Backup Google Accounts for Free with Google Takeout

Unfortunately, there's no quick way to back up your information from one Google account to another Google account besides VaultMe.com.

But we are so confident that our software will save you time and hassle, that we've taken the time to give you the best guide to do it for free instead!

Hopefully, by actually seeing how many steps it takes to save your Google data and use it just like you used to, you'll quickly see what a great value VaultMe is!

If you have any questions, feel free to email us at support@vaultme.com!

Google Takeout

So for Google users who want to spend the time and save a few dollars, here's the ultimate guide for the best way to save your Google account!

This means being able to:

  • Backup Google Drive
  • Backup Gmail
  • Backup Google Contacts
  • and more...

Google Takeout - Export Your Google Account Data

The first thing you'll want to do is create an archive of your Google account with a tool called Google Takeout.

Google Takeout is essentially a way to compress the data from your Google Apps (so you can backup Gmail, Drive, Contacts, etc) in your account and be able to save it locally (onto your computer or external hard drive). Like a zip file!

First Step

Create your Google Takeout zip file:

  1. Go to Gmail.com
  2. Sign in to the account whose data you want to export.
  3. Then go to Google Takeout.
  4. You will see a bunch of Google Apps you can export. Select which ones you want and uncheck the ones you don't want to export!
    Google Takeout App Selection Dialog
  5. When you're ready, click Next.
  6. The next section, you will be selecting the file type of your Google backup, the size, and the delivery method.
    Google Takeout Export Preferences Dialog
    1. File Type -- You have three options: .zip (the most common), .tgz, and .tbz. .Zip tends to be faster because of compression, so you'll want to select .zip.
      Google Takeout File Type Selection Dropdown Menu
    2. Archive Size -- This means how large do you want per Google backup archive to be. Let's say your Google account has 75 gigabytes in it that you are trying to export. If you select the 2GB 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. From Google Takeout: "Zip files larger than 2GB will be compressed in zip64. Older operating systems may not be able to open this file format. There are external applications that can be used to uncompress zip64 files." If you want to find out how much data is in your Google account, the quickest way to tell is to just sign into your account on our app page here: VaultMe App. You'll know in seconds how much data is in your account! If you have a small amount, we recommend selecting the 2GB default option.
      Google Takeout 2GB Archive File Size Selected
    3. Delivery Method -- This is how your Google Takeout archive will be sent to you for you to download. It's probably easiest to also just select the default option here Send download link via email.
      Google Takeout Delivery Method Selection
  7. When you've selected all three, click Create Archive.

Congratulations! Your Google backup archive is now being created!

You'll probably see something like this:

Google Takeout Archive in Progress Dialog

At this time, Google is creating your archive and will send you a link (via your delivery method) when it's done.

But you should be aware, the larger your archive is, the longer it will take for Google to process. You'll notice on Google's messaging that is says it could take "hours or possibly days" to create.

One more important thing is that you want to keep a look out for the link to your archive because let's say Google sends the email and you don't download it. You only have 7 days to download your Google backup archive before they delete it and you have to do the steps of "Google Takeout - Export Your Google Account Data" again.

Google Takeout - Get Your Data

Once you've been notified that your Google backup archive is available for download (via email in this example), you want to actually get your data.

Second Step

In order to Get Your Data, you'll need to:

  1. Find the "archive ready" notification email from Google.
    Google Takeout Archive Ready Notification
  2. Click Download archive.
    Google Takeout download ready notification email
  3. You'll be prompted to either Open or Save the Google Takeout archive. Select Save File and choose where to save it (for now just put it on your Desktop for easy access).
    Save Google Takeout zip file to your computer dialog

Well that was easy enough! Now you've got a neat little folder on your computer that has your Google Account's data inside of it!

If you want to not only backup Gmail, Drive, Contacts but to access and use your data you'll need to move on to the third step.

Imagine this…

You're looking for someone's contact information that was in your Google Contacts. With the Google Takeout archive alone, you cannot find it.

You're looking for an email that was in your Gmail account. With the Google Takeout archive alone, you cannot find it.

You're looking for file that was in your Google Drive. With the Google Takeout archive alone, you should be able to find it! If you can't find or open the file, here are some common reasons why:

  • That file was "Shared with You" by someone else. Unfortunately, Google Takeout does not export "Shared with" files.
  • That file is now in a file type that you do not have the software for. Since Google file types are not being read on your computer, you'll need to make sure you buy or get the right software in order to use them. Most commonly, Google Takeout will export things like Google Docs to Microsoft Word format, and Google Sheets to Microsoft Excel automatically. If you don't have these programs, then you'll need to get programs that will read your file types.

So in order to actually be able to access your data in the future (because there's no point in saving it if you can't access it), you'll need to put it somewhere it can be read.

Google Takeout - Accessing Your Data

Where do you want to access your Google Takeout information?

  • Do you want to access it from only your computer?
  • Do you want to access it from your phone?
  • Do you want constant online access to it?

Wouldn't it be easiest for you to have your data accessible to you at any given moment from any device with an internet connection?

That's why we recommend importing your Google Takeout data into another Google account.

Importing your data into another Google account will have many benefits compared to just going through the steps to access your information on your computer:

  • You will be able to access your data from any device with an internet connection.
  • It will be more protected and safe. Computers and hard drives crash all the time without warning.
  • Google file types will have no problem being read.

So let's begin putting the Google Takeout data from your old account and import it into another Google account...

Google Takeout - Importing Your Data Back into Google

First, make sure you have another account to import your information into:

  1. Go to Gmail - Sign In
  2. Click Create Account
  3. Enter your information and create your new account!

Now, back to your Google Takeout folder on your desktop...

If you open it, you'll notice it opens into other folders that look like this:

Google Takeout Archive Folder Contents

You can think of these as your Google Apps data separated into a folder per app. So let's go through and import the most important apps!

Google Takeout - Back Up Google Contacts by Importing

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

Contacts Folder

Here's how you import them into your new Google account so they can be read!

  1. To import your .vcf file, go to the old version of Google Contacts when signed into your new Google account.
  2. On the left, click Import Contacts.
  3. Click Choose File.
  4. Navigate to the Google Takeout folder on your desktop 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.

You should now be able to search, access, and use the Google Contacts and Groups from your Old Account in your New Account!

Google Takeout - Backup Google Drive by Importing into Another Account

Here's how you import them into your new Google account so they can be read:

  1. Go to drive.google.com while signed into your second account.
  2. Go to your Google Takeout folder on your desktop.
    Google Takeout Export Folder
  3. Drag and drop the "Drive" folder into your new account's Drive.
    Online Google Drive Folder

That was pretty easy!

There may be a group of you who notice that you are missing files though. So just to address this, it is most likely because Google Takeout did not export Shared files. That means, if someone shared any document, spreadsheets, photo, file of any type with your old account--Google Takeout did not export it.

If you want all of the files from your old Google Drive in your new account, you'll need to import "Shared with" files separately.

Here's how to do that:

  1. Sign in to your old Google account.
  2. Go to drive.google.com
  3. On the left, click Shared with me. These are all of the files shared with you from other people. You will want to now share these with your new Google account.
    Shared with me - Old Account
  4. Select all of the files you want to keep in this folder.
    Shared with me - Context menu - Old Gmail Account
  5. Once selected, right click on an item for your options.
  6. Click the Share icon.
  7. A pop-up will appear. Enter the email address of your new Google account.
    Share with new Gmail account
  8. Click Done and Send.

This means that the files "Shared with" your old account are now being also "Shared with" your new account. But there's one more step that is crucial--you need to make a copy of files "Shared with" you.

To quickly explain this, Google defines a file as "Owned by" and "Shared with". You are either an Owner (creator) or a Recipient. If an Owner deletes a file or stops sharing a file for any reason, all recipients will lose that file.

As you can understand, it is vital for you to gain ownership over a file--and the easiest way to do that is by making a copy of it.

Making a copy of "Shared with" files:

  1. Sign in to your new Google account.
  2. Go to drive.google.com
  3. On the left, select Shared with me.
  4. Select all files and right click to bring up your options.
  5. Click Add to My Drive
    Add files to My Drive
  6. On the left, select My Drive
  7. Select all files and click Make a Copy
    Make a Copy of G Suite Drive files

If you have folders, you will need to open each one, select all files, and click make a copy. If you have a lot of folders, this could take a very long time.

You can tell which files are safe now because they will say "Copy of" in the file name. Now, if an Owner of a previous file deletes that file, you will still have your copy!

Just a few more reasons why the VaultMe app may be more beneficial:

  • All files in your old account--both Owned and Shared with--are copied over with their original file names.
  • All of your folders maintain their organization and labeling.
  • Files like Google Forms are maintained--Google Takeout exports Google Forms as PDFs which make them unusable.
  • It takes only one minute to set up to copy over your Drive, Gmail, Contacts, and more! Once VaultMe begins, you can close your browser, even shut down your computer and it will work automatically.

Google Takeout - Backup Gmail Emails by Importing into Another Account

In order to backup Gmail and use it, you'll need to go back to your Google Takeout folder on your desktop, you'll want to open your Mail subfolder.

You'll notice that all of your mail from your old account has been compressed into an .mbox file. That's your Gmail backup.

MBox file exported using Google Takeout

In order access the information inside your .mbox Gmail backup, you will need the help of a common third party application called Thunderbird.

Setup your new Google account with Thunderbird:

  1. Download and Install Thunderbird: Mozilla Thunderbird
  2. Open Thunderbird and go to the top, selecting File → New → Get a New Mail Account.
  3. Click Skip this and use my existing email
  4. Enter your information for your new Google account in the given fields and click Continue
  5. Select IMAP and then click Done.

Your new Google mail account will appear on the left.

Next, install Thunderbird's "ImportExportTools" Add-On.

  1. First, visit the "ImportExportTools" add-on download page for Thunderbird here: ImportExportTools
  2. Click Download Now
  3. Save ImportExportTools .xpi file to your Desktop
  4. Open Thunderbird and at the top click Tools and Select Add-Ons
  5. Click the Settings icon and then select Install Add-on From File
    Mozilla Thunderbird Install Add-on From File dialog
  6. Navigate to your Desktop and select the ImportExportTools .xpi file
  7. Click Install Now
  8. Restart Thunderbird

Import your MBOX files:

  1. In Thunderbird, on the left, right click Local Folders → highlight ImportExportTools → select Import mbox file
    Mozilla Thunderbird import M-Box file dialog
  2. Select Import directly one or more mbox files and click OK
  3. Navigate to and select your .mbox file in your Google Takeout export folder.
  4. Your emails will start importing and they will be located under your Local Folders (give it time because it may take a while).

Lastly, move your newly imported Labels into your new Google mail account on the left:

  1. In Thunderbird, click to expand Local Folders on the left.
  2. Select the folder that was your previous .mbox file you imported.
  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.

Awesome! You're done! You can go to your new Gmail account and see that your old .mbox emails from your Google Takeout export of your old account are now in your new account!

Now you have the same searchability, access, and use of your old account's emails in your new account!

How does VaultMe compare?

  • All of your emails and their labels will copy over with VaultMe, keeping your organization.
  • VaultMe copies over the attachments from your emails where the Google Takeout export does not.
  • It takes only one minute to set up to copy over your Drive, Gmail, Contacts, and more! Once VaultMe begins, you can close your browser, even shut down your computer and it will work automatically.

Thanks for reading! Send us an email if you think something needs to be changed or added to this article!