Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free.

Any reasonable way of backing up Gmail (imap) using Precise? BTW I've tried backup-gmail but it's unstable.

share|improve this question
I don't see how this is Ubuntu-specific and I think it belongs on Superuser.com. –  gertvdijk Jan 1 '13 at 19:07
He is asking for software that works on Ubuntu ;) –  Rinzwind Jan 1 '13 at 20:04

2 Answers 2

1 possible sollution: gmvault. It is command line so you can use it on a server too.

Backup all your emails on disk.

Use the full sync mode to backup your entire gmail account in a unique directory. Your email backup repository can then be easily tarred and moved from one machine to the other.

Update your backup in minutes.

Gmvault can run a quick sync mode regularly (ie. every day) to keep your backup up to date.

Restore emails in any Gmail acc.

With the restore command Gmvault can recreate your gmail mailboxes in any Gmail account. All attributes such as Gmail labels are preserved and recreated. With restore, you will recover your Gmail account exactly as it was.

Linux Installation

On Linux, it is recommended to install Gmvault using the source distribution or Pypi.

sudo apt-get install python python-setuptools
sudo easy_install -U distribute
wget https://github.com/downloads/gaubert/gmvault/gmvault-v1.7-beta-src.tar.gz
tar xvzf gmvault-1.7-beta-src.tar.gz

Python is already installed so it will error out. Then install with ...

cd gmvault-1.7-beta/
sudo python setup.py install

The basic setup is about as simple as it comes:

gmvault sync your_email@gmail.com

Synching the last 2 months:

gmvault sync --type quick your_email@gmail.com

More information on setting it up here.

share|improve this answer
gmvault looks interesting but I don't like to use beta versions. Also, I'm trying to get away from the command line. So unless a GUI is made available, I'll have to write one. –  John Rose Jan 3 '13 at 11:28
Hmmm if you do why not the best of both worlds: make a gui for gmvault >:) @JohnRose Some comments: please put GUI in the question when you want one. It would have made my search easier ;) –  Rinzwind Jan 3 '13 at 15:06
Oh and would this suffice: gmail-backup.com/gmail-backup-0107 –  Rinzwind Jan 3 '13 at 15:07
I see no instructions on how to install. –  John Rose Jan 4 '13 at 16:11


I decided to go with gmvault. I already had python & python-setuptools packages installed. I don't remember previously installing them but I'm not sure as I upgraded from Lucid to Precise and it could have happened in my Lucid period. I found that I had to do 'sudo easy_install -U distribute' as 'sudo python setup.py install' didn't work properly without it. If I install another Python app, would I have to do that command again?

The above installation seems much simpler than the methods outlined in gmvault's website.

The gmvault website states that the -t option is 'to daily backup' & 'with the last 7 days of emails'. Your use of the --type option states that it's the last 2 months. Assuming that -t is equivalent to --type, I'm confused. Which is correct? Perhaps the quick parameter changes the time period? I'm just trying to work out the options that I need for a GUI.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.