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How to Switch Email Accounts Without Losing Emails

by on March 31, 2021
in Software & Games, Computers and Software, Productivity, Tips & How-Tos :: 135 comments

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There are plenty of good reasons why you might want to change your email account. You want or need to change email providers, you hate your current email address, or you’ve become inundated with spam.

However, switching email accounts can feel like a daunting task. Not only do you need to notify everybody of your new email address (including all of those sites where you’ve created accounts over the years), but there’s also the fear that you’ll miss an important email from a person or organization that you can’t afford to miss.

Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to make the change and not lose any emails in the process. Here’s how to do it.

1. Try to keep your old email address as long as possible

When switching accounts, you’ll want to hold onto your account for a little while to ensure the process has worked smoothly. If you’re switching jobs or leaving school, find out how long you’ll have access to your old email address before it’s deactivated and plan accordingly. Most organizations won’t let you access your account, but some may forward email for a length of time to your new account.

2. Create a new email address

Create an email address with a free provider like Gmail or Do not use the email assigned by your internet service provider, company or school. When choosing your new email address, use your name or something that will age well over time. If you have a common name, try using your last name first or a combination of your initials and your last or first name.

Create Gmail account

3. Forward emails to your new email account

You can forward your messages while retaining a copy with your old mail service. Or, you can forward your messages and delete the copies on your old mail service.

Forward emails to Gmail

Go to Gmail and select the cog icon in the upper right corner and select "Settings." Select  "See all settings," "Accounts and Import" and then "Add a mail account." Enter your email address and leave the box "Treat as an alias" checked so when you reply to email it will come from your new Gmail account. Keep the option to "Send through Gmail" selected. You'll then need to "Send Verification" to show that you own your old email account.

Add account to Gmail

For most email services, all of the fields will be pre-populated, if not, you can get the information from your email service provider. Then select Add Account.

Once you have connected your account, go back to Settings > Accounts and Import> and choose to "Always reply from the default address," which should be your new Gmail address.

Forward emails to

Go to and select the settings cog in the upper right corner. Scroll down to and select  "View all Outlook settings." 

Select Mail > Sync email and then select either "Gmail" or "Other email accounts." You’ll fill out your name, email address and password and choose where your imported email will be stored: Create a new folder for imported email or Import into existing folders (like Sent Items, Drafts, Inbox etc.). Depending on your old email provider, you may have to enter your email settings manually. You can also "Set default From address," which is important as you move people over to your new email account. add account

4. Import your contacts from your old email address

Chances are that you have an address book associated with your old email account and you’ll want to import them for use with your new account. Before importing contacts, you'll need to export your contacts from your current provider to a CSV file or, for Google Contacts, a CSV or vCard file. Search for "export contacts from (name of your old email provider)" for instructions.

Importing to Google Contacts

Go to Google Contacts, select Import and upload your *.csv or *vcf file.

Import contacts to Gmail

Importing to

Before importing contacts, you'll need to export your contact from your current provider. Search for "export contacts from (name of your old email provider)" for instructions. Then go to your account, select the People icon, choose "Manage" and then "Import Contacts." import contacts

5. Tell people about your new email address

Once you have your new email up and running, it’s time to email everyone telling them about your new email address. Be sure to use the Bcc option (blind copy) in the address bar, so you don’t accidentally share other people’s email addresses with the whole group. You may also want to add a signature that calls out the fact that your email has changed. For go to Settings > View all Outlook settings > Mail > Compose and reply. For Gmail for to Settings > See all settings >General and scroll all the way down to Signature.

Gmail BCC Message

Updated on 3/31/2021 with new instructions

[Image credit: hand holding phone with email via BigStockPhoto, screenshots via Techlicious/Google/Microsoft]

Discussion loading

Switch from AOL to Yahoo, Gmail or something easy for my mother

From MIKE on October 04, 2020 :: 3:40 pm

My mother is stuck with AOL through Verizon and now it is through Frontier it is worse. Especially to log in.
Password to login and always locking her out or having to call and change a password or even a simple log in to check her emails.

What would you recommend to use that is easy for her to check on a daily basis without being such a pain??
I guess the one joke I heard AOL (Always Off Line)
Thank you very much in advance!!


I suspect this is user error, not technical

From Josh Kirschner on October 04, 2020 :: 4:20 pm

If your mother is constantly getting locked out, it sounds like she is entering the wrong password too many times, not that there is an issue with the service. If that’s the case, she’s going to have the same issues with Gmail or any other email provider.

The solution here is to get her a password manager that will enter the info for her so she doesn’t have to to remember her login or have issues with mis-typing it. You may have to set it up for her, but once it’s done her life will be much easier (and safer). These are our picks for the best password managers.


security-related help please

From gail on October 14, 2020 :: 5:09 am

hello,  gmail has sent me notification my email has security issues and I need a new email, my credit report stated they found my email on the black web I love this email of course but obviously I need to switch. I want a new Gmail address but I want to only forward some of my normal mail to my new address not all, only my important emails is this possible? also since I have a serious security issue should I even consider forwarding my mail? wouldn’t that give the people my info all over again?


Can you provide more info?

From Josh Kirschner on October 14, 2020 :: 8:49 pm

Can you tell me exactly what the message from Google said? I’m surprised you would get a message saying that you need a new email, yet you still have access to it. If there were a serious security issue, Google would terminate or at least suspend your account. I’m concerned this may be some sort of phishing attempt.

As far as your email on the “black web” (dark web?), that’s normal. Almost everyone’s email is on some dark web list. It only is an issue if that email is associated with an active password.


security issues

From Gail on October 26, 2020 :: 3:50 pm

ok I want to thank you for responding so fast..I just got the notification you responded this makes me feel better about my old email. I will try to find a copy of what Gmail said and send it, but they did not suspend my account or freeze it. I got a few change your password notifications also so I have changed my password every 3 months.


Transferring (exporting) emails

From Eric on October 26, 2020 :: 3:46 pm

Hi,To start I have read the article and many of the questions and answers and I am still in a place of nervous uncertainty.
I have been an email customer of Aol for a long time and because of its attitude towards cross platform applications such as Thunderbird I have decided to move over to gMail.Really hard work what with changing contact email addresses and passwords.So,having reached the point where those emails {that are precious) to me are transferred into gMail accounts can I feel sure that cutting the tie with Aol will leave those transferred emails where I put/want them.
I really do not know enough about programming and software to feel comfortable with this move of cutting the cord.


Speedy reply

From Eric on October 27, 2020 :: 8:07 am

Thank you so much for pointing me to the solution.
I admit to reading that solution prior to my first contact with yourselves and now because of re reading I know it to be the exact answer to my question.Wow my confidence has rocketed.You have created a wonderful website and I shall be referring to it constantly.All best wishes to you


Used email address

From Stacy M Hurt on November 02, 2020 :: 10:34 am

I got a free Outlook account with a GoDaddy domain.  After a few days I decided I didn’t like outlook.  I’ve always been a gmail user.  I deleted the Outlook email account.  However when I went to gmail and tried to use my business name in my new gmail account it said the address is already taken.  I emailed the account and got no response.  I don’t think anyone has the email address I want.  I think it is taking into account the Oulook email address that I had for a few days.  Is there anything I can do to get this address opened up?  Thank you!


Need more info

From Josh Kirschner on November 02, 2020 :: 8:24 pm

I’m a little confused by what you are describing. How did you “delete” your Outlook email? Did you remove the MX record in your GoDaddy DNS settings for your domain? Did you set up your domain’s DNS settings on GoDaddy to have an MX record for Gmail and do you have a GSuite account for your domain that will let you use a branded email address?


Save my email files to pst on a flashdrive

From John Easley on December 28, 2020 :: 12:42 pm

Where is a simple, easy to understand, article to read. Is there a software that will make it easy?


more clarification please

From kathy mcCasey on January 05, 2021 :: 11:20 pm

I have 2 gmail accounts plus use another one that belongs to a relative that I work for online.
I sent a link to a group of folks, not as an attachment, but in the body of an email.  I did not realize the link when opened, opens up to my email and whoever got it, now has complete access to that gmail account UNLESS I remain logged out.  If logged out and they open the link, the gmail SIGN IN page appears, with all my gmail accounts listed. Can I transfer all my old emails plus my contacts to one of my other gmail accounts, and once done, delete everything, will they be able to access to account that I transferred everything to, when they see the sign in page?  Or if I completele de-activate that gmail account, will they be open to the other gmail accounts I have?  AND… is there a way to remove the list of my other gmail accounts, so that no one can see the if they try to open my link?


Signed In??

From Tony on January 07, 2021 :: 11:09 pm


Have you been told this by the recipient? What sort of link did you send? Even if your link shows a list of your email addresses, it would not have taken the passwords. There’s no way this should open at a signed in page.

Don’t go changing accounts over this. Worse case scenario perhaps you could change the passwords and hope that logs out other people, but I really doubt they’re logged in.


Frontier Recovery Email is closing our email on Feb. 4, 2021

From Helen W on January 11, 2021 :: 1:31 pm

Frontier has a banner set up to let us set up a recovery email
for their records. The process does not work. I spent several
hours with chat helpers that could not get it to work.  We have
Ziply fiber that bought out Frontier in our area. Frontier has filed
for bankruptcy and we have decided we will go with Gmail.  Will
we be able to get emails from our Frontier email after Feb. 4th or
will it just tell incoming emails that we no longer exist. What do you recommend we do?


Can you clarify the message you received?

From Josh Kirschner on January 12, 2021 :: 2:36 pm

A “recovery” email address is used as a backup in case you forget the password to your primary email address. Not clear why Frontier would say your recovery email is disappearing after Feb 4th. What’s more important is whether your primary email is going away. I don’t see any information out there that Frontier is planning to shut down email addresses on February 4th, so you should be fine for the foreseeable future. However, given Frontier’s financial woes, now is probably a good time to push that move over to Gmail.


Frontier Closing

From Tony on January 11, 2021 :: 11:05 pm


If you’ve been warned that your service provider is actually CLOSING, now is the time to download or export as much of your stuff as possible. You also need to start notifying contacts about your new email address. If there is no arrangement for another company to take over their network, any mail coming to you will just land in a black hole and disappear.


Currently, I've got an Outlook Account, using Spectrum's e-mail address -(above)- & need to switch a

From Gary J. Gross on January 21, 2021 :: 3:00 am

My, really tough problem is.  I, have sold my house & canceled Spectrum’s -(Used to be called Oceanic Cable TV)- Cable & Internet Services.  It, will take affect & close everything down on January 24th, 2021.  I, will call them tomorrow, but I don’t think they allow you to just use their Internet Service alone.
That, being the case.  I, read above how you need to keep your old Account, or Program?-active as long as possible, in order to obtain enough time to switch things over.  I’m, afraid it looks like that’s not going to happen.
I, am a 68 year-old man.  Who, knows absolutely nothing about current Technologies.  Can, you please fill this old-man in on how to switch all of my old Outlook Folders, to my new g-mail address that I just established January 2nd, 2021?
I, thank you ahead of time, for any and all help you can provide…
Mahalo, & Aloha from Hawaii,
Gary J Gross


You should definitely call Spectrum.

From Suzanne Kantra on January 21, 2021 :: 4:11 pm

You should definitely call Spectrum. You may be able to negotiate a grace period. I’ve seen some people say their email was cut off immediately and others that it was a couple of months. In the meantime:

1. Make sure you have copies of all of your email locally in Outlook
2. Set up the email forwarding to your new Gmail account
3. Change the recovery email for all accounts that use your old email address. If you can’t change the primary recovery email, you can usually at least add a secondary.

Unfortunately, you’ll need to create new folders for your Gmail email, since folders are associated with accounts.


email hacked

From Maria Cavazos on March 23, 2021 :: 1:11 pm

Our office email was hacked with email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Now our clients and other attorneys and judges emails are getting altered to the hacked email from gmail.  How do I fix this?


I'm not following what you are describing

From Josh Kirschner on March 23, 2021 :: 2:27 pm

I don’t understand what you mean by other email addresses are being altered to the hacked email or why, exactly, you think your office email was hacked. However, if you have strong reason to believe your email system was hacked, you really need to bring in an expert to evaluate things, especially given you are a law office with confidential client information - this is not something someone who isn’t a security expert should try to address themselves.

The legal analogy would be someone who is on trial for murder defending themselves, even though they have no background in criminal law and are not even a lawyer. The outcome is not going to be positive, no matter how much Law & Order they watched on TV…


Help,help,help for ever

From Les Jones on April 03, 2021 :: 2:47 pm

i’m afraid I do not get it now matter how much info you give it’s still double dutch to me & not helpful. I have a virginmedia email address which I use very often, I have a Gmail account which sends me any mail to my virginmedia email address.i want to move house & keep the virginmedia email address because were I would like the new house in a village they do not have virginmedia internet so I do not mind keeping the account open & paying for it and the only way forward is to use another internet provider at the village and have my Gmail account on it BUT I do not know how to read my virginmedia emails on outlook express from my Gmail account.At this moment it’s the other way round Gmail to outlook


ISP Email Addresses

From Tony on April 03, 2021 :: 7:10 pm

Les Jones,

Complimentary email addresses from Internet Service Providers are awkward and are often not available for continued usage when you cease to be a customer of that provider. If you are moving to an area where that ISP does not operate, you will need a new company to provide your internet service. (Please don’t repeat the mistake of accepting an email account through the new provider).

Your Gmail account is yours no matter where you live in the world and no matter who provides your internet connection. You need to transition to only using your Gmail email address for all communication.

If you were in the habit of downloading and reading your emails through the Outlook Express email program on your computer, those old email messages will still be yours to keep as long as you have the program installed, but no new messages will come if the service gets terminated.

If you have a preference for the Outlook Express interface rather than Gmail’s webmail, you can configure that email account to be read through the program just as you previously did the virginmedia messages.

By the way, do you really mean the very old obsolete Outlook Express, or the newer Microsoft Outlook/Office 365 email program??


Confusion with email accounts

From Michelle on May 07, 2021 :: 2:54 am

Hi, I have a question regarding my email accounts. I live in Canada and have been using Outlook Express, the old one, for a number of years. I’ve kept it because I’m used to it and it’s so easy to maneuver through. I am now going to be relocating to the US and will obviously be cutting off my internet service with my present provider in Canada. I have set up a Gmail account and have started using that and notifying everyone that my email address has changed. When I move to the US what will happen to my Outlook emails that I presently have, will I be able to access them? A lot of them have information I will need to refer to after I move. Can they be transferred to my Gmail and if so how, and will I lose them in Outlook? I won’t be getting a new internet provider right away.


Wow, that is old

From Josh Kirschner on May 11, 2021 :: 6:25 pm

Outlook Express was removed starting in Windows Vista (I believe the last version was released in 2001?), so to say I’m rusty on how it worked would be an understatement. However, I’m assuming it stored all emails locally on your computer, so they should still be there when you move to the US. Though if your computer crashes, they’ll be lost.

What you should do is start forwarding your emails from your Canadian provider to Gmail now (using the steps above). If you can, keep your old email address - even if you cut off your internet service, many providers will let you keep your email address active.

For certain providers, you can import all of your old emails, too. In Gmail settings, go to Accounts & Import and select Import mail and contacts. Follow the steps to see if your emails can be imported.

There is a way to export emails from Outlook Express to Outlook, but it isn’t straightforward. I would consider whether you really need those ancient emails or perhaps you should just make a clean break.


Made an error in my question to you...

From Michelle on May 18, 2021 :: 8:40 am

I had mentioned in my previous question that I was using Outlook Express, that was incorrect I am using Outlook 2007 and Windows 7, which is still a
little outdated. Does that make a difference in your response?


Mostly the same

From Josh Kirschner on May 20, 2021 :: 10:28 am

You should still follow the steps to forward your emails from your old provider to Gmail and try to import, etc. The only thing different for Outlook 2007 is that you can import your old emails to a .PST file so you would always have a backup that you can access. Here are the steps to export your email from Outlook 2007:

Confusion with email accounts

From Tony on May 11, 2021 :: 9:42 pm

Hello Michelle,

In addition to what Josh said, please ensure you have working recovery options configured on your Gmail account.

There is every possibility that you’ll be thrown a security challenge when Google sees you attempting to log in through a different ISP at a new location with a strange IP Address.

In the event that you switch off your Canadian phone service before getting a cellphone from an American company, you might find Google sending a code to your Canadian number and you being unable to access it.


Very helpful

From Henry Wilson on May 18, 2021 :: 3:32 am

Thanks Suzanne
I found this article very helpful


Forgot password

From Enrique sanabria on May 30, 2021 :: 1:14 am

Need the password so I can connect to my Apple Apple Pay can you help


HELP!!!!! Will sender see my new email address?

From Fard on June 02, 2021 :: 2:42 am


I am planning create a new email address but without losing my old emails. The reason I am changing to a new one because of harassment.

My question is, if the abuser tries to email me using my old email address, his email would be automatically forwarded to my new email address right? But would he know or see the new email address that I just created?


No, they won't see your new address

From Josh Kirschner on June 02, 2021 :: 5:26 pm

The person you are avoiding won’t see your new address unless you respond to them. Keep this in mind, though, that you don’t want to set p an automatic response message notifying people of your new address. Similarly, be careful about vacation notification emails.


Can I delete my old google email account after creating the new email?

From Fard on June 02, 2021 :: 6:06 pm

Thank you so much for your prompt reply!

Can I then delete my old google email account after creating my new email so that it would say my old email no longer exist?


Delete account???

From Tony on June 02, 2021 :: 10:29 pm

Hello Fard,

Please don’t be too hasty to delete an old email account. Many people “forget” their account is the username for some very important site, or the recovery email address for another platform, or their online banking or social security account log-in address.

I wouldn't delete it

From Josh Kirschner on June 03, 2021 :: 10:45 am

Tony makes a good point about using the old email for account login and recovery. It’s also possible that you may receive an important email to your old address that you wouldn’t want to miss. Occasionally, I get emails to my old accounts from organizations with information about my accounts, membership, etc. that I had completely forgotten I had signed up with using those old addresses. For your harasser, just set up a rule to send his/her emails directly to spam.

Change Email address

From Anna on September 03, 2021 :: 6:52 am

Hi I have a eircom email i need to change to gmail but dont want to loose all my emails is there an step by step way to do this please.
Thank you in advace.


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