Exporting emails from Gmail business account

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Jun 10, 2022, 5:29:08 PMJun 10
to Digital Curation
Hello all,

Does anyone have experience with exporting emails from a Gmail business account? One of our special collections archivists recently acquired a Gmail account for which she now has the credentials to go in and archive the emails. It is a Google business account, and the admin account that would have had super user privileges for the account (and presumably the rights to export it) is long gone. It appears that she can't go in and use Takeout to export the account as an mbox, as one would be able to with a personal account - the option is not showing up. She hasn't been able to find any way to export the emails other than doing them individually. Does anyone have any ideas or workarounds My only experience is with my personal Gmail so I'm casting a wide net. Thank you!

Jamie Patrick-Burns

Seth Shaw

Jun 10, 2022, 6:20:09 PMJun 10
to digital-...@googlegroups.com
I'm not sure if they will have disabled this or not, but it is possible that you can connect to it using IMAP from a locally installed email client (I used Thunderbird years ago) and then export from the email client. See https://support.google.com/mail/answer/7126229?hl=en

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Jun 11, 2022, 12:30:37 PMJun 11
to 'Underdown, David' via Digital Curation
If IMAP is enabled then a tool like mbsync (https://linux.die.net/man/1/mbsync) can be configured to fetch mail with an enforced read-only mode to avoid making any changes to the source mailbox. It syncs to Maildir format (one file per message) but then mblaze's mexport tool will convert this to mbox if needed (https://github.com/leahneukirchen/mblaze). 

This is how I archived my old Gmail account when I stopped using it (though I have kept it in Maildir format for easier searching and access). 

Jez Cope / he, him / j.c...@erambler.co.uk / https://erambler.co.uk 

danielle plumer

Jun 14, 2022, 11:37:37 PMJun 14
to digital-...@googlegroups.com

I have a "business" Google account and I checked the settings using the instructions at https://support.google.com/a/answer/6396995?product_name=UnuFlow&hl=en&visit_id=637908428247102476-3524570020&rd=1&src=supportwidget0&hl=en. Takeout was enabled for my organization, and I don't remember ever doing it, so I think that must be a default. However, I can't be sure about that. As a user, Google Takeout worked the same as it does for my gmail account. 

As a super admin, it's easy to export all the data for my business. You say that the admin account here is long gone, but every business needs to have one. I'm assuming that this is a legacy free account, otherwise there would be someone paying the fee monthly who would be able to contact Google to reset it. If so, you have a short window to get the information archived, because it looks like Google is still planning to make changes to legacy accounts starting the end of June.

If you have any suspicion that the account credentials might belong to a super admin, you can check easily by clicking on the profile image in the upper right portion of the Gmail interface. If the account belongs to an admin, there will be a link to the Google admin console. Even if you can't access it, you could probably request a new password at https://accounts.google.com/signin/recovery assuming you have the right admin email or recover email information. Without that, though, you apparently need to be able to modify the DNS for the domain.

IMAP and POP are also enabled or disabled by the account admin, though again I think they default to on. There's a further restriction possible in terms of IMAP clients -- it can be set to any mail client or be restricted to specific clients using OAuth. IMAP is probably still your best option, though, if indeed there is no super admin user.

Good luck!

Danielle Cunniff Plumer
Texas State Library and Archives Commission

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