I worked for a long time to figure out how to do this and it wasn’t easy so I decided I would share the experience of what I tried and what (very labor intensive) solution finally worked. But first, the problem and a little back story:
Amy has used Yahoo mail for several years and, being the thoroughly organized person that she is, has tons of folders that most of the email is distributed to. She wanted to move her Yahoo mail to her Google Apps for Business email. “This should be simple.” I foolishly thought. “Google has an import function. This will be too easy.”
Problem #1: In my tests with a throw away account, gmail, which is essentially the same as email in Google Apps for Business, (or so I thought), would only import yahoo’s inbox. None of the folders or mail in them is transferred.
I did some searching online and the best suggestion seemed to be to use a local mail client (Outlook or Thunderbird) to download all the email from yahoo, then, via the local email client, copy all the local stuff from local to the gmail account also set up in the local email client. The was a giant failure. Just plain didn’t work. So I continued my search.
Next I found a Google Business Apps Migration tool for Outlook. I couldn’t even get this running and according to what I was reading on some forums, I was not the only one. I found a tool called Google Business Apps Syn Tool for Outlook. This got a little farther but still in the end, didn’t work.
My next plan was to individually move the contents of each folder to the yahoo mail inbox, then, one at a time, import it into gmail, tag it and remove it from the inbox. Rinse repeat until done. Well, I discovered that gmail is not IDENTICAL to the gmail in Google Apps for Business.
Problem #2: One of the few differences between standard gmail and gmail in Google Apps for Business is that GAB doesn’t have the import function.
At this point I was becoming desperate. I have talked up google, gmail and Google Apps for Business to Amy for years and now I can’t even get the mail to move. Finally, I decided to take the last idea I had and try it from the local mail client. First, since the gmail account was already an active account with email in the inbox, I created a label called “Old Inbox” and moved the inbox content there. Then, with nothing in the gmail inbox, I took the contents of each yahoo mail directory one at a time and placed it in the inbox of gmail. When the mail was done transferring up to gmail, from a browser, I selected all the mail in the inbox of gmail and moved it to a label that corresponded to the yahoo folder name. This cleared out the inbox and I simply repeated the process for each folder. Finally, I moved all the email that was in the yahoo inbox to gmail, moved the “Old Inbox” contents back to the inbox and we were done. Whew! With about 150 folders, tens of thousands of emails, about half of which had attachments, this whole process took a couple of days.
As a final step, I set up gmail to check the yahoo mail so that anyone still sending to yahoo will reach gmail.
I’m posting this for two reasons. 1. This was a ridiculously long and painful process. I searched and searched the internet for a way to accomplish it and came up empty so if someone has this same problem, here is a workable, although time and labor intensive solution. 2. If anyone knows of an easier way, PLEASE TELL ME! I may have to do this again and I would really rather not have to use this process.