Saturday, October 16, 2010

Reducing Gmail Size

Gmail (Google Mail) is a great email program. I switched to it many years ago when I discovered that would not let me send emails from outside BC and Alberta. It would not work in the USA or Mexico where we were spending our winters.

Gmail is an Internet based service that stores all your email on its own servers and gives you access to them anywhere you are that has an Internet connection. Easy. It has a huge amount of storage available, I think 6 GB per user at this point. All was going well until I noticed I was using 25% of my storage space.

Thinking it might be a good idea to reduce this a little, I went on the net to find a way to sort my 8000+ emails by size so I could get rid of the space hogs. My search was in vain. Gmail has no provision to sort by size and I found many complaints about this but no solutions. I was going to have to find my own.

I found a neat little program at that lets you backup all your email on your own computer. This might come in handy if Google ever experiences a catastrophic server failure and looses all my mail and in the meantime, it offers just what I was looking for, a way to sort by size!

I downloaded all my mail onto my terabyte drive and, using Windows Explorer, sorted it by size. Worked perfectly! Now I can see the space hogs - scanned copies of our passports that I emailed myself "just in case" and dozens of emails full of short movies, photos and PowerPoint presentations that people have sent me over the years, 99% of which are jokes that I have no need to keep.

I picked out the ones I wanted to purge, wrote down the subject and date and went to Gmail and found them one at a time and deleted them. It took a couple of hours but I managed to reduce my use of Google's storage from 25% all the way down to 9% by eliminating about fifty of my largest files. I then deleted my old backup and went through the backup process again. Now I just have to remember to do the odd backup to add my newer emails to the file. Simple! Life is Good!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Hombre - I barely have time to read my email the first time - WHY would I save any of it to read again?