Scott Hanselman

Migrating a Family to Google Apps from Gmail, Thunderbird, Outlook and others: The Definitive Guide

June 30, '07 Comments [52] Posted in Tools
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The migration is complete. The Hanselman Family has moved to Google Apps. Why? Here's why:

  • I trust them (more or less).
  • I'm smart (I think), but I've recently lost 3 years of a family member's email. Backups are hard.
  • It's clean and easy.
  • Family members now have 10 gigs of space vs. their previous 50 megs.

However, we had a complex setup, as I assume most families do. Or at least, most Geek Families. This includes not just my wife, but also parents, brothers, cousins, in-laws, etc. Being IT for the family is hard. I've changed the names to protect the innocent, but all the tech is real.

The Pre-Migration Setup

We've got Two Families here, we'll say the Hanselman's and the Smith's. I married a Smith, so I'm the Support Department for them as well.

Family Member Email Program Note Technique
Mama Hanselman Outlook Has large local archive. Purchase gMove from LimitNone.
Daddy Hanselman Thunderbird Has medium sized local archive, but largely doesn't care. Create new AIM Mail Account. Setup IMAP and drag all email in. Use Gmail Migration Tools to suck IMAP mail out.
Hanselman Wife Gmail Already has existing Gmail account with 500 meg. Kept last name at my insistence, wants both domains to go to the same place. Also wants to keep Gmail account name. One-time import all from Gmail via POP. Foward new Gmail to Gmail for Apps.
Brother Hanselman SmarterMail Uses standard ISP webmail. Apathetic towards the whole process. No local mail store. One-time Import via POP.
Sister-In-Law Hanselman Outlook Express Large local store. Lots of important local mail. Mail is deleted from online via POP. Create new AIM Mail Account. Setup IMAP and drag all email in. Use Gmail Migration Tools to suck IMAP mail out.
Cousin Hanselman Forwards to Work Has Hanselman email forwarded to work, but uses SmarterMail sometimes. Has a few emails online. Uses a BlackBerry. One-time Import via POP. Re-setup forwarding rules to work. Download for BlackBerry. 
Cousin-In-Law Hanselman Outlook 2003 We have email? Couldn't care less, just wants to send sometimes. One-time Import via POP. Possible candidate for gMove from LimitNone.
Brothers-In-Law Smith (3 in Africa) SmarterMail All three use the standard online email, but with the domain, not One-time Import via POP.
Self Outlook 2007 and SmarterMail Massive (2 gigs+) offline store in Outlooks. Uses a BlackBerry. Mail is deleted from online via POP after 7 days. Purchase gMove from LimitNone. Download for BlackBerry.

At this point, we've got folks with Email stored ONLINE and folks with Email stored OFFLINE. Let's first do the switchover to Google Apps, then tackle each problem one at a time.

Switching Two Domains over to Google Apps (Very Optional)

I have two domains, one for each family's last name. I could certainly create a separate Google Apps account for each last name, and you're welcome to do that. However, I chose to put as the primary domain, and "Smith" as the Domain Alias. Everyone will be able to choose what last name they want their "From" to show, so it doesn't really matter.

Once you've signed up your first (primary) Domain go into the Domain Settings|Domain Names control panel in Google Apps and create a Domain Alias. When you "claim" ownership for a Domain, Google will give you a big long number and say "go make a text file with this big long number inside, and name it this big long filename. Upload it to your website, then come back and tell me about it, so I can go check to prove you own this domain." You'll need to do this for as many domain aliases as you set up.

Switching MX (Mail) Records in DNS

First, after creating a Google Apps account, make a new Google Apps User for each existing Email User at your existing domain. This is important because you don't want anyone losing email. So, if you've got scott@ and fred@, then make accounts for each one. Google Apps will generate a password, but I set a default one for each person myself.

Second, have a plan as to how you want your subdomains to be laid out. We wanted it simple and obvious, so:,,, etc. Log into your Domain Name's Web Control Panel (nearly everyone has this, and Google Apps includes a Dropdown Help menu with detailed instructions on how to do this with most popular hosting services. My folks are used to logging into but I wanted to allow access to the old mail, so I renamed that host address to in case I screwed something up.

DNS Records - Windows Internet Explorer

Notice all the CNames that are aliased to Each of those subdomains now is pointing to Google Apps. However, it's the MX Record that cause mail to switch over (nearly instantly). When you add those, then new mail starts getting delivered to Google. That's why it's so important you have a user account setup in Google for EVERY existing user ahead of time to catch new mail.

To switch over MX, delete all your existing MX records first, then enter in Google's. Make sure the priorities line up, at least in order. Google might say 1,5,10, etc, but your control panel only allows 10,50,90. That's OK, just make sure they are in the right order and the numbers are monotonically increasing.

After you change the MX records, note that all NEW email will be streaming into Google Apps for all mail to your domains. If you've setup a domain aliax, you'll need to change the MX records for that domain also.

OK, let's tackle each family member's email migration issue, one at a time.

Transferring Mail into Gmail for Apps from Another Online Service via POP

Brother Hanselman as well as the Three Brothers-In-Law Smith are the easiest folks to transfer. They keep all their email online and they are keeping their email addresses.

Go into Gmail for Apps|Accounts and click Add a Mail Account. Note that the name of this account doesn't matter. Gmail will complain if you tell it your email is the SAME. For example, if you were and now you've moved to Gmail, just tell it the name of this account is The only thing that matters is that the username for logging into POP is correct and the POP Server is correct. I chose to leave a copy of messages on the server in case of a problem.

Hanselman Family - Edit mail account - Windows Internet Explorer

If you have a LOT of email on your server, these emails will come in at a rate of about 100-200 per 10 minutes. It might take hours, or days if you have a many thousands. Be patient, it will happen, and you can keep using Gmail while it does.

I did this for Brother Hanselman and Three Brothers-In-Law Hanselman and they are all in business.

Transferring Mail into Gmail for Apps from *another Gmail account*

(NOTE: Gmail has been considering a built in Gmail Import process, so this section will likely be old some day. Check the manual first!)

I'll be doing this migration via POP, but you can also use the Free gXFER tool from LimitNone for Gmail to Gmail Transfers.

Hanselman Wife has an existing Gmail account and wants to keep all those emails. However, if you try the technique above and enter in, you'll get a complaint from Gmail for Apps that you can't import Gmail via POP. Lame.

The solution is two-fold. First, in the original Gmail account, make sure you've enabled POP Email in Settings|Forwarding and POP and selected Enable POP for ALL MAIL.


Then, logout, and login to your destination account in Google for Apps and from Add an Email Account, enter in the Gmail username and the POP Server as Also, note the non-standard port 995. Don't select "Leave a copy" because Gmail won't let you anyway. However, don't worry, your emails won't be deleted in the source.


Again, this is a long running thing, so be patient (possibly days of patience.) Ok, so this gets Hanselman Wife her email archives. Now, from the source email account, create a Forwarding Rule to the new account so that emails to the original account are forwarded to the new one.

In the destination (now primary) Google for Apps Account make sure to add an Email Aliases for each email you want this user to be able to send as. Since we had two Domains, I setup email aliases per user as appropriate. This means Hanselman Wife can send as as well as from the same account.

Transferring Mail into Gmail for Apps from Another Online Service via IMAP

The absolute easiest way to get your email into Gmail for Apps is if you have an IMAP server already. If so, just pay the money for a Google Premium Account and you've got migration tools available for you as seen below.

If not, and you've got a local client like Thunderbird or Outlook, go to and get a free 2 gig account. Add it to your local mail client as seen below. Use and It's really a very nice service, truly.

Change E-mail Account

Drag all your email over, folder by folder, into the newly configured IMAP store. FYI, it's WAY faster Thunderbird. Outlook 2007 is a pig for IMAP, so I've got another solution for that, but it costs $.

After the email is up, use the Migration Tools to bring that IMAP email into Google Apps.

Google Apps - Windows Internet Explorer

Transferring Mail into Gmail for Apps from Outlook

There's lots of hacky ways that huge amounts of email can be moved from Outlook to Gmail for Apps. Believe me, Google knows this is a problem and I'm 99% sure they are working on it. Until then, you can do the IMAP trick above, or use a tool. Time is money, so I used gMOVE from LimitNone. It's a local app, licensed per computer for $29 ($19 for educational) that basically uses OLE Automation to take email out of Outlook, through it up to a "just in time POP server" at LimitNone, then it uses the GMail API to create a temporary POP account and suck the email back down.

The Good? It just works. Works fine in fact.

gMOVE Gmail Migration Wizard

Each folder in Outlook becomes a Tag in Gmail. Your Inbox in Outlook is tagged "gInbox" so as not to mess up your actual Inbox.

gMOVE Gmail Migration Wizard (3)

The bad? You can only move 5,000 emails at a time, so I had to run it 7 times. Of course, there are privacy concerns as well, but you can work that out on your own. Gmail also imports messages VERY slowly, as I've said before.


Otherwise, a useful utility, and faster for me than using IMAP. 


At this point, all Hanselman and Smith family members have email setup. They can use Gmail for Apps online, or if they prefer Outlook or Thunderbird, they can use the Gmail POP Troubleshooter or configure POP access to keep email in both places.

Other Useful Things and Gotchas to Know

  • Don't turn on POP access in your new accounts or configure your email clients to pull email until AFTER your existing POP migrations happen, otherwise email that's still being pulled into Gmail will also get pulled into your email client, possibly causing duplicates.
  • If you already have a Google Calendar with the same email you've just transferred over to Google Apps, if you visit rather than you'll get this warning. Basically, you're forever stuff with a read-only calendar. I can't figure out how to delete the whole calendar. Worse, if you use any Sync applications that use the Google Calendar API, they will see the FIRST calendar. That means, NOT the one you want them to see.
    I'll post more if I get this fixed. This is a great example of the fact that while Google Apps is yummy, it's a WHOLE OTHER UNIVERSE and Lord knows what's happening on the back end. (Note the broken image...You'll also get HTTP/HTTPS warnings, occasionally. Google Apps may be having some growing pains. Any Google Employees want to comment?)
    Google sez this about deleting calendars: "Please note that it's not possible to delete your primary calendar. You can clear the events on your primary calendar, rename this calendar and schedule new events to effectively get rid of your original primary calendar." I sez, "weak."
    Google Calendar - Windows Internet Explorer
  • Plaxo is a great Synchronizing Tool that I like (yes, I know YOU don't like it) and the new Beta includes support for syncing Google Calendars and Outlook. It seems to have a problem with Google Apps, but I'm sure either Plaxo or Google will work it out. SyncMyCal is considered the best tool for syncing with Outlook. If you have a Mac, you can use Spanning Sync to sync with iCal.
  • If you've got a BlackBerry or mobile phone with Java, note that there are TWO GMAIL APPS. There's one that has a Red Icon for Gmail Users and one with a Blue Icon for Gmail for Apps Users. Don't ask me why. If you have accounts at both, you need both applications on your mobile phone. You can, of course, also use POP if you prefer.
    You can get them:

I miss anything? Works for me.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Set Tops Are Back - Microsoft Media Room

June 29, '07 Comments [7] Posted in Musings
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I know little about IPTV other than I figure it's Television over the Internet. Heh.

Announced earlier this month was Microsoft Media Room, an update to Microsoft's IPTV platform. Long Zheng (fantastic blog) had the scoop four weeks ago when he noticed Microsoft trademarking it in Australia.

I'd personally really like to see Microsoft get this right. Remember UltimateTV? Microsoft's also been talking to Comcast (my provider) about Microsoft's Foundation software for a while.

There's rumor around that say that Microsoft's Foundation software will run on the craptaculous Comcast Motorola 3412 DVR. There's also word that Tivo's software can run on that Motorola 3412 as well. Either why, I needs me an upgrade.


You can find a gallery of images of the Xbox 360 IPTV interface over at Engadget. It'd be interesting if someone put together a matrix of all the IPTV options out there so we could get an idea of what our choices are going to be in the future. There's already a lot of XBoxes out there, and I'm unclear as to what software will be running on what box. 

For example, I have a Motorola DVR from Comcast, and an Xbox 360. I don't think this is an unusual scenario. I have Verizon FIOS for my Internet. IPTV comes out, now what? Do I run it on my Comcast DVR? Maybe not, perhaps I cancel with Comcast, and Verizon sends me a new set top box. Or, do I use the Xbox 360? If I want IPTV in another room do I go buy another Xbox?


I'd love for the XBox360 to take on this role. If you've never seen the Media blade with in the 360 or watched a download HD movie on it, you're missing quite a treat. The experience is butter. Truly. Even better is the Media Center integration on the Xbox.

The problem with all this isn't a problem my Mom will have. She'll get one box from her television provider and it'll work. No Problem.

It's me (I?) who will have problems. I just want to watch TV. How will I choose?

Hardware Software Transport Notes
Motorola 3412 Poo Coax Cable It current sucks so bad that it's personally embarrassing for me, and I had nothing to do with it's development. But, the hardware is out there. Whose software will unleash it?
Xbox 360 Microsoft IP Has fantastic potential and I already have the box. Who will offer the service though?
Microsoft Media Center Microsoft Coax or possibly IP Media Center could potentially support IP TV. For Coax or over-the-air-HD it's great, but they are expensive and the hardware is often loud.
XBox 360 to a Media Center Microsoft RDP I can remote into a Media Center from my Xbox.
Tivo Tivo Coax (so far) Everyone loves their Tivo, and they "nearly had IPTV" two years ago. Still, their software could run on Motorola's hardware and be distributed through cable.
AppleTV Apple IP (via iTunes) Video quality was initially quite poor, but more and more offerings are available at at least SDTV resolutions. This will no doubt get better.
Front Row Apple IP Apple's Media Center software. Doesn't support "TV" only iTunes.
OpenSource OpenSource Coax/IP There's lots of great open source Media Center Software for folks with TV Cards
DemocracyTV Non-Profit IP Video Podcasting Client and much much more. Has some good HD content.

Either way, do head over to and and check it out. Click on Find Your Local Provider and you'll get a list of the providers that can offer Media Room today. Note AT&T U-verse is listed for the US. I've never heard of this service, and their ordering site is down, so I can't see if it's available in my area.


International (non-US) Readers, what's the word about IPTV and set-top boxes where YOU are?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Hanselminutes Podcast 70 - Interview with Timothy Ferriss, Author of the 4 Hour Workweek

June 29, '07 Comments [7] Posted in Podcast
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The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss My seventieth podcast is up.  In this episode I sit down with New York Times Best Selling Author Timothy Ferriss of the 4-Hour Workweek. Tim has an interesting take on how to focus on what's important in your life and offers techniques to be more effective. Scott comes at it from the programmer's perspective. Photo courtesy of John Lam.

DSC_0046If you have trouble downloading, or your download is slow, do try the torrent with µtorrent or another BitTorrent Downloader.

Do also remember the complete archives are always up and they have PDF Transcripts, a little known feature that show up a few weeks after each show.

Telerik is our sponsor for this show.

Check out their UI Suite of controls for ASP.NET. It's very hardcore stuff. One of the things I appreciate about Telerik is their commitment to completeness. For example, they have a page about their Right-to-Left support while some vendors have zero support, or don't bother testing. They also are committed to XHTML compliance and publish their roadmap. It's nice when your controls vendor is very transparent.

As I've said before this show comes to you with the audio expertise and stewardship of Carl Franklin. The name comes from Travis Illig, but the goal of the show is simple. Avoid wasting the listener's time. (and make the commute less boring)

Enjoy. Who knows what'll happen in the next show?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Three Things I Learned About Software WHILE NOT in College

June 28, '07 Comments [72] Posted in Programming
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Dare Obasanjo has a great post on the "Three Things I Learned About Software in College," while Jeff has a fine post called Learning, or, Learning How to Learn that points to a great post called Why Is Forever. Jeff says "How lasts five years, but Why is forever." This is a great lesson to be reminded of and a pithy, but true, statement.

 Here's Dare's three things learned in College. Be sure to check the comments on his post, there's some great stuff in them.:

  1. Operating systems aren't elegant. They are a glorious heap of performance hacks piled one upon the other.
  2. Software engineering is the art of amassing collected anecdotes and calling them Best Practices when in truth they have more in common with fads than anything else.
  3. Pizza is better than Chinese food for late night coding sessions.
    [Dare Obasanjo]

I learned some stuff in College, but here's the "Three Things I Learned About Software WHILE NOT in College" as well

Things I Learned about Software in College

  1. Everything has already been done before and will continue to be re-written over and over until the whole world embraces Lisp.
  2. TCP/IP is a beautiful soup.
  3. Beauty is skin deep, but ugly goes through to the bone. This statement often applies to software. Don't go digging if you don't want to find a hack.

Things I Learned about Software While Not in College

  1. The more complex the software being created, the less the problem becomes about technology and the more it becomes about interpersonal communication and group dynamics.
  2. You're not going to need it (YAGNI). You'll always want to add one more method to a utility class, or speculate on how your software will be used, but ultimately you need to keep code and features as constrained as possible.
  3. Every line of code you write that you feel gross about will ultimately come back to haunt you. Therefore, avoid writing code that makes you feel dirty.

...and I'd ask you, Dear Reader, to share your three things, learned both IN and OUT of college. I'm especially interesting in those who didn't go to college at all, to add yours.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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About Me

June 28, '07 Comments [9] Posted in Musings
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Welcome! You might want to check out my greatest hits. aboutmeI'm also on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

My name is Scott Hanselman. I'm a web technologist and teacher. I work out of my home office in Portland for the Web Platform Team at Microsoft, but this blog, its content and opinions are my own.

I was the Chief Architect at Corillian Corporation, now a part of Checkfree, for 6+ years. I was also involved in a few Microsoft Developer things for many years like the MVP and RD programs and I'll speak about computers (and other passions) whenever someone will listen.

Before Corillian and Microsoft I worked as a Principal Consultant at a local Microsoft Solution Provider called STEP Technology, speaking, writing, consulting, and very much not getting rich during Web 1.0. Even earlier, I worked at a Car Parts Data Warehouse called Chrome Data, and before that I had a small company that specialized in internationalization and thunking. I've also been an Adjunct Professor at OIT, teaching C#. On the side, I created the first PalmPilot Diabetes Management System in 1998 and sold it to a healthcare company five years later. It's now in limbo, but I'm trying to get it released as Open Source.

What else would you like to know?

I am an early adopter, it seems.  I ran Tweak Computer Support BBS, with some success, a very long time ago. I was a FidoNet node. I have nice teeth and love cheese amongst other things. I like Tools, and I've co-written some books. I'm diabetic. I like studying Amharic and Zulu/Ndebele and listening to African Music as well as other more diverse music. I know Black Hair and can both braid and cornrow. I have a podcast. I hack on hardware and waste time. I do Open Source. I have a large forefive-head. I am good at Excel and keep my resume mostly up to date for no reason. We speak Sign Language to my son and my wife speaks Ndebele. I have a great family and have had great teachers and a fantastic wedding with a great Cake Topper. I don't sleep too much. I write a lot. I'm trying to raise $50,000 for Diabetes research.

That's me, today. I'll be different tomorrow, hopefully better.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.