Easy steps to move away from GMail

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So if you are like me, paranoid and all then by now you have been wondering “how to move away from gmail”. There are e-mail services like Fastmail (check my sidebar) that offers to import from gmail, but it can only be done once else you might fall into duplication hell. Today I’m going to go over what I did:

Starting fresh

Wait, what? You deleted all your e-mails? No, of course not. I have a decade worth of e-mail and I can’t be bothered to go through all that data. First step is to go to Google Takeout and back up your data. Back up your mail data and download the archive when it’s done.

I did want to start fresh. There’s a catch on why though, I don’t need to keep track of my e-mails. There are people that do have to keep track of them maybe due to work.

Use a encryption tools like Veracrypt, Bitlocker, etc.

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While Bitlocker gets a bad rap for not being open source thus not being able to audit [insert childish “b-but it’s Micro$soft” comment]. What I’ve read from it personally I consider it safe as long as you don’t back up your recovery keys to Microsoft. If you have invested yourself in Windows please do yourself a favor and research more about Bitlocker, else you could also completely encrypt your physical volume with Veracrypt.

The point of using these tools is to create a container, size may vary due to your mbox file. I will continue explaining later in this post.

Choose your e-mail client

Personally there are many ways to access your mbox file. Heck if you wanted you could create a virtual pc (virtual box) with linux, all encrypted with your mbox file in it and read it through Thunderbird. So it would go like this (virtual image fixed size gets to a Veracrypt container, load the image whenever you want with Virtual Box).

That’s too complex, seriously. What I did was simple, I chose/downloaded Thunderbird from Portable-Apps and installed it in my C:/ to later move it to my Veracrypt container.

Install ImportExport Tools for Thunderbird

Installing portable Thunderbird was the first step. Now install the ImportExport tools because with that tool you can import your mbox file to Thunderbird. Note that this process while take minutes to complete if the mbox is too big.

Let it index

This also may take minutes or hours. Once you have finished importing your mbox, let Thunderbird finish indexing.

Calculate the size of your Thunderbird portable folder

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Once it has finished indexing, go to the installation folder of Thunderbird and calculate how big it is. Let’s assume that it’s 2GB, so go open up Veracrypt and create a container around 2.5GB or 3GB.

Move your thunderbird installation

Since this is a portable edition of Thunderbird you can just move the folder to the container. The point of this is that you can put your container in a USB and use it whenever you want.

Time to delete

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Please ensure that your container has all the data before deleting.

Delete all the data from your gmail account and the initial installation folder of thunderbird. We don’t want that data lying in your personal pc unencrypted do we?

Upload it to the cloud

You can upload it to Sync or Dropbox if you feel like. I prefer Sync because you can upload it and move it to the Vault that way it won’t be deleted by anyone.

Enjoy your privacy, and peace of mind. Congratulations your data is no longer on Gmail. Now with your data safeguarded on the cloud + encrypted, you can start using a fresh e-mail address. Do keep in mind that instead of using your real address, you can create aliases like if you sign up to Facebook or Pinterest you could say [alias]+[folder]@fastmail.com where as alias is linked to your real account, and +folder is where you want the e-mail to go.

So consider the possibility of a site getting hacked, and said site uses a weak hashing algorithm (heck, it could even be in plaintext). Using an alias will buy you time to change your e-mail password if it turns out that you used the same password in both accounts. The hackers will have to go through lengths to actually find your real account. Plus, they also can’t log in to your Paypal as the e-mail they got is an alias, taking in account that you also use different passwords. So yea, you get to buy time on all accounts. If you liked this, do consider Fastmail services check my sidebar.

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