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Use Webmail as Online Storage and Back Up

written by: Arnold Zafra•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 1/25/2009

Most webmail platforms today offer a huge amount of storage space for keeping email and email attachments. But, few webmail users realize that webmail can be used for online storage and back up. Here are some tips for doing so.

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    Introduction

    In the old days, webmail was primarily used for sending and receiving email. In fact, most of the available webmail services in earlier times didn't even allow attachments, be it photos or any other documents. Fast forward to now. Google allows around 1GB of email storage and keeps on increasing each day. Yahoo! Mail lets you keep as many of your emails for as long as you want with unlimited storage. Microsoft Live Mail allows 5GB of storage. And there are other webmail platforms, too, each of them offering various storage capacities.

    With these large storage capacities and few limits on the number of files that you can attach to your email, webmail can be used as an online storage and back up facility which should give you a good amount of storage capacity. Here are a few tips for using webmail in this manner.

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    Organize Your Email

    The key to successful use of webmail for storing your files is proper management and organization. Like printed documents, emails can be sorted out in folders with appropriate tags and categories assigned to them. You can even color-code individual folders for easy retrieval later on. If you’re going to use your webmail service for storing your files and documents, you must have specific containers or folders that will contain them.

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    Storing Email with File Attachments

    For files and documents that come from friends, family, and business contacts as email file attachments, it is easier to store them using your webmail provider. You just need to save the emails, put them in their appropriate folders, and you’re good to go. Make sure to modify the email subject to reflect what the file attachments contain. This would come in handy later on when browsing through your email folders containing many items. You can also put emails with attachments on specific folders labeled according to the types of files they contain. Although most webmail platforms have built-in search facilities, there are times when browsing through folders would still be a faster way of retrieving the files you need.

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    Storing Your Own Files

    Now what if you have files and documents on your PC that you want to back up online? How can you use your webmail service for storing them? Of course, the first thing that you need to do is to send the files to your webmail provider’s server through your own email account. The fastest way of doing this is to use Microsoft Outlook’s email facility to create emails that you will send to your webmail account. Don’t forget to attach the files that you want to store online. To save time later on, change the subject of your email to represent what the file attachment is. When you receive the information in your webmail account, you can immediately store it in its proper folder category.

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    Basically, that’s it - two ways by which you can use your webmail account for online storage and back up. Before you start sending your files to your webmail account, make sure to read the webmail providers TOS for storage capacity and for using their webmail service for this purpose. I doubt if they would disallow you to do so, though. The best thing to do in order to be safe is to use your webmail account for online storage and back up in moderation. Don’t forget to use it for its main purpose – Email.