How to Back up a Google Account

In an era where our lives are increasingly intertwined with digital platforms, backing up the contents of a Google account is becoming increasingly important.

We are convinced that the best way to back your Google account data is to copy your Google content to another account. Here's why:

  • Your Google backup will be easily accessible. You will be able to access your data from any device with an internet connection.
  • Your backup will be easy to use. Google file types will have no problem being read.
  • Your backup will be safe. Computers crash and are often stolen. Hard drives are prone to accidental damage. Keeping a backup in another account will protect your files from being lost or corrupted.

In this article, we'll explain how you can back up your Google account data for Drive files, Gmail messages, and contacts in two ways.

The following topics will be covered in this article:

VaultMe is a cloud-based, fully encrypted online migration tool that can copy email, files, contacts, and calendars between Google accounts automatically.

VaultMe's advantages include the following:

  • All files in your old account - both owned and shared - are copied with their original file names and dates
  • All of your folders maintain their organization and labeling
  • It takes only a couple of minutes to set up the app to copy over your Google Drive, Gmail, and Contacts. Once VaultMe begins copying your data, you can close your browser and even shut down your computer as the app will work automatically in the cloud
  • VaultMe can copy your content to a Google or a Microsoft account

To copy your Google content automatically:

  1. Go to the VaultMe app.
  2. Connect your source account.
  3. Connect your destination account.
  4. Select what types of content you want to copy (Drive files, Gmail messages, Contacts, Calendars).
  5. Start your migration.
VaultMe will create an archive of your Drive files, Gmail emails, and contacts in another account. Any future changes to these items in the primary account will not be reflected in the backup account.
If you have any questions about VaultMe, please contact us at We'd be happy to help!
Warning: This method involves a lot of manual work and may take days or even weeks of your time.

To download a Google Takeout archive:

  1. Go to and sign in to your account.
  2. Navigate to Google Takeout.
  3. Select the apps that you want to export content from and click "Next."
  4. Select the file type of your Google backup, the size, and the delivery method.
    1. File type. You have three options: .zip (the most common), .tgz, and .tbz. .Zip tends to be faster because of compression.
    2. Archive size. Now you have to decide how large you want your Google backup archive to be. Let's say your Google account has 75 GB in it that you are trying to export. If you select the 2 GB option, your archive will be split up between 75/2 = 37.5 (38) folders. However, if you select the 50GB archive option, you will need to download a zip64 file extractor. If you have a small amount, we recommend selecting the 2 GB default option. To check how much storage you have used, go to
    3. Delivery method. This is how your Google Takeout archive will be sent to you for you to download. It's probably easiest to just select the default option, "Send download link via email."
  5. When you've selected all three, click "Create Archive."

Congratulations! Your Google backup archive is now being created. At this time, Google is creating your archive and will send you a link (via your delivery method) when it's done.

The larger your archive is, the longer it will take for Google to process your data. You'll see a message saying that it could take "hours or possibly days" to create the archive.

One more important thing is that you'll have to keep a look out for the link to your archive because you will only have 7 days to download your Google backup archive before it's deleted.

To unzip your Google Takeout archive, right-click on the archive file(s) and select “Extract files”. You'll get multiple folders containing data from each of the apps that you've selected for export.

You will note that some of the extracted files cannot be opened without special software. For example, all of your email messages have been exported as .mbox file which is only useable if you import it into a desktop email app.

You will also note that your files have not retained their original organization, so you may need to re-arrange them before you proceed to import them. "Shared with me" files will be missing because Google Takeout does not export these.

To access your email archive, go to the Google Takeout folder and locate the "Mail" subfolder. You'll notice that emails from your old account have been compressed into a single .mbox file. That's your Gmail backup.

To access the information inside your .mbox Gmail backup, you will need a third-party desktop email application.

To import Gmail messages:

  1. Download Mozilla Thunderbird and install it on your computer.
  2. Set up your account by typing in your email and password and click "Continue."
  3. Select IMAP, select "Keep your folders and emails synced on your server," and click "Done."

Your new Gmail account will appear on the left.


Next, install Thunderbird's "ImportExportTools" add-on:

  1. Download the "ImportExportTools" add-on for Thunderbird. Alternatively, you can search for the add-on in the “Add-ons” menu in Thunderbird.
    A link to ImportExportTools add-on for Thunderbird
    ImportExportTools add-on
  2. Save ImportExportTools.xpi file to your desktop.
  3. Open Thunderbird and at the top navigate to "Tools" and select "Add-Ons."
  4. Click the settings icon and then select "Install Add-on From File."
  5. Select the "ImportExportTools.xpi file."
  6. Click "Install Now."
  7. Restart Thunderbird.


Next, import your MBOX file(s):

  1. In Thunderbird, right-click "Local Folders" on the left → highlight "ImportExportTools" → select "Import mbox file."
  2. Select "Import directly one or more mbox files" and click OK.
  3. Select your .mbox file in your Google Takeout export folder.

Your emails will start importing. Give it time, because the process may take a while.


Next, move your newly imported labels:

  1. In Thunderbird, expand "Local Folders" on the left.
  2. Select the folder with the imported emails.
  3. Select all of the emails and right-click to open the context menu.
  4. Highlight your new Gmail account and select the folder you want to import these emails into.

You can now go to your new Gmail account and see that your emails from your Google Takeout export are now in your new account.

Here's how you import Drive files:

  1. Go to and sign in to the backup account.
  2. Click the "New" button in the upper left.
  3. Select "Folder upload."
    The menu for uploading folders to Google Drive
    How to upload folders to Google Drive
  4. Select the folder with your downloaded Drive files.
Remember that "Shared with" me items have not been exported because Google Takeout does not extract these. You'll need to manually download and upload those files. For more information on how to copy shared items, see this article:

When you open the Contacts folder, you will see that your Google Contacts and Contact Groups are now in a .vcf file type.

Icons of contact group files in a Google Takeout folder
Contact lists in a Google Takeout folder

To import Gmail contacts for a backup:

  1. Go to in the backup account.
  2. Click the "Create contact" button on the left and select "Create multiple contacts."
    The menu for adding contacts in Google Contacts
    The menu for adding contacts in Google Contacts
  3. Click "Import contacts."
    The menu for importing contacts in Google Contacts
    The menu for importing contacts in Google Contacts
  4. Navigate to the Google Takeout folder and open your Contacts folder.
  5. Select your .VCF file.
  6. Click "Import."
If you have more than one group, you will need to repeat this process until all of your contacts are imported.
Features VaultMe Google Takeout
Copies files from "My Drive"
Copies files from "Shared with me" and "Shared drives"
Doesn't need hard drive storage and stable internet connection
Doesn't require manual work
Preserves folder/label structure
Preserves dates
Copies Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides
Is recommended for large accounts (10+ GB and/or 10 000+ items)
Generates a detailed report
Free option

Even though Google offers first-class security features, backing up your Google account data is always a good idea.

Creating a copy of the content in another online account not only ensures the accessibility of your data from any device with an internet connection but also guarantees its safety, protecting against the potential risks of computer crashes, theft, or accidental damage.

VaultMe is a convenient migration tool that can copy your content to another account while preserving the organization of your Drive files, Gmail messages, and contacts.

Google Takeout is a free alternative but it necessitates a more involved process.

By following the steps detailed in this article, you can successfully back up your Google Drive files, Gmail messages, and contacts. Whether you choose the efficiency of VaultMe or the cost-effectiveness of Google Takeout, having a backup of your Google account data ensures that you will always have access to your valuable information.