to backup/download. If you want to automate it, keep reading because we will show you how to do that too.

Repeat these steps for all email accounts you want to backup/download. You can backup/download emails from an unlimited amount of emails accounts with MailStore.


Now that you have setup MailStore to backup/download your emails, you may be wondering if it is possible to set MailStore to automatically backup/download your emails. It is possible. To setup your emails to automatically backup/download, do the following:

  • Open MailStore
  • Go to Archive E-mail
  • Single left-click the email account you want to automatically backup, click Create Shortcut on Desktop, and click OK at the prompt that tells you creation of shortcut was successful:



  • Now close MailStore.
  • Go to your desktop where you created the shortcut, find the shortcut, right-click it, and click Properties.
  • At the Properties window, the Target field should say something like “C:\Program Files\deepinvent\MailStore Home\MailStoreHome.exe” /c archive –id=”3″. Copy that end part — the /c archive –id=”3″ part (your number may be different than 3):


  • Close Properties.
  • Open Windows Task Scheduler. This can be done by pressing Win + R on your keyboard, typing Taskschd.msc at the dialog box that pops up, and hitting OK:


  • Once Windows Task Scheduler is running, click on Create Basic Task:


  • At the window that pops up, enter a Name and click Next. The name can whatever you want, such as dotTech@gmail Backup Task:


  • Now pick how often/when you want the automatic backup/download of emails to happen and click Next:


Depending on which one you pick, you will have to further input the date/time or similar settings; click Next when ready:


  • At the next screen make sure Start a program is selected and hit Next:


  • Now click the Browse button, find the shortcut you created earlier on your desktop, and select it:



  • This next step is very important. In the Add arguments textbox, paste in what you copied earlier (e.g. /c archive –id=”3″), and click Next:


  • Finally, click Finish and close Windows Task Scheduler:


  • Done! Now the emails on your account will automatically backup/download as per the schedule you selected.

Repeat these steps for whatever emails you want to automatically backup/download.


Yes, you can actually. More specially, there are three things you can do — restore/export emails, view emails, and search all your backups for specific emails.

Viewing emails is as easy as opening MailStore, going to My Archive -> Your Email Account -> Inbox and clicking on the emails you want to view:


While viewing emails, you can download attachments, print individual emails, export/save individual emails as .MSG or .EML file, see email headers, delete the email, and search the email.

If you want to export/restore emails, it is as easy as right-clicking the email account you want to backup, selecting how you want to backup (IMAP, SMTP, Exchange, etc.), and following on-screen instructions (you will need to know the relevant information for your restore location, such as IMAP or SMTP settings — Google for it, if you don’t know):


If you want to search for a specific email in your backed up emails, this can be done easily via the Search E-mail feature:



This is one of the best and easiest ways to backup/download emails, regardless of what email service you use. Enjoy and feel free to leave feedback and/or ask for help in the comments below!

Related Posts

  • michelle

    My husband has a million passwords on his phone which makes it highly out of bounds, I knew he was cheating and all I needed was some evidence. hackerethique really made it a piece of cake catching him in the act: he helped me install some monitoring spyware that was so easy for me to use (as I am a computer dummy) all I had to do was login to see the info. He helped me through the whole process and now I have enough evidence for my divorce case. If your husband cheats he sure can help you, its as easy as sending him a mail – hackerethique gmail com

  • Rebecca

    I need help backing up my emails to something and then closing my account. I have had some kind of hacker that goes into my account all the time. I will find it open after I shut everything down the night before!!! it is insane!! it is very stressful. I need to keep a copy of my emails this looks overwhelming this system for me as I am not an IT tech. the police said I need a IT tech to really help me to solve this intrusion problem. It occurres every day it is very very bizarre!! Anyway I am just wanting to have my privacy back so I can succeed! It is very hard to succeed when someone is breathing down your back stealing your data all the time. And this is what this jerk has been doing! Not sure why this occuring but the private detective I spoke to said it sounded like someone jealous of me because of the theft of all my headshots and auditions and destroying my computer over and over! Thanks!

  • Rod

    I am looking at “Archive Mail.” There is a list of “Email Servers” i.e. companies who are supported.

    How come I don’t see Yahoo Mail in this list?

    The list is:

    Tobit David.fx

  • j

    Hi Joseph,

    MailStore Home copies your mails. your originals remain in place.
    Still, it is always good to have a complete backup of your *.osa files, which store your mails inside outlook.
    kind regards!

  • Joseph

    Hi Ashraf, I use Outlook 2010 on Windows 7.
    If I perform an Archive with Mailstore Home, will all my Personal Folders and mails disappear from their original location, or are they just copied to the Archive Location?
    Thanks, Joseph.

  • MistaBigD

    Very helpful, exactly what I was looking for, thanks a bunch!!!

  • james Smith

    [@David Roper]

    My requirement was Outlook So i have selected PST as provided screen-shots here , but as you have also tried for EML so may be …., And i want to say finally thanks dottech which provide platform to use free utility as given above , I will save my $ for a next time by the use of dottech.


  • David Roper

    [@James Smith] Thank you, James. I downloaded and ran the Demo. At $12 it’s certainly in the freeware range for the real unlimited product. I selected EML output and am wondering if you ever tried to get it to plain old ASCII TXT or RTF format. I just cannot get it to work and they make registering impossible with no way to write them. I am sorry to bother you, but you have the most experience i know here. I guess that’s what this DotTech is for. Helping the other guy as you have already. Thanks if you can or cannot… both ways.

  • James Smith

    [@David Roper]

    @David Roper,

    Yesterday, I was shocked when i came to know a new policy in my company to switch Gmail Account to outlook. I was using this
    gmail account as a company account since 4 years. And i am Team Lead in Media department so there r lots of important messages contacts, tasks etc. So now it was very challenging work to me switch my account without loss of any data from gmail & convert into outlook. But After a long search i found a new release from a company name as SysTools, I was not aware of that company at last but still i tried the s/w name as SysTools Gmail Backup trial version & it worked perfectly for me as i required . so i want to say thanks to SysTools Software to solve my issue by this product.

    PS: It was my personal experience with this company so please try demo version yourself.

  • David Roper

    And after a year of asking here on DotTech, GMAIL STILL does not provide a way for the average user to back up his emails via even text only to a file using “date from and date to”.

    Backup Email (Y/N)? From date? To date?
    Delete Email (Y/N)? From date? To date?

    In GMAIL settings itself, not a exogenous application that we have to go look for. Man, that is one lazy company. To hell with the user.

  • maletany

    Please visit for the solution for Personal Folder Backup problem for Outlook 2010 (32-bit) – Outlook Backup Toolbox. I found a very simple solution to it and it is working perfectly well in my computer without any bugs. Good luck to all.
    I have the add-in installed on a number of laptops for staff with a reminder every 7 days and rely on it to backup their pst files. I found this info, but it didnt work for the couple I have tested so far.

  • Anon

    Yes! For a user of the free, non-POP version of Yahoo! Mail, this question is of the upmost importance! There has been no program to successfully archive my Yahoo! mail for me, including Zimbra Desktop! Someone answer the question of fgroupindonesia team, gosh darn it!

  • fgroupindonesia team

    hey this is great!
    NOw we can backup our thousands email just in one single click right?

    but i wonder… if we could export the emails into files…
    and then re-open the files without the app. Couldn’t we ?

  • David Roper

    [@Kate] [@Kate] Maybe interesting when the $49 price drops to Free or $10 or so.

    Still looking for a way to grab my 7 GB of GMAIL to a TEXT or PDF format.
    Google has to be the laziest group of people I know. They could offer this with a few lines of code. Jeesh!

  • Kate

    A great way to archive your old emails is to save them as PDF, DOC, HTML or other non-email formats, so you may refer to your emails later without using email clients. Here is a good email converter to do it:

  • Freya Jordan

    If you want to backup Gmail data, then download Gmail backup tool from this site:

  • Fuensanta

    Hello everyone,

    There are more options to preserve our emails and our backups. For example Mailstore is a good choice, although there are other options like OpenKM and emails module, which allows us to use the repository as a document management system to store messages massively.
    For more info:

  • David Douwens

    Thanks, Ashraf. It really sounds like a very useful software.
    I have one question, though.
    – Does it back up our e-mails to MailStore only?
    – Or is it possible to actually have them backed up in a folder in our computer?

    Thanks for your time.

  • Besety

    This guide is extreme useful. Thanks a million for this post. Ashraf, you are my guardian angel!!!!!

  • Kristina

    Wowie! This is EXACTLY what I have been searching for Ashraf! Many thanks for assembling this valuable in resource for all of us. I just learned today tragically Microsoft / / lost my sent emails prior to 09/2007! I feel robbed and so far I get a lukewarm response from Microsoft support stating they are looking into it. Meanwhile, there are literally hundreads of identical stories online. Let my awful experience be a lesson to all to back up your web based email. Thanks again ;)

  • Prabhat

    A bunch of thanks..buddy for this help.

  • Ashraf

    [@Warb] Yes.

  • Ashraf

    [@jjm] It depends on if you use IMAP or POP3. If you use POP3, then only inbox. If you use IMAP, then all folders.

    I believe Yahoo Mail allows for IMAP, so you should get all folders.

  • PixelWizard


    I can’t say for sure about Yahoo. I use Gmail. Inbox is always included, but MailStore most definitely allowed me to choose other user-specified folders (which in Gmail aren’t true folders, but close enough) to include in my repeatable archiving task. It won’t back up the Trash or Spam folders – who’d want to anyway.

  • jjm

    Just so I understand, this will only back up my INBOX, not my personal folders on, say, my yahoo account. While nice, is there anything that will back up my COMPLETE yahoo account including my folders, etc.?

    PS – I tried to read through the article but may have missed this, so please don’t be ignorant if this is explained in there and I missed it. Just looking for help to backup my email. Thank you.

  • davidroper


    Thanks for your reply, PixelWizard.

    Yes, I know about the date range you reported. Yes, it works fine for a short range like a week – as you gave as an example. However, try it with 3 years worth of emails, 50-75 a day, say, and you must say yes, to each screen full of findings. Too many clicks for me.

    I’ll just wait till I “fill up” and get another Gmail account. Why not? They are free.

  • Warb

    I am confused about the restore feature. Does this mean it will restore back to the e-mail web server?

  • PixelWizard


    Did you actually click open the links? This chart entry in the third page referenced reach your eyes?
    newer: Search for messages sent or received during a certain period of time
    (using the date format yyyy/mm/dd) Example: after:2004/04/16 before:2004/04/18
    Meaning: Messages sent between April 16, 2004 and April 18, 2004.*
    *More precisely: Messages sent after 12:00 AM (or 00:00) April 16, 2004 and before April 18, 2004.”
    It returns what you are asking for – messages inside a range of dates. There you can delete the items returned.

    Over and out.

  • davidroper


    PixelWizard, It isn’t a question of searching for anything in Gmail. It’s a need/want to be able to DELETE all emails FROM a date TO a date. Thanks.

  • PixelWizard


    There are some ways Gmail can search by date. Try these and/or google the question for other suggestions:

    In fact many, many specialized search ‘operators’ exist. See

  • j

    when doing automatic backups:
    does mailstore sync with the inbox or will it keep emails that have been deleted in the inbox already?

    thx a lot for he review!

  • Ashraf

    [@Volfangary] I don’t believe so.

    [@chucklw] I believe there is no limit.

  • chucklw

    Does anyone know if there is a limit to the size of the outlook/>pst file?


  • Volfangary

    Any way to get this to work with 2-step verify login with Gmail?

  • michel

    How is this better than using just using a mail client like Windows Live or Thunderbird, which can also download your mail?

    Why can’t anyone provide a way to save mail as simple text files?

  • davidroper

    Exactly what I want and need. Now If Gmail would allow old emails to be deleted by date range after I have saved them. Please, Gmail, read this.

  • PixelWizard

    Happy user of MailStore Home for many, many years – it is top quality; hard to believe it’s freeware.

  • riya

    Thanks for another useful tip :)

  • Jeanjean

    I’m using it since version 6 (only to backup OE with 2 identities) and have prefer it to KLS MailBackup for that purpose.
    N.B. : “…export/save individual emails as .MSG or .EML file…, delete the email,…”
    You can do that by selecting the message and right-clicking it.
    Very good review. Thanks !

  • GeekBro

    Thanks dottech!!! Many cudos!!!
    This is one outstanding review and a superb”How To…”