Using Outlook to move a ton of mail from one IMAP account to another is the equivalent of racing at Indy using your Grandmas Buick Le Sabre. It can be done but you will lose and it will not be pretty. Recently I tried to move a lot of email from an AOL account to Gmail using the built in Gmail “move from another address feature”. This feature is supposed to move mail from one email account into Gmail seamlessly, all you have to do is sit back and relax. Well after 2 days of relaxing waiting for the move to happen and about 100 emails moved, I needed to move on to plan B.

Plan B calls for you to use IMAP and an email program such as Outlook to sync mail from one account to another. So you plug in the details of each accounts and get them setup.  You then subscribe to the folders you want and drag them over to the other account, magic is supposed to happen and you should start to see email folders flying through the air into each other. That in a nutshell is what Plan B calls for.

Well I am here to tell you that Plan B and Outlook don’t like each other. I am not sure if Microsoft wrote code in Outlook to show you a “not responding” error if it detects a Gmail sync, or maybe I just have bad luck. It was hours upon hours of folders flying through the air and not completing their flight to each other. It was frozen folders in mid flight like they had been attacked by Iceman himself. It was hours upon hours of “Outlook not responding messages”. It was a dozen Outlook “lets send a report to Microsoft” error messages. All this took place on a computer that was less than a week old. Not some dusty crusty museum piece that Outlook was never meant to be installed on. This was Outlook 2010 not Outlook 97….

Iceman attacks Outlook

Iceman attacks Outlook

I guess what I’m trying to say is I had a bad time. Luckily I had a Plan C which should have been Plan A. I downloaded Mozilla Thunderbird and plugged in the details for both Imap accounts. I then subscribed to the folders I wanted and waited for things to come down the pipe and populate. Once I had mail to look at I moved the mail I wanted and sat back and watched. Well to make a long story shorter I will come right out and tell you it worked. It took about an hour and a half for a thousand email messages to move across the street from AOL to Gmail.

The moral of this story is that I’ve found one more reason to avoid Microsoft Outlook. They’ve designed it so it does everything, but to me it does everything poorly.