There are many ways to read your emails – programs like Outlook and Windows Live Mail download them to your computer whereas webmail services like Gmail and Hotmail keep your emails stored on the web for easy access from anywhere.
I previously reviewed the advantages of webmail over an email program e.g. your emails are stored online so they are ‘safe’ even if your computer dies whereas those stored in your email program would be lost. However, even webmail is not totally safe. If your webmail provider has a sudden outage or closes your account you may lose access to your emails.
Similarly, if your email account is hijacked (see my article here to fix or prevent this) the hacker could delete your emails and prevent you regaining access.
Email Backup – Backing up your emails can be difficult and time consuming to do manually, especially if you have multiple accounts across a mix of webmail services and email programs.
Email Search – Need to find a particular email amongst hundreds? Commercial programs like Outlook offer advanced search facilities but free programs like Outlook Express are very basic. Searches in webmail can be even worse – and you may not know which email account the email you want is stored in, so would have to search all of them one at a time…
Email Migration – Anyone who has ever tried to migrate emails from one email program to another (or to a different computer) will know it can be difficult. Migrating between webmail and email programs may not be possible at all without an automated solution.
An easy way to archive, search, backup or migrate your email is to use MailStore Home.
MailStore Home is free for personal use and available as a portable program (no need to install it) to help home users backup, archive or migrate their emails. MailStore Home creates a single central archive on your computer for all your emails – regardless of whether they are stored in webmail accounts or in email programs.
As the program is portable you can create a portable archive for easy copying to a storage device (e.g. USB flash drive) and provide access to your entire email archive from any computer – or whilst offline. MailStore Home also has an integrated search feature that lets you quickly and efficiently browse through thousands of emails and file attachments within seconds – giving you immediate access to all of your information at any time.
If you want to do more than view an archived email – for example edit or forward it – you can open the email with the click of a mouse in your email program.
Email Sources Supported
- Internet mailboxes such as Gmail or Yahoo! Mail
- Any POP3 and IMAP mailboxes
- Microsoft Outlook 2000, XP, 2003, 2007, 2010
- Microsoft Outlook Express and Windows Mail
- Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, 2007, and 2010 mailboxes
- Microsoft Office 365 (Exchange Online)
- Hosted Exchange mailboxes
- Mozilla Thunderbird and SeaMonkey
- .EML and other email files
Email Backup: emails can get lost due to corrupt PST (Outlook) files, incomplete backups or even through security gaps at your webmail provider. With MailStore Home you can create a secure central archive for all emails, allowing you to access important information quickly and efficiently.
Portable Storage: Version 5 is now portable. It can also be used on any USB drive, creating an email archive for quick access on-the-go without installation.
Quick Searching: Browse huge amounts of data within fractions of a second. MailStore searches not only your emails but also all types of file attachments. Complex search queries can be saved and reused.
Smart Storage: It is able to manage large amounts of data – both your past and future emails are safely stored.
One-click Restore: You can reply to or forward archived emails by opening them at the click of a mouse within your email program.
Easy Migration: Changing email service providers can be frustrating (i.e. from Yahoo Mail to Gmail) because existing emails can’t be transferred. MailStore email archiving allows you to solve this problem easily, helping you to migrate emails from one service to another. All archived emails can be restored from the archive at any time using a variety of export features and standard formats.
Mailstore Home free is available for download here – for XP, Vista and Windows 7 or 8. There is a good online help manual here.
Tip: when installing the program you are given the choice of installing on your computer (full install) or installing a Portable version as shown below – I recommend choosing the Portable version so you can easily backup the whole program and database for safekeeping (program files and data directory are stored together).
I tested Mailstore on Outlook with over 2000 emails and the initial archive creation took less than a minute. Once complete, even advanced searches were almost immediate – faster than in Outlook itself. Migrating email between webmail accounts is a great feature and importing from webmail to an email program or migrating from one computer to another is much easier than trying to do it manually.
However, do note that Mailstore is an email archiving program – it does not backup or archive anything that is not email e.g. contact lists, address books, calendars, notes or other features found in some email programs.