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I want to synchronize a gmail account with a computer, but I want this to be more like a backup. Because I occasionally delete old mails from gmail, I want to be able to keep a backup in a private place outside gmail.

Also, I want to be able to keep deleted messages. For example the message A comes to inbox, it is moved to Trash and then the trash is being emptied (after 30 days automatically), or a message is being deleted manually. I want to keep a history of those mails.

Is there a way to do this?

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The default mail applications in Windows can do this. Of course if you delete the email from the server before the mail application downloads the email, it won't be able to backup the email, and there really isn't a solution to that problem. The solution is don't delete email until its downloaded by said client. – Ramhound Dec 18 '12 at 13:01
The Data Liberation Front has some information on how to extract your data from Gmail. Basically, just use the desktop email client of your choice. – Al E. Dec 18 '12 at 14:32

This is probably the most common approach and should take just a few minutes to set up. Gmail offers access to all your mail through desktop clients such as Apple Mail, Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, and many others. The latter is free and available on all major operating systems, so if you're doing this for the first time and especially if you're only planning to use it for backups rather than as your primary client, then Thunderbird might be the way to go.

For those unfamiliar with the setup process: After signing into Gmail, click the "gear" in the upper-right corner, choose Mail settings, then load the "Forwarding and POP/IMAP" tab. Enable POP for all mail and set Gmail to keep its copy.

You'll then need to setup your desktop mail client to retrieve your emails. Google offers step-by-step instructions for a number of clients and Thunderbird's automatic configuration is usually spot on getting your settings right with just your username and password -- but make sure to use POP instead of IMAP for one-way message transfers.

Messages will be downloaded automatically each time you launch Thunderbird and stored into your profile folder -- which you can back up standalone as well for some added security. It's pretty straightforward, but for those who prefer to use the web-based Gmail interface, remembering to run Thunderbird or whatever desktop email client every once in a while might be more work than they're willing to deal with.

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Thank you. Is there a way to disallow thunderbird from deleting deleted files as well? – Odys Dec 18 '12 at 13:06
i cant tell you for sure, because i never had to backup anything, but as far as i understood, there is backup folder, that is not being affected – sanny Sin Dec 18 '12 at 13:12
@Odys - What do you mean "disallow" unless you empty the trash deleted email would always be there. Of course Thunderbird has this nasty bug that can also corrupt every single message it stores that still has not been fixed after 5 years. – Ramhound Dec 18 '12 at 13:40
@Ramhound There is a mail in trush. From gmail I delete it. I want this mail to stay in thunderbird and don't get deleted. Is this possible? – Odys Dec 18 '12 at 13:52
@Odys - Only if Thunderbird downloadeds the mail item before you deleted it on the server. The solution is just don't delete mail – Ramhound Dec 18 '12 at 14:25

I think you should use Spanning backup: They keep all your Gmail emails (+ Google Drive...) incrementally online (trashed emails included). Your gmail account is saved once or twice a day. I use it as I have used the 30 GB Gmail size limit. I can delete old gmail messages safely. I can also download all gmail messages on my computer (all at once or from a specific period ; example from 12/01/2012 to 01/10/2013).

You can become a customer here (or here in that case you and I get a $5 rebate)

Hope this helps ;)

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You don't necessarily have to use POP instead of IMAP, and the easiest solution that comes to my mind is to simply use a backup program on your PC and tell it to backup the mailbox files. This way you will have an incremental backup of your mail and, if you do it often enough, you will also make a copy of your trash items before they are automatically deleted.

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