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Need suggestions on migrating my local email to online


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#1 stayinwonderland

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 12:19 PM

I have this very sticky problem which I've had for years now. I have my professional email as part of my hosting/domain, so not a gmail/hotmail etc.

 

and I have the emails downloaded onto my Laptop via Windows Live Mail. I think they're also set to be deleted from the server once downloaded.

 

every time I want to get a new laptop I have to backup tens of thousands of emails ( while somewhat automated in Live Mail, it still saves out one .eml at a time) then re-import them to the new laptop. Long story short, it's just a pain in the ass to use this method and, while I totally love the functionality of Live Mail, it's just going to be much more practical to switch over to gmail or something.

 

So, QUESTION: what's the best course of action? because I still need to have access to tens of thousands of PAST emails if I decide to switch to web-based email providers. And, I kinda still need people emailing me at that address to be able to reach me at the new one.

 

As you can see, it's a bit of a headache. Suggestions appreciated!


Edited by stayinwonderland, 26 October 2017 - 12:20 PM.


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#2 britechguy

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 12:49 PM

How is your account set up in WLM (and I don't mean the private part).   You will be using either POP access or IMAP access to get at these messages.

 

Depending on which you've been using this is easy as pie (IMAP) or quite a bit more complicated (POP).   The main impetus for IMAP protocol when it was created was to allow access to the same messages from multiple devices and having them all be looking at the same thing.  Storage (other than copies for offline viewing) is exclusively on the IMAP server and nothing is deleted from there unless you delete the message yourself.  This means you essentially have a built-in archive on your e-mail provider's e-mail server.  

 

With POP, if you've already downloaded the messages and they've already been purged from the e-mail server, they're gone, and when you're talking about material from years ago you're not going to get that back on the server.

 

You can change your access method from POP to IMAP to fix this going forward if it is currently POP, but that doesn't solve the issue with old messages and new hardware.


Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

     . . . the presumption of innocence, while essential in the legal realm, does not mean the elimination of common sense outside it.  The willing suspension of disbelief has its limits, or should.

    ~ Ruth Marcus,  November 10, 2017, in Washington Post article, Bannon is right: It’s no coincidence The Post broke the Moore story


 

 

 

              

 


#3 stayinwonderland

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 01:03 PM

I think I'm using pop as the incoming mail server says 'POP3'. Is that pretty much confirmation that I'm not using IMAP? either way I'm fairy sure I don't use IMAP because I've had these issues in the past where my email will randomly start re-downloading every email from years ago in big 100 email chunks until tech support halts it. So after that happening a few times I put a halt to IMAP. But it sounds like it's worth switching to it.

 

So, practical question, let's say I do switch. Do you recommend using a free browser-based email viewer instead of local software? so I can have better access to all my email from any device, anywhere? and if so, is it maybe possible to take all my current downloaded emails (or just a selection of the important ones) and re-populate the online version so it has my past emails?

 

Just trying to think of all the implications of changing over. Currently it's very straightforward to get into old emails and I'd like to keep that going forward. 



#4 britechguy

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 01:35 PM

Were I you I would switch over to IMAP access going forward as soon as is practically possible.   It will not matter one whit if you prefer to use a web interface to read your e-mail or an e-mail client program as with IMAP all storage and filtering occurs on the server side and what you're seeing is that reflected in the client side (no matter how many different hardware and software clients you might have).

 

The only way I can think of to get the subset of your old e-mail messages back on the server would be to intentionally screw up the incoming mail server settings on your existing POP account setup and forward all the messages you wish to keep back to yourself.  That or you could tweak your POP settings not to remove the messages from the server upon download and set it to wait some number of days that would be longer than it will take you to forward your essential old messages to yourself.

 

It is a grand PITA to take thousands of messages that have become "local only" and get them back on the server if you've been using POP.   I would take this opportunity to cull the heard.   You can also then intentionally screw up the settings for downloading in your current e-mail client with POP settings, which will preserve all of your existing messages in that account locally (at least for as long as you have the hardware on which those messages are loaded).  To go between hardware you have to do a mass export/import of existing local messages you want to carry over.

 

There's a reason that POP (AKA POP3) has really fallen out of favor in the age of people having desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones all of which they want to have access to the same e-mail in the same state across devices (at least once each respective device syncs to the mail server after one of the other devices has made a change).


Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

     . . . the presumption of innocence, while essential in the legal realm, does not mean the elimination of common sense outside it.  The willing suspension of disbelief has its limits, or should.

    ~ Ruth Marcus,  November 10, 2017, in Washington Post article, Bannon is right: It’s no coincidence The Post broke the Moore story


 

 

 

              

 


#5 JohnC_21

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 04:25 PM

If these "Tens of Thousands" of emails are going to be used for archive use only you could back them up and then use a EML viewer to access the emails. I have not used this software but I did use another email viewer to view very old outlook express emails I had on an old computer. 

 

https://www.nucleustechnologies.com/eml-viewer.html



#6 stayinwonderland

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 07:25 PM

Wow that EML viewier is great.

 

Quick question/s. If I make a bunch of folders in my local email software, does it reflect in the IMAP folders? and if you did want to go through old emails that are on the server, how would you go about doing that?

 

Thanks



#7 JohnC_21

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Posted 27 October 2017 - 08:07 AM

If you make folders on your email client the same folder will be on the IMAP server. I am not sure of the second question. Brian will be able to answer that.

 

The following link may help with IMAP

 

https://askleo.com/what_is_imap_and_how_can_it_help_me_manage_my_email/


Edited by JohnC_21, 27 October 2017 - 08:07 AM.


#8 britechguy

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Posted 27 October 2017 - 08:39 AM

I am not quite certain how to answer the second question as I do not know exactly what's being asked.

 

If you switch to IMAP access any and all messages still on the server will have their headers downloaded to your client.  You can then create folders and move them wherever you want. 

 

For myself, using Gmail (and other services do this, too), I do all of my folder and filter creation on the server side to begin with.  I can then run the filters on existing messages to get them where I want them to be before I ever set up IMAP access on an e-mail client and everything "automagically" appears when I do.

 

This, however, is just me.  When I'm dealing with client-server situations anything I want to ensure is reflected on all clients is originated on the server side.  It's been ages now, but a very long time ago one e-mail client did not "play well" with IMAP and folders and filters created were not synced with the server, but were local.  Stuff was being beautifully handled on one device but on another everything was still in the inbox.  All it took was one time of that happening for me to convert to the philosophy of, "client things on the client side and server things on the server side," approach to handling e-mail and IMAP.  Now that IMAP is almost the de facto standard it would be insane if contemporary e-mail clients weren't coordinating directly with the server as far as folders and filters go.


Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

     . . . the presumption of innocence, while essential in the legal realm, does not mean the elimination of common sense outside it.  The willing suspension of disbelief has its limits, or should.

    ~ Ruth Marcus,  November 10, 2017, in Washington Post article, Bannon is right: It’s no coincidence The Post broke the Moore story


 

 

 

              

 


#9 stayinwonderland

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Posted 27 October 2017 - 10:26 AM

ok, I think all that makes sense.

 

And I guess what I'm asking is, say I had my local email for two years worth of mail. Then my hard drive dies and I want to get back the last six months. Is it possible to call upon IMAP to give me them all back for that specific period? or do I have to re-sync the whole lot?

 

EDIT: ok I just enabled IMAP (downloaded the automatic configuration tool for Live Mail). So now I'm suspicious as to what's happening server side. Is there a way to confirm that my folders have been mirrored? it really didn't feel like any such thing happened.


Edited by stayinwonderland, 27 October 2017 - 11:17 AM.


#10 britechguy

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Posted 27 October 2017 - 12:03 PM

If your e-mail provider has a web interface that's the easiest way to see what is occurring server side.

 

Your existing local folders will not be reflected in all likelihood, because they are *local* folders, not IMAP folders.  There is no automatic creation of a corresponding IMAP folder for pre-existing local folders because one can use both (not that most people do).

 

If you have been using IMAP for any period of time all e-mail messages you have received (and that have not been deleted intentionally by you) are retained on the IMAP server.  If you have a hard drive die or you replace your system you simply set your e-mail client up for IMAP access to your server and everything will be exactly as it was before.   You have to remember that IMAP does not download all messages to local copies when a huge archive of mail is being dealt with.  There is a cut-off date (say, one month) for messages that will have both their message headers (which will be downloaded for all messages, regardless of age) and message bodies (within the one month period) fetched for local use.  Messages older than that will only have their message bodies retrieved on demand, that is, when you actually select them to view them.   Message body storage by your e-mail client is generally not perpetual, either, for space saving reasons.  Why keep message bodies for messages that are ancient and that haven't been accessed by the user in ages when those bodies can be retrieved, on demand, from the e-mail server?  To do so would be a massive waste of space.

 

You can generally configure any modern e-mail client where you are using IMAP to keep some subset of your most recent message bodies (based on date/age) available for you for offline use if you have need to access e-mail messages when you don't have an internet connection.  You can also place a copy of the "most critical" ancient messages that you wish to refer to on a regular basis into a local folder, which puts the header and body into a location on your computer that can be accessed whether you have web access or not.  Note that I emphasize copy and local.  You still want the original to be kept on the server in its respective IMAP folder, too.


Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

     . . . the presumption of innocence, while essential in the legal realm, does not mean the elimination of common sense outside it.  The willing suspension of disbelief has its limits, or should.

    ~ Ruth Marcus,  November 10, 2017, in Washington Post article, Bannon is right: It’s no coincidence The Post broke the Moore story


 

 

 

              

 


#11 stayinwonderland

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Posted 27 October 2017 - 01:36 PM

Right. So apologies in advance but I have to say that at this stage, I'm possibly more confused than before I started this quest, lol.

 

I feel caught between a rock and a hard place. I think, what I basically need, (and wish I'd done this years ago) is one single web-based interface which contains all my email for all time. And I think that something like gmail or hotmail is the only viable way. I mean, I'm so confused right now that I can barely form the correct question or fully identify that problem/s. I have years of email that I often need access to (for searching out old emails with very specific search criteria) and Live Mail is brilliant at that. But, as we know, I'm stuck with having those only available on my laptop. Going forward, I don't want to have to worry about folders, mail rules, retrieving headers only, re-syncing and all that, if and when I have to switch hosts, computers etc. etc. (so I'm possibly ruling out IMAP with a software-based email client.)

 

So it appears that the best way forward is to transition away from my domain's email to something like gmail/hotmail. Maybe using gmail to check my domain-based email by adding/importing that account. Not fully aware of all the implications of doing that.

 

Any thoughts on that? Am I making sense? or have you already covered the solution and I'm missing it/not grasping it?

 

Thanks for all the help.


Edited by stayinwonderland, 27 October 2017 - 01:38 PM.


#12 britechguy

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Posted 27 October 2017 - 01:45 PM

You are making this far more complicated than it is.   IMAP will suit your needs, and suit them perfectly, for what you currently have on your e-mail server and/or what you'd forward back to yourself.

 

All I was trying to do was to explain some of the inner workings of IMAP further to give you an understanding of what goes on "under the hood."   It does not matter how you access an IMAP mail server as it will keep each and every message you receive until you intentionally delete it (or reach whatever storage limit your e-mail provider imposes, and those are generally huge).

 

If you wish to do all of your initial IMAP setup using an e-mail client like MS-Outlook (at least from 2010 onward) or Thunderbird all of the filters and folders you create will be created on the IMAP server and will be applied no matter where you happen to look at your mail from other than in that client.

 

That's the beauty of IMAP.  Essentially, once you start using it and you set things up with the folders and filters you want (and can add new ones at any time), when you have need to set up your e-mail in any e-mail client anywhere everything "automagically" appears just as it did when you left it last time wherever you looked at it last.

 

Unless you forward or resend e-mail messages to yourself you are never going to have your entire archive at your fingertips everywhere.  I have to honestly say that I very much doubt that you need to have your entire archive available that way.  This gives you the opportunity to figure out which messages you really refer to with any frequency over the coming weeks and months when you're looking at them via WLM (and you can still continue doing that whether it's being actively used as your current e-mail client or not) and sending those back to yourself that you've needed to reference and know you'll continue needing to reference.  There is a great deal of value in doing this even if it's somewhat tedious to do.


Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

     . . . the presumption of innocence, while essential in the legal realm, does not mean the elimination of common sense outside it.  The willing suspension of disbelief has its limits, or should.

    ~ Ruth Marcus,  November 10, 2017, in Washington Post article, Bannon is right: It’s no coincidence The Post broke the Moore story


 

 

 

              

 


#13 stayinwonderland

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Posted 27 October 2017 - 02:27 PM

ok, maybe I am making it more complicated (hence the preemptive apology :P )

 

So I'll go about turning on IMAP (I tried and it didn't work so contacting tech support) and then I'd like to go about using something browser based for when I'm out and about. Any recommendations? there's the choice of 3 online clients with my host, I think they're standard among most hosts: squirrel, round cube and horde. I don't particularly like those, although haven't fully explored their ins and outs.

 

Thanks again.



#14 britechguy

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Posted 27 October 2017 - 02:33 PM

I'm sorry, but I can't be much of any help to you when it comes to browser-based e-mail interfaces that are not tied directly to a given free e-mail provider like Google, Yahoo, etc.   I have always gone directly through those and even used the web-based interface for things like Verizonmail, when they still had it, which was provided through their own website (but was clearly written by someone else and customized for them).

 

With any luck there will be other participants who have experience using various third-party web e-mail interfaces on top of standalone e-mail providers (or even one of the free ones - I just don't have that experience, either).


Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

     . . . the presumption of innocence, while essential in the legal realm, does not mean the elimination of common sense outside it.  The willing suspension of disbelief has its limits, or should.

    ~ Ruth Marcus,  November 10, 2017, in Washington Post article, Bannon is right: It’s no coincidence The Post broke the Moore story


 

 

 

              

 





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