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Back up and restore emails in Evolution on Linux

Evolution is an excellent email client for Linux, and it has a lot of great features. One of the best features that Evolution has is the ability for users to quickly and easily create a complete backup of all of their emails. Here’s how to back up and restore your emails with Evolution.

Backing up your emails in Evolution

To back up your emails in the Evolution mail client, start by launching the app on your Linux desktop. Then, with the Evolution mail client open, follow the step-by-step instructions below to create a backup.

Step 1: Click on the “File” button with the mouse. When you select this button, you’ll see the contents of the “File” menu. Then, click on the “Back Up Evolution Data” button.

Step 2: After selecting the “Back Up Evolution Data” button, a pop-up window will appear on the screen. Using the pop-up window, name your backup by changing the file’s name.

Step 3: Once you’ve named your Evolution data backup, click on the “Save” button to export your backup and save it to your PC as a TarGZ archive.

Don’t want to export your backup as a TarGZ archive? Select the drop-down menu next to “TarGZ” and set it to “TarXZ,” if you prefer that file type.

Step 4: When you click on the “Save” button, Evolution will show you a pop-up window. This pop-up window says, “Are you sure you want to close Evolution? To back up your data and settings, you must first close Evolution. Please make sure that you save any data before proceeding.”

Find the “Close and Back up Evolution” button and select it with the mouse.

Step 5: Upon closing Evolution, you’ll see a window appear briefly. Then, the Evolution email client will open, indicating your backup is complete.

Open up the Linux file manager and locate your backup TarGZ or TarXZ file. Once you’ve found it, feel free to upload it to Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or a home server for safe-keeping.

Encrypting your Evolution email backup

While it isn’t a requirement, it is a good idea to encrypt your Evolution email backup. Why? An unencrypted Evolution backup can be transferred to any Linux system and restored, giving access to your email accounts and messages.

To encrypt your backup, you must have GnuPG installed on your computer. Install GnuPG by opening up a terminal window on the Linux desktop. Then, follow the installation instructions below to set up GnuPG.


sudo apt install gnupg


sudo apt-get install gnupg

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S gnupg


sudo dnf install gnupg


sudo zypper install gnupg

With the GnuPG tool installed, use the cd command to move into the folder where the Evolution backup is saved. In this example, the Evolution email backup is called “my-email-backup.tar.gz” and is stored in the home directory (~).

cd ~/

Once you’ve made it to the directory where your Evolution email backup is, run the gpg -c command. This command will encrypt your Evolution email backup file.

gpg -c my-email-backup.tar.gz

Upon entering the command above, you will be asked to enter a password. Enter a secure, memorable encryption password. Remember this password, as there is no way to recover it!

When the encryption is complete, you’ll be left with a file named “my-email-backup.tar.gz.gpg”. Delete the original unencrypted file with the rm command.

rm my-email-backup.tar.gz

Restoring your emails in Evolution

Restoring your emails from backup in Evolution is just as easy as backing it up. To start the restoration process, take your Evolution backup file and place it in the home folder on your computer.

If you’ve chosen to encrypt it, open up a terminal window and run the following command to decrypt the GPG file. In this example, the encrypted Email backup file is called my-email-backup.tar.gz.gpg.

gpg my-email-backup.tar.gz.gpg

After unlocking your backup file, you’ll be left with my-email-backup.tar.gz. Open up the Evolution app and follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Find the “File” menu inside of the Evolution app and click on it with the mouse. Then, select the “Restore Evolution Data” option.

Step 2: A pop-up window will appear after selecting the “Restore Evolution Data” button. Using the pop-up window, browse for your Evolution email backup and select it.

Step 3: Once you’ve selected your backup, Evolution will say, “Are you sure you want to restore Evolution from the selected backup file? To restore your data and settings, you must first close Evolution. Please make sure that you save any unsaved data before proceeding. This will delete all your current Evolution data and settings and restore them from your backup.”

Select the “Close and Restore Evolution” button to restore your email backup.

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