Long Term Email Management?

I’m an email pack rat. Aside from spam, I never delete email. I want to always have searchable records to fall back on because frankly my memory for people and conversations is shit. Problem is, I now have gigabytes of email and it’s starting to choke Outlook Express. I’m seeing long delays starting OE, switching folders, etc.

I’m looking for a good solution for archiving my older email in a fairly portable format. Portable is important so that I’m not tied to any particular email client or any particular version of a client. OE doesn’t seem to be friendly to this idea, so my first challenge is getting the mail out of OE. After that I need to figure out how I’m going to store and what applications I would use to access it when I need to search the old stuff.

Anyone got any recommendations for good applications or good practices in managing large loads of old emails?

I use the “14-day” system. After 14 days in my inbox, the email goes into a seperate folder and each month has it’s own folder. So last month’s folder was named “1205”. This month will be “0106.” I back it up once a month. No muss, no fuss.


I use a similar system, but it’s still too much email for poor old OE.

Use Outlook.

I have 2 G of archived data in files other than my main “working” file, which I like to keep nice and slim for performance. If I want to dive into the archives, there is some lag (depending on how long I grow the archive), but for most day-to-day tasks it’s pretty quick.

Noooooooooooo! Don’t do it, Nick! He’s trolling youuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!

Don’t worry, I wouldn’t. I don’t much care for it and considering the number of free email programs around I don’t think Outlook is a good value. If I do end up buying something to manage my email it won’t be Outlook.

Seriously, though, I’m not kidding about gmail. It really is amazing. Not sure how you’d get your existing messages in other that forwarding them, though.

I’m not trolling. Outlook is awesome. The only thing better than Outlook in stand alone mode, is Outlook with an Exchange server backing it up. Might conveiniant. You can get some work done.

That’s cool. I have used most of the free programs and haven’t found anything that is giong to handle huge files. Maybe if you can use linux? But for Windows? If you find anything let me know.

That’s exactly the rub. I’m perfectly happy with my email service and client. I have no trouble dealing with current or recent messages. My challenge is in managing the emails from 1999-2003 that I really don’t need to much anymore.

Outlook is fucking horrible. Personally I use thunderbird, but I don’t like it. To this day I haven’t found an email client that I actually like, and I’ve tried them all. Outlook, thunderbird, eudora, the bat!, pocomail, pegasus, you name it I tried it. Thunderbird is just the least of many evils to me. Nothing handles really heavy loads of email well.

Anyway, in Tbird I just move messages to another folder whenever I reach 100,000 emails.

Thunderbird lets you back up messages pretty easily since they’re in plain text, IIRC. But the best email client I have seen (to answer Stusser) is Mail for OSX… They got just about everything perfect. I know your pain, it’s a bitch to find a good email client.


(Never let people on your route read your email again ;)).

gmail is awesome at managing old messages, but getting them in there would be horrible. you can use whatever client you like though, and going forward, say when you have this same issue in 2010, with gmail you’d be in great shape.

outlook is asstastic when you need search old emails.

The gmail recommendations are interesting, but I don’t think it’s a serious candidate. I need to receive all my mail via POP3 and manage it locally because some of it is work accounts. Plus, isn’t gmail limited to 1GB? I’m already over that, so I don’t gmail is much an option.

Yeah gmail isn’t even remotely enough space for those of us that actually use email as a business tool.

I’ve actually tried both mail.app and mailsmith for OSX on my mac mini. Obviously my PC is an ubercomputer and my mac mini is… not, so they didn’t perform very well.

Just to give some kind of idea as to how much mail I receive, according to my popfile statistics page I got 3,187,473 emails since jan 27th 2005. That’s 362 days ago, which comes out to 8,805 emails per day. Of these, 20.29% were spam. That’s right, I got 646,716 pieces of spam in the past year. POPfile is incredibly accurate, 99.98% accurate in fact.

Of course I delete all the spam and, I’d say, 85% of the rest of the email I get on a daily basis. But I still save 1500 or so emails per day, and I need them online for searches and such, and I need the searches to be relatively fast.

And that is why I can’t find a really good email program. My needs aren’t exactly average.

stuss, I’m amazed at the amount of email you get that isn’t spam. 6000 email messages per day that you want? I think it’s safe to say that your email habits are as far away from average as one can get. :-)

My spam/not-spam ratio is about 600:1, and I average about 1800 pieces of spam per day. I could not survive without my whitelists.

Here’s something that I’ve done at work that seems to work. We have Outlook with Exchange, and a teensy-weensy mail space allocation on the server. Most people use the archiving feature in Outlook to archive their messages. I’ve taken to just dragging and dropping the old message as-is into folders on my network file server space allocation (which is much bigger). That takes care of the problem of archiving old messages.

The second problem is trying to find the crap. For that, I installed Google Desktop which does a handy dandy job of finding crap for me.

Your needs are extreme and I’m curious as to what kind of work makes 1500 mails a day, that you need to save (and read first?) necessary.
I don’t even think the software that can handle that kind of volume exist.

Right before CES I recieved aprox 1-200 mails a day, that I needed to at least skim and decide wat to do about - I thought that was a lot! Average at work would be 25-50 a day including pressreleases.
Outlook on an exchangeserver works fine for me - apart from the limit on serverside mailbox-size mandated by our it-department. It used to be 10Mb, which meant just one high res picture would make sending mail a problem. Now it’s 100 Mb, which is still small, but not annoyingly so as long as I move stuff to local folders.

And since Outlooks search feature is crap. I use Copernic to find mails (and everything else). Nifty tool.