Saturday, 14 November 2009

Disentangle from Microsoft Outlook - make the migration now !

For those of you who are stuck with Windows, one of the primary worry is how to leave Microsoft Outlook behind. A necessary evil, and most of you trapped, handcuffed, and imprisoned by what should be making life easier! Not!

The first thing you should do, is to sign up for a Gmail account. Trust me, it's probably one of the best thing you will do in years to come. Then, do the following steps. Most instructions can be found by simple google search online, but the general steps are as follows.

Step 1: Post your outlook data in .pst to gmail
First, you need to find where your .pst file is, and make a backup. Then, you can use a number of applications to import .pst into gmail, and this is quite a useful application to use. Gmail can also import e-mails from a range of from non Outlook e-mails in their help manual.

Step 2: Configure gmail to check your existing e-mail account
Configuring your gmail is quite straightforward. You need to be able to use gmail check your existing e-mail account, but make sure that you leave all your e-mails in the server, unless you totally would like to abandon your Microsoft Outlook. It does not matter whether you are using POP or IMAP, asking gmail to leave all e-mails in the server means that you can continue to use your Outlook as usual, but all having a backup in gmail.

Step 3: Automatically forward all sent e-mail in outlook to your gmail e-mail address 
Since all your incoming e-mails are now automatically backed up into gmail, the sent e-mails from Outlook needs to be somehow archived into gmail as well. Have not found a way to do this using Outlook rules, and there does not seem to be an easy way to do this. For those slightly more technically savvy, there is a way though. If you are using IMAP, you can set Outlook to save the sent e-mails to your outlook IMAP server sent folder as instructed here.

Step 4: Sync your outlook calendar with gmail calendar 
One of the favourite features of Gmail is the ability to sync calendar with multiple accounts and devices. For Outlook, simply download Google Calendar Sync and install on your windows machine. Follow the instructions, and preferably use 2-way sync. Therefore, anytime your calendar events in Outlook changes, it will be automatically reflected in your Gmail calendar and vice versa!

Abracadabra! That's it! Let gmail crunch everything in the background for you - your emails will always be backed up in gmail, and your calendar service available for not just your Outlook, but for your other computer, PC or Mac, and your mobile devices or cell phones! Check out my other posts on how to do these!

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