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Archiving email


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Quill's thread about abandoning email reminded me of this question, but I thought it would be best in a separate thread.

I've been in the process of cleaning up and consolidating several email accounts. Two of them I am planning to deactivate once I get everything associated with them transferred elsewhere and all my contacts updated. That will take a while still, but I'm starting to wonder how to save the emails I want to save.

The overwhelming majority are ones I can safely delete. I don't need any record of projects from five years ago or things I bought seven years ago. Any links to articles I was saving can be saved as bookmarks or in other ways. But I do want to save some of the personal emails. These go back more than twenty years and are the equivalent of letters for previous generations. But how to save them? Print them out (ugh!), extract to text files and download to my computer, forward to my active email account? I feel sure someone has already thought of a good system for this. Extracting to text seems best except that it will lose formatting and I don't think they will look like emails anymore. I would like to preserve the look of them, if possible

One thing I know for sure is that I need to be selective because saving everything is the equivalent of saving nothing. I can't do anything with 10,000 emails. I need the digital equivalent of a packet of precious letters tied with a ribbon and stored in a shoe box. Something that's actually practical to save and enjoy in the future.

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4 minutes ago, regentrude said:

Folders in your email program? You can organize by person.

I imported several accounts into Thunderbird and have folders for old email, sorted by person.

Yes, certainly, for my current email accounts.

This is for messages in my old email accounts that I want to shut down.

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16 minutes ago, regentrude said:

But you can still import the folders, can't you?

I don't think I'm familiar with what you are describing. I don't use an email program. I simply access my email accounts in my browser at the website. Once the accounts are gone, all the folders I have will be gone too. I don't have anything to import them into at the moment, but I will research Thunderbird and see if that would be helpful.

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2 minutes ago, Cosmos said:

I don't think I'm familiar with what you are describing. I don't use an email program. I simply access my email accounts in my browser at the website. Once the accounts are gone, all the folders I have will be gone too. I don't have anything to import them into at the moment, but I will research Thunderbird and see if that would be helpful.

yes, if you only use the online access, this won't work.

Thunderbird allows you to create local copies of your emails on your computer. I much prefer to have local copies of all email on all my machines, vs having them stored only online.

It also like that it allows me to display various email accounts in one place, so i don't have to log on to several different sites.

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Just now, regentrude said:

yes, if you only use the online access, this won't work.

Thunderbird allows you to create local copies of your emails on your computer. I much prefer to have local copies of all email on all my machines, vs having them stored only online.

It also like that it allows me to display various email accounts in one place, so i don't have to log on to several different sites.

Yes, this is exactly what I'm starting to worry about, especially with my ancient hotmail account. I've never really looked into these kind of programs, but you may be right that this is exactly what I need. Does it run in your browser or is it a separate program? My computer is very old and I prefer running just a browser most of the time because if I have open lots of programs, my computer can't handle it.

Thank you!

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1 minute ago, Cosmos said:

Yes, this is exactly what I'm starting to worry about, especially with my ancient hotmail account. I've never really looked into these kind of programs, but you may be right that this is exactly what I need. Does it run in your browser or is it a separate program? My computer is very old and I prefer running just a browser most of the time because if I have open lots of programs, my computer can't handle it.

It is a separate program. Unfortunately, it uses a lot of memory, so if your computer is very old, it may not be a good choice because it will be very slow.

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