It is normally considered as smart practice to download the emails on e-mail clients like Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird, Eudora, Pegasus etc. The e-mail client database file that is saved on our hard drive, allows us to manage and browse our emails even in the offline mode.

Outlook stores the database on .PST files, whereas Thunderbird and Eudora store the database on mBox files. As the database starts accumulating more and more e-mails, the e-mail client normally tends to slow down and becomes less responsive.

At the same time, the data is vulnerable to accidental loss, especially while reformatting the hard drive for installing fresh operating systems. You might have some important emails which could get lost forever, and therefore it becomes very important to have a secondary backup to turn to, whenever there is a data loss.

A smart idea under the circumstance would be to take backups of emails in a secure place, more preferably in a media which is easily accessible from anywhere.

Gmail seems to become obvious choice for taking e-mail backups, given the fact that Google is a more stable company and surely the one which is here to stay. Additionally, they also offer 4GB storage space which can store thousands of emails.

Couple of other advantages of using Gmail for backup purposes is that you can apply labels to your emails, and also because the ‘e-mail search’ facility provided by Google is very fast.

Since Gmail does not allow importing of e-mail, people used to import the emails by using Google GMail Loader in the past. Now most of the e-mail clients allow this facility.

People could however encounter problems with interruptions during e-mail transmissions, and also some of the database types might not be supported. At the same time, converting the database to the required formats is not really convenient.

Again, there could be problems with the timestamps getting altered and SMTP server errors. The original timestamps will be replaced with the timestamps of the uploading dates, which could cause further confusions while trying to retrieve the emails.

The workaround to all these problems is really very simple and will not have to face any of the above mentioned issues while making backups into GMail accounts.

Primarily, you will be using Gmail’s ‘IMAP access’ feature to configure the e-mail clients like Microsoft outlook, which allow configuration of multiple IDs. You could start by going to the ‘Settings’ in your Gmail web-mail and enabling the IMAP access. The enabling option is available under the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab in the Settings menu.

Now go to your e-mail client (E.g.: MS Outlook) and configure the Gmail account with IMAP protocol. If you are unaware about this procedure, under the ‘Forwarding and POP/IMAP’ tab, you will also find help with screenshots that explain the step by step procedures for configuring the e-mail clients.

Now your Gmail IMAP account will be reflected as a separate folder in your e-mail client. You could now copy and paste or drag and drop, the messages from your other configured emails to your new Gmail IMAP folder. You could also cut and paste the messages too if you do not require them in your original accounts.

Now the Gmail IMAP folder automatically synchronizes the changes in your folder with your Gmail web-mail as well. You could login through your Gmail web-mail and verify it if you like. You could also create corresponding folders to reflect on the labels in your Gmail. This will help you in organizing your emails according to their respective folders.

Please be reminded that Windows Live Hotmail does not provide POP3 mail server support, and therefore, you will need to use their HTTP support for configuring your Hotmail accounts in the e-mail clients like the Microsoft Outlook.

Related reading: How you can Backup Google Mail / Gmail Details / History and you should also know about Disadvantages Of Backing Up Gmail Mails In Google Groups