How to Save Emails to an External Hard Drive

By John Granby

There are several strategies for saving your email archives for long term storage. External hard drives have become a common solution to use for data archives because they offer easy portability, large data limits, reliability and generally low cost. Depending on which email client you use, there are different steps to creating an archive. Once you have your archive, storing it onto an external storage option is as simple as moving or copying the archive file to your hard drive using the File Manager.

External Hard Drive

External hard drives are an attractive solution to long term data storage needs because of the extreme ease of use. In nearly all cases, all you need to do is to plug the hard drive into your computer with a USB cable and the drive is displayed to you in the file manager. From this point, all you need to do is to drag and drop your data files, such as your email archives, directly to this drive and they are copied. The only possible concerns for these devices arise if you travel with them or move them around often. There is only one hard drive inside and the reliability of that hard drive depends on the precision of the mechanical parts of the drive being able to read the disk. Dropping the drive can cause internal mechanical damage which, in some cases, can result in loss of your data.

Network Attached Storage

Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices are a bit more complex than simple USB-based external hard drives. This is because NAS devices include the ability to connect to your home's network using either Wi-Fi or Ethernet and then to offer data archive access for any computer connected to your home network. Such devices can be made more reliable than an external hard drive because you can configure some models into various RAID options to minimize the risk of data loss. A RAID configuration is one in which each disk in a multiple-disk system is a backup for its partners; if one disk fails, its data can be recovered from another. It also possible to create a NAS solution yourself if you have a desktop computer in your home with an internal hard drive bay that is not being used. Adding an inexpensive hard drive to such a machine is a solution you can consider if you like the idea of a NAS device, but perhaps do not like the added expense.

Internet Cloud Storage

Internet cloud storage options are a popular storage solution because these services can be accessed from any Web browser on nearly any type of device. Additionally, some services such as Dropbox and Box.net also provide apps for smartphones to make it easier to access your data. Many of these services provide some base level of free storage and also offer larger storage limits for a subscription fee. The benefit to using these services beyond ease of access is that your data is stored securely on a remote server. In an unforeseen catastrophe such as a home fire or theft of your devices, having your data stored on a remote server would be invaluable.

Web Email

If you are using a Web email service such as mMail, Yahoo Mail or Outlook.com, you already have a significant amount of free storage. With as much storage as these services offer for free, it is likely you can store years of emails without the need to delete messages or to worry about archiving old messages to external storage. Like the cloud-based storage options, many of these email providers offer additional storage for a fee, which can be useful if you routinely transfer large files in your emails.