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Here’s how easy it is to get your data off Yahoo Groups

(And why you should, and you have to, by December 14th)

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Yahoo Groups is making a significant shift next month, taking the feature off the web and into email. Groups isn't going away, but the data that had been hosted on the web sites is — and permanently.

Yahoo itself is going through a metamorphosis of sorts, even pushing out new features and updated services like its newly revamped Yahoo Mail, which turns your inbox into a shopping mall.

Screenshot from Yahoo Groups saying your data download request has been receivedYou can request that your data from Yahoo Groups be downloadedGearBrain

But part of that change includes the slogging off of the old, which means some of the way Yahoo Groups was run in the past. While they'll still exist, they'll be email-based only, and to join one people will need to get permission, and be invited. The site will exist, but all groups that were once public will now be private or restricted.

The email-only space for content may make this less inviting to hackers, or not. Certainly that's of concern to Yahoo which suffered one of the worst data breaches in 2013, when every single one of the three billion accounts were hacked. That wasn't a moment Yahoo likely wants repeated.

A screenshot from Yahoo MailYahoo recently re-launched Yahoo Mail, with a spin towards shoppingYahoo

Hosting some personal data on its site, as Yahoo Groups content has been, is now going to end. That will include any post someone made on a message board for example, any photo, a folder, attachment, file — anything hosted on the Yahoo Group basically — will evaporate. That is, unless someone chooses to download that data now.

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Yahoo is making it possible to get any personal content that someone had in a Group back into their possession. We have the steps outlined below. Don't expect this to be immediate — and therefore don't this on December 13th at midnight. We made out request nearly six hours ago, and still don't have the results yet.

Already, Yahoo has put the service into a holding pattern, preventing new content to be posted as of October 28.

Yahoo logo in front of its buildingWhile Yahoo Groups will continue, it will be an email-based, not web-based, serviceGetty Images

So with just a month left before content heads into the virtual trash, here are the steps to take to retrieve anything you may want — or to just see what's been stored in your name.

Click here to learn how to download your data from Yahoo Groups:

  1. Go to Yahoo's Privacy Dashboard.
  2. You may find that Yahoo tells you it can't locate your email address, as it did me. Click "Trouble Signing In?"
  3. You'll be told that a code is being sent to your email address, and you'll use that on the page to continue.
  4. Find the code in your email account and enter it. Don't be surprised if you're fed an advertisement for Last Pass, a password manager, and a note that tells you your account may be at risk.
  5. You're going to asked to enter a new password. This is not a bad idea. Ever.
  6. Next, you're going to click on a Captcha to ensure you're not a robot. I'm still not clear why — when we can teach a robot to open a door and climb stairs, we can teach a robot to click a keyboard to check off a box. But in any event, click on the box.
  7. Yahoo is going to tell you that you must secure your account with a phone number back up as well. Enter this, or you can also click on "remind me later"
  8. Next, you'll be able to request your data download.

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