How I changed 20 employees from Microsoft Hosted Exchange to Google for Business

East Coast Service Degradation. Downtime exceeding the 99.9% Service Level Agreement financially backed guarantee. Lack of mobile friendly tools. Inefficient search. Email built from the workstation.

I was done with Microsoft Hosted Exchange before I started working at the company. But people hate change. How could I move over 20 users to Gmail – now called Google Apps for Business? Well it is now done.

I wrote a blog post in 2009 about how Google is becoming the new Microsoft – down to the colors in the logo. I personally signed up a domain of mine to use google apps for business a few years ago, when it was still free for the first ten users. I also set up a non-profit (falmouthaquatics.org) with gmail then. While it was still free for the first 10 users. That was a great value. I wish it was still the case, and was the case for our business. But it is not.

Nonetheless, here are the steps I took. [warning, first draft, not going to update unless requested]

First, I should mention that we also switched to using a new domain name. This helped me have a year of “testing” the new environment with minimal impact on the rest of the users. Second, we also changed from flast@olddomain.com to first@newdomain.com

I transferred myself. Then I started figuring out things I should pay attention to.

Here are the instructions that I created over time

 Instructions to Migrate Email

    • Create a .csv with all users email addresses and passwords
    • Create users in google apps admin panel
    • run GAMME Tool (https://tools.google.com/dlpage/exchangemigration)
      • Google support staff, at time of writing, do not recommend using the “migrations” tool available in the google apps menu
    • Login to Google Chrome. Login to your gmail account.
    • Set up 2 step verification / iPhone
    • Run Google Gappssync DO NOT sync more than 30 days / 1GB of email:
      • https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gappssync
      • this will require you to be logged in to your google account
      • Check off the box to migrate contacts and calendars (GAMME does not sync contacts and calendars over IMAP)
    • Set up email signature
    • Start email forwarding in Login.Microsoftonline.com from [old domain.com]  to [new domain.com]
    • Update iPhone, iPad, and home settings
    • Update mx Records to give over to Google for old domain: ADD ALIASES flast@newdomain.com
    • Update email setting with the fax finder server
    • Update Voicemail Server
    • Setup Virtru for email encryption
    • Add shared Calendars: copy the calendar ID and paste into “other calendars” field”
    • Transfer / discontinue SPAM SOAP?
    • Run Gamme
    • Delete old exchange profile
    • AT THE END – disable Admin Console allowing employees to migrate profiles
      • Google Admin Console > Google Apps > Gmail > Advanced Settings > User email upload
    • send from OLD Domain Alias https://support.google.com/mail/answer/22370

Instructions (12-4-2014):

  • Download and install Chrome.
  • Login to your gmail and microsoft online account with your default web browser
  • Set up 2 step verification / iPhone FIRST
  • Setup Outlook with Gapp SSync DO NOT sync more than 30 days / 1GB of email:
  • Set up signature
  • Delete / Rename Labels, add Trash, Spam, All Mail to inbox
  • Turn on “mark as read / unread” feature using labs
  • Microsoft online: Start email forwarding from MMISI.Com to Risk Advice.com
  • Open Outlook. Move all suggested contacts to contacts. Delete remaining folders
  • Update iPhone, iPad, and home settings
  • Add Calendars:
  • Invite Co-workers to chat
  • Set up Virtru on Gmail / Outlook
  • Turn off Reading Pane
  • Set up an ARCHIVE Feature on Outlook


Optional Extensions:

  • Boomerang
  • SaneBox
  • Set gmail as default mail program in Windows
  • invite coworkers to chat
  • Start changing usernames/logins  at various websites to @NewDomain.com email
  • (notify customers – optional)
  • label outgoing emails: http://webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/2228/label-outgoing-emails-in-gmail-when-composing-the-mail
  • Train Employees to send Secure email with Dropbox / Egnyte (old way no longer works)
  • Train Employees to Archive, Star mail.
  • Train Employees to make “all mail” and “sent mail” appear at top of folder list
  • Show how Calendars work
  • TRAIN EMPLOYEES to login with google
  • Update Contact Lists internally – of mmisi contacts
  • Gmail cannot recall, but can add a delay period so that you have time to hit “undo” after sending: open your Gmail Settings, go the Labs tab, enable the Undo Send lab, and Save Changes. You can then specify the send cancellation period, between 5 and 30 seconds, in the General tab of your Gmail settings.
  • Add Spam, All Mail, and Trash to the list of visible labels
  • rename the “INBOX/” labels
  • Set up Filters
  • go through your first few page of email. star any email that is important: select all – all pages – archive everything

Gmail tricks to show to employees:

  • turn an email into a task, change name, set a due date
  • filter incoming messages
  • search for messages
  • email your name + anything @newdomain.com
  • turn on “mark as unread” box in main gmail inbox
  • merge contacts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published / Required fields are marked *