Backing up Dreamhost IMAP email

Hi there,

I would like to know if anyone knows a reliable method to backup all your Dreamhost IMAP email to a local harddrive?

I’m using Mozilla Thunderbird 3.1.8.

I’ve read the Dreamhost Wiki article ( which outlines how to do it using POP3.

Is this the only option? Once upon a time there was a Thunderbird extension that let you pull all your IMAP email down to a local location but I don’t know how reliably that backup could then be used to restore your IMAP account if it got deleted, and I’m not sure that extension exists anymore.

Thanks in advance.

IMAP is on your local hard drive. So just keep your local hard drive backed up, which I’m sure everybody already does, right?

Thanks sdayman.

Since reading your reply I’ve seen that my IMAP email does indeed live locally at the following location under Windows 7:

Fortunately I back up regularly so I’ll just add my Thunderbird profile to the list of locations that get backed up.

I don’t know how easy it would be to restore an IMAP account from just manually copying that local folder but I guess it is better than not backing my IMAP email at all.

IMAP is NOT necessarily on your harddrive. you must tell your email client to save email for offline use. Otherwise if you loose your imap connection, you may not have all your messages.

To restore, you’ll connect to the “new” or restored account and using the thunderbird interface, move the email/folders that you want into the account and after it is done, you’ll have it all back. That’s one of the benefits of IMAP. you don’t do it by just "copying’ the files on your harddrive.

make sure your thunderbird settings are configured to save ALL mail offline, otherwise you won’t have it when you need it.

Thanks Oscar.

I think my Thunderbird settings are such that I am maintaining a complete mirror of my IMAP email on my local drive, which I think ensures a full backup.

Here is what my settings are: under ‘Account Settings’, in ‘Synchronisation & Storage’ I have the following settings:

  • Ticked: ‘Keep messages for this account of this computer’ (And then under ‘Advanced’ every folder is ticked)
  • Selected under ‘Disc Space’: ‘Synchronise all message locally regardless of age’
  • Selected under ‘Recover disc space’: ‘Don’t delete any message’
  • Ticked: ‘Always keep starred messages’

This is important and sounds like that’s it…

When you were to recover, you’d add an additional account (as IMAP) and drag and drop the folders from one to the other. This is is the same as you would do if you were migrating your IMAP email account from one server to another or from one email address to another.

Thanks Oscar.

And just to correct an unfortunate error, I meant to say:

  • Ticked: ‘Keep messages for this account on this computer’ (And then under ‘Advanced’ every folder is ticked)