March 10, 2011, 10:07 PM — Yes, we know--it's hard enough to remember to back up your desktop, your laptop, your smartphone, and your tablet, and now we want you to think about backing up your cloud-based e-mail account, too.
This may seem like a drag, but we're not being paranoid. Recently, 150,000 Gmail users were left in the dark when a glitch in Google's system deleted all of their e-mail messages and disabled their Gmail accounts. Sure, only 0.02% of Gmail's user base was affected, but that 0.02% was pretty ticked off, to say the least. Luckily, Google not only keeps multiple copies of user data in multiple data centers (under different circumstances, knowing this fact might actually make you feel worse), but it also keeps tape backups, and thus was able to restore the deleted e-mail within a week.
The recent Gmail outage may have ended happily, but it still should be a wake-up call for anyone who relies too heavily on the cloud. The time to back up your Web-based e-mail is now.
Google's Gmail gives you plenty of space--over 7.5GB of space, actually--to store thousands of e-mail messages, but that doesn't mean you should put all of your e-mail eggs in one basket. Fortunately, you have a simple, free way to back up your Gmail account in one fell swoop: Gmail Backup.
Gmail Backup works with both Windows and Linux. Here's how to back up your Gmail in just a few minutes:
1. Download and install Gmail Backup. The install is quick and painless, and leaves you with a Start menu shortcut and a desktop icon.
2. Open Gmail Backup. Enter your full Gmail address and password, and choose the backup folder to which you'll save your messages. You can either use Gmail Backup's default folder or find/create your own folder by clicking Directory.
3. Choose which messages to back up. You can back up only the newest e-mail messages, or you can back up all of your e-mail from a specific date range. If you want to back up all of the e-mail in your account, just select a 'Since date' from before you opened the account.