message and if possible, how can I archive my email messages? I have no POP3,
IMAP, or administrative access. It’s a free webmail account.
Yet another reason I intensely dislike relying on free email accounts for
“important” things. There are so many things that can, and do, go wrong it’s
scary. I hear very sad “I’ve lost everything” stories on a regular basis.
So you’re quite right to want to backup.
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I’d be remiss if I didn’t start by recommending my original article Are free email services worth it?.
If you’re using a free email service as your primary email account, or even
worse, as your only business account, you seriously need to reconsider
what you’re doing.
A pop3 account is, by far, your best way to backup your email. By
downloading to your own machine, and then backing up the downloaded mail, you
have everything under your control.
But what if, for whatever reason, that’s not an option?
Well, your options are very limited. Basically you can try to automatically
forward all email to another email address, or you can try to download your
email. By forwarding your email to another account on a different free service,
you basically got everything backed up at that service. Similarly, by using
pop3 access to your free account, you can treat it like any pop3 account and
download and back up your mail yourself.
Unfortunately from what I’ve seen, none of the free email services support
either approach directly.
With one exception.
Google’s GMail allows you to automatically forward incoming email to another
email address, and it allows you POP3 access as well – meaning you can
use a traditional mail client on your PC to download and read your email.
So if you’re a GMail user, you could create a HotMail account and
automatically forward all your mail to it. Or you could configure your PC’s
email client, like Outlook Express, and periodically download your email to
But what about other services like Hotmail, or Yahoo? How do you backup that
The best I’ve been able to find so far is that there are services on the
internet that claim to be able to forward Hotmail and Yahoo mail, and services
and tools that can provide POP3 access. I’ve not used any, so don’t have any
specific recommendations. Some are not free, and if you’re going to
spend money, I’d rather have you get a “real”, supported, POP3 email account. I
also believe that in most cases in order to use those tools, you’ll need to
provide your account information; something that, quite honestly makes me
nervous. And in all cases, these approaches are not officially supported by
Yahoo or Hotmail.