upload all outlook email to google gmail or hotmail and keep everything in one place

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February 15, 2009

So, having recently gone through my seemingly annual exercise of backup, format, install, restore of my laptop, I was prompted to actually sit down and sort out my various backups, network drives and data stored randomly on various desktop and laptop systems. It’s [shock horror] actually all kind of neat and tidy now… all documents, pictures, videos centralized on my network server and mirror offline/mirrored copy running on this laptop. So, if I travel and make changes, when I come home and connect to the home network – those changes are automatically reflected onto my server = no more fears of data loss. 😎

The one problem here was email… more specifically how to keep email synchronized across various machines.

Like most of you, I’ve used various iterations of Outlook over the years and have built up a collection of old emails that I want to keep for memorabilia. Some of these emails hold sentimental value. Some are just interesting. Some funny. Some just plain weird.

I hated Office2007 so have recently converted to the free email client – Mozilla Thunderbird.

  • Best email client: Thunderbird (version 3.2 onwards)
  • Best online email: Google Gmail (I must admit to really WANTING to use hotmail… but various fiddly things and v.annoying adverts were a pain)

So, why not clean up your massive email collection and UPLOAD it all to ONE place?

one place that is easily accessible from any computer. one place the is secure. one place that is easily search-able. one place that open attachments and edit them without having to install any software.

Sound to good to be true?

  1. I simply imported a decades worth of old emails from various email applications (like Outlook, Pegasus, Lotus Notes and Express) into Thunderbird. Then spent a while going through Thunderbird and really tidying everything up… deleting the duplicates and other stuff that I didnt really need…. this was actually a fun wander down memory lane!
  2. Then uploaded it it all into my gmail account.

Now all my emails live up in gmail and I can access this online archive from anywhere in the world, without having my laptop with me. I can even use my crackberry to check emails from years ago while I’m traveling around. Absolutely excellent!

I spent ages surfing around and reading various complicated instructions on how to do this… after a little trial and error I found a dead simple technique for transferring all my emails from outlook, windows mail, Pegasus mail and even some old assorted outlook express stuff.

Basically the steps are very simple

  • Import all your emails into Thunderbird (it imports from just about any email client you can name)
  • enable IMAP in your GOOGLEMAIL email account
  • setup an IMAP compatible account in Thunderbird
  • sit back and watch as Thunderbird uploads all your precious emails up to your gmail account.
  • simple!

and this is how you do it:

Give it a go – it’s simpler than you think. Best of all, you get a terrific online update of all those emails that you will probably never ever read again in your life 😉


IBM i Software Developer, Digital Dad, AS400 Anarchist, RPG Modernizer, Shameless Trekkie, Belligerent Nerd, Englishman Abroad and Passionate Eater of Cheese and Biscuits. Nick Litten Dot Com is a mixture of blog posts that can be sometimes serious, frequently playful and probably down-right pointless all in the space of a day. Enjoy your stay, feel free to comment and remember: If at first you don't succeed then skydiving probably isn't a hobby you should look into.

Nick Litten

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