38. Reader can download e-mail
By Mark Alberstat
Dear Mousepad: I want to move my e-mail from one machine to another but
don't want to simply forward e-mail to myself. How can I do this? Also,
should I occasionally back up my e-mail?
- R. Sandness, Porters Lake
Remembering which programs you had on your machine after a bad crash or an
unexpected reformat can be a challenge. After a few days, however, you
pretty much have all your programs back. It's two weeks later when you go
to retrieve that forgotten password out of your saved mail, or try to find
an invoice for your last online purchase, that the loss of your stored
mail can really hit you like a ton of spam.
Luckily, there are several programs that can help you back up your mail,
especially if you use Outlook or Outlook Express, the two Microsoft e-mail
clients. Many people use Outlook Express, as it is freeware that can be
easily downloaded and also comes bundled with Internet Explorer. There are
also versions of Express available for the Mac (OS 8.1 and 9.x).
The first and easiest way to offline, but store, important e-mail is to
copy them from your e-mail client to a folder on your hard drive. Then
burn the contents of that folder to a CD, if you have a burner. Almost all
e-mail clients will allow you to save a message out of the client and to a
folder or disk. This backup solution will save those e-mails in a more or
less permanent format that can be referred to if need be. If you are a
well-organized person you can divide your e-mail into differently named
folders, which will help your later search.
Microsoft Outlook offers you the ability to export your messages to a
variety of file formats. This can be useful if you have a new machine and
want to migrate your mail. To do this, simply export your files and
addresses, save this file to a disk, and import them on the new machine.
The in-between format, however, does not lend itself to you viewing the
e-mails. They are in a format that can be read in and reformed as messages
but they are no longer e-mail messages until they are imported again.
Microsoft support has a page with good instructions on how to back up your
Outlook Express data, including the mail, address book, mail and newsgroup
account information. The process, however, is not a very straightforward
one and could be daunting to many users who would prefer a separate
program that easily steps them through the task.
A quick search of downloadable programs shows several that can back up
Outlook. A similar search for products that can back up mail on a Mac
resulted only in programs that could be used as a basic data backup tool.
These products ranged in price from free, to shareware, to demo models of
Most backup programs, whether for e-mail or of a more general nature,
should have some type of scheduler feature that helps you automate this
mundane but necessary task.
One of the more popular and full-featured backup programs for Outlook
Express is e-Backup from Inachis.com. This software is shareware and
remains fully functional after the 90-day trial period.
Another powerful backup manager is by Genie-soft. Although not cheap at
$49.95 US for a single-user licence, this software package can back up a
lot more than just e-mail. If you are looking for a Windows-based backup
solution, this package may fit the bill.
Following are some related links:
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Originally published 11 July 2004