How to Backup Your Gmail to Your Hard Disk in 5 Easy Steps

How to backup your Gmail… In today’s short tutorial I want to show you how you can easily create a backup of your Gmail, (your emails, Gmail contacts) using Mozilla’s Thunderbird email software. If you don’t have Thunderbird already installed onto your computer, that’s ok as you can access it here… In this tutorial we’re going to backup to an external hard drive

backup your Gmail

Backup your Gmail – Step One

Ok, once you’ve downloaded and installed Mozilla Firebird, you first need to go to your Gmail account and access your email settings. Here’s the path to your Gmail settings…

Gmail account > Settings > Forwarding and POP/IMAP

On the Forwarding and POP/IMAP page you’ll need to ensure that the ‘enable POP for all mail…’ radial button is checked. Also on the ‘When messages are accessed with POP…’ ensure you’ve selected ‘Keep Google mails copy in the Inbox’ in the drop down menu. See images below for more details.

Backup your Gmail – Step Two

Right, now we’re going to play around with Thunderbird email client, so launch the software and follow the following path…

Launch Thunderbird > Tools > Account Settings > Account Actions > Add Mail Account… again you can view the image below for clarification.

In the mail account setup box enter your name, email address and password for your Gmail account and hit the continue button.

Once the configuration has been found in Mozilla’s ISP database, you should enable the POP3 radial button, and then click create account.

Backup your Gmail – Step Three

You’re now setup to go… go right ahead and click the get mail button.

Once you have downloaded your emails you’re almost done. You now want to download and backup your Gmail contacts also…

Backup your Gmail Contacts – Step Four

Go back to your Gmail account and access your contacts folder. Once there hit the more tab and select export… see image below

On the export contacts panel, enable the ‘Outlook CSV format’… and then click export. Download to your desktop folder for easy access…

Now you want to upload the CSV file into your Thunderbird software… To do this, go to the following path…

Thunderbird > Tools – Select Import

On the import panel select the address books radial button, and then click next

Now select text file in the given list and hit next to locate the CSV file on your desktop. Once selected click finish and your contacts will be uploaded. Job done… almost.

Backup your Gmail – Step 5

In this final step we’re going to back up to an external device, this could be an external hard drive, an iPod or iPhone etc.

First you need to access your Thunderbird profile in Windows (7 and Vista). So go to start and enter the following string into the search field…


Once located, simply copy the folder into your external device or hard drive.

Backup complete… enjoy. Any questions or further tips to add please shout them out in the comment section as always folks.

About Fabrizio Van Marciano

Hey everyone, I’m Fabrizio Van Marciano and I’m just a regular bloke, doing his thing in the expanding universe we call the blogosphere. I’m the founder and editor here at I'm also the author of 170 Blog Traffic Tips; a FREE guide I created to help you get tons of traffic to your blog. Why not connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and, or Google+. You can find out more about me and what I love doing here. If you want to start your own blog, check out this resource page, I've put it together just for you :)... Happy online marketing and blogging.

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  1. Atul says:

    That’s great tutorial, though I’ve used MS Outlook but never tried Mozilla Thunderbird. Seems it’s really interesting and easy to use.
    Atul recently posted..Dissertation Help for Flawless DissertationsMy Profile

    • Hey Atul, I’m pleased that you’ve enjoyed the tutorial and thanks for stopping by my blog :) . I also use MS Outlook and although Mozilla Thunderbird isn’t remotely as comprehensive as Outlook it’s fairly straightforward to use.

  2. John says:

    Hey Fabrizio,

    Great tutorial I like how you made each step easy to understand. I actually wanted to do this almost a year ago. I wish I would have known about the thunderbird back then because I spent a good while trying to find a way to create a backup for my Gmail account.

  3. Just a week ago somebody attempted to hack my gmail account. Thank you for this information, this is really helpful for me.

  4. Riz says:

    Hi there,
    Just wondering – why would you not use IMAP to get the folders from your gmail?

    Would this still work in steps one and two?

    Many thanks for this great tutorial!

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