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July 6, 2007

Guide for Migrating to Google Apps

Scott Hanselman has a "definitive guide" that will help you migrate from your existing mail solutions to Google Apps (Premier Edition). He moved his entire family (wife, parents, brothers, cousins, in-laws) to Google Apps, and there wasn't a single solution for everyone. Scott had to buy a software to migrate Microsoft Outlook calendars, email and contacts, and create AIM Mail accounts to move local archives to AIM's IMAP folders that can be imported using Gmail's migration tools (a feature of the Premier Edition of Google Apps).

The guide also offers a hack that lets you transfer your email from one Gmail account to another Gmail account (it should work for normal Gmail accounts too):
The solution is two-fold. First, in the original Gmail account, make sure you've enabled POP Email in Settings|Forwarding and POP and selected Enable POP for ALL MAIL.

Then, logout, and login to your destination account in Google for Apps and from Add an Email Account, enter in the Gmail username and the POP Server as Also, note the non-standard port 995. Don't select "Leave a copy" because Gmail won't let you anyway. However, don't worry, your emails won't be deleted in the source.

The conclusion is that Google still doesn't offer enough tools to make the migration painless and without buying/using third-party solutions.


  1. as for getting one GMail account with another...GMail has an option to forward mail from one e-mail account to another, and it doesn't leave it on the original server. I've been doing it since I first got GMail.

  2. Of course you can forward mail to other Gmail account, but you can't forward old mail (not even using filters). If you didn't setup forwarding from the beginning, you'll have to use Gmail's mail fetcher, but this doesn't work if you leave the default settings. By replacing with that IP address, you bypass Gmail's silly validation.

    Later edit: apparently it works without using the IP address, but this must be a recent update.

  3. To be more precise, Gmail updated mail fetcher today and you can use it to transfer mail from other Gmail accounts.

    Here's the cached version of the help entry:

    Can I fetch mail from another Gmail account?

    At this time, Mail Fetcher only works with non-Gmail accounts.

    To get mail from another Gmail account into one place, we suggest enabling forwarding or taking advantage of Gmail's POP service.

    And here's how it looks today:

    Can I fetch mail from another Gmail account?

    Yes, Mail Fetcher allows you to fetch mail from both Gmail and non-Gmail accounts.

  4. POP fetch didn't use to work for retrieving mail from gmail accounts at the beginning. There were tricks like changing the mail server port number. Now it works without tricks, I managed to do it, it took a while though.

    It seems to me that Google apps is a product that doesn't receive many resources from google. They could put all their services under your domain name, I can't see why the just offer docs, gmail, calendar and a start page without bells and whistles.
    But recently they have upgraded a lot in docs, so I expect them to reveal one day a whole bunch of features even for Apps (maybe a personalized blog for each account?)

  5. I want to be able to migrate everything from my GMail account, not just only the mail. I've got ~500mb of mail that's already labeled, and I don't want to have to re-filter and re-label everything. Also my contacts need to be automagically migrated. I hope the GMail team address this idea sooooon.

  6. i think google should first help integrate ordinary google accounts with google apps account. so that we have one central access of all our services for two accounts

  7. You can automagically migrate the contacts by yourself: export them to CSV and then import the file in the new Gmail account.

    I agree that Google could have a "clone this Gmail account" option that:

    * sends the email, contacts, filters, settings to a new account

    * sets the option to forward all the new mail to the second account

  8. WOW! This is great info. I've been trying to locate such a plugin or small application which an individual or small business can afford.

    Many thanks for this valuable info sharing!

  9. Without a decent migration option, I think I just forward the new google app mail to my existing gmail account. Presumably google will eventually offer some way of managing or merging 2 accounts.

  10. Congrats! It is still working! The "quick guide" using POP works fine for migrations from gmail to google apps. U only need to relabel everything, but its ok.

  11. I came up with a solution for migrating to Google Apps. It maintains the read/unread status of your emails, and also maintains all of your labels (not just the ones applied by filters). I posted it on my blog here:

  12. Tyler,

    Though your solution may work, it is extremely technical and requires Linux/Unix and shell scripting knowledge. I'm hoping for a solution someday :(

  13. Hey guys,

    for those of us that are lees geek than others, check out They offer a neat solution for free to move mails from gmail to google apps.

    Very cool stuff!

  14. is the right way to go now. That IP address is no longer working.

  15. Currently I'm setting up my new website and want to use Google Apps (Standard Edition) for handling my e-mail.

    BUT: I already have regular Gmail account (, e.g. with few hundreds messages, labels, etc.

    Is there any way to convert this Gmail inbox into a Google Apps inbox (something like


    If it's impossible to "convert" Gmail to Google Apps, maybe I can transfer everything from my current Gmail inbox into the new one?
    But in this case I need to keep labels, starred and unread messages, send/receive dates, etc...

    Sorry for asking here, but I'm really unable to find any useful info about this, only dumb POP fetching is available.

    Best wishes,

  16. Can't you use Outlook with IMAP for all your multiple accounts and copy/move mail in that manner? I did this from my .PST file to my Gmail account and hoping to do the same to get it into my Apps account. A few glitches, sure, but seemed to work very easily.

  17. We have developed a tool that takes care of email migration, including labels, sent mail, etc. Other tools are in the works. Try it here:

  18. I recently created an application that migrates mail from one gmail account to another include labels and all folders while preserving dates. I would love to get some feedback.

  19. Has anyone tried either of these migration tools above?
    I'd be interested in hearing any war stories.

  20. Econsulting, Google Apps Authorized Reseller can help you migrate all your data to Google Apps :

    Feal free to contact us!

  21. You can also use an online tool for migration of Google Apps to Apps which is available at Google Marketplace from SysCloudSoft