I am trying to achieve the following. Download all messages from mail server(and remove downloaded messages from server). Downloaded messages should be in a local mailbox preserving folder structure as was defined on server. The download process should be automatic and shouldn't create duplicates.

I am on OSX and looking for solutions using Apple Mail or Thunderbird or similar.

So far I have found POP is not the way to go (as it looses folder structure and potentially can cause duplicates).

The solution described here seems very good but isn't yet available for thunderbird or apple mail. http://getsatisfaction.com/mozilla_messaging/topics/auto_archive_and_keep_folder_structure.

The other alternative is outlook which has auto archive which is paid and I think exports to pst instead of the more common mbox format.

Yet another alternative is http://www.pop4.org/ which adds support for folder management to POP. Which I don't think is going to become usable soon.

Any other better solutions.? Thank you

  • 2
    No messages on mail server — then how do you have a folder structure on the server?
    – Arjan
    Jan 23 '11 at 23:06
  • If you have a backup and you delete the original (i.e. no messages left on server), you no longer have a backup. What are you looking to do?
    – fideli
    Jan 24 '11 at 1:40
  • 1
    I think OP wants to move his mail from the server to a local backup, in mbox format, without losing the IMAP folder structure.
    – user3463
    Jan 24 '11 at 5:01
  • I like the edited question. Interesting problem (even though by mistake I voted to close).
    – Daniel Beck
    Jan 24 '11 at 10:39
  • My web hoster allows me to backup my email and download it afterwards as mbox in a tar-gzipped archive. Maybe yours allows this as well?
    – Daniel Beck
    Jan 24 '11 at 10:40

I've been trying to solve the problem of getting IMAP mail into a local archive for over a year, and I haven't come up with anything automatic yet.

You can use filtaquilla and a config setting


To reach a point where a manually run filter that you create will archive messages with folder structure using Thunderbird's archive feature, but I haven't managed to automate the process yet.

  • 1
    Describing the config setting would make this a better answer.
    – ChrisF
    Dec 18 '12 at 19:38

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