Using IMAP for Gmail


I’m toying with the idea of using IMAP full-time for accessing my Gmail. There are a few reasons for this, the main one being that it’s a live view of my Gmail so when I read something locally, it automatically marks it as read in Gmail, too.

However, I’ve got a few questions/ concerns about this: –

  1. Security of my data. I remember reading horror stories of web mail companies in the past losing/wiping someone’s account accidentally; the response from them was "well, it’s a free account, you should back your mail up locally anyway – don’t rely on us". So, currently I download my Gmail using POP and have my mail folder backed up weekly onto a backup hard disk. Can I rely on Gmail to safely stored my data in the "cloud"? If not – should I still use POP access to get my mail locally for the purposes of backup?
  2. What about searching through emails client-side? I like being able to search through all my emails locally across accounts in Windows Live Mail. If I’m using IMAP, that’s just a view of what’s in the Inbox (rather than the entire mailbox – including archived mail) of Gmail. How do I search all of that locally? Do I download the "All Mail" folder instead? [I just tried it and WLM died; it’s currently now stuck in the task manager at 50% CPU i.e. one core doing "stuff"; it refuses to load a new instance whilst that one is working]. Will I be able to search against an IMAP folder – doesn’t it just download the headers and then the bodies "on demand"?
  3. As per (2) but with Vista Instant Search – does it still work?
  4. What about duplication of items when searching i.e. I would presumably need to download the entire contents of the [All Mail] folder to search all my mail locally. However, that folder contains everything including all the items in Inbox plus any other folders (labels in Gmail-speak) that I have. So when I search, would I see the items twice?

Comments/ advice gratefully received…

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