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How to Download Your Yahoo Group Data

Although Yahoo Groups has not been a forum for years, it used to be a popular place for people to meet and chat online. Yahoo's parent company Verizon Media will close the groups in the course of this year. As of October 28, no new content can be uploaded, and as of December 14, all existing content will be deleted. Once you've participated in the discussions there, you may want to see if you can save your conversation history.

The process is a bit more complicated than it needs to be, unfortunately, perhaps, because Yahoo was acquired by Verizon some time ago. If you know where to look, you can do it anyway.

Find and retrieve your Yahoo group data.

  • Under "Your Products," click "Groups."
  • You get a list of all your Yahoo Groups. Click on the three dots in the top right corner and select "Groups Download Manager".

  • The next page displays the Download Manager, where you can enter the email address you want to be notified of (your Yahoo email address). The address is already filled in, you can however, enter any address. Yahoo will notify you when your download is done.

You should receive a confirmation of your request in your email. And then you wait. (If for some reason you decide you do not want your data, you'll find a link in your email that will take you back to the Download Manager where you can clear your request.) [19659008] At this point, be patient: It will probably take days for your data to be displayed. I had message history in 10 Yahoo groups (all unused for several years, a few virtually empty). On October 24, I submitted a request and received an e-mail message that it was downloaded on November 3. Unfortunately, you can not request downloads of specific groups. It's an all-or-nothing process. So if you want to download all of your messages before Dec. 14, you should do so soon.

The ZIP file containing the messages from my ten groups was 774 MB in size and lasted about five minutes. It contained a separate folder for each of the groups; Each folder contained a single "messages.zip" file, which in turn contained a number of .mbox files.

Mbox is a standard format for exporting emails. The easiest way to view these files is to use an e-mail client such as Thunderbird or, if you have a Mac, the built-in Mail app. I imported one of my .mbox files with the latter and it worked fast and efficiently. (Note for Gmail followers: There's no easy way to import a .mbox file into a Gmail account, even though Gmail exports its emails in this format.) There are several third-party and open-source Apps That Specify This option allows you to import .mbox files into Gmail if you are at risk for any of these files.)

Note that these are just text downloads. You receive your messages, but no attachments or images associated with them. Files and pictures have to be downloaded separately.

Downloading files and images

If you've uploaded files and photos (or other images) to your Yahoo Groups, you can download them to your Groups. Here are the instructions in brief:

  • Go to your Yahoo Groups page
  • Go to the group where your files and / or photos are located.
  • For photos, click Photos in the top menu and click in the Show results only from my photos box.
  • Hover over the photo you want to download and click on the download icon in the lower right corner.

  • For Files, click Files in the top menu.
  • You get a list of available files in the group. Click on one to download it.

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