The best way to migrate your old email to Gmail

Written by Cornelius J. van Dyk on . Posted in Blog

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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Cornelius J. van Dyk

Born and raised in South Africa during the 70's I got my start in computers when a game on my Sinclair ZX Spectrum crashed, revealing it's BASIC source code. The ZX had a whopping 48K of memory which was considered to be a lot in the Commodore Vic20 era, but more importantly, it had BASIC built into the soft touch keyboard. Teaching myself to program, I coded my first commercial program at age 15.

After graduating high school at 17, I joined the South African Air Force, graduating the Academy and becoming a Pilot with the rank of First Lieutenant by age 20. After serving my country for six years, I made my way back into computer software.

Continuing my education, I graduated Suma Cum Laude from the Computer Training Institute before joining First National Bank where my work won the Smithsonian Award for Technological Innovation in the field of Banking and Insurance. Soon I met Will Coleman from Amdahl SA, who introduced me to a little known programming language named Huron/ObjectStar. As fate would have it, this unknown language and Y2K brought me to the USA in 1998.

I got involved with SharePoint after playing around with the Beta for SharePoint Portal Server 2003. Leaving my career at Rexnord to become a consultant in 2004, I was first awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award for SharePoint in 2005, becoming only the 9th MVP for WSS at the time. I fulfilled a life long dream by pledging allegiance to the Flag as a US citizen in 2006. I met the love of my life and became a private consultant in 2008. I was honored to receive my ninth MVP award for SharePoint Server in 2013.

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