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Sharing knowledge / E-mail SetUp

Keywords: How to create Business email. How to migrate POP3 mail to Exchange mailbox

In the last few years I moved a dozen of small businesses from POP3 / IMAP / SMTP based mailboxes to Microsoft Office 365 Exchanged business class cloud hosted emails.

Below I have outlined the benefits for this migration:

  • Convenience to use.

    - All incoming and outgoing messages along with Folders and Subfolders, Calendars, Contacts, Tasks and Notes will be located on cloud, hosted MS Office 365 Exchange business class mailbox.

    - User can use MS Outlook as an Email client to work with this Exchange mailbox.

    - User can access his mailbox anytime from any computer, connected to the Internet, by using web based Outlook via the following link

    - This Exchange account could be configured from any iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android smartphone or tablet. Contacts, Calendars, Tasks and Notes will be synced in seconds for all user devices automatically.

  • Low cost.

    - Even very small businesses can afford to use Exchange Online from the cloud hosted Office 365. Price for a user is starting from about $4-5/month.

    - Inexpensive hardware/software such as Server would be sufficient.

  • Easy Maintenance.

    - No Email Back Ups are required, no hustle for messages recovery on new computers, smartphones or tablets.

    - No hardware maintenance for the Server.

  • Expandability.

    - Businesses can upgrade/downgrade the service any time. Other services, such as SharePoint or Lync, can be added/removed from their profile.

    - It will take only a minute to purchase extra license from portal website ( for new email account creation.

    Here are the steps for this migration:

    1. Back Up your POP3 / IMAP / SMTP mailbox.

    The easiest way to back up your existing pop3 mailbox with all folders and subfolders including Inbox, Sent Items, Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, even Drafts and Deleted Items – is to make a copy of the Outlook file with extension .pst.

    Please read this article to find out what files are needed to be copied for existing pop3 mailbox back up:

    The other option to back up POP3 / IMAP / SMTP mailbox is to export data to .pst file just from your Outlook. Please refer to the article below on how to Export Outlook Items to an Outlook Data File .pst:

    2. Get a domain name if you don't have anyone.

    There are many available hosting companies on the market, such as,,,,, where you can register your domain name and host it with chosen hosting company. Just make sure your hosting company allows you to work with MX, CNAME and TXT records and talk to the support team before signing for their services.

    If you already have some domain name, please make sure you have access to the control panel on the host who is hosting this domain name in order to manage MX, CNAME and TXT DNS records.

    3. Choose and buy right service from Microsoft Office 365.

    Microsoft offers many different products and packages. Some of these products are more proper for home users, such as, Office 365 Home, Office 365 Personal and Office Online, while other packages are more suitable for small and medium businesses - Office 365 Business Essentials, Office 365 Business, Office 365 Business Premium and Office 365 ProPlus.

    Visit a website to learn more about packages and prices and chat with sales rep before buying. Inquire about option to upgrade/downgrade from one package to another, but note that some of the packages are not compatible with each other when switching. Calculate annual cost of selected packages based on number of accounts you currently need and may require in the future. In general with business packages you can expect better support from Microsoft.

    Below are 2 packages I usually recommend to my clients:

    For smaller companies - Exchange Online Plan P1 USD$4.00 or about CAD$5.2 user/month

    For larger businesses: Office 365 Enterprise Plan E1 USD$8.00 or CAD$10.4/user/month

    4. Creation of ‘Global Administrator account’ for your Microsoft Office 365.

    Next step is to create a virtual global administrator account. This account doesn’t require a license and can be used to add/remove/manage domains, user accounts, their passwords, rights, rules, policies, etc. While this is a very important account, it wouldn’t cost you any money as long as there are no license assigned to it, which is not necessary.

    Format of this account could be or

    To login to this account please use a link:

    5. Confirm ownership of your domain (refer to step 2).

    To use exchange email with your domain name confirmation of ownership is required. Microsoft will ask you to add TXT record under DNS zone of your domain. This TXT record will look like this:

    TXT name TXT value TTL @ MS=ms375XXXXX 3600

    It is necessary to login to control panel of your domain name, find DNS records manager and add TXT record in Microsoft format above. Prior to making changes to any DNS records I would recommend to take a screenshot of the original DNS records.

    This newly created TXT record would just confirm that you are the owner of this domain name and wouldn’t affect any other DNS records.

    6. Make other changes to your domain DNS records.

    After your domain ownership confirmation Microsoft may prompt you to change the following DNS Records:

    MX record with host name @

    CNAME record for autodiscover

    TXT record with TXT name @

    CNAME record with host name msoid

    Make a screenshot before you start to edit DNS records.

    Once changes are applied, your incoming email will not be delivered to the old POP3/IMAP mailbox. It can take from few minutes up to 72 hours for new DNS records to be fully circulated online. Based on my experience, new DNS records propagation was about 10-30 minutes.

    Check your current DNS settings for any conflicts. For example, if you already have CNAME for autodiscover and you’ll add one more DNS CNAME record for autodiscover – they can make a conflict and outlook will not know how to connect to the right mailbox. Discuss with the tech support of the domain host company how to avoid conflicts under DNS.

    After all required DNS records are changed, wait at least 10-15 minutes and run DNS check from website by clicking on the button “Done, go check”. If DNS records were added/edited correctly and there was enough time for DNS records propagation, portal DNS check will confirm that.

    From this moment your incoming email goes to nowhere. This is why you need to purchase user licenses and create mailboxes as soon as possible.

    7. Purchase user licenses and create mailboxes.

    Login to portal site as a global administrator, navigate to BILLING -> Subscriptions and purchase User licenses.

    Create user mailboxes - navigate to USERS -> Active Users -> + (New)

    Fill up all the tabs, make sure to select your domain name (not and assign license to the current user. Setup temporary password for the user.

    8. Access by web browser to user mailbox.

    Once mailbox is created, log off from the portal website and log into

    Type in email address as a login name and enter temporary password. You’ll be prompted to setup permanent password and to choose time zone.

    As a result, Online Outlook will be launched and all incoming mail will be delivered to this Exchange based mailbox.

    9. Configure Outlook to work with new Exchange based mailbox.

    For Windows computer use Mail tab under Control Panel.

    If you have Outlook 2016, 2013 or 2010 with SP1 installed new mailbox set up will be done automatically, just type Name, Email address and Password.

    With Outlook 2007 and older you have to type all settings for exchange server manually.

    It is a good idea to have at least one computer with newer versions of Outlook, then you’ll see all settings under exchange properties and type them manually for computes with older versions of Outlook.

    Most likely server name would be

    10. IPhones, IPads, Android smartphones and tablets with Exchange mailbox – very easy setup.

    Setup would be very easy if you choose Microsoft Exchange server type with account setup.

    11. Connect Backed up POP3 mailbox to Outlook with Microsoft Exchange.

    For all your old messages to be available under new Outlook you need to connect .PST file, created in Step 1.

    Possible location for .PST file would be: C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\.pst or

    C:\Users\\Documents\Outlook Files\.pst

    Connection can be done via Control Panel – Mail icon or from Outlook itself.

    Choose Email accounts.. -> Data Files ->Add, navigate and select .pst file to be added to Outlook if you use Mail icon under Control Panel.

    Or choose Outlook File-> Account Settings –> Account Settings -> Data Files -> Add, navigate and select .pst file from Outlook. After .pst file is connected all old folders, subfolders and messages will be under Outlook apart from Exchange account.

    12. Upload old POP3 mailbox folders, subfolders and messages to Exchange mailbox.

    Select folders/subfolders in Outlook that need to be uploaded to Exchange mailbox, right click on the mouse, select “Copy to Folder” and point to the folder under Exchange Mailbox for the location.

    In few minutes the selected folders and subfolders will be uploaded to this online location and will be available in Online Outlook ( for every computer, tablet and smartphone you chose to connect to Exchange.

    13. Upload Contacts from old POP3 account to Exchange account.

    With Outlook 2013 or Outlook 2016 you can click either on People tab or 3 dots tab at the bottom of the Outlook screen and choose “Folders”.

    With older Outlooks just find folder View and navigate to Contacts: you’ll see all your Contacts. Click on Phone or List on top toolbar menu. Select all your contacts, right click on the mouse and select Copy to Folder or Move to Folder option, then Copy to Folder and select Contacts folder under Exchange.

    After few minutes Contact folder will be available for your Online Outlook ( for every computer, tablet and smartphone you chose to connect to Exchange.

    14. Upload Calendar from old POP3 account to Exchange account.

    The easiest way to move your calendar from pop3 to exchange account is to import from Outlook and then export it to Outlook.

    With Outlook 2013 and 2016 on toolbar menu select File -> Open & Export -> Import Export -> Export to File -> Outlook Data File (.pst), select Calendar folder under POP3 account, click Next, name this .pst file as a Calendar.pst and save it under Desktop Folder.

    Last step would be to import this POP3 calendar to Exchange Calendar.

    Click File –> Open & Export ->Import /Export -> Import from another program or file, choose Outlook Data File (.pst) - Next – and look for a file you just exported.

    Click Open -> Next, then click on Outlook Data File, highlight Calendar and select “Import items into the same folder in”. Choose exchange account and press Finish.

    In few minutes Calendar will be available for your Online Outlook ( for every computer, tablet and smartphone you chose to connect to Exchange.

    15. Disconnect POP3 data file from your Outlook.

    After upload is done, make sure everything was copied from POP3 to Exchange account.

    You may choose to remove POP3 old mailbox from your Outlook.

    To disconnect it from Outlook press File -> Account Settings -> Account Settings -> Data Files, select secondary data file and click Remove.

    It will be removed from Outlook but will stay on your computer as a backup of your old POP3 mailbox.

    This is just DIY (Do It Yourself) direction.

    Should you still experience difficulties to move your POP3 based email to Microsoft Exchange Office 365 mailbox and you'd like to hire us to help you - do not hesitate to contact Us.

    Email: Phone: 416-410-9176