Clearing out my GMail closet?
February 26, 2018 2:14 AM   Subscribe

I'm running out of GMail space. There used to be a widget call GMail Drive that would allow you to move - as in, extract - files from your GMail account to your hard drive. Is there a substitute?

There are a couple of scripts I've found - "Save Multiple Attachments to Google Drive" is one I'm using - but that finds and copies files rather than moving them, and does so extremely slowly. In a perfect world, I'd like to have the email attachment be deleted or removed as I move it to my hard drive, and have this happen in a batch process. Can I do this with Google Takeout? Is there a more better solution?
posted by BReed to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
As a heads up, Google Drive and Gmail share a space quota, so moving attachments to Google Drive won't actually help (and, since it's copying them, is possibly making it worse, unless Google is smart enough to not actually duplicate the data).
posted by hoyland at 4:18 AM on February 26, 2018

Because Gmail and Drive share the same space allotment, this won't work like you want it to.

My suggestion for some quick space would be to do a special search for has:attachments and restrict for a file size over 15MB and go to the oldest first. Go ahead and delete all the emails your mom sent you of crappy unclear mpegs from your uncle's surprise 50th party 9 years ago, and then move on to clearing out the ultra hi res photos your brother kept sending you of houses he did not end up buying.
posted by phunniemee at 4:34 AM on February 26, 2018 [10 favorites]

(The poster is asking how to move gmails to their own hard drive, not Gdrive)
posted by sexyrobot at 4:47 AM on February 26, 2018 [6 favorites]

I wrote a VBA script to do this in Outlook once (and replace them with links to the removed file), and there's no problem using it with Gmail in IMAP mode. So if you have Outlook, I can dig that out.
posted by ambrosen at 5:00 AM on February 26, 2018

Can I do this with Google Takeout?

posted by flabdablet at 5:02 AM on February 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thanks, all. I figured out the Gmail/GDrive issue early; I think a combination of phunniemee's and Takeout is the winner here. Much appreciated!
posted by BReed at 5:07 AM on February 26, 2018

Here is another method of using Thunderbird to manipulate the MBOX archives that Takeout makes that doesn't require installing any Thunderbird add-ons.
posted by flabdablet at 5:09 AM on February 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

My preferred approach is to set up my Gmail account on my desktop mail client (in my case, on the Mac), then drag those older or large emails to a local (“On My Mac”) folder, then delete them from Gmail. Easy peasy.
posted by thejoshu at 5:26 AM on February 26, 2018

That certainly works, but downloading vast amounts of emails via IMAP (which is what that method entails) will take two to three times as long as downloading them in bulk as zipped archives via Google Takeout.
posted by flabdablet at 6:36 AM on February 26, 2018

Assuming that there a many messages that you no longer need in your GMail account, and that a lot of these have large attachments, if you could find those messages and delete them you'd restore a lot of space for your account.
One way is to search for messages larger than a certain size: "size:25000000" will find all messages over 25mb.

I also found "How to Sort Gmail Messages by Size".
posted by ShooBoo at 7:22 AM on February 26, 2018 [3 favorites]

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