08 April 2008

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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