MailStore: backup your email from multiple applications and services to a single, centralized archive with MailStore Home

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MailStore Home is a free program that can backup your email from multiple email applications/accounts and consolidate these into a single, centralized archive that it can burn into a backup CD.

Also offers the ability to perform advanced searches and quickly view archived email. Supported email clients include Outlook, Windows Mail, Outlook Express, Thunderbird, Exchange, as well as POP/IMAP accounts (including all webmail services that IMAP or POP support such as Gmail and Yahoo), and local files.

This program can backup your email from a wide range of supported applications and services (including webmail services such as gmail) into a single centralized archive. It offers a high degree of configurability in terms of what you want and do not want it to backup, and allows for exporting your email across applications (so, for example, you can export your Outlook email into Thunderbird). More notes below:

  • Backup options: you can tell it which folders you want backed-up and which ones you don’t. This might be useful if, say, you send a lot of email newsletters to certain folder(s) and do not care to have these backed up. Note that backups are incremental, such that Mailstore will add to the existing archive only those emails that have been added since the last backup.
  • Exporting mail: if you need to you can select a folder structure or email/emails and export these into a another supported application (e.g. Outlook to Outlook Express, Thunderbird, etc.). You could also back them up to CD, save them individually to IMAP or hard disk , or even forward them by SMTP to an email address.
  • The user experience: is tremendous. This is a sleek looking program that is well designed overall intuitive to use.
  • Supported email clients/services: Outlook, Windows Mail, Outlook Express, Thunderbird, Exchange, as well as POP/IMAP accounts and local files. Archiving webmail: such as Gmail, Yahoo, AOL is possible, but Hotmail is not (Mailstore can archive any service that have a POP3 nor an IMAP server, which Hotmail doesn’t). See this page and this page for more info on configuring webmail.
  • Other supported programs: any application that is available in a standardized format (RFC822, often called EML or MIME format, and MBOX). A bit of research confirmed that this would include the following clients: Pegasus, Eudora, Netscape, Pocomail. Some, like “The Bat” can export to MBOX format. Supports drag and drop folder of Mbox file to the MailStore interface to import.
  • Delete imported email: this option will delete email from your email client once it is backed up based on rules you specify. You could set it, for example, to always delete email that is more than 1 year old whenever you run a backup, knowing that it is archived if you ever need to get to it.
  • MailStore Screenshot - advanced searchSearch and view email: you can browse your folder structure manually for backed up email or use an advanced search function to help you find the archived email(s) you seek (see screenshot to the right, which I altered to protect my privacy). Search is ultra fast, and you can even save search criteria for later use. MailStore also provides a nice interface for viewing your emails, as well as a number of exporting functions (discussed above in “exporting email”).
  • Consolidated archive: some notes on this (a) you can define the save location of this as you like, (b) this will consolidate the emails from all programs, accounts, or services into a centralized place, (c) the archive is compressed; e.g. my 1.3+ Outlook PST file was backed up into a little over 500 megs, and finally (d) it is secure: the MailStore website asserts that messages are stored MIME-compatible “and can be recovered at any time without information loss”.
  • Attachments: are supported by default; however, it is possible to optionally define rules for the types of files that you would like to include in the backup (e..g .ZIP, .XLS, .JPG etc.)
  • Burning to CD: MailStore will burn your data directly into CD or DVD straight without the need for an external program.

Differences between the free and paid versions: MailStore Home is a freeware version intended for individual use; for commercial use you need to buy a licence. The developer’s of MailStore also offer MailStore Server that provides a central solution for your business.

Wish list:

  • Scheduled backups: although there is a “schedule” button, it is inactive. Not sure if this is going to be enabled in future versions.
  • An internal dedupe function: within individual accounts. This would be great for those who synchronize emails across different computers and face the issue of having emails duplicated.

The verdict: simply a fantastic program that is both well designed and very powerful. I would recommend this over other free email backup programs (e.g. Amic Email Backup, MozBackup). Might just be the only email backup program that you will ever need.

[Thanks to reader Dale for informing me about this in the comments section of a related posting].

Version Tested: 2.5.1 (b3216)

Compatibility: Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista.

Go to the MailStore Home page to download the latest version (approx 11 megs).