popping a subset of gmail messages...

so i usually always pop my gmail mail, especially after i heard the paranoia about how google was closing accounts at random and people were losing insane amounts of email. but recently, i suffered a hard drive reformat (courtesy of windows, which attempted to format my entire hard drive rather than a partition because my hard drive was over 160 gb and win2k can’t read more than that, so it named the drive corrupt), i only had email up through the 4th of january popped from my gmail account.

however, i couldn’t find an easy way to pop the email that i had lost between january 4th to today. i tried many things - i tried resetting the pop option to allow downloading of already downloaded mail in the settings, and this worked for some subset of messages and eventually ceased to work (i got ~1100 messages the first time, ~400 the second time, then ~200, and so on, but eventually it stopped getting new ones).

finally, i found a solution - first, delete anything in your deleted folder. then, select all the messages you already have (for me, anything older than 1/4/2007) by doing a search for “before: 2007/1/4” (not sure if this only works for inbox and sent or whether it also searches the archived mail, but you can just use “show search options” and search for messages that way too just to be sure). take these messages and delete them. then goto settings, and under forwarding & pop, set gmail to download messages that have already been downloaded. now goto your email client, hit download, and you should get just the subset of messages that you didn’t trash.

you can then goto the trash can, select all conversations and move them to inbox (be careful, don’t accidentally empty the trash!) now this will cause a problem - you’ll find your chats and your sent mail that has no replies to it also in your inbox (which frustrated me). the solution? goto the inbox, do a search for label:chat - select all the messages and hit archive. then go back to the inbox, do a search for messages from: me, and mark all those as archived. then go back to the inbox one more time, do a search across all mail (including archived mail) for messages to: me, and hit “move to inbox.”

and that should do it!

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