Simplified Guide to Importing All Your Archive Email Into Gmail

This is now so simple, it shouldn’t even require any guidance… but first things first.

Why would you want to import all your old email to Gmail? Because it gives you an All-In-One, searchable archive. I know there is real demand for this: my blog visitor log tells me, since my old post on the subject, How to Import All Your Archive Email Into Gmail still receives a good 5-600 readers every single day. That means:

  • people do want to migrate to web-based software (Gmail)
  • they don’t want to lose their historical “baggage”
  • so far it has been rather complicated

Now that Gmail supports the IMAP protocol, everything’s changed. My most-popular-ever post is all of a sudden obsolete. Forget all the “Gmail-loader” tools on the Net, most of them did not work anyway, forget even my multi-step process… I’ll show you all you have to do now. I’ve tested these steps with Outlook, but they should work with Thunderbird or whatever your favorite desktop email software is.

  • Enable IMAP in your Gmail account
  • Setup the Gmail account in your client software, based on these instructions
  • This will create a folder structure matching your Gmail labels
  • Open your old archive.pst files, if any
  • Drag-and drop all your old email into the Inbox folder in your new IMAP account.
    • You can do this across accounts, or even archive files.
    • If you don’t want to “move” old email out of the archives, use “copy” instead.
    • Instead of Inbox, you can drop old email into any other Folder (create new ones if you like), to match the Gmail labels
  • Drag-and drop all your old “Sent mail” into the “Sent Mail” folder in your new IMAP account.
  • Wait patiently – with thousands of emails (my archive goes back to 1996) your upload bandwidth may be the bottleneck.

Voila! Your email is now up in Gmail, all labeled, searchable, with original sender info and dates intact (this was a problem with previous methods).

Happy Gmail-ing smile_regular

Related posts: Official Google Blog, Google Blogoscoped, Google Operating System, Official Gmail Blog, Between the Lines, Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim, Search Engine Land, CNET, Engadget Mobile, Compiler, TechBlog, Tom Raftery’s Social Media, TechCrunch, jkOnTheRun, Googlified, blognation and


  1. Good work, Mr. Erdos! You beat me to coming up with this trick on my own blog!

  2. Kula bácsi says

    What if I have subfolders in my local Sent folder?

  3. All they need now is native multiple signatures with auto signaturing based on send from address chosen

    If they had that I’d switch….

  4. @Ben Kepes: Multiple signatures would be very nice. Heck, HTML signatures (without resorting to Greasemonkey hacks) would be nice…

  5. and how do I enable imap in gmail (dumb question I know!)

  6. Thank’s for your useful guide. However, it seems not everyone has IMAP access yet. Google writes:

    “We’re working hard to roll out IMAP access to all our users, but it’ll take about a week…You’ll know that IMAP is available in your account when the Forwarding and POP tab in your settings becomes Forwarding and POP/IMAP.”

  7. Karl Jackson says

    Great post! I started this import last night before reading your post, knowing that there were probably a million other people doing the same thing.
    One lesson learned from my end: rather than moving the folders, copy them. Moving them will create problems when (inevitably) the server looses its connection and you have to start over. Problems in the upload will also leave you with partial folders. Alternatively, do the process incrementally.

  8. Great tips Karl! Importing one folder at a time is probably the way to go. Now as soon as Google gives me my IMAP, I’ll start importing. Probably one folder a day.

  9. This certainly makes things much easier. I am having one problem though: when I copy my messages to the sent messages folder in Gmail, in the web interface, the recipient of the messages shows up as “me” rather than the name of the person that the message was originally sent to. Anybody else having this problem? Any thoughts on how to solve it? Thanks.

  10. Better to copy emails to the “All Mail” folder than to the Inbox. I’ve read them all anyways, so no need to clutter my inbox.

  11. Question for Zoli or anyone else – when I compose mail in outlook 2007 it sits in the outbox of my personal folder. The only way I can get it to send is to move it to the drafts folder of my imap and then go into gmail online and click on drafts and send it – how do I make email automatically send through IMAP (and yes the only acount I have set up n outlook is my imap one) any clues>>>>>

  12. Karl Jackson says

    Ben: Google left out a setup step in their directions for Outlook 2007. In the Account Settings, I had to turn on “My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication”, and set it to log on using your normal username ( and password. Worked for me anyway.

  13. Pavel Sokolovsky says

    Thanks for the great post!


  14. I noticed that it is possible to enable IMAP only in certain languages. If my language in gmail was set to hungarian, simple there was no menu to switch it on. But in english language of course it was there…

  15. Here is the tricky question!

    I am using thunderbird in POp with gmail – and want to switch to imap. I have TONS, tons of folder, sub folder … all neatly organized.

    1/do you know if by drag and dropping my folder, gmail will automatically create a label for online ?

    2/ what happen to the mail in the folders ? they will doubled up in gmail ? (i chose the option of keeping my mail online while using pop -we never know!)


  16. Is there any way I can move my “Sent” messages from Yahoo! Mail (free) into the “Sent” folder at Gmail?

  17. Hmmm, will the new IMAP functionality allow me to transfer an old Gmail account to my new Google Apps account?

  18. I simply used Gmail’s Mail Fetcher for that. Some people report Mail Fetcher does not allow Gmail accounts to be the source, but I haven’t experienced that.

    I guess if you can’t set Mail Fetcher up, you could always use the IMAP trick, basically making an offline email client the middleware.

  19. great idea about using the offline email client in the middle between my Gmail and Google Apps account. I think IMAP will let me keep the original dates on my Gmail mails that I move over. I was told that Mail Fetcher doesn’t keep the original dates on mails that are moved.

  20. Mail Fetcher *does* keep the original dates, but label information would be lost that way.

  21. Now I’d like to use Gmail’s spam filter to process my “All Mails” (or “historical baggage” 🙂 ) again…

  22. I just transferred my mail from my Google Apps account to a Gmail account (I wanted to use the new Gmail features!). You were write, Mail Fetcher would keep the dates but I would lose all labels that I put on manually. But by setting up both accounts in IMAP, and dragging mail from one account to the other, I was able to keep all the labeling intact. Very nice!

  23. wendy nicholds says

    I have an account with Gmail my hard drive crashed and now I am accessing my acct through the internet. I would like to transfer and set up my account on our lap top.
    I am nervous about the transfer and how to go about it.
    lost in gmail and picassa.
    Wendolyn Nicholds

  24. The IMAP import into Gmail works really well apart from some emails that were originally received through MS Exchange and then exported as .PST and imported into Thunderbird.

    Those appear in Gmail with subject “(no subject)” and from “(unknown sender)”. When they’re opened, the content is there but is prefixed with the entire mail headers beginning with “Microsoft Mail Internet Headers Version 2.0”.

    The emails all show up correctly again in Thunderbird if they’re copied back off Gmail over IMAP. So I guess it’s a problem with Gmail.

    Anyone else seen this?

    • Yes I’m having the same issue, in 2013. I can see that the message in Thunderbird has the name of the sender, but not the email address listed. I think that’s where it’s getting lost. Anybody know a way to batch change the sender of a bunch of emails manually, either in Thunderbird or Gmail?

  25. I don’t know about anyone else here – but I am unable to do this. whenever I try copying my 500mb folder structure from outlook into gmail via imap, my outlook crashes,

    Any suggestions?

  26. Gil- do it a few folders at a time and you should be fine

  27. Doing that, and its marginally working – this is quite the pain. But I guess its worth it in the long run.

    Thanks for the help

  28. I’ve got around 12000 emails an it took a day or so. I’m at the moment getting all my mail from one gmail account to another – that looks like it’s going to take a week or so!

  29. Wow – worked perfectly. Thanks a bunch!

  30. Does this work for AOL too? Where do I find these folders in my AOL? Could you write hits instruction in the simplest terms, assuming that I know nothing (almost true) but have a brain, so will learn!

  31. I tried set up IMAP in Vista Winmail and the result was that one new folder showed up “gmail” below my local folders.

    Not able to see any labels and was not able to drag and drop any emails to this new folder.

    Any suggestions?

  32. Nice, but dropped mail from archive folders, show up under a new timestamp when reading gmail online…

  33. It looks like it sort of worked… I keep getting errors from saying it cannot upload, and Gmail keeps crashing (preventing me from accessing my email). Is there any way to confirm that emails have transferred? Right now I have some emails transferred, but I have no way of knowing how many. The imap transfer idea seems right, but it doesn’t appear to actually work very well.

  34. When I follow the procedure of dragging and dropping the email folders into the imap account folder in Outlook, and then click on the transferred email folder, the contents of the folder momentarily appear and then disappear permanently. The folder (label) shows up in my Gmail account, but also with no contents. Sometimes, however, with some folders, the contents remain, but most have this problem. Any ideas?

  35. I also tried to upload my emails from Thunderbird (, Linux) to Gmail by creating an IMAP account. The copy process works without any error message – but not all messages of a folder are copied. And I don’t see any rule behind which one is copied and which one not. So at the end I have the whole folder structure of Thunderbird in Gmail now, but instead of around 200 MB emails I only have around 70 MB. Every help is appreciated!

  36. @Rondracur

    when you import mail into gmail it will collapse messages into “conversations”. So if you had a back-and-forth with someone that created 10 messages and you imported it into gmail it may only count as one. This may or may not be why your count is off, just something to check.

  37. OMG…is this good or what!!! I never know GMAIL support IMAP till I read this. And this have been fantastic! Now I don’t have to refer to 2 places for all my emails. GMAIL rocks! And thank you!

  38. This was so helpful and everything worked like a charm. For those of you wishing to transfer old mail from Eudora to Gmail (instructions not currently listed on Gmail’s “supported IMAP client” page) here’s what to do:

    Set up a personality for your gmail account with these details:
    SMTP Server:
    Check the “Authentication Allowed” box
    Check the “Use Submission Port (587)” box
    Select “Required, Alternate Port”
    Incoming Mail:
    Check the “IMAP” box
    Select “Required, Alternate Port”

  39. @Drew: Thanks a lot! That for sure I had in mind.
    @all: So meanwhile I found three other reasons:
    1. If you used Gmail via pop3 before switching to IMAP and deleted an email and now you want to upload exactly this email with a special label it won’t show up with this label/in the subfolder IF the deleted email is STILL in the Trash! So before uploading empty your trash!
    2. Some subjects of emails are causing problems so the won’t be uploaded
    3. The upload connection to Gmail breaks down after a punch of emails. At the beginning you can upload a few hundreds but after a while less and less … at the end only a few at the same time. -> Take a break and come back later/ another day.

  40. This works great for using Gmail as an archive, but in real-time there is still a problem I’ve encountered.

    I am using an MS Exchange server with Outlook 2003 as the client with a “redirect all mail to ‘my secret Gmail’ address” rule on all messages.

    If Chris sends an e-mail to me and to Ed and copies Diana, Gmail only shows Chris as the sender and “my secret Gmail” address as the recipient. So even if I do “Reply to all” in Gmail, I only respond to Chris. Worse yet, I can’t even see in the header of the e-mail that Chris sent it to someone other than me.

    I’ve found various add-ins for Exchange that address this, but they all seem to install on the Outlook client and require it to be running in order to work.

    Anyone know how to get this working in Outlook 2003/Exchange based on server-side rules? Thanks.

  41. I don’t know Exchange at all, but am really surprised, so far cases of forwarding I’ve seen show the original addressees, and the forwarding address (your secret account) does not become the adressee at all.

    Hopefully some of the readers can jump in…

  42. Do you know how to process if got “One or more parameter values are not valid”?

  43. in my case the time stamp shown in the inbox (right of the snippet) is the date i uploaded the mail with IMAP. nevertheless, the opened email shows the correct date, when it was received. unfortunately, this date is used for sorting the mail, as well as for searches in the mail…

    anyone any ideas?

  44. Robert Judge says

    I’m sorry, but I don’t follow this completely. By the instruction, “Drag and Drop all your old email into the Inbox folder in your new IMAP account,” just what do you mean? How do I do that?

    Do I open Outlook 2003 and then open some other PST file rather than “Outlook.PST”? Which PST do I open, “Archive.PST” Can’t I just copy the contents of Outlook.PST to GMAIL? Just how do I do that? Perhaps an explicit step by step process would help me. Thanks.

  45. I’m having the same problem as Robert re: how to drag and drop into my IMAP account. I’ve been fumbling around, trying to login to using FireFTP, but haven’t had any success.

    In case there’s a better way, let me summarize what I’m trying to do. I just installed Office 2007 yesterday (new computer) and setup Outlook to access gmail but I must have set it up to use POP instead of IMAP because when Outlook downloaded my e-mails it deleted gmail’s copy. I want to be able to access my e-mails via Google’s web interface so now I’m trying to move the messages back to gmail. Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

  46. Hi.

    I have similar problems than Rondracur (January 12th, 2008 at 4:42 am).

    “I also tried to upload my emails from Thunderbird (, Linux) to Gmail by creating an IMAP account. The copy process works without any error message – but not all messages of a folder are copied. And I don’t see any rule behind which one is copied and which one not. So at the end I have the whole folder structure of Thunderbird in Gmail now, but instead of around 200 MB emails I only have around 70 MB. Every help is appreciated!”

    I don’t know how to verify how many messages are seen as conversations (actually I don’t know how the “one conversation is one to many messages” should be seen through IMAP).

    I would have migrated my own domain to gmail, but due to these problems.. well.. I cannot migrate if I cannot be 100% sure all mail really is copied to gmail. :-/

  47. Felix

    I had the same timestamp problem – it seems to be client dependent.

    Kontact gave me the problem.
    Evolution didn’t work at all (probably my setup)
    Kmail works perfectly (which is weird because its otherwise v similar to kontact)

    Hope this helps and good luck

  48. CORRECTION ***
    Kmail has the same problem – it looks OK, but googlemail show the upload date.

    I am about to try thunderbid. Anybody else got any cleints they know avoids the problem?

  49. *** FIXED **


    Thunderbird seems to work OK with date stamps

  50. Great post – thanks!

    I transferred my Outlook 2002 mail to Gmail and all worked fine…. except for one big problem. All Hebrew e-mails in Hebrew that I transfer from Outlook to Gmail show up in giberish.

    Gmail in Hebrew works fine, but Hebrew e-mails transferred from Outlook are unreadable.

    Any help will be appreciated.


  51. workes fine so far dropping mails into the Inbox. Thanks!
    (using outlook 2003)

    problem though: there is just this imap-Inbox Folder showing up in outlook. No “Sent”-Folder whatsoever. Also, i can not move, copy, or create FOLDERS on the imap-account.

    anyone knows why?

  52. Thanks for the article. I am trying to import my old email folders in entourage into gmail. It uploads fine, but the original date & time of the email are lost and replaced by the import time into gmail. Is there anything I can do about it?

  53. I recently switched from Yahoo Mail. Is there any way that I can import all of my old Yahoo emails?

  54. I’ve used this way to unify my two gmail accounts, but i’ve had some problems. Some mails didn’t copy, an estrange error occurred (with ThunderBird, it says “failed to copy/move message”). But this is not the most important, cause i can’t, anyway (pop or imap), move near 400 mails with a specific label, between two dates (other mail within these dates were moved without problems). Any idea?

  55. I have the same problem as Ari and Rondracur. There appears to be no way to be sure that all your email has been copied over. If you don’t mind losing 5% of your emails, then it is okay. But for me, that is unacceptable.

    Do this at your own risk!!!

  56. I have confirmed that it does in fact lose messages; it is not just that gmail counts differently or consolidates messages into conversations.

    This seems like a serious mistake.

  57. tpullano says

    For Wayne above and others moving from Yahoo (free or paid) to Gmail, I was able to import all my yahoo mail in gmail with dates, header info, etc. all in tack.

    Did this using Gmail IMAP, Thunderbird, and YPOPs (google it!). This will import all your folders (I did it one at a time, configuring YPOPs each time for each folder).

    Within TB, I created an account for my Yahoo pop download, and the IMAP for Gmail per Zoli’s second bullet. IMAP created the full label structure from my gmail in TB (now I have a gmail backup too!). Downloaded each folder to TB from Yahoo using YPOPs, then moved the emails to the appropriate gmail label (folder) in TB, then synced it up to gmail. If a label didn’t existing, I created in TB and it would replicate in gmail!

    Email me at the name above “at gmail dot com” for specifics if you’d like.

  58. Pasquale says

    So, how come Gmail fetcher did not move my Sent folder from Yahoo+ account, while it moved everything else OK?
    It’s annoying to look for an answer, but perhaps someone here know the trick 😉


  59. Pasquale, it’s not supposed to. Gmail Fetcher picks up your inbound mail only, like any other POP service.

    IMAP syncs your SENT mail, too.

  60. Pasquale says

    Thanks Zoli,
    so I was’t just doing something wrong or weird…

    Well, then, IS there a WAY to trasfer all my 7000 sent e-mail from Yahoo+???

  61. Pasquale says

    Someone in Chaina loged into my Yahoo account, sent over 1000 junk e-mails selling cell phones, etc. to everybody in my address book and then erased it… Niiice, fery friendly new way of doin’ business with China… THEIR waay – just like what they did to Tibet… 😉 🙁

    NOw I HAVE to trasfer to Gmail…

  62. Seeing as this was written in Oct 2007 and it’s now May 2008, is it at all possible to transfer local mail to Google Apps Gmail via FTP?

    Or has dragging and dropping via IMAP been improved to the point where all email gets transferred?

  63. This is an awesome way of archiving emails but has anyone tried to drag a folder with subfolders from Outlook into gMail IMAP? I just tried with a 300mb chunk of my mailbox and for some reason it only transfered about 200mb. The worst part is that it didn’t truncate in any logical order.

    Anyone have the same issue. I don’t mind spending the time doing smaller chunks. I just want to make sure that it’s reliable and actually transfering all of the emails! Any ideas on why it might be flakey?

  64. Daniel Williams says

    I am using Outlook 2003, and have connected to my GMail account using IMAP. The drag and drop worked very well for a few days as I copied over my 4+Gb of data. But then it stopped working, and I get a message:
    “Can’t move items. The file \gmail.pst has reached its maximum size.”

    Now this folder did get to be about 1.7GB, but then I removed my GMail account, and re-added it showing only certain folders/labels. The pst file is just a few Kb now. Yet I keep getting this message.

    Any ideas? I have all my mail prior to 2007 archived in GMail now, and would like to get the 2007 email there as well.

    Daniel Williams

  65. Daniel, I only vaguely remember this from the time I used Outlook, but it does not free up space in the .pst file when you delete accounts / folders.

    You explicitely had to select “compress file” don’t remember the menu path, but getting there involved displaying your data file, right click …etc ..etc. The compress process can take forever, but in the end you end up with a small file.

    Another option is to creat a new data file and just drag the relevant folders from the old file into the new one.

  66. Daniel Williams says

    No, it’s not the archive PST file that is the problem. It’s only 1 GB. The file that is complained about is the file, which is in fact, 761 KB. Which makes no sense. How could that file be at any size limit?
    Now when I right-click on the imap account (, I see that the folder size is just about 400 KB there. But the “format” of the file is “Personal Folders File (97-2002)” It seems that this should be in a more recent format.
    But if the local file is so small, then this message must be due to something else. Could it be that imap will tell Outlook the size of my GMail account? And Outlook then decides that that is too big? That would be odd, but it’s all I can think of right now. More ideas would be greatly appreciated.

  67. I’m probably slightly more knowledgeable than your average layperson and can usually troubleshoot through the basics, but I find myself really confused at the moment. I’ve read through this current post and all the comments as well as the previous (apparently obsolete) versions, but I’m just not sure where to start.

    I’m trying desperately to leave AOL firmly in my past. I’ve used gmail’s fetch to get my inbox. OK there. I want to get my archived folders, sent mail, and old (read) mail over to gmail to correspond with gmail labels.

    note: I don’t have the AOL client installed. I do everything on the web.

    Can someone please direct me from here to get me on track with the instructions in this post?

    1. Should I use Thunderbird? If so, how can I be sure that date-stamped info will be preserved?

    2. What are these .pst files and do I have them?

    3. Can I leave everything I fetch on the aol server as well as a backup? (incidentally, all of my fetched inbox mail was deleted from aol. I’m still hoping to find out how to stop that).

    Many thanks

  68. Mark McRobie says

    Will this work with a load of .eml files I exported from Windows Mail in Vista?

  69. Phil Beresford says

    Fantastic! Excellent solution, worked perfectly using Entourage on a Mac.

    Thank you thank you thank you 🙂

  70. Lars Petersen says

    Nice! I was searching for a simple method like this, now I finally have it! Thanks a bunch!

  71. Why transfer email from Outlook to GMail…easy answer!
    Ever since Outlook went to Vista, it has been, at best, a pain in the butt! When one looks back on their experiences with this albatross, all you see is one glitch after another. Sometimes, all by itself, it starts acting up. As of this writing, I have developed duplicates of everything…how no clue. I have deided to move to web based email. Web based email for my busines? Yes. Yahoo is now unlimited storage, calendar, contacts and notes. If I want ot store info, externally, I use One Note…just hit the print button in Yahoo and it prints to One Note! If I want more in the PIM functions, I can buy Essential PIM for free or chose to pay for a few more bells and whistles. Yahoo lacks importing email from Outlook and I have a lot of reference emails. So I can load my emails into GMail and once in GMail, I can suck it into Yahoo. I also can leave that email in GMail as an Archive. That’s why one wants to suck email into GMail…dump Outlook, save disk space, memory and grief. “And now you know the rest of the story!”

  72. Absolutely brilliant solution. I was really worried about copying PST files as they’re so big, and corruptible. So this solves it very elegantly.

    If I’d known about this before I’d have put a gmail folder on my Outlook ages ago. Much better than archiving it. It’s taking ages to transfer my old emails, but it’ll be worth it.
    BTW – I find it easier to move rather than copy, as I’ve found that if the transfer fails for any reason, it’s easier to just transfer what’s left. If I copy mails, it’s a pain to work out what’s gone and what’s not. That’s assuming nothing gets lost, but I’m willing to risk it and it seems very stable so far.

  73. It would be great when gmail allows us to export all our emails somehow.

  74. Great post, I guess it just goes to show that good info lasts a lot longer than the person who originally posted (I’m still pleased to see google groups archives of C programming questions & answers from the 90’s).

    I have successfully moved from Yahoo to Gmail using this post (beware that you NEED to choose Email Account -> IMAP, in Thunderbird 2.0 -> of course!, to be able to interactively work with your GMAIL account, POP is on by default!)

    Also, give a quick read through of Google’s recommended settings for Thunderbird.

    Pre-creating the label groups in Gmail will make dragging and dropping into the label/folder easier (in Thunderbird it looks like a folder, go figure 🙂

  75. I’d like to move my enormous Eudora Inbox over to Gmail, but I have a lot of spam in there that I didn’t catch when it came in originally. Is there anyway to import to Gmail in a way that it will run its spam filters through it?

  76. I’ve been using this technique or a variation thereof for some time now to move clients off of OE, Outlook, Thunderbird, whatever, and over to the Gmail side. I did this for my own account a while back and now all 1.5GB+ of my email is accessible from any computer with ‘net access.

    I am pretty sure I only found out about this method from your site, so I gotta say thanks for the tip!

  77. How about the other way around? Anyone know how to back up mail from Gmail or Google Apps Gmail to something local? I think a lot of us will be very very sad if something were to happen to all that mail we rely Google to keep safe….

  78. I have read you can only cut and paste 200 at a time is that correct?

  79. Im updating using the copy / paste method above but the emails showing up on google mail online now are dated todays date and not as per the date i have downloaded them.

    FYI –

    Current emails are stored in Entourage on my Mac and they are being copied within entourage to my imap’ed gmail inbox.

    Any ideas on why the date is not being uploaded?

  80. as of feb09, this does not work anymore, you cannot copy mails to gmail consistantly

  81. great, thanx mate!

    PS: a little forum thread somewhere should be opened about this topic, since there are many questions

    a google group would do, since everyone here is into google :p

  82. sounds great & i set uo the imap accont in my winmai & enabled it on google, but Im lost after that.

    It wont drag & drop or copy (except to an exsisting locak folder)

    What an I missing. Im really upset, after month sof converting my outlook to wimal eml, I just cant lose them in windows 7

  83. @emlwinmail
    I discovered this great post this morning (thankyou Zoli!) and successfully transferred gigabytes of archived .eml files in my Windows Mail local folders over to my gmail account. The first couple of drag'n'drops I had to do in small chunks otherwise the connection dropped, but then for some reason it stabilized and I just dumped the rest (90%) in one go.
    I enabled IMAP for my gmail account online in gmail settings, then created an account in Windows Mail for my gmail address as per Zoli's instructions. Once you do this, it will ask if you want to synchronize folders, then all my gmail folders appeared in Outlook, one for each label in gmail. I had created a label online called 'transfer' to dump the .eml files into.
    Since all my .eml files are in my Windows Mail local folders, in Windows Mail I just dragged those emails across to my 'transfer' folder under '' top folder in Windows Mail. Then the local and online folders synchronize.
    Hope the layman's description is helpful. I was totally lost until I found Zoli's post.

  84. I heard tht green tea work as an anti oxidant for skin….does regular intake of green tea makes ur teeth discolor in any way…..i used to have black tea … was grt but when ever i start taking black tea after somedays i feel like my teeth go in brownish….i stopped taking tht now….just want to make sure tht green tea doesn’t discolor my teeth in any way…Thank you.

  85. “Would you say that the websites that require 200+ posts before allowing for links in the signature will give you better traffic, then basic forum that lets you post links in your signature right away?”

    I don´t believe so. By the way: During the time needed to make 200+ post you could already have created 200+ links with forums that let you post links in your signature right away

  86. I also have fibromyalgia and I want to know your take on its relation to auto immune conditions. I know it has officially been removed from the list of auto immune diseases (that’s what some say), but I know it is definitely related. I found it interesting that you didn’t include it in this blog.

  87. The first couple of drag’n’drops I had to do in small chunks otherwise the connection dropped, but then for some reason it stabilized and I just dumped the rest (90%) in one go.
    I enabled IMAP for my gmail account online in gmail settings, then created an account in Windows Mail for my gmail address as per Zoli’s instructions. Once you do this, it will ask if you want to synchronize folders, then all my gmail folders appeared in Outlook, one for each label in gmail. I had created a label online called ‘transfer’ to dump the .eml files into.

  88. Hi, great guide, one problem though, I have tried this in entourage and the messages have uploaded but lost the date info – so all appear as if they were sent on the day I uploaded to gmail. Any ideas how to keep them arranged?

  89. For those experiencing problems with the upload date being shown as the datestamp in the inbox, I was originally having this problem when I dragged my emails directly into Theunderbird 3. The date was still showing up correctly in the email, but the inbox date was incorrect.

    However, when I first created a local folder and dragged all the emails in that, THEN moved them into the “All Mail” folder, the emails synced with the correct date. Not sure why this would be, but it’s sorted out now 🙂

  90. well im having the same “wrong dates imported problem” the fact is i noticed that when in my inbox the email actually says “10:55” as time received and is dated as today, but if i go into the emails content and expand the details it actually says the correct date!!! is there a way of possibly telling gmail this is the correct date? please let me know


  91. I use Gmail, if I configure an Outlook account, will it save my contacts as well. Please help

  92. When I drag and drop from my Outlook sent folder into the IMAP Gmail folder, and then I go to Gmail on the web, the list in the Sent Mail box shows for every message as "To:me" instead of "To" the person to whom I had sent the message originally. Only if I open up the individual email does it show the person to whom I had sent the email originally. Am I doing something wrong? Thanks!

  93. I am in your debt – I have been messing around with this, and finally got serious. I have an older laptop, and I just wanted to wear my belt and suspenders. This method works perfect – I took all my mail, properly sorted in folders, in one Gmail account, configured my Google Apps account, did the drag and drop of my folders, then talked to my daughter while IMAP took care of business. Fabulous! Thanks a million.

  94. I never leave comments on any thing – but I'm so thrilled – thank you for sharing this. I spent the past 2 hours searching and scoring all over the interweb to find how to do this – downloaded googleloader/etc and this was SO easy & simple & perfect, THANK YOU!!!!!

  95. Thankyou. It worked a treat.

  96. Hi,

    Check this…


    The System Administrator Website

  97. Thank you – this post saved me a ton of work. I've moved over to GMail but had somewhere in the region of 5000 emails in my Thunderbird and wanted to delete them all but daren't. I've been able to move them all over to my gmail now. Ta very muchly.

  98. Hi Zoli,

    I have imported my hotmail email into gmail using the old way as I am not an outlook user. I started the import yesterday and today I checked and gmail seems to still be importing email but it seems that it's importing several copies of the same email (it looks like I have at least 1 copy of all hotmail emails already and it keeps importing copies). What's wrong?

    I deleted the hotmail account in the gmail configuration but it still does it. I am confused as to what I need to do…

  99. After trying every way I could think of and prowling around Google for what seemed like ages, I finally found this article, and could cry. I’ve had 50 or so emails from an old school exchange account sitting there for a couple years now, and the time has been ticking down as to when the IT department would shut it down because I no longer am a student there. It took like, 2 seconds, so simple, and most importantly it worked!! Thank you so much!!

  100. I have a feeling this wont work from Chaos Intellect. I enabled IMAP in Intellect, tested the settings and they work correctly. I can see my Gmail account and all the folders, however when I try to drag and drop, even just one email message, i get the following error: “An operation was attempted on something that is not a socket”. Any ideas? Thank you.

  101. Thank you so much for these instructions. After all these years of using Outlook and emClient I decided to experiment a step in the dark side. At first I felt clueless after duly copying all folders to the IMAP account when nothing happened. But this morning I can see the messages happily being uploaded and appearing in my Gmail inbox.
    Though the advantages of having a desktop mail client are many, I wanted to try a web-based application mainly for having access to it on the move and saving local disk space too.
    Thanks again!!

  102. Hi There,

    i followed your guide. Everything worked fine, except one thing:

    – All messages moved to my “Send” Folder now show “Me” instead the Adress i send them to… Any reason for that ? Or anything i can do to show the adress the mail was going to ?


  103. Gary Granath says

    First sentence is inaccurate. This is NOT easy. It is complex and time-consuming, and appears incomplete or out-of-date (you wrote this in 2007).

    First bullet: I enabled IMAP in my gmail account. Second bullet: clicked link to setup gmail account in client. Google had me tick I want to enable IMAP. I did that and then selected Thunderbird from the list.

    A dropdown had me open TB and enter account information. I have done this earlier but was unsuccessful in migrating TB mail to gmail. The earlier instructions I followed when I created the account were incomplete so I guessed at the IMAP Server Name. It was instead of, so I corrected it. Did the same for Outgoing Server. So I ticked Google’s “OK, confirm my settings” box.

    Another dropdown. The IMAP “Server Name” item “Requires SSL:Yes” is now named “Connection Security: SSL/TLS,” so I selected that. The option “Requires authentication: Yes” must now be “Authentication Method,” and in the absence of instructions on which of the three choices to pick, I selected “Normal password.”

    The Outgoing Server name gave me three choices. I did not have instructions to help me, so I selected the “Default,” my ISP’s outgoing server (Outgoing Server – Your instructions say it should be so I changed to Google Mail –

    I selected Connection Security: SSL/TLS and “Authentication Method: Normal password” again” Finally I clicked “OK.”

    Now I returned to your instructions, and the second bullet says: “This will create a folder structure matching your gmail labels.” This is the dead end. You don’t say where this folder structure will be created so I don’t know where to look to see if I was successful. And it assumes that I have already created gmail labels. I have never read instructions anywhere that tell me I need to do this.

    And if there are instructions somewhere, this is an unrealistic task. I have approximately 110 folders to migrate. It would be an unbelievable waste of my time to manually create that many labels in gmail.

    Have I missed something vital? This makes no sense to me.

  104. Thank you, Zoli! This post is still helping people 6 years on…
    –Eric M

  105. Dear Zoli,

    Is this still the best way to import exchange server emails to gmail? I am looking into importing some of my work emails (on exchange server) to gmail because the exchange server imposes a size limit. I am not sure if there are now other, better way of doing this since it’s been 6 years?



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