Migrating from Gmail to Office 365: A Complete Guide

The migration from the Gmail platform to Office 365 requires some knowledge and patience. The best way for all IT personnel to be prepared for this move? Approach it with a comprehensive, organized plan.

If you're preparing for this migration, this complete guide will guide you through the entire process.

Step-by-Step Effective Migration

1. Learn About the Process

So, your company is looking to move from IMAP mailboxes to Office 365 and you are trying to understand the switch? Before the IT department begins the process, you should take the time to understand exactly what that means for you.

Microsoft has a handy guide we recommend here. This particular guide looks at the effects of migration, how it works, and how to start. Learning what it means to migrate Gmail to Office 365 from the software creators will simplify the moving process.

2. Set up 2-Step Verification and Account Passwords

The Google Mail function sees Outlook as a less secure application. Due to this, a password and 2-Step Verification is needed to connect Google and Office 365 mail apps. So, in addition to a password, the merge will require turning on 2-Step Verification in the security area.

3. Verify Domain

Now that steps one and two are done, the process really begins. It starts with migrating Gmail to Office 365. This migration part will move Gmail over to Microsoft Outlook. Outlook can be accessed through the Outlook app or online. The calendar and contact migration happen separately from this step.

However, before a successful migration can happen, IT has to verify that an appropriate domain is connected to Google for Business or Google Enterprise. If the domain cannot be verified this way, you cannot set up a new domain. A commonly used domain is companyname.onmicrosoft.com and this comes standard with the Office 365 subscription.

If going for the Office 365 domain verification, this will be completed during Office 365 setup. It will start with adding TXT record provided by the setup wizard based on the domain host provider. The TXT record can be completed in different ways based on the DNS host provider.

4. Setup Users

Users must be added to the appropriate accounts. This can be done en masse or one a time. A license will be required to add each user. Adding users will allow for email migration to Office 365. Each user will have a mailbox and license to the Exchange Online platform as you migrate Google to Office 365.

After this setup is completed, IT needs to pause before setting up the domain. All Gmail inboxes must be fully migrated first.

5. Migrate all Mailboxes

At this point, the setup wizard will be paused while IT ensures all Gmail inboxes are being migrated. This starts with a list of all Gmail mailboxes. The list can be made in Excel and should be a migration file that will also be migrated.

IT will have to reset all passwords and provide temporary passwords. This is also listed in the migration file. An administrator in G Suite can only complete this step as you migrate G Suite to Office 365.

It's possible to migrate the list in batches or all at once. There's a limit of 50,000 mailboxes in one file. Each user needs an individual row and the file itself must be less than 10 MB. To streamline this process, here are steps to creating the mailbox migration list:

1. Sign in as G Suite admin

2. Select “Users”

3. While G Suite is open, sign into admin center of Office 365

4. Select “Users” followed by “Active User”

5. While Office 365 admin is open, open Excel

6. Within the Excel document, label A1 with ‘EmailAddress’ – Office 365 mailboxes, B1 with ‘UserName’ – Gmail usernames, and finally C1 as ‘Password’ – with the reset password.

7. In G Suite ‘Users’ list, click each user and enter email, username, and password. Remember each mailbox has its own row.

8. Save the document as CSV file

9. Move to the next step

6. Connect Mailboxes

Now it's time to establish a connection between Gmail inboxes and Office 365. This is done through IT by coordinating migration endpoint settings. Here are those settings in step-by-step format:

1. In Exchange admin center, select ‘Recipients,” ‘Migration,’ and ‘More…,’ and then ‘Migration Endpoints.’

2. Choose ‘New+” and add a migration endpoint.

3. In ‘Select migration endpoint type,’ select ‘IMAP.’

4. Under ‘IMAP migration configuration,’ keep the input ‘imap.gmail.com’ and default settings for the IMAP server.

5. Select ‘Next.’

6. Now, in ‘Enter general information,’ enter a ‘Migration endpoint name’ and leave additional boxes blank. This can be adjusted if you'd prefer not to use default inputs.

7. Select ‘New.'

7. Migration Batch Creation

Do you remember those batches we mentioned earlier? Well, it is time to migrate those! Basically, this is the step to move Gmail mailboxes over to the Office 365 platform. To help this go smoothly, migrate a test group with just a handful of inboxes.

An important factor here is determining the length of time needed to migrate mailboxes. This test batch is useful in predicting the time needed for the full migration. IT can do this by scheduling the test batch and full batch for the same time of day and then multiplying the time length by the file size difference.

To successfully complete the batch migration, follow these steps:

1. Select ‘Admin center’ and ‘Exchange’ within the office 365 admin center.’

2. Select ‘Recipients’ followed by ‘Migration.’

3. Click ‘ New +’ followed by ‘Migrate to Exchange Online.”

4. Next, choose ‘IMAP migration’ and ‘Next.’

5. From here, you'll see ‘select the users’ screen. Choose ‘Browse’ and find the Excel file to migrate. Office 365 then scans the file for verification.

6. Verify the user number of Office 365 matches the number of users being exported.

7. Select ‘Next.’

8. Now it should be on the ‘Set migration endpoint’ screen. Find the migration endpoint created earlier and then click ‘Next.’

9. In ‘IMAP migration configuration,’ accept the default values and then ‘Next.’

10. At this point, you should be in the ‘move configuration’ screen. Enter the name of the migration batch. You can also add folder names that should not be migrated (deleted mail, junk mail, etc.) and click ‘Next.’

11. Select ‘Browse’ in the ‘start the batch’ window in order to send a report of the migration. Choose ‘Automatically start the batch’ and ‘new.’ The migration will start!

12. Switch to the Exchange admin center to verify the migration. You will select ‘recipients’ and ‘migration’ to see the status of the batch. It should say ‘Synced’ on the dashboard.

13. If there is an error, this information will be available in the Mailbox status reports.

14. Finally, users can log on with the username and temporary password. They can configure the new mailbox with a password and time zone. A test email should be sent to IT to make sure the mailbox shows up correctly and has the right folders.

Expert Tip

If you're looking to shorten the time-to-live frame within the DNS server, check there are no mail delivery delays. This is in the email system’s mail exchange records within the public-facing DNS. Set it to 3,600 seconds or lower and reset it back when synchronization is over.

8. Update the DNS

After verifying the migration is successful, IT will go in and change the MX record. This must be changed to point mail from Office 365 instead of Gmail.

You should be all set. Now you can turn to set up the domain. These are those steps:

1. Sign into Office 365

2. Select ‘Setup’ and then ‘Domains.’

3. Choose the domain and ‘Fix issues.’ Select the ‘What do I fix?’ prompt and follow the instructions.

9. Halt Synchronization

It can take anywhere up to 3 days for email systems to recognize a change in MX record. IT will need to wait a minimum of 3 days before halting Gmail synchronization. In those 72 hours, users should email only from office 365. When the batch is deleted at the end of the window, users cannot access email in the Gmail inbox.

After IT verifies the route mail is taking, the migration batch can be deleted and synchronization halted. To do this, go into the Exchange admin center and select ‘Recipients.’ Then choose ‘Migration,’ the batch, and ‘Delete.’

10. Import Contacts from Google

For the next two steps, the Outlook desktop version must be installed. IT cannot do this step. Instead, individual users must install on their own. Individuals will import Google Contact and Calendar to their Outlook account.

Users can do this with a CSV file of all contacts. Then, using the Import/Export Wizard, all contacts can be pulled in.

11. Import Calendar from Google

Finally, users will import any information in the Google calendar. Outlook has great resources to walk users through the process. Those Outlook tutorials can be found here. Following these steps will move Google calendar information to the Microsoft Outlook app on the desktop.

Learn More!

With over 40 years of combined migration experience, Wintellisys can provide additional help and information. We have moved over millions of accounts to the cloud and Office 365 with a seamless transition and proper support.

To learn more about migrating from Gmail to Office 365, contact Wintellisys today.

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About the Author Ronan Keane

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