Migrate Exchange Server Mailboxes to Office 365 (Exchange Online)

Author: Ravi Singh | Updated on August 14, 2020

Summary: Before you start mailbox migration from Exchange server to Office365, first review the best method & practices to make sure you get the desired results after mailbox migration. We will help you with choosing the best option for your organization to migrate mailboxes from on-premises Exchange to Office 365. There are two ways to migrate mailboxes from Exchange to Office 365. If you have less number of mailboxes then you can migrate them to PST & import these PST files to Office 365. However, if you have a large number of mailboxes then the best way is to migrate mailboxes directly from Exchange to Office 365.

Microsoft officially launched its cloud-based emailing platform – Office 365 – in June 2011. Since then, a majority of organizations that used to operate with on-premise email have made the switch to it. Migrating on-premise email is a huge task needing a lot of expertise and time. Why then do so many organizations decide to take the leap? Is it just because the cloud is the “new tech-savvy” thing, or are there real, tangible benefits attached to it? Let’s find out - 

Why the need for Exchange to Office 365 migration?

A lot of reasons prompt organizations to choose on-premise Exchange setup. Primary ones include having universal control of your hardware and the ability to fully control all the Exchange data. But, as every coin has two sides, therefore, a complete on-premise setup also spells disaster, with your significant data standing at risk. Moreover, maintenance costs of the server can be challenging, as well as providing 100% availability of the server.

Migrating to Office 365 the cloud offers advantages that are quite significant as compared to those that an on-premise setup offers:

  • Office 365 offers you more scalability without the need to spend on the infrastructure. All you need to do is purchase more email accounts for new users. The entire process of buying additional storage, roping in additional hardware support, configuring everything, etc. is simply eliminated.
  • It is cost-effective since you don’t have to maintain anything anymore. You only need to invest in your Office 365 subscription and get all features the on-premise setup offers plus a whole lot of other facilities.
  • Leaving everything to the experts (Microsoft), it lets you stay assured of your data’s security. You no longer have to worry about data theft scenarios or data loss scenarios due to disasters, technical faults, etc.
  • You don’t need to worry about updating to the latest software versions. Everything is taken care of automatically and seamlessly: thus, your users would not have to go through server downtime or any other like situations.

Issues faced while migrating Exchange mailbox to Office 365

As we’ve already pointed out, migrating on-premise email is very risky and needs expert supervision and caution to be performed successfully. A lot of things can go wrong: thus, attempt to do it only if you’re sure about what and how it is to be done. Else, you could end up facing one of the following issues:

  • Corruption and Stability issues in the existing Exchange environment
  • On-premise Exchange server downtime when the migration is happening
  • Wastage of a lot of time owing to slow network connections
  • Security guidelines of an organization playing with the default tools and processes of the migration
  • Wrongly configured firewalls, CAS servers, and proxy devices
  • Users still running old versions of MS Outlook locally
  • Policy compliance issues

The above-mentioned problems are just the tip of the iceberg. Successfully completing Exchange to Office 365 migration is truly a voluminous task that no-one can “get the hang of” in the first go. It needs in-depth knowledge, expertise, and a lot of patience. But you can reduce the downtime by migrating mailboxes from Exchange to Office 365 with the help of Stellar Converter for EDB.

Methods to Migrate mailboxes from Exchange Server to Office 365

As discussed, there are two methods for mailbox migration and these are:

1: Migrate Mailboxes to PST

If you are using Exchange 2007 or older version then you can use export-mailbox command or Exmerge utility to export mailboxes to PST. If you are using Exchange 2010 & upper versions then you can use PowerShell command i.e., new-mailboxexportrequest for the same. After that, you can easily import PST to Office 365.

2: Migrate Mailboxes to Office 365

  • Cutover Migration: If you want to migrate all mailboxes (less than 2,000 mailboxes) at once then go for cutover migration method. Supports Exchange 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2013. 
  • Staged Migration: If you want to migrate mailboxes (more than 2,000 mailboxes) in batches then go for staged migration method. Supports Exchange 2003 and 2007. 
  • Hybrid Migration: If you want to migrate mailboxes (150- 2,000 mailboxes) in small batches over time then go for a hybrid migration method. Supports Exchange 2010 and 2013. 

Limitations of manual methods:

  • Manual methods are time taking and require larger downtime 
  • Exchange Admins must have in-depth knowledge of the mailbox migration 
  • Sometimes, migration to Office 365 may result in data loss which is not acceptable.  
  • To avoid such issues, you can opt for an automated method for Exchange to Office 365 migration 

Automated Method:  Exports Exchange mailbox to Office 365 with Stellar Converter for EDB

Nothing solves a problem like a reliable third-party tool. If you’re looking for a way to simplify Exchange to Office 365 migration process while avoiding all risks associated with the process, Stellar Converter for EDB is the solution. It facilitates extracting all vital Exchange mailbox data such as emails, contacts, attachments, and even archive mailboxes from online as well as offline EDB files and then directly exports it to Office 365. You can also export Exchange mailboxes to PST with the help of this tool & then import to Office 365. The software also helps in migrating Public Folders to PST & Office 365.

Product Features

Here are the product’s features at a glance:

  • Extracts all mail components from EDB file and converts to PST
  • Allows conversion of multiple EDB files and Archives mailboxes to PST format
  • Exports offline EDB file to Live Exchange Server and Office 365
  • Enables you to save converted data in EML, MSG, RTF, PDF, & HTML formats
  • Capable of converting Unicode EDB files
  • Restores accidentally deleted offline mailboxes
  • Allows searching for particular emails in offline EDB
  • Enables you to preview your mailbox before conversion
  • Secure Office 365 migration for MS Exchange Server version 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, 2000 and 5.5.

Software Steps for Exchange to Office 365 migration

Follow the steps below:

  1. Download, install and launch Stellar Converter for EDB
  2. On the main software screen, select one conversion mode out of ‘Offline EDB’
  3. "Directly browse and select EDB file if you know its exact location or ‘Find’ the EDB on your system if you’re unaware of its location
  4. Click on ‘Start’
  5. Now, track the process status through the progress bar displayed on the next screen
  6. "As items are extracted from the EDB, they’re populated in a tree-view list on the left side panel of the screen. Select any item to preview it on the right side
  7. To save a file or folder, select it from the tree-view list and click on ‘Save’ from the File menu
  8. Select Office 365 as the output format. You can also choose PST option if you want to export mailboxes to PST then import PST to Office 365.
  9. "A dialog box will appear prompting you to enter your Office 365 profile credentials. Provide the details and then click on ‘OK’ to complete the process

Why choose Stellar Converter for EDB for Exchange to Office 365 Migration?

Stellar Converter for EDB offers different options to meet user requirements and these are: Corporate Edition to migrate 50 mailboxes and Technician Edition to migrate multiple mailboxes & install software on multiple machines.


Q: Are there any pre-requisites that need to be fulfilled before running this EDB to PST software?

Answer: Yes. MS Office should be pre-installed on your system before saving the output PST files. Also, you must connect to the Domain Controller as an Exchange administrator. If you do not have administrative rights, you cannot perform the conversion in the online mode.

Q: What are the software’s specifications? I am looking for multi-lingual support?

Answer: This tool’s interface is available in English, German, French, Dutch, Italian, as well as Spanish. It has minimum system requirements of 1GB RAM and 50MB hard disk space. A complete DIY software, it is compatible with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP, and 2000 operating systems.

88% of people found this article helpful

Recent Articles