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How should I archive and save unused email accounts?

Discussion in 'E-mail Discussions' started by zackw, Oct 28, 2014.

  1. zackw

    zackw Active Member

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    When an employee leaves, we want to move their email or archive it so we can delete the email account.
    In an Exchange environment, they will often save all the mail as a pst file. I don't know how to do this in the Exim world.

    I don't want to simply ZIP up all the raw email files and stick them on a CD. I actually want them archived in such a way as the manager can go back and look through them. Perhaps with some kind of master email account of past employees or something.

    I have one user, for example, with over a gig of email, but he hasn't worked here for a year. I don't want that account sitting around forever, but I don't know how I could move all that mail (including sent mail and folder structure) into some kind of master archive which we can search through.

    What do people typically do in these situations? And how can I mass-move mail to another email account?

    Thanks
     
  2. cPanelMichael

    cPanelMichael Forums Analyst
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    Hello :)

    There are no native features included with cPanel/WHM that allow you to both delete an email account and view it's archived data. The best way to do this would be to archive the data (e.g. zip, tar) in the event you need to view it later. Email data is stored in the Maildir format, so it's all human-readable through the individual mail files.

    There are no native features to automate this, but you could submit a feature request for it via:

    Submit A Feature Request

    Otherwise, you would have to manually move the email data.

    Thank you.
     
  3. zackw

    zackw Active Member

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    I realize the email is stored in plain text, but this does not make it any easier to search or browse through. We'd have to look at all the raw headers and html data and base64 attachments etc.
    Is there a program that makes it any easier to read maildir email files if I were to just back them up? In other words, if all those files are in a folder, can the program help us read them like normal email and see the attachments?

    Also, are there any issues with manually moving the email data to other folders? Will Exim get confused or need to update indexes or do anything if I just swipe files out of folders and move to other folders? I'm worried that by doing this, and not using normal IMAP protocols, something will get messed up in folder structures etc.
     
  4. whr

    whr Active Member

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    You can try giving IMAPSize a shot. You can easily download the emails locally using that.
     
  5. zackw

    zackw Active Member

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    OK, so I could use IMAPSize to download email folders into single mbox format files, then use mboxview for browsing them. Only problem is it seems the IMAPSize didn't include attachments, or mboxview can't open the attachments, even though both programs say they do.

    Instead what I did was manually clean out as much of the user's email as possible, then archive all the rest of the email into a single archive folder. Then I use IMAPSize to copy all this email into another account's folder so that I can delete the original email account.

    This seems like a ridiculous way to manage old email accounts. Surely the Exim people have thought about a better way to administer accounts, to archive them, back up, enable searching, etc. I don't know. This is just a nutty process.
     
  6. Infopro

    Infopro cPanel Sr. Product Evangelist
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    Why not download them to a local computer for safekeeping? You mention .pst, if you're on Windows and had outlook installed, setup the account in outlook and it'll create the .pst of course. Login and download all mail and attachments. Backup that .pst or leave it on the computer for going thru as needed later.

    If you're on MAC, setup the account download all mail and export the mailbox if needed, for safe keeping. Or leave it for review.
     
  7. zackw

    zackw Active Member

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    We don't use Outlook, we have Thunderbird. They don't save everything down to a single file.

    I wish there was something like a standalone email client that simply browsed folders of archived emails.

    So far my only real option is to use an email client on the retired account to clean it out, delete all sent, junk, trash, templates etc. Then get all mail consolidated into a single folder, then move all that mail into a subfolder of a manager's email to clear out the rest. Then I can delete the box.

    Hopefully in the future there will be some kind of email archiving tool that can be used within cPanel to allow us to "download" an unused email account in such a way as it can be searched and browsed later easily if ever needed and archived on company backup media.

    Thanks
     
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