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Cornelius J. van Dyk's SharePoint Brain Dump > Posts > The best way to migrate your old email to Gmail
April 08
The best way to migrate your old email to Gmail

OK, one of my email accounts were being converted to Google Apps hosted Gmail. Having a couple of months worth of historical email for the account, I wondered how I could get that old email into the Gmail account to make it indexed and searchable. So I began to search for the solution. The first solution I found was this instruction set that used Mark Lyon's GMail Loader (GML) to upload old messages.

The problem with this method is that I'd have to 1) Export email from Outlook to Outlook Express 2) Install Thunderbird 3) Export from Outlook Express to Thunderbird 4) Install GML 5) Import the mbox file using GML to Gmail. Quite a process.

Then I saw the new Google Email Uploader.

I downloaded and tried this tool, but it was way too prone to just stopping for no reason. Additionally, the email did not retain date information at all. I was just about at the point of giving up when I discovered the solution. As it happened, I was going to setup my Gmail account to work through Outlook and IMAP anyway, but in the process I found the solution, quite by accident.

This was only proven to work with Outlook and only for email that was in Outlook, but I would guess that any IMAP capable email application should work.

  1. Configure your Gmail account for IMAP.
    1. Logon to Gmail.
    2. Click "Settings" in the top right corner.
    3. Click the "Forwarding and POP/IMAP" tab.
    4. In the IMAP Access section, select "Enable IMAP".
    5. Click the "Configure instructions" link to popup the IMAP configuration instructions in a new window for step 2.
    6. Click the "Save Changes" button.
  2. Configure your email application using the instructions from 1e above.
  3. Fire up your email application.
  4. Create folders in the Gmail account for your old email.
  5. Move the email from the old email folders to the Gmail folders and tada! J

This method retains all date info etc. and seems to be perfect! Enjoy…


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Um... actually this doesn't work at all

This does not load old e-mails into the web version of GMail.
 on 4/16/2008 2:32 PM

Um... actually it DOES!  I'm not sure who you are (since you didn't leave a proper contact URL or email address) but you must be doing something wrong.
I uploaded all my historical email to Gmail this way and it works just fine.

Cornelius J. van DykNo presence information on 4/17/2008 9:14 AM

Thanks! That's so simple I could almost have thought of it myself... but I kept struggling with Google's tool instead, until I saw your post :) The Google uploader kept quitting on me, but Outlook is now in the (long) process of uploading everything for me!
 on 4/18/2008 4:53 AM

Hi Cornelius, I've tried to follow your instructions in order to get my old Outlook mails into gmail but I loose track at point 3. I've managed to configure the accounts for IMAP and assume that at 3. I need to start up outlook..At 4. you instruct to create folders but Gmail doesen't work with folders...and in outlook I can't create folders in the gmail account section.
Regards, Rob.
 on 4/18/2008 7:00 AM

Worked for me too. Thank you very much for this brief explanation.

 on 4/18/2008 11:49 AM

Hey Bloem,

Yeah, I had the same problem with the Google app just continually quitting on me.  I started reducing the size of email folders I was trying to move and it finally appeared to me that if I had 100 or less items, it would actually seem to stay running rather than giving me the ugly crash message.  I loaded about 500 messages that way and then though to myself... this is retarded!  There has to be a better way.  And that's when, after a little exploring, I found the IMAP setting in Gmail that led me to this solution!
Isn't it funny how the simplest solutions are usually the ones staring us right in the face?  ;-)

Glad this was helpful to you.

Cornelius J. van DykNo presence information on 4/20/2008 4:45 AM

Hey Rob,

If you configured Outlook to use your Gmail account with IMAP, you should see your Gmail account on the left.  Under the account there should be folders for:

Junk E-mail

If you expand the [Gmail] folder, you should see:

All Mail
Sent Mail

Now, if you right click on the Gmail account i.e. the item ABOVE the [Gmail] folder, you should get the option to create a New Folder.
I actually believe you can create the folder inside [Gmail] too, but I just haven't used it that way.  I actually started by going to Gmail and creating a new Label over in Gmail's web UI.  Then I fired up my Outlook client to see where the Label showed up as a folder in Outlook, and it was on the same level as the [Gmail] folder so that's why I create my folders at that level.

Another option is to simply right click the folder you wish to move to Gmail, in the other IMAP/POP account in Outlook.  On the popup menu, simply click Move... and then point it to the top level of your Gmail account.  That works in both Outlook 2007 and 2003.

Hope that helps.

Cornelius J. van DykNo presence information on 4/20/2008 4:56 AM

Hey Shapard,

Glad to hear it works for you too!  ;-)


PS:  I've loaded all my email back to 1998, about 100,000 messages or so, and am using 81% of my 6 GB account!  YEEHAA!!!
Cornelius J. van DykNo presence information on 4/20/2008 5:01 AM

Works great this way. Bedankt!
 on 4/27/2008 12:06 PM

Glad it was useful!

Cornelius J. van DykNo presence information on 4/28/2008 6:54 AM
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