Migrating email from hotmail / outlook / live to Outlook 365

Migrating your e-mail from an old Hotmail, Outlook or Live account to a new Outlook 365 account should be easy since it’s Microsoft talking to Microsoft.

Unfortunately for me, the back-end import service was down so I had to do a PST import. I’ve jotted down the steps in case someone is on the same struggle bus like I was for a while.

Part 1: Saving your Hotmail / Outlook / Live account to a .pst file
  • Connect your Outlook desktop client to your Hotmail / Outlook or Live account and let it synchronize.

After synchronization, you’ll get an .ost file but if you payed attention you would have noted that you needed a .pst file. You’ll have to convert .ost to .pst. On the Internet, you’ll find many (paying) .ost to .pst converters but if you have access to the account, that’s really not necessary.

Just follow these steps:

  • In Outlook 2016 go to File and click Open. Yes: apparently to export you need to click open…
  • Now click Import / Export.
  • Select Export to a file and click next.
  • Choose Outlook file (.pst) and click next.
  • Select your account and make sure the subfolders checkbox is ticked. Click next.
  • Note the location where you have saved the file (probably backup.pst) and click next.
  • Make sure this file is in a folder all by it’s own. No other files may be present! Move or copy if you have to.
Part 2: upload the .pst file to Microsoft

At Microsoft, they’ve made an excellent tutorial about this. At first sight it looks very daunting but trust me, follow the steps and you’ll get there. It’s not that hard as it seems.

Please follow the steps in: https://support.office.com/nl-nl/article/Use-network-upload-to-import-PST-files-to-Office-365-103f940c-0468-4e1a-b527-cc8ad13a5ea6

After everything is in place and you’ve started the upload you’ll probably get this error: The client could not finish the operation within specified timeout..

That’s because the AzCopy tool thinks that whatever you’re trying to upload takes less than 17 minutes. If you’re like me, you’ll have an ADSL or cable connection that isn’t fast enough to get the upload there in time. Just add /NC:1 to the end of your AzCopy command . Retry the command, ignore the journal warning and you’re good to go.

Part 3: adding security roles

I have an Office 365 Business Essentials package. There is only one user: the account manager. However, this user does not have sufficient rights to import e-mail. You’ll need to explicitly add this role and you can read all about it here: https://technet.microsoft.com/library/jj657480(v=exchg.150).aspx

Goto your Exchange Management center. You can find this in your Office 365 admin center on the left bottom of the page. Or you can try and click this link: https://outlook.office365.com/ecp/?rfr=Admin_o365&exsvurl=1&mkt=nl-BE&Realm= If the link doesn’t work, you need to add your realm. That’s most probably your domain.

  • Go to Permissions, Admin roles and select the Organization Management Role. Click the edit (pencil) icon.
  • In Roles, click the + icon and add the Mailbox Import Export role
  • In Users, click the + icon and add your user
  • Don’t forget to save.
Part 4: starting the import job

Now you’re really ready to start the import job. Follow the steps in https://support.office.com/nl-nl/article/Use-network-upload-to-import-PST-files-to-Office-365-103f940c-0468-4e1a-b527-cc8ad13a5ea6#step5 and you’re ready.

Good luck!

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