Painlessly switch from Google Apps to Microsoft Part 1:Email with


Just a back story: I did attempt to move my custom domain to Microsoft’s service awhile back and it was not friendly nor did it look like it was actively supported at the time, so I decided to stick with Google until now. Microsoft uses a service called to handle custom domains routed to live services, such as, profiles, calendars, etc. Instead of using a or or, or passport email address, you can use your own purchased domain to utilize their services. Since I am using all MS products now (laptop, phone, surface and xbox), I thought it was the time to try it again. Heck, maybe things have improved since 4 years ago.

Prep your gmail settings to ensure that you have “Pop” enabled to download all mail.

Log into and go to the Gear -> Settings -> Forwarding and POP/IMAP

Set to “Enable POP for all mail”

Gmail POP


Go to and log in with your Primary Microsoft Account, or create a new one if you don’t have one. I suggest picking an account.


Custom Domains


Add a custom address and make sure “Setup for my domains” is selected


Add Domain03-conifrm-add


Verify the ownership by adding a MX and TXT record with your custom domain registar or host dns




Copy the MX and TXT records enter them into your DNS / MX settings. For me, I use FreeDNS to manage my records. I simply replace what I had there for my Google Apps records.

06-add-txt-record 07-add-mx-record


Once verified, select your Active domain and add a new member account




Now, logout and login into with the new account you created to confirm your new account.




Once in, it is time to add you Google email so we can import your messages.

Go to Gear -> ” More mail settings” -> “Your email accounts”




Add a send and receive account, for your Google hosted email. 13-send-recieve-account



Name the account something other than your existing email, like



Tell it to move all mail to your inbox. btw. this will retrieve all mail (inbox and sent) and place it into your inbox.


Let it retrieve all your email.

For me, I let it go overnight.

Clean-up Inbox

Google puts all mail (inbox and sent) together and adds flags to them to seperate them into virtual folders. When you import your mail into, it will get all mail (inbox and sent) and import it into your inbox.

  1. Once all the mail is retrieved, do a sweep and move all messages from you (your email account), to your sent folder.
  2. Select all email in each folder and choose all records, then mark as read.


At some point, Google will no longer receive your emails because of the MX record changes and your outlook will no longer fetch them (new mail) as the mail will be coming directly to you new outlook email.



You will get an error on the account status page, because it cannot send a verification email to the temp email you set up in 8.3. You can ignore this as you wont be sending from this account anyways.




  • Dan McG

    How many messages did you have in the origianl mailbox that you moved over? I am starting this process with about 85k messages…

    • Steve

      I had about 8K, and while watching my new inbox, it look like it was retrieving about a month of emails at a time, every 20 minutes or so. That is why I let it go overnight. I then verified the totals in both inboxes to confirm when it got them all.

      • Dan McG

        I just did a rough calc on a one of my mailboxes (using only one 40 mins sample). I ended up at about 4.5-5 days for a 43k message mailbox to get the whole thing moved over. We shall see how that actually goes…

        • Steve

          It might be faster. I am not sure how they schedule the fetch frequency.
          Keep me posted on how it goes…

          • Dan McG

            Stuck at about 20k messages. It hasn’t moved in days…

          • Steve

            Try removing your Gmail pop receive account, and then add it again. You can also delete the imported mail from you actual Gmail account that has already been imported.

            Maybe there is a limit or you used all your space?

          • Dan McG

            Will it not pop email that has already been popped in?

            I have started grabbing a year at a time using Live Mail and copying it from the gmail to the account. Then do a “send and receive” and it pushes it all back up to More of a pain since I have to manually do it, but it’s working so far. I didn’t think that had any size contraints?

          • Steve

            I personally removed and added back the pop account because I didn’t think it was working and didnt notice duplicates, but I wouldn’t want it happen to you 🙂

            fyi, I originally titled this ‘painfully’ instead of ‘painlessly’, because it was tough, but I did pull through.

            Overall, it wasn’t easy. You would think MS would make it easy to migrate to them.

  • Breakingillusions

    thank you a lot