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slow like the post office - help me POP my gmail more quickly
December 5, 2010 1:29 PM   Subscribe

Help me POP in the rest of my gmail and figure out what the bottleneck is, please.

I'm on a quest to back up my 1.2 GB of gmail. I am using Thunderbird 3.0 on a Mac and POP. This started out like gangbusters. I'm aware that the process works in batches. At the beginning I was able to download about 500 messages at a time and it was set to check mail every five minutes. Then after a few hours it started slowing down, a lot, so that I was only downloading 2-3 messages at a time. These are the same tiny messages as the other ones, so it's not some size-based situation where they're giant messages. I turned Thunderbird off for the last day or so in case there was a daily download limit and I'm still seeing the pokey downloads. I also tried this, for whatever it's worth.

I posted this question [similar issues: 1, 2] over at the gmail help forums and adjusted some things, most importantly the "leave mail on server" option, as suggested. Downloads started going fast again, and then eventually slowed. I'm now at the point where I have 32000 of my 38000-ish messages downloaded. I'd like to get the rest of them at a quicker rate than 60-100 per hour. I do not care about syncing, labels, or using Thunderbird for any other purpose.

What I am interested in is figuring out what is happening and if it's possible to fix/adjust. I am aware there are other ways to back up my gmail. I have read the other gmail/backup AskMe threads. I have read this MozillaZine article. I have done some Googling and searched the gmail support forums. I am assuming at this point that it's some sort of throttling that happens over a longer-than-daily interval and I may need to just suck it up and wait. That's fine, but if there's something I could change to wrap this up, I'd love to do that. Thanks for any advice.
posted by jessamyn to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Can you switch to IMAP to bring over a local cache of messages, then switch to POP?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:39 PM on December 5, 2010


I know using IMAP I've gotten thousands of messages at a time off of gmail for a backup with Mail.app. Probably more trouble than it's worth at this point though, seeing how far you are.
posted by floam at 2:42 PM on December 5, 2010


Switching to IMAP requires me to tweak with about:config in order to get it to download full messages and not just headers. I can definitely do this if necessary, I was just hoping there might be some other type of tweak that would just make POP work right. Trying IMAP now, will report back.
posted by jessamyn at 2:46 PM on December 5, 2010


Oh hey actually I was wrong and that's changed in Thunderbird 3.0. So far so good. Worst case I'll have two copies of everything.
posted by jessamyn at 2:56 PM on December 5, 2010


The about:config items you'll want to tweak are

mail.imap.mime_parts_on_demand
mail.server.default.mime_parts_on_demand

Set both to false.
posted by flabdablet at 4:19 PM on December 5, 2010


You know, setting it to IMAP and getting everything from All Mail just handled this. Still no idea why POP was so non-functional but maybe I was just using the wrong tool for the job. Thanks for the help.
posted by jessamyn at 9:48 AM on December 6, 2010


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