How to Migrate email from Hotmail Connector Accounts to Office 365

Last reviewed on September 26, 2013

Office LiveUsers were recently notified that Office Live accounts would be disabled at the end of April and were offered a trial subscription to Office 365. Several users of the Office Live service asked how difficult it would be to migrate their accounts to Office 365.

The answer: moving the email accounts is not hard at all. (Moving Office Live websites is more involved.) It will take about an hour or so to set up the account online if you have direct control of the DNS records, with the bulk of the time spent waiting for DNS to propagate. It will take longer if you need to contact your domain registrar to change the DNS records for you. Office 365 has done a good job of making the setup process easy; it was much easier and more straight forward compared to my experience last summer.

Once the account is configured in Office 365, email needs to be moved from the Office Live account. If you use the Outlook Hotmail Connector, you'll need to export to a pst file. (In Outlook 2010, the Export command is accessible from File, Open, Import. )

Close Outlook and create the Office 365 account in the profile with your Office Live account. Open Outlook and import the pst file using File, Open, Import. You can leave the Office Live account in Outlook for 24 - 48 hours, to pickup email delivered to the old account.

If you are migrating a POP3 account to Office 365, the steps are the same, expect you won't need to export your mail to a pst file. After creating the Office 365 account in your profile, remove the POP3 data file from your profile. You can either remove the POP3 account or set it to deliver to the Office 365 account's Inbox, then restart Outlook and import the pst file. Remove the old POP3 account when it's no longer receiving email.

To import pst files for a number of users, you may want to use the Microsoft Exchange PST Capture tool

Because it can take hours for DNS changes to propagate worldwide, we recommend changing mail servers on weekends, preferably during the evening hours when mail flow is lowest.

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Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

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