How to ReDownload Email from Gmail After You’ve Already Downloaded It

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Did you know that if you lose some of your email from your mail client, and you pop your mail from Gmail, that you can actually re-download your email from Gmail again? Not only that, but with this trick you can redownload email from specific dates – meaning you can re-download from Gmail just the email received on the dates that you want!

I’m a big fan of running all my email through Gmail to create an automatic archive – bonus, it also becomes a great spam filter (or pre-filter, if you will).


Now, what happens if your hard drive crashes, as mine did last week, and as a result you lose some of your email from your hard drive as, again, I did last week?

Here’s a little trick that I learned. Most people will tell you to just change “username@gmail.com” in your POP client to “recent:username@gmail.com”, and it will download all of the last 30 days’ worth of email again.

But what if you don’t want all of the last 30 days? In my case, I wanted only email after July 16 (the date of my last backup) and before July 31st (the date that my new computer went back online). So I wanted the email from July 15th through July 30th.

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Here’s the trick: Pick the dates for the email that you want to download again. Let’s say that it’s email between July 16, 2008 and July 30, 2008.

Go into Gmail, completely clear out your inbox (archive the email in it, delete it, whatever you want), and then search for this:

after:2008/07/15 before:2008/07/31

 

This will pull up all of the email that you have for the dates starting with July 16th (after 7/15) and ending with July 30 (before 7/31).

Now do a select all. Be sure that you click on the link that says “Select all conversations that match this search.”

With them all selected, from the more actions drop-down, select “mark unread”.

Now they are all marked unread.

Now select them all again (again, be sure to click on the link that says “Select all conversations that match this search”).

Now from the more actions drop-down select “move to inbox”.

At this point, all of the email you want to redownload is in your inbox, and marked as unread. Your mail client should download it all over again, as if it were brand new email.

If your mail client doesn’t automatically download it, then close and reopen your mail client, to force it to connect and download the ‘new’ email.

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The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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11 thoughts on “How to ReDownload Email from Gmail After You’ve Already Downloaded It

  1. Easiest way of doing this:
    Go to settings (Symbol that looks like a gear in the upper right corner)
    Select “Forwarding and POP/IMP”
    Look at option #1
    Select “Enable POP for all mail (even mail that’s already been downloaded)”

    All your email will be redownloaded.

  2. Method in article did not work for me with Thunderbird. Willie’s solution (comment # 3) works perfectly.

  3. You don’t have to do any of this if you connect to gmail over IMAP instead of POP. With IMAP, you leave all the messages on the server. If your hard drive crashes, you lose nothing.

  4. I followed the directions but even after marking as unread my Thunderbird client would still say “No new messages on server”. I ended up having to go the “recent:” route and then delete 27 days of duplicate downloads.

  5. Set up a new IMAP account in your mail client. Activate IMAP access in GMAIL.

    Download ALL email from there. Then COPY selected emails to your designated folders. Do not MOVE, this will delete them from GMAIL.

  6. Thank you SO much for posting this. Adding “recent:” to the beginning of my corporate gmail account email address downloaded all of the mail that my phone made off with this morning. You’re a lifesaver! :D

  7. Unfortunately, this didn’t work for me either. I’m using Thunderbird. Comment 3 didn’t help either.

  8. Re: (2) Found this for you: To redownload your messages, on Gmail’s Settings > Forwarding and POP screen I would try setting POP download to disabled, then setting it to the “download all, even if it’s already been downloaded” setting. If you had selected the option to delete Gmail’s copy when messages are accessed by POP your messages are lost.

    From: http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-231724.html

  9. hello, i tried this, and it did not work. i tried reconnecting, removing my account in my email client (spicebird) and adding it again, etc. do you have any suggestions? thanks.

  10. This is great info. At one point I lost the use of my Outlook Express with several emails in there. Now I know how to get those back. Thanks!

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