Re: Lincoln Spector's column "Simple steps for backing up Web-based e-mail"

I'd like to make people aware of a very useful, but little discussed, e-mail client.

Zimbra Desktop, owned for a while by Yahoo! is an IMAP email client (and remains one of the few ways to access Yahoo! via Imap for free.)

Admittedly, the user interface is a bit clunky, and I do not use it as my primary client; however, it contains very very valuable features.

The best thing about it is that it replicates your entire mail system locally. In addition to the flexibility this gives you if you lose connection to your ISP (e.g. while travelling with a laptop), and near-instantaneous searching of your email, this also gives you a lot of reassuring resilience.

It possesses the ability to export (and import) EML files as Tar-Gzipped files by folder or by the entire mail tree.

This was very useful recently when my wife's email account at Yahoo was hacked and the password changed. It meant that she had access to all her yahoo messages and I was able to import them all into a Gmail subtree near instantaneously. (Luckily, we managed to get her account back in the end)

The export process is so fast that it does not need automating. A simple calendar reminder once a month is all I need, and a few mouse clicks later all my email is backup locally.

Needless to say, if Gmail lost all my mail, it would not be much of a problem.

Lastly, I should mention that if you settle on another IMAP email provider, Zimbra allows you to easily move your entire email account to that system, though I would not recommend doing it all in one go unless you have a _very_ fast ISP connection. I preferred to do it folder by folder.