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Today I spooked big time when I learned that not only Hotmail but also Yahoo Mail, AOL and Gmail all had a crapload of accounts compromised.

I have accounts with all four of those companies. The only one I use mail for is Hotmail, and that's the first and most important one that I changed the password on. The rest I did afterward.

Usually I'm really good with password security. A while back I made it a point to start using a password manager (this one,) and at present the accounts I use all have different passwords on them. But even when you take security to that level you can still lose your stuff due to forces beyond your control.

It's because of this that I'm more or less fanatical about backing up my email. Fanatical because my mail at any given moment is backed up four times - three local copies and one network copy. The three locals are desktop (WL Mail local store,) laptop (WL Mail local store again,) and USB stick (manual backup.) The network is Hotmail itself.

Crazy? Maybe. But I have 8,880+ emails. Just a tad over 1.3GB worth. Losing that volume of email is something I don't even want to think about. I have some that go back almost 10 years. And it's not just biz or account stuff or whatever. A lot of it involves relationships, friends, etc. It's a diary of sorts of a lot of stuff that's happened in my life over almost a decade. Would you want to lose something like that? Of course not.

And heck, it's not like I can print this stuff out. Not easily, anyway. 8,800+ pages of documents? Nah, I'll keep it digital. 🙂

As a little side note: Almost every time I push a backup to USB stick, it still amazes me that I have almost 10 years worth of mail on one oh-so small 4GB stick. How times have changed. There's no way I could have done backups this easily for that much data years ago.

In my current situation there isn't any cost effective way to host mail on my web server because I simply have too much. And if I host local-only there is no practical way to sync between computers. Furthermore I lose the portability factor. So I'm forced to use web-based mail. In particular, Hotmail.

As I've said before, I use Hotmail because it's the only mail on the planet that seamlessly syncs mail, contacts and calendar with web and/or with a native (keyword there) client. Nobody else does it better. Heck, nobody else does it, period. Neither Yahoo nor Gmail have a native client and probably never will. That's no good for me because I need something that caches locally, and Hotmail with WL Mail is it. The only thing close to this is local-caching with Gmail via IMAP - but you have no contact or calendar sync options, so that's out.

If for whatever reason Hotmail goes down or the account gets completely messed up, I have local copies of my mail. And if I had to I could switch back to my domain-based email account. I really don't want to do that, but I could if push came to shove. I also have it set up where if necessary I could transition off of WL Mail completely and back to Thunderbird in less than 30 minutes - and this includes the import of all those 8,880+ emails. I wouldn't be out of the loop long, that's for sure.

It's my feeling that people put way too much trust into web-based mail. Everything is going along fine and then *poof*, you can't login. Or you can and your mail is gone. In either situation you've just lost all your stuff. All the memories. Everything. And it's never coming back.

How many times did this happen today for people across the globe? A lot. With four different types of accounts.

If you don't backup your stuff locally, you're just inviting disaster.

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