How to save Gmail emails to my hard drive?
February 24, 2005 11:27 AM   Subscribe

How can I save a Gmail email to my hard drive?

I’d like to be able to save a bunch Gmail messages as text files on my hard drive*, but am not having any luck.

I have enabled POP access for my Gmail account according to Google's instructions. At work, I have configured both Outlook 2002 (manually and using Google's cofig app) and Thunderbird 0.9 to access my account. Outlook tells me "Unable to connect to the incoming mail server (POP3)" and Thunderbird gave me a "Failed to connect to server" error. I don't know about Outlook, but for T-bird I did specify the same automatic configuration proxy URL that IE is using to access the Internet. (I'm a dunce when it comes to these corporate LAN proxy thingies.)

I've had limited success with this at home with Entourage on my Mac, but have experienced weird behavior such as messages in my Inbox showing up multiple times or not at all.

I also tried using the Print link in Gmail, and then did File->Save As to save the contents of that window as a text file. With FireFox, it always saves the file with nothing in it; IE saves only Gmail - (my name) - (subject).

Basically what I'd like is to do what I can now do with my wretched Hotmail account: use a mail app to download the messages, go to File->Save As and save it to my hard drive as a .txt file. And ideally on my Mac.

I get as many as 20 of these messages per day that I'd like to archive, so the copy-and-paste-to-Notepad-and-save-to-disk method is more hassle than I'd like.

Is there any hope?

*Yes, I know I have gobs of space available with Gmail. It’s just something I want to do.
posted by DakotaPaul to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
I've almost the same thing, using Thunderbird to access Gmail and download the contents of my account. (it's already half-full... sheesh). However, the only problem I had with it is that I had to leave it running for several days, because the Gmail server could only seem to puke out about 1200 messages at a time. So my Inbox would look like:

INBOX: 1269

when there were really far more than that. Gmail's pop access does chop up conversations into individual messages, which might account for the multiple message problem.

Unfortunately I don't have a lot to help you with, but it _does_ work, at least on a non-corporate net. Qwest is my ISP.. WinXP is my OS. Good luck.
posted by fake at 11:39 AM on February 24, 2005

Under OSX I can use the Gmail "print" link, click "save as PDF" in the print dialog, and save the emails that way. I think there are Windows add-ons that add a similar functionality to the Windows print dialog, allowing you to "print" to a PDF file. I don't have a specific pointer to such a thing, though.
posted by bac at 12:06 PM on February 24, 2005

Gmail's pop access does chop up conversations into individual messages, which might account for the multiple message problem.

What I actually saw was the exact same message showing up back-to-back in Entourage's Inbox. Many messages (very few of which were conversations) showed up twice like that.

Under OSX I can use the Gmail "print" link, click "save as PDF"

I hadn't thought of that, and that would be a good solution but I'd like to keep them as flat text files if for no other reason than to be able to search their contents using the Finder or Windows' search.
posted by DakotaPaul at 12:17 PM on February 24, 2005

There's a project that lets you mount your Gmail account as a filesystem, but it appears to be Linux-only atm. Do you have a Linux box handy you could do this with, and then copy over the files to wherever you need them?
posted by ubernostrum at 12:58 PM on February 24, 2005

Sadly, I don't have a Linux box available. I'd love to try something like that, though.
posted by DakotaPaul at 1:24 PM on February 24, 2005

Well, I found this Gmail drive shell extension for Windows, but the installation failed, probably because it wants to edit the registry and I don't have admin rights. Stupid corporate security settings. :-(
posted by DakotaPaul at 2:39 PM on February 24, 2005

The drive shell extension for Windows won't work, as only attachments to messages with the proper syntax are displayed in the Gmail drive.
posted by too many notes at 2:59 PM on February 24, 2005

Guess I'm SOL, then. Oh well!
posted by DakotaPaul at 10:54 AM on February 25, 2005

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