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Migrating from hosted e-mail to an in-house Exchange server

SearchExchange.com expert Peter terSteeg's outlines the steps you need to take to migrate from POP3 accounts at a hosted e-mail service to full mail clients on an in-house Exchange 2003 server.

We currently have our e-mail hosted through Adhost. One of my tasks is to deploy Exchange 2003. This was already attempted by the former network administrator and it was disastrous. I guess the migration from the POP3 mail accounts on Adhost to the Exchange server caused several problems. Users were receiving duplicate e-mails, and at times they weren't receiving their e-mail at all.

I have experience with Microsoft Exchange, but I have no experience with POP3. I am not sure what the process is...

for seamlessly migrating from Adhost to Exchange Server.

The first step is establishing a secure and dependable target environment with Exchange 2003. Since you can prepare your environment before any end users are on the system, take the extra time to ensure backups are working properly and the system is functioning as expected. This gives you a huge advantage over people who must upgrade or migrate with the source environment running.

Once you have a suitable target environment, create mailbox-enabled Active Directory users for everyone in your company. Take your account and make sure that you can log in correctly, and see the Global Address List. Next, send an outbound mail message to a test account you have on an external mail system.

Once you know logging on to the newly created accounts is possible, you then should speak with Adhost about moving your MX record. The MX record for your domain determines where inbound mail for @yourdomain.com flows to.

Set up a weekend that Adhost will switch your MX records from its gateway to your Exchange server.

Once the MX record is switched, you should plan on everybody using the new system when they come in on Monday morning. The POP mail can be stored locally in a PST -- just make sure Microsoft Exchange services are configured for end users to use the new mail server versus the POP client.

Remember, the end users will love you. POP vs. a full mail client will be an exciting switch that will enhance their overall messaging experience.


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Related information from SearchExchange.com:

  • Learning Guide: Exchange migration
  • Reference Center: POP3


  • This was last published in October 2005

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