How Do I ... Backup My Email

Before you decide which option to choose to backup your email, you need to evaluate the importance or operational need for the information. This is a practice called records management.

For more information about records management, please see

Depending on the percentage of messages which meet this requirement you can consider the various options listed below:

  • Level 1
    • Use a full mail client such as Thunderbird, Outlook or MacMail and copy messages to a local folder OR
    • Use a full mail client such as Thunderbird, Outlook or MacMail and configure the client to use POP3 and leave a copy on the server OR
    • Use Outlook and take advantage of its Auto Archiving feature
  • Level 2 - Option A
    • Print and store a hard copy of the message
  • Level 2 - Option B
    • use 3rd party tools associated with either the client or OS to backup and if necessary recover the appropriate system source files AND use one of the options listed in Level 1.

Caution: There are tradeoffs which come with a pop client configuration (e.g. additional time and/or potentially cost to manage the quota associated on the server). Avoid using server side filters on messages which you are looking to create backups of.

See the table below for links for tools depending on the email program or client that you use:

Email Program Possible Tools
Outlook Express;en-us;270670
MacMail use Time Machine (part of MacOS 10.5)


Disclaimer: The provided instructions are for information purposes only. Neither The University of Western Ontario nor the Division of Information Technology Services assume any responsibility for loss of use or damage to a computer system (including any data or software contained within the computer system) which is the result (directly or indirectly) of the application of these instructions. Any problems, questions or concerns not addressed by these instructions should be directed to the vendor and/or the manufacturer and not to The University of Western Ontario or any of its employees or incumbents.

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