Migrating your email to Hosted Exchange

A problem faced by many people who decide to switch to a hosted Microsoft Exchange solution for their email, tasks, calendar and contacts, is the migration of existing emails from another email service, to their new Exchange mailbox.

Copying hundreds or even thousands of emails from one mailbox to another may sound like a daunting task. However, the process is really quite simple. There are several ways to go about performing a migration to Exchange. The simplest is to use a desktop email client, such as Microsoft Outlook, to copy emails from one email host to another, using IMAP.

The can be accomplished by setting up a new Microsoft Outlook profile for the hosted Exchange mailbox, and then adding the email account that emails need to be migrated from, as an IMAP account. Here are the steps for doing this:

  1. Set up fresh Outlook profile with the hosted Exchange mailbox as the default account.
  2. Add the mailbox to be migrated from, as an IMAP account.
  3. Wait for all IMAP folders to fully synchronize and download all emails and attachments.
  4. Switch Microsoft Outlook to offline mode. This is an important step that will speed up the actual copying of emails significantly.
  5. Select all of the emails to be migrated from the source account, and copy them to the Exchange inbox. Repeat this step for the sent items folder, and any other custom folders. Copying large numbers of emails can take some time.
  6. Once the emails have finished copying, and are now visible within the Exchange mailbox, remove the IMAP account for the email address being migrated from.
  7. Switch Microsoft Outlook into online mode. All emails copied will now be uploaded the hosted exchange server. It is possible to continue using Outlook normally while this takes place in the background.

The second way to migrate an existing email account to a new Exchange account, is to use Microsoft Outlook to export all of the contents of the source account, into a .PST file. Once this has been done, set up a new Outlook Profile with the Exchange account as the default, and then import the .PST file.

Both of these methods work, the first method however, is much more visual, giving complete control over what is migrated, and the target location. The second method is more automated, and works better for very large migrations of several GB or more.

There are also many websites that offer migration services, and these may be a better option for businesses that need to migrate many mailboxes. Typically, the cost is under $10 per mailbox. Additionally, many hosted Exchange service providers can provide assistance with the migration of mailboxes as part of the sign up process, although there is usually an additional charge for this. Migration details can be found when using our hosted exchange price comparison tool.

Overall, migration of emails from another service provider to Exchange is pretty simple, as long as the source account allows the IMAP protocol to be used.