Gmail INBOX retention period limited!

I have a gmail account since September 2004 for all my personal usage, at the time when gmail invites were being sold on ebay. I followed Gmail advise in general, which is not to delete anything and use search to find all I want. However I found this advise may be a bit flimsy. Why? I looked at the oldest mail in my INBOX, it is only dated back to Feb 2005. This means, Gmail has managed to lost 5 months of my mails from my INBOX, where did they went; I have no idea! I only used 1392MB or 18% of the allowable disk. May be the Gmail Team knows about this? Is this a known problem?

Of course, Gmail is a free service; one may be shouldn't expect too much. However. this does not really instill confidence to use gmail as a primary account for important stuff :(.

Will this problem goes away if I purchase more disk, or paying Google some money so that my mails are a bit more secured?

Update: Thank you all for your comments. I found my missing mails. So all my worries were unfounded and sorry if it did worry some of you out there.


Not sure about your case, but in my All Mail folder I see the first messages I received when I created the account and they date back September 2004 (wow! a lot of time passed!).

Posted by Marco Barisione on March 27, 2010 at 07:47 AM GMT+00:00 #

Are these emails in your inbox, or are they archived? I have emails in my archive from July 2004. I don't keep anything in my inbox for nearly that long.

Posted by will_in_wi on March 27, 2010 at 07:51 AM GMT+00:00 #

Check All Mail rather than Inbox.

Also, it's "advice."

Posted by sam on March 27, 2010 at 08:06 AM GMT+00:00 #

I've been using Gmail since August 2004 - the first email was the automated welcome email, which is still there - and all of my emails since then are present.
It is probably just a problem with your mailbox, might be worth contacting Gmail support about it.

Posted by ups on March 27, 2010 at 08:19 AM GMT+00:00 #

Gmail has a limit of 1000 emails on your inbox, but if you go to all-mail you can see all of them. I currently have 49084 emails, the oldest one from september 2004.

Posted by guest on March 27, 2010 at 08:45 AM GMT+00:00 #

Maybe you archived older mails at some point? (Or gmail does this automatically) Then they aren't in your inbox but still in "all messages".

Posted by Stefan on March 27, 2010 at 08:45 AM GMT+00:00 #

I am no Googler, but I still have my first Gmail e-mails from April 2004.

Is it possible you archived your e-mail, moving it from your inbox into All Mail?

I don't think Google's systems work in a way that could really extort money from you to make your mail more secure.

Posted by Richard Schwarting on March 27, 2010 at 08:50 AM GMT+00:00 #

You gave me quite a panic. I checked "All Mail" and clicked oldest and it dates back to 2004 including that first email from the Gmail Team.
I don't know where your mail went but I don't think its from a retention policy.

Posted by Brandon on March 27, 2010 at 09:07 AM GMT+00:00 #

Have you searched "All Mail"? Maybe it's still there.

Posted by Stefan on March 27, 2010 at 09:16 AM GMT+00:00 #

They might be archived ?

Posted by Pierre Slamich on March 27, 2010 at 09:25 AM GMT+00:00 #

Did you look in "All Mail"? It might be hidden behind a disclosure triangle if you have a lot of labels. I have emails dating back to 2004. (And some imported with earlier dates.)

Posted by Greg on March 27, 2010 at 09:54 AM GMT+00:00 #

Hmmm. My oldest message in gmail is June 2004. Not sure what happened to your emails.

Posted by LG on March 27, 2010 at 10:12 AM GMT+00:00 #

I just checked my gmail and I have mail from July 20th, 2004 which is the first message I had ever sent through gmail.

No issues here.

Posted by Ryba on March 27, 2010 at 10:20 AM GMT+00:00 #

Does the old email show up under All Mail vs. Inbox?

Posted by Chris W. on March 27, 2010 at 11:40 AM GMT+00:00 #

For what it's worth, my e-mails from September 2004 are still accessible from within Gmail but I didn't let them in Inbox...

Posted by Opoho on March 27, 2010 at 11:42 AM GMT+00:00 #

[Trackback] This post was mentioned on Twitter by a_Linux: Ghee Teo: Gmail INBOX retention period limited! #Gnome

Posted by uberVU - social comments on March 27, 2010 at 01:19 PM GMT+00:00 #

I'm a big fan of keeping my mail in-house on my own servers.

Posted by Paul Johnson on March 27, 2010 at 02:21 PM GMT+00:00 #

I still have the 'welcome to gmail' thingy, and I've been using it since 2004..

search your account for
"gmail is different"

Posted by ethana2 on March 27, 2010 at 02:57 PM GMT+00:00 #

There is an "all mail" tab that shows messages that you mark as archived and will not be in your Inbox. I've got some messages from september of 04 and never paid, maybe you archived those first messages and forgot about it.

Posted by Eugenio on March 27, 2010 at 05:17 PM GMT+00:00 #

I've my gmail account since July 07', and I still have all my emails since then...

My box even got filled up twice, so I had to clean it up a bit and I'm sure google didn't delete the older messages that time.

Posted by Yo'av Moshe on March 27, 2010 at 06:36 PM GMT+00:00 #

I think there was a reason why they sold them on eBay ;). And now we know the reason for the beta tag! :D

Posted by peder on March 27, 2010 at 08:04 PM GMT+00:00 #

Have you tried emailing them? It sounds like a bug to me, rather than some sort of "retention period". I still see emails in there from 7/2004 (knock on wood).

Posted by Jess Sightler on March 27, 2010 at 08:23 PM GMT+00:00 #

My gmails from sept 2004 are still intact.

Posted by Vaibhav on March 27, 2010 at 09:28 PM GMT+00:00 #

Check the All Mail section.

Posted by lalo on March 27, 2010 at 10:38 PM GMT+00:00 #

I still have my GMail welcome message dated 2004/11/17, so it could be a problem on your account rather than a generalised old mail wipeout.

Only 5% of available space used, though.


Posted by Rehdon on March 28, 2010 at 03:43 AM GMT+00:00 #

And what's the oldest mail in your Archive folder? Is this via the web or IMAP?

Posted by Bob on March 28, 2010 at 05:02 AM GMT+00:00 #

I just checked and in my case oldest mail is still the first one received in June 2004 (Gmail is different. Here's what you need to know.)

Posted by Pascal on March 28, 2010 at 08:25 AM GMT+00:00 #

Not sure if this is universal. I have a Gmail account dating back to August 2004, and it still has mail from that date. You might try contacting GMail support and asking about this.

Posted by Zonker on March 28, 2010 at 09:13 AM GMT+00:00 #

This seems more than a little surprising and scary - and using GMail myself I checked my own account.

My oldest mail is from 2004-07-05 and is the welcome mail from GMail. I can't seem to find any missing mail, even though I'm using 3207 MB (43%).

You say the mail is not in your Inbox. Okay, is it in "All Mail"? Maybe you have simply used the "Archive"-function. Try selecting "All Mail" among your labels and click the "Oldest »"-link. If your mail is not there, it does indeed seem to be gone. Scary!

Posted by Kåre Fiedler Christiansen on March 28, 2010 at 09:50 AM GMT+00:00 #

i've got several gmail accounts, some with extended paid storage, some of them from the early days as well... just checked, and all accounts have their full history...

Posted by sdf on March 28, 2010 at 09:51 AM GMT+00:00 #

You should probably contact Google. You see, I have email that dates back to 28/06/04.

Posted by Roshan on March 28, 2010 at 10:18 AM GMT+00:00 #

My gmail Inbox only goes back to 2005, but the "All Mail" folder seen via IMAP in Thunderbird does go right back to the welcome email I got in 2004.

Posted by DougBaker on March 28, 2010 at 12:08 PM GMT+00:00 #

I have all my emails since the day I registered which was in August 2004.

Posted by Peter on March 28, 2010 at 02:45 PM GMT+00:00 #

I do not use Gmail regularly but could it be that they were archived?

Posted by Jodn Doe on March 28, 2010 at 03:25 PM GMT+00:00 #

Well, data loss in the early beta stage of a service like this isn't really unusual. Also, the gmail terms specifically states that "[Google] shall not be liable to you for the deletion of, corruption of, or failure to store, any Content and other communications data maintained or transmitted by or through your use of the Services". If that's not acceptable; pick another service, I guess ;)

Posted by Jon Svendsen on March 28, 2010 at 06:18 PM GMT+00:00 #

Mine goes back to my invite, 6/24/04. Maybe you accidentally did some filter? Or some POP client did something?

Posted by Russ Dill on March 29, 2010 at 12:54 AM GMT+00:00 #

About your update, where are these comments? Where was your missing mails?

Posted by Yann Papouin on April 04, 2010 at 04:16 AM GMT+00:00 #

About your update, where are these comments? Where were your missing mails?

Posted by Yann Papouin on April 04, 2010 at 04:17 AM GMT+00:00 #

I found all my missing mails in ALL Mails as advised by some of you :).
Thanks again.

Posted by Ghee Teo on April 07, 2010 at 08:13 AM GMT+00:00 #

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