Migrating your email data to Office 365 or Microsoft 365 can be an overwhelming task and it’s easy to get confused with terms like cutover migration, staged migration, and hybrid migration. However, there’s no need to fret; you don’t have to be an IT expert to successfully complete a Microsoft 365 migration. With the help of this step-by-step tutorial, you’ll complete your Office 365 migration in no time!
Advantages of this tutorial:
✅ no service interruption – use all email address as usual during the migration
✅ works for all providers and Office / Microsoft 365 account types, including Exchange
✅ no tech-knowledge required
✅ no or at max. little configuration in the Microsoft 365 admin center necessary
✅ quick, easy and full migration of all your email data
What to consider: Before the Microsoft 365 migration
When performing an Office 365 migration, your main task is to transfer all your email data (emails, folders, sent objects, drafts…) from your existing provider to your new Microsoft 365 accounts and get your system up and running, with minimal impact to your mail system and at best no service interruption. Therefore, ask yourself the following questions before jumping right into the process:
Questions to ask before the migration:
To achieve this goal, begin by asking yourself the following questions:
- How many mailboxes need to be migrated to Office 365?
- Do you currently use or plan to use a custom domain for your email addresses
- Who and how many individuals are using the email addresses you intend to migrate?
- What email clients are being used with the corresponding email addresses?
Impact to the user:
During an email migration to Office 365, the primary concern revolves around the impact on the user.
➡️ With this tutorial, users will experience no disruption in their email services during the migration. They can continue to send and receive emails as usual, as there will be not service interruption or breach of data integrity. That’s, after all, one of the biggest advantages of the email migration method described in this tutorial
➡️ After the migration, users can utilise both email accounts simultaneously, allowing for a gradual adjustment to the new email environment. This approach also facilitates the setup of email clients, ensuring a smooth transition to Microsoft 365.
Step 01Prepare for the Office 365 migration
The best Microsoft 365 migration process starts with being prepared. To have all systems set up correctly and all necessary data at hand makes a huge difference on how smooth and painless your Office 365 migration will be.
Create a list of all accounts, users & email clients:
Just like in life, preparation is key to a successful migration to Office / Microsoft 365. To get started, create the following lists:
- A list of the mailboxes you want to migrate to Office 365. You can download this template.
- A list of all the users impacted by the migration. This includes anyone using the current email addresses and who will need training or new login credentials for their email accounts after the migration.
- A list of all the email clients on which the current email addresses are installed, including smartphones and tablet. This list will be a big help for your post-migration tasks.
Gather all access data:
Now take the list of all mailboxes you wish to migrate and add the following data for every mailbox:
- username & password for the existing email account
- username & password for the new Office 365 / Microsoft 365 email account
Furthermore, you’ll need:
- the mail server name of your existing provider
- (optional) access credentials for your domain admin panel (only when using a custom domain name)
Setup your domain (optional)
This step is only necessary if you use a custom domain for your email addresses!
If you utilise a custom domain for your mailboxes (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) and wish to use the same domain for your new Microsoft 365 email address, you need to add your domain to your Microsoft account.
How to add your domain to your Microsoft / Office 365 account:
1. Log in to your Microsoft 365 or Office 365 account.
2. Go to the “Domains” section by selecting Setup and then Domains.
3. Here, click on Add domain.
4. In the “Add a domain” page, input your domain name (e.g. mydomain.com). Now click on Next.
5. You’ll get redirected to the “Verify domain” page. Here, choose “Sign in to GoDaddy” (if GoDaddy manages your DNS records) or Add a TXT record instead for all other registrars. Click on Next.
6. Follow the instructions for your provider. Usually, you’ll verify domain ownership by adding a TXT or MX record to your domain.
To add a TXT record, you have to log into your domain admin panel, go to the DNS settings and add the new record. You can also send the required record to your domain provider and ask them to add the TXT record for you.
7. After adding your TXT or MX record, wait 15 minutes.
8. Now, click on Done, verify now and wait until Microsoft verified your settings. If everything is set up correctly, you’ll see a verification page.
9. Click on Finish and your domain is successfully added to your Microsoft / Office 365 account.
Step 02Perform the Office 365 migration
Now that you have all data at hands and everything is set up correctly, it’s time to start the data migration to Office 365 / Microsoft 365. For this, you will use the email migration tool MailJerry that allows you to easily migrate your email data from your current provider to Microsoft.
Download & install the email migration tool
To get your email migration tool up and running, follow these steps:
2. When you open MailJerry for the first time, you’ll be asked to provide your email address.
3. Depending on the size of your mailboxes, you might need to purchase a license which comes at very low cost and can be cancelled any time.
4. Now click on New Migration to start migrating your first mailbox to Office 365.
Migrate your mailboxes to Office 365
After you installed MailJerry successfully, perform the following steps for every mailbox you wish to migrate to Office 365 / Microsoft 365:
1. In the section “Existing Address”, enter the username and password for the first mailbox.
2. After you entered your username, MailJerry will suggest a mailserver name. If the suggestion does not align with the mail server address stated by your provider, use your provider’s mailserver name instead.
3. Go to the section “New Address” (or click on next when using a mobile device), open the Account Type selection and choose Microsoft / Office 365.
4. Enter the username for your Microsoft / Office 365 account.
5. Click on Connect with Microsoft Account.
6. In the pop-up, enter your password and click on Sign in.
7. After signing in to your Microsoft / Office 365 account, click on Check Settings.
➡️ Now, both of your accounts will be checked to make sure that you can perform your Office 365 migration without any problems. Depending on the size of your mailbox, this process might take a few seconds or minutes.
✅ After MailJerry connected your old and new account, you’ll be forwarded to the summary. Here, you’ll see how many emails and folders will be migrated and if everything is set up correctly.
8. Activate the Auto Sync by clicking on the toggle Synchronize Emails for 10 Days.
9. Click on Start your Migration. Your emails will now be migrated from the old to the new account.
10. While your first migration is running, click on New Migration and repeat the steps above for the next mailbox until you started an Office 365 migration for every mailbox that needs migration.
After all your email migrations to Office / Microsoft 365 finished, there are only a few post-migration task left:
Notify your coworkers and share access data
Following the Office 365 migration, refer to the user list you prepared earlier. Share the new access data with each individual affected by the email migration and ask them to configure the new email address in their email clients.
Add the new Office 365 / Microsoft 365 account to your email client
Refer to the list of email clients you created during the preparation. Tick off every email client that has already been updated by you or one of your coworkers. For any remaining email client that requires updating, add the new Microsoft 365 account. Once you’ve successfully added the account, you can then remove your old email account from the email client.
Tutorials for the most common email clients:
- Outlook: Add an email account to Outlook
- Apple Mail: Set up email in Mac OS X Mail
- Thunderbird: Get Outlook.com Email in Mozilla Thunderbird (POP and IMAP)
Update your domain records (optional)
When utilising a custom domain name, now is the time to update your domain records and let them point to your new Microsoft mail server:
1. Log in to the Microsoft 365 Admin Center at https://admin.microsoft.com/Adminportal
2. In the left navigation bar, select Show all and click on Settings > Domains.
3. Click on your domain.
4. Click on the tab DNS records. Here, you’ll see a list of available records.
5. Now open the admin panel for your domain and go to the DNS settings.
6. Add the MX, TXT and CNAME record as stated in the Microsoft admin panel.
ℹ️ If possible, set the TTL to the lowest possible value (e.g. 300). The lower the value, the quicker the new settings will be available.
7. Wait some time and check the Microsoft 365 admin center again. The status for all three records should bei marked as OK
⚠️ After changing the DNS, TXT and CNAME records for your domain, you will no longer be able to use your old email accounts in your email client.
➡️ Therefore, make sure that you activate the mailbox sync in the MailJerry app and that your Microsoft 365 accounts are already installed in your email clients.
Enable the Mailbox Backup
Through activating the mailbox sync in MailJerry, any new emails arriving in your old email account will be forwarded to your Microsoft 365 mailbox. MailJerry will check your old account every 3 hours. The sync is available for a maximum of 10 days, allowing for enough time to make the switch to your new Microsoft 365 address.
However, if you find the need to continue using your old email address for an extended period or if you’ve updated your email address during the Office 365 migration and anticipate to still receive emails in your old account, you can activate the Backup Mode for an indefinite time period.
How to activate the Backup Mode:
1. In the MailJerry app, go to Overview and select your migration.
2. Scroll down to Options and click on Backup Mode.
3. Here, you can activate the backup mode by clicking on Permanently Sync Emails to Target Mailbox.
4. Now, select your preferred backup interval: daily, weekly, or monthly.
✅ By activating the backup mode, emails received in your old email account will be copied to your new Office 365 mailbox. This ensures you never miss an email, regardless of how long new messages continue to arrive at your old email address.
RecapEasily perform an Office 365 migration
To easily migrate your email data to Office 365 / Microsoft 365, you only need to perform three simple steps:
1. Prepare for the Office 365 migration by compiling a list of all accounts, users and email clients affected, as well as setting up your domain and gathering all access data.
2. Perform the email migration with the help of MailJerry and keep your mailboxes synced after the Microsoft 365 migration.
3. Perform all required post-migration tasks like updating your domain records, informing your colleagues and setting up your new mailbox(es) in your email client(s). Optionally, activate the Backup Mode to ensure to not miss new emails received in your old email account.
➡️ By following this step-by-step guide, you’re able to perform an Office 365 migration without any tech knowledge and without being confronted with complex configuration tasks. As this tutorial has shown, the suggested approach is the safest way to easily migrate to Microsoft 365 without any data loss or service interruption.
In case you encounter any issues while performing your Office 365 migration, have a look at the following common questions:
What’s the difference between Office 365 and Microsoft 365?
Formerly, Office 365 was a set of cloud based business applications like Exchange, Office Apps, SharePoint, OneDrive. It was part of Microsoft 365. Microsoft 365 contained all Office 365 applications, Windows 10 (OS) and the Enterprise Mobility Suite
Nowadays, there is no difference. As of April 2020, the name “Office 365” was changed to “Microsoft 365” officially.
Is it a problem if my Microsoft 365 account already contains emails?
No, it’s not a problem at all. You can proceed with your email migration as described in this tutorial. MailJerry will seamlessly add the emails from your old account to your Office 365 account without altering or removing any existing data.
What if I don’t have the username or password for my Office 365 account?
Microsoft offers various tools to help you recover your data:
How long does the Office 365 migration typically take?
Generally, migrations to Microsoft 365 are quite fast. However, some email providers may limit speed either as a standard practice or after a certain data volume has been migrated.
ℹ️ If your migration takes a few hours or even days for very large mailboxes, there’s no need to worry. MailJerry will manage all necessary processes automatically, ensuring a smooth transition.