I finally switched from Yahoo Mail to Gmail last week. So far, I’m pretty happy. I’m just trying to get used to the automatic threading of “conversations” and using “labels” instead of folders. Why did I switch? Yahoo Mail Plus, combined with Yahoo Personal Address for my thenestor.com email address, made my Yahoo Mail kind of pricey. Gmail offered the same service for free, including the use of my domain name. And unlike Yahoo, Google doesn’t take over the whole domain name; just the mail part.
Now I’m on to the challenging task of moving old mail into Gmail. The first step was obvious: To get my mail from Yahoo Mail into Gmail, I just set up Gmail to retrieve from the Yahoo Mail POP server. Done and done. It just takes a while, because Gmail processes only 200 messages at a time, every half hour or so. Gmail is even smart enough to put most of the “Sent” mail into the “Sent” folder.
The harder part is getting my old mail (from before I used Yahoo) from Outlook Express. Basically I followed instructions similar to these. Most of the Gmail import solutions out there involve forwarding all your mail and therefore losing the original dates of the messages. Not interested. Instead, I put my mail on a POP server on my own computer and then had Gmail download it from there.
First, I imported my mail to Mozilla Thunderbird. Then I set up an IMAP/POP server on my own computer. I found a free, easy-to-use mail server called Mercury. I set up an account for myself, and then I went into Thunderbird and hooked it up as an IMAP account. Then I copied the emails from the archive folders into the Inbox of the IMAP account. After that, I went to Gmail and added an external account (to retrieve POP mail) using my IP address. Voila, it started downloading 200 messages at a time.
Now the tricky part is that a lot of my mail is going to the Spam folder, so I have to keep checking it once in a while during the retrieval process. The good thing is, all of the false-positive Spam has really old dates, so it’s easy to spot.