Our example: Outlook.com and Hotmail
In this example, I will use Thunderbird email program my desktop, but any desktop program that supports IMAP can backup your email, including Windows Live Mail, Outlook Microsoft Office, and more nual.
The following article, I will use a Hotmail account – ….@hotmail.com. I will continue to access that account as I often do, use Outlook.com website, but we will back it up to my computer using Thunderbird.
The technique I will use applicable to virtually all online accounts, including Gmail, Yahoo! and others. For this technique to work, the account must support a protocol called “IMAP”. The good news is that IMAP is a method commonly used to access e-mail, and almost all email services support it.
The first step is to download and install Thunderbird. Download here download Thunderbird from the official website.
At this writing, the official URL based https://….
Download and run the Setup Wizard.
The first option is to accept the default settings or customize:
Always choose Custom. Although we will accept all the suggestions made by the installer, select Custom is an important habit to get into to avoid malware and PUPs. Click Next for the next set, and accept:
Create icons on the Desktop, Start Menu and Quick Launch bar.
The location settings for Thunderbird.
If there are additional options, read them carefully to ensure that you understand what it is that you agree with.
Click Install on the last page of the Wizard to actually install Thunderbird.
When installation is complete, leave the “Launch Mozilla Thunderbird now” checked, and click Finish.
When run, Thunderbird can provide the settings from a mail program if installed:
Because our goal here is simply to use Thunderbird to back up and we will be configured to your account, there is no need to import anything.
Thunderbird will ask if you want it to be the default program for mail and feeds.
It’s up to you. If you are using a regular email program on your computer, you may want that program to be your default client.
Configure Thunderbird for a Hotmail account
When you first install Thunderbird, no email accounts are configured. Thunderbird will ask if you want to create a new email address to one or more suppliers chosen in advance. Since we already have an account – our Hotmail accounts are backed up – we do not need this. Click Skip this and use my current email.
Then, Thunderbird Mail Setup dialog box account:
Enter your name, email address and password. In my case, I’ve entered the “Ask Leo!” Is my name, “….@hotmail.com” as your email address, and password for that account.
Select Remember password if your computer is safe and you do not want to have to enter your password every time you open Thunderbird.
Click Continue, and Thunderbird will consult a database of its own email provider for the correct settings. Hotmail is the basis of that data.
Make sure IMAP is selected, and click Done.
Thunderbird is now configured to access your Hotmail account and begin downloading your mail.
Benefits of using the IMAP email program will download a copy to your computer, create a backup copy of your email. You can continue to use your email as usual – usually via the web Outlook.com interface, your mobile device, or anywhere else you’ve acessing it.
You can, if you prefer, use Thunderbird to actually read, compose, and reply to messages. Send you read here will be marked as read somewhere. In fact, any changes you make, such as moving mail to folders, delete mail, or otherwise manage your e-mail will be visible in all the places you visit your email .
Since IMAP reflect activity on your online account to your computer, be aware that it will reflect any deleted as well. Delete a message online, and the next time you connect to the Thunderbird, the message will be deleted locally as well. Back up your PC regularly2 can provide you with an additional safety net from the warehouse Thunderbird will be included in the backup as well.
To back up your contacts, you need to export from your email provider. Contacts are not included in email protocols, and therefore is not in anything we have done so far.
In Outlook.com, contacts are “the people”:
Click on the icon to the left of Outlook.com menu in its title, and then click on the icon people results.
On the People page, click the Manage menu item, and then click on Export to Outlook.com and other services. Since this is a backup, we chose this format in case we need to import back into Outlook.com.
Save the downloaded file somewhere on your computer – ideally in a place that will also be supported by the backup of your regular computer.
You can, if you prefer, import the contacts into Thunderbird, but because our goal here is to bring them back, we did achieve that, simply by downloading the files for our computer.3
Backup your email
If you do not use Thunderbird regularly, it is important to run Thunderbird to perform periodic backups of it. Once a day, once a week, or several times a month, depending on how current you want your backup, run Thunderbird, and keep it running until it is loaded on a stars of the latest updates for your mail.
Similarly, when there is no load automatically to your contacts, you will need to do it regularly as well.
The good news here is that your email is backed up! Especially when used in combination with the backup computer is happening, you are also protected against data loss due to theft accounts or other problems.
However, in all honesty, I still will not keep the only copy of my master thesis here. It’s worth a couple of copies in more places for safety.
Many years ago, soon after Ask Leo! started, I received an email from a personal panic whose accounts have been hacked. He has lost all access to your account and everything in it. His panic stems from the fact that, for whatever reason, the only copy of his Master’s thesis had been in that account.
It is gone, and no hope of recovery.
Hopefully, you will not keep something as important as the Master’s thesis accounts only in your webmail. That is wrong on many levels. But I guess there are things in your account that you never want to lose, such as photographs, letters, or other things that you have in an email exchange.
The problem is, of course, if it’s just in your email account, it is not backed up.
Let’s fix that. Please backup your email.