PDA

View Full Version : How do I get a copy of my saved-on-AOL emails (not saved on my computer)


brockenspectre
11th Jan 2013, 16:09
Hi all

Interesting issue (well, interesting to me!).

I have been with AOL for donkeys years and, yes, I know I should probably have moved with the times but for one reason or another I haven't.

In the UK AOL has changed hands and is now part of the Carphone Warehouse/TalkTalk empire, but run as a separate piece of it.

Traditionally, with an AOL email account there are two options for storing your mail:

1. On your computer (the PFC)
2. On AOL ("saved-on-AOL")

In the beginning and for many years I used the PFC route and had a copy of the "organize" [sic] folder on my computer's desktop. A couple of computer failures, however, led me to decide to store my AOL emails not via 1. but via 2., i.e., my emails are all "saved-on-AOL".

As far as I am/was aware, AOL emails are only ever openable via an AOL browser.

This past festive season saw the flooding in UK disrupt the AOL service for a while and it occurred to me that I don't have a separate USB-type backup of my emails... I rely on AOL/TalkTalk to keep my data on their servers all tickety-boo. It thus also occurred to me that I am an idiot :eek:

This afternoon, then, I decided to resolve this idiocy but I have just spent about an hour talking to two different bods at AOL's "Tech Help" in ?India? to no avail. Both agents were pleasant and did their best to help but once I had confirmed that my emails are not in the PFC but saved-on-AOL, both said that they have no knowledge of how I can obtain a copy of them. One went so far as to suggest I should just open every single email and copy/paste the contents into a Word document or Excel spreadsheet!!!

The level of knowledge was staggeringly appalling.

ANYWAY

My question is, does anyone know how I can make a USB/backup copy of my saved-on-AOL emails?

Thank you in advance to any/each/all who help!!

Saab Dastard
11th Jan 2013, 17:13
As far as I am/was aware, AOL emails are only ever openable via an AOL browser.

You sure about that? Some further research might bear interesting fruit!

SD

OFSO
11th Jan 2013, 18:17
I should probably have moved with the times but for one reason or another I haven't.



Indeed, yes. In the past 30 days I've been confronted by two people with a similar problem, one with a smartphone and one with a PC. In both cases I told them to open a google a/c. (Or similar, I also use yahoo and save the mails on both). Of course, what's gone is gone.

Milo Minderbinder
11th Jan 2013, 18:32
AOL mail is accesible through POP and IMAP though from memory the ports are non standard
Details are on the AOL help site

In rerum natura
11th Jan 2013, 18:55
*As far as I am/was aware, AOL emails are only ever openable via an AOL browser.*

I think that Brocken meant that the locally stored Personal Filing Cabinet (organize) can only be accessed via the proprietary AOL Desktop software. However, I have had some (partial) success using this freeware

PFC Viewer Download (http://home.roadrunner.com/~ernieyu/pfcviewer/download.htm)

I have just tried logging into my_screenname_aol_com and then marking a random selection of Incoming e-mails (going back a couple of years) as unread. Having done that I logged-off and closed Firefox then opened AOL Desktop 9.6 Then I set up and ran Automatic AOL, successfully downloading the e-mails just marked 'unread' in one operation. The date ordering may be a little haphazard.

As for Sent e-mails, I think the advice you received from AOL Mail (now completely separate from AOL UK/TalkTalk) was probably as good as you're going to get. Maybe you could try forwarding them to yourself and then running Automatic AOL again (or forwarding to one of your 6 other available Screen Names thereby keeping the Sent e-mails separate from the Incoming e-mails).

As has been noted here before, if you ever decide to leave AOL you will still be able to use AOL Mail (using any major browser on any OS) and the AOL Windows Desktop ... your Screen Names will remain active. Make things a little easier by creating your full complement of 7 Screen Names before terminating an account (still an ordeal requiring ongoing vigilance despite improvements).


Pippa's Parties E&OE

jimtherev
11th Jan 2013, 23:13
*As far as I am/was aware, AOL emails are only ever openable via an AOL browser.*


As has been noted here before, if you ever decide to leave AOL you will still be able to use AOL Mail (using any major browser on any OS) and the AOL Windows Desktop ... your Screen Names will remain active.
With one proviso: you need to use/access your screen name from time to time: I left AOL nearly 2 years ago now, and my account - even the divert message saying 'this account is now closed' - still works and accumulates the standard amount of spam.
However, Mrs Jim's account, which she has not used, is not dead, as in 'no such account'. So it's been deleted by AOL, it looks like.

In rerum natura
11th Jan 2013, 23:45
you need to use/access your screen name from time to timeYes, probably true for most free e-mail accounts but thanks for the reminder.

I have just looked at mail_aol_com and had no trouble selecting all of my old e-mails (both Sent and Received) using Shift-Left Click first item, Shift-Left Click last item ... presumably the next step, forwarding them all to a new Mail Box, should be quite straightforward but I didn't try it.

obgraham
12th Jan 2013, 04:02
Having migrated over the years from AOL, to Verizon, then OE Express with MSN, and now Gmail, I've learned the hard way:

There is no guarantee that your emails will be readable in the future. Sure, you can fudge around looking for some tool that will let you read them. Sorry, too much hassle for me.

So now I go through the email list at least every 12 months, look for any that might be important in the future (that's not too many!), and do an individual print-out to a PDF. Now THAT I can save and access.

Milo Minderbinder
12th Jan 2013, 10:49
AOL IMAP settings

Read and send AOL email with other email applications - AOL Help (http://info.aol.co.uk/help/aol_settings/other_email.html)

Just set your AOL account up within an e-mail client on your PC, and the mails will copy to the PC through IMAP. You can then move them to a local storage folder if you wish
Forget all this rubbish about the "personal filing cabinets"......

Note that where in the instructions it mentions imap.aol.com and smtp.aol.com, most AOL accounts can also use imap.aim.com and smtp.aim.com as fallbacks

In rerum natura
12th Jan 2013, 12:10
Forget all this rubbish about the "personal filing cabinets"......

Way harsh, man. I figure people like to stick with what they know. But this is a great tip, so thanks.

brockenspectre
12th Jan 2013, 14:55
MiloMinderbender - thanks. Would you recommend any particular email client? I have heard of "Thunderbird" but am not otherwise familiar.

In rerum natura - thank you for your comments. Unfortunately the PFC only works if all your emails are saved on your PC. If all your AOL emails are saved-on-AOL then the PFC options are not doable. Hence AOL Tech Help being foxed and confuzzled yesterday :ok:

obgraham - seriously? AOL mails migrated to an email client aren't always readable?? Wow.

OK... so assuming I go with an as yet to be chosen email client, when I grab the mails from AOL into it, presumable the mails remain in AOL too? So if I then undertake a quick squizz of what has been imported and do discover problems with readability I should still be able to go back to AOL?

I suppose, another possibility would be to copy all saved-on-AOL to PFC and then back up but PFC still needs an AOL browser... hmmmmm ... the email client route sounds most efficient.

P.S. the main reason I stayed with AOL is I like the brevity of @aol.com!!

Milo Minderbinder
12th Jan 2013, 15:08
Which e-mail client? You'll get no end of opinions on that, all based on personal misconceptions, not fact.
Personally I dislike Thunderbird: its not all that easy to set up, especially if you have multiple outgoing email accounts. Also development on it has stopped.
For most people the default Microsoft Live Mail that now comes on most PCs is adequate. It has a couple of PITA moments - it tries to get you to convert your email address into a Microsoft Live! account and get you to log in to Live!, but this can be easily disabled. Also the way it handles photo attachments isn't brilliant
There used to be lots of other clients, but nowadays its a limited choice to the above two, and a few paid-for programs such as "The Bat!" (which I like, but not enough to purchase)

In rerum natura
12th Jan 2013, 16:18
Brocken:

Just to clarify (this, I think, is the point that SD was making at post #2).

You can access your AOL mail online through any major browser:

https://my.screenname.aol.com/_cqr/login/login.psp?sitedomain=sns.webmail.aol.com&lang=en&seamless=novl&offerId=webmail-en-gb&authLev=0&siteState=ver%3A4|rt%3ASTANDARD|at%3ASNS|ld%3Amail.aol.co.uk |uv%3AAOL|lc%3Aen-gb|mt%3AANGELIA|snt%3AScreenName|sid%3A49a00d27-1cd1-40d5-ac74-c12df0b0a167&locale=gb

You can then (for example) select all old Received e-mail and mark as (for example) unread. Then log-off and run the AOL desktop software. Configure and run Automatic AOL to download all of the 'unread' e-mails to your PFC. As always there are multiple solutions ... you could forward marked e-mails to another AOL Screen Name or to any other non-AOL mailbox.

Amusing that AOL still give instructions for Eudora (which I remember from the mid 90's). Just for fun I tried creating a new AOL Mail Account only to receive Error # 418, wrong locale (GB). Life's too short ...

AOL Desktop 9.6
Sign On -> Email -> Saved on AOL -> New -> {Press CTRL + A to Select All} -> Save -> On My PC -> Create Folder
Sign On -> Email-> Saved on AOL -> Old -> {Press CTRL + A to Select All} -> Save -> On My PC -> Create Folder
Sign On -> Email -> Saved on AOL -> Sent -> {Press CTRL + A to Select All} -> Save -> On My PC -> Create Folder

Keef
12th Jan 2013, 19:24
Personally I dislike Thunderbird: its not all that easy to set up, especially if you have multiple outgoing email accounts. Also development on it has stopped.

Are you sure? I updated this week to version 17.0.2 which is dated 9 January 2013. I get regular updates to the software. The bug-watching clientele is still active (although they still haven't fixed the only Thunderbird bug that bothers me).

I've been using Thunderbird for many years, and it does all that I ask of it - with the one exception of remembering which font I want it to use. It doesn't do what Outlook did to me when it corrupted its giant outlook.pst file and thereby lost all my contacts and details, my diary, and my stored e-mails. Outlook put all its eggs into one delicate basket. Folks tell me they've changed that now, but since I don't need to go there, I don't.

I have 20 different e-mail accounts on it - my personal one, the Church one, the flying group one, the pensioners group one, and various other "special interest" ones. Setting them up was easy.

Milo Minderbinder
12th Jan 2013, 19:46
Keef
Yes I'm sure. Theres about two developers on it now, just doing security bugfixes. Feature development has been put on the back burner indefinately.

With your 20 mailboxes you're lucky: you obviously know what you are doing,. However for the average user, finding the section where you create the outgoing SMTP mailboxes and them configuring them is far too difficult. Its not linked to the creation of the incoming POP/IMAP accounts at all

brockenspectre
19th Jan 2013, 12:12
Hi all

Thank you again for all your advice on this.

The point, however, seems to be that "once an email, always an email" belonging to or readable only by a/some email software with the mail actually stored on the originating server/ISP.

I suppose what I had in mind was something along the lines of downloading Word documents to a USB stick so that one could select a bunch of emails and save them as type X (whatever dot suffix is used for emails) and keep the USB stick somewhere safely. Then if I have a problem I could simply find a computer somewhere and read my mails (providing said computer was compatible with the email type).

All the options currently proposed imply that you have to keep your emails associated with an email address, via a service such as Thunderbird for example, and there is no way of make them standalone. Is this right?

My health is pretty rubbish at the mo so I have windows of "opportunity" where my will and my body combine to let me do stuff.. hopefully one shall improve no end but this issue is just really bugging me!!

Milo Minderbinder
19th Jan 2013, 13:14
Well.......yes you could save each individual e-mail one at a time locally, but depending on the e-mail client that could be as a text file or as an e-mail file which still needs the same client software to read....

you're using AOL, so I think the only way to do it would be to download the e-mails using an IMAP client and then save them from there. From memory the AOL client does not allow local text format saves

Even if you do save them as text files, you'll lose any formatting, attachments and images. Also searching them will become a lot harder

In rerum natura
19th Jan 2013, 18:46
Yes, everything MM said.

It was not clear to me how you were accessing your e-mail ... whether or not you had at some point installed the AOL Browser/Desktop 9.x

If yes, then you will have an Organize folder containing your Personal Filing Cabinet (a Profile by any other name).

{XP example: ...\Documents and Settings\...\Application Data\AOL\...\organize}

I have already detailed above how to download all selected e-mails to your Personal Filing Cabinet (in the Organize folder).

In the Organize folder there are (I think) half a dozen files called your_screen_name with varying file extensions (1.AUT,abi,aby,ARL,BAG). The file with no extension, called simply your_screen_name, is the one containing the meat. You can double-click on it and open it with (for example) Wordpad. It's all there, albeit a bloody mess, and you can pinpoint particular e-mails fairly quickly as long as you know what it is you're looking for (use Search). [Annoyingly, the Windows search function doesn't find specific text within Organize folder files.]

You can save the entire Organize folder to your backup medium of choice. You could also copy PFCViewer (already linked to) to the same backup drive and use it to, um, view your PFC.

If you do have some variant of the AOL Desktop installed then you have nothing to lose by trying it (except precious time).

However, I wouldn't advise anyone to install AOL Desktop for the first time unless they were able to image their drive first ... it's probably not as pernicious as it used to be but it's still going to eat at least 100 megabytes of storage on your system drive. If you're feeling under par it's perhaps too much of a fag ... and certainly too risky.

That said, I've experienced no problems:

AOL Desktop 9.6 (http://desktop.aol.co.uk/)

As an aside, we've long been quite happy using Pegasus Mail program on Windows but (according to Wiki) development ended recently.

Keef
20th Jan 2013, 00:51
Keef
Yes I'm sure. Theres about two developers on it now, just doing security bugfixes. Feature development has been put on the back burner indefinately.


I just got a notification of the release of Thunderbird v19.0 Beta 1, dated 18 Jan 2013, so maybe they've put some more developers on it.