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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 :: 120 comments

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How to Switch Email Accounts Without Losing Emails

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 Outlook.com. 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 Outlook.com

Go to Outlook.com 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. 

Outlook.com 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 Outlook.com

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 Outlook.com account, select the People icon, choose "Manage" and then "Import Contacts." 

Outlook.com 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 Outlook.com 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

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?

Reply

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.

Reply

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.

Reply

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.

Reply

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

Reply

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!

Reply

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?

Reply

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?

Reply

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?

Reply

Signed In??

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

Kathy,

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.

Reply

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?

Reply

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.

Reply

Frontier Closing

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

Helen,

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.

Reply

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

Reply

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.

Reply

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?

Reply

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…

Reply

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

Reply

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??

Reply

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