Easy Archive Technique for Evolution Mail

When there’s too much mail, weed some of it out.

Evolution Mail

Archiving email in Evolution isn’t as straight forward as it might be. I searched the Web, but didn’t really get many answers.

I just installed Ubuntu Karmic, and the Evolution version that ships with it is 2.28.1. I’ve read that there is an archive button in Evolution, but I haven’t found it anywhere. So I came up with a different technique.

Move ’em Out of Here

Every year in Jan. I go through evolution and archive last year’s mail. Seems if I let the email folders get too big, Evolution has a tough time digesting all the email. It moves slower and slower. I’ve read that 2G of mail is about all it can handle. I guess by the end of the year, by that time there are two years worth of email on there mind you, its getting close to the limit. You may have to do it more often if you have a lot of email, or if you have large attachments.

Here are the steps.

  • Open Evolution
  • Create a new folder in Evolution with a significant name (Example: 2008)
  • Move all the mail you wish to archive to that folder.
  • I go through my folders and sort by date then move the old ones.
  • Close Evolution Mail
  • Go to .evolution/mail/local/ with your file manager. If you don’t see it, show hidden files by using CTRL+H
  • Find the folder and files with the name of the mail folder you created (2008 in this example)
    • Folder: 2008.sdb
    • File: 2008
    • File: 2008.cmeta
    • File: 2008.ibex.index
    • File: 2008.ibex.index.data
  • Move all of these to an archive folder in your documents folder. Mine is called Email Archives
  • Restart Evolution

So far, I haven’t had any issues with Evolution when I move these files out. It just opens without the files and goes its merry way. If I need to get something back from the archive, I can open the files with gedit (don’t make the archives too big, gedit doesn’t like it) and read the emails. I suppose you could move the folders back to their original locations and open them with Evolution, if you need to.

Special Rules for Pack Rats

Go through and delete as many files as you can stand before you archive. The smaller number of files in the archive, the easier it will be to find what you need if you search for it later. If there are emails you need all the time put them in a special “Keepers” folder so they’ll always be around, that way you won’t archive them accidentally. You know, those emails that contain passwords or special data you need from time to time and can’t do without.

The next time you archive your files, consider when you last looked in your older archives. If you haven’t in a year or so, you might just delete the files or burn them to disk to get them out of the file system all together. Then if you decide you don’t need them you have an email Frisbee!

I notice an immediate improvement in performance once I’ve archived my old email, including an improvement in Gnome desktop in general. In fact, slow downs in Gnome may be an indication that your email needs to be archived.

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2 Responses to Easy Archive Technique for Evolution Mail

  • I searched long and hard for a solution like this. I immediately made a folder in evolution, but I can’t find it on my hard drive. There is only a database file in the .evolution/mail/local folder.
    I am using evolution 2.32.2.
    Do you have any suggestions?

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