Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

This question is regarding the use of Thunderbird (or other IMAP clients) and suggested backup and encryption tools, not Gmail.

I have Thunderbird setup to access an email account via IMAP (in this case the email account is gmail). I would like to create encrypted backups of the email, perhaps by year, e.g. 2005, 2006, etc.

What are some of the ways to accomplish this? What would work best and would be most accessible in the future? Are backups by year the best way to segment the data (if necessary?)

Although my main machine is Windows 7 64 bit, I see this as a "one-off" task, meaning I'll do it once a year or so and backup 12 months worth of email at a time. So I'm not limited in what hardware/software I use to do it, i.e. I can boot up OS X or Linux to accomplish this.

share|improve this question
What OS? Have you thought of using TrueCrypt to store your Thunderbird data? – fideli Sep 27 '10 at 23:13
Windows 7, added some more details above. I'm not looking to encrypt on the local machine, rather the backups that get moved around on various externals or file servers. – mindless.panda Sep 29 '10 at 15:52
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I don't know if you are still looking for a solution or not, but I would recommend a combination of a couple of technologies.

First I would use Thunderbird to download the messages. IMAP is great for day to day usage, but if you are just backing up to encrypt and store, I would use POP. Once your emails are downloaded and organized into the folders that you want (Thunderbird automatically separates archives into folders by year) you will be ready to encrypt.

To encrypt these files, take a look at TrueCrypt. It also is free, and will let you encrypt a group of files as one large, secure file.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.