Pre & Post Migration Checklist Plan for Microsoft Office 365 & Exchange Server

Written By Mohit Jha
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On March 14th, 2024
Reading Time 13 Minutes Reading

Summary: This guide is tailored for users who are in search of Microsoft Office 365 pre and post-migration checklists. We have discussed a comprehensive plan in the simplest manner to execute a secure data migration in Office 365. Even non-technical users can successfully perform this intricate operation by following the complete article.

The inflated demand for Office 365 lately has lured users all around the world to pick Outlook 365 over alternative on-premise email solutions. Why is this happening? This can be due to Microsoft’s subscription-based service or the rich features of the cloud which enable businesses to reduce operational expenses, improve flexibility, and collaborate more effectively.

Whatever the reason might be, the main focus is to know the process of migrating from whichever platform you are on to Office 365.

There is no gain without pain. Similarly, moving to Office 365 is a time-consuming process, but once completed, you can reap the fruits of your labor. To do this, you must diligently finish the whole process.

How can you do it? For this, you need to follow a detailed pre and post-migration checklist.

Table of Content 

Why Office 365 & Exchange Migration Checklists are The Need of the Hour?

Moving to Office 365 or changing between Exchange servers is a big deal for any organization. To make sure it goes smoothly, you need clear checklists before and after the migration.

Here’s why they’re important:

  • Office 365 migration checklists simplify the complexity, and technical configurations, by ensuring smooth data transfers.
  • It mitigates the risks of data loss and business disruptions by identifying and preventing problems.
  • Checklists offer step-by-step guidance for both technical and non-technical personnel, reducing errors.
  • By maintaining uniformity across migrations, it enhances efficiency and minimizes delays.
  • Serving as a record of the process, it facilitates future reference, audits, and issue resolution.
  • Early problem identification saves time, effort, and frustration, preventing data loss and downtime.
  • Clear delineation of duties ensures error-free migrations within set timelines by avoiding confusion.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to go anywhere else looking for the checklist. In this article, we will discuss both the checklist that you need to follow before the migration and after it extensively.

The Comprehensive Pre & Post Office 365 Migration Checklist is Described Below

This article covers everything from Office 365 pre and post-migration requirements to the tools to use to migrate to Office 365.

Pre-Migration Checklist Plan

  1. Get End Users Ready Ahead of Time
  • Effective communication among organization members is the first step in planning and preparing.
  • Before commencing the migration project, each user should have a thorough understanding of the migration strategy, how to implement it, and the consequences and changes that will occur inside the organization as a result of this shift.
  • Several tests and inspections are performed on migration day, and resource management is another critical element for pre-migration checks.
  • After the brainstorming, the strategy is disseminated broadly among the members to get comments from a diverse range of minds, and the admin should develop a strong project plan for the migration that is free of contradictions.
  • You may use Microsoft’s checklist to arrange a successful move. You can make changes to this checklist according to your preferences.
  1. Create an On-Site Inventory

Preparing the inventory for the on-premises Exchange is the next pre-migration checklist for Office 365 migration.

You should have the following information before migrating:

  • Before the transfer, the names and sizes of user mailboxes (shared resources), as well as email addresses are provided.
  • Client preferences, storage locations, and client versions are all available (browser, operating system, and Office programs).
  • Network setup (DNS hosts, proxy and firewall configuration, internal switches, internet connectivity, intranet sites, and available bandwidth).
  • Online meetings, instant messengers, linked application systems, DNS records, etc.
  1. Examine the Current Situation

Several tests and inspections were conducted on the current Exchange on-premises environment as an Office 365 pre-migration checklist.

  • Account creation and synchronization methods.
  • Licenses are required for user accounts.
  • Backups and backup processes are essential, as are network capacity and transfer suitability.
  • End-users must get fundamental training.
  • There is a need for Account authentication.
  • There is a requirement for Antivirus, firewall, and router upgrades.
  1. Prepare the Data for Migration

Prepare the Data for Migration Some things to keep an eye out for are:

  • Active Directory is current.
  • Deleted Accounts that were not in use for a long time.
  • The source and destination platforms hold similar UPNs.
  • Email addresses are allowed inside the proxy addresses attribute.
  • Archiving facilities (offline or online) will be required in the future.
  • Complying Prerequisites
  1. Create an Office 365 account.

This is the last step in Office 365 migration preparation. Set up your Office 365 accounts, also keep in mind the points given below.

  • Buy a subscription and license to Office 365.
  • Validate the domain names.
  • Configure – security permissions, apps to use, optional Office 365 directory syncing, and single sign-on (optional).
  • Execute the test migration.

After the pre-migration checklist, the user can begin the migration process.

Also Read: How to Move a Domain Between Office 365 Tenants?

Now, How to Migrate Your Data to Office 365?

You can accomplish this process with the help of an expert-recommended tool, i.e. SysTools Office 365 to Office 365 Migration Tool. It maintains the complete data structure and integrity throughout the whole process. The utility is a one-stop solution for all your needs such as Office 365 tenant-to-tenant migration and many more.

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Moreover, this program even allows you to export data in bulk without incurring any loss. Also, the Delta migration feature helps you to move newly arrived data from the source account.


Microsoft Office 365 Post Migration Checklist 

Now you are aware of the pre-migration checklist that you need to follow for a smooth migration. Along with that you also know the best tools to migrate with. You might be thinking, you are good to go, right? Well, the process doesn’t end here.

Once you’ve migrated your current email system to Office 365, there are some post-migration points also that you need to keep in mind.

  1. Cache and Redirection of Emails

Cache and redirection of emails examine the Outlook profile folders once again and ensure that the status for each folder is “This Folder Is Up To Date.”

  1. Migrated Mailboxes should have Licenses Assigned 

Users need to assign licenses to Office 365 accounts that are migrated, otherwise, they are terminated after 30 days without it.

As a result, it is advisable to assign licenses to mailboxes as soon as possible for long-term use.

  1. Create DNS Records for Autodiscovery

DNS Records Discovered Automatically As a consequence, users will be able to connect their user mailboxes to Outlook email clients as well as other mobile clients.

  1. Dismantle the Source Environment

Check to see whether your mailboxes have been successfully moved to your Office 365 account.

Assign licenses, and everything is operational.

Now, withdraw the previous on-premises Exchange Server. Furthermore, we recommend you decommission the source environment only when no further synchronization with the source is required. 

Must Read: How to Manage Multiple Office 365 Tenants? Effective Solution for Business Organization

Microsoft Exchange Server Migration Checklist for 2016, 2013, 2010 & 2007

Generally, Exchange migration is sort of tiresome as well as pretty challenging. The major reason behind this difficulty is the complicated and complex nature of migration that demands either experts’ intervention or their supervision. But, with some methods, one can make Exchange migration considerably easier. This blog discusses some of the Microsoft Exchange server migration checklists.

Three Main Phases of Exchange Server Migration Checklist

Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Migration is sub-divided into 3 main phases, which are given below:

  • First is Planning – This phase involves critical information needed for successful deployment. This includes Setup and deployment, Public Folders, Mailbox, Exchange Management-Shell, Mail Flow, and Client-Connectivity.
  • Then Deployment – This guides about establishing co-existence without the need for disrupting any of the presently existing services.
  • And lastly, Migration – The last phase is for migration including mail flow migration, public folders migration, clients and mailboxes migration, etc.

Microsoft Exchange Server 2016/13/10/07 Migration Checklist

Follow some of the major Microsoft Exchange Server migration checklists for proper migration:

1. Known about release notes.

The release notes section consists of critical info needed for a successful deployment procedure, containing segments like Setup and deployment, Mailbox, Client connectivity, Mail flow, Public folders, Exchange-Management-Shell, and coexistence of Exchange Servers between which migration is happening.

2. Authenticate System Requirements.

This would be acquainting the user with MS Exchange 2013/2010 obligation for Exchange’s data recovery, which needs to be fetched before installation. This would include hardware information, clients’ info, software information, OS details, and/or Network needs. Additionally, this Microsoft Exchange server migration checklist guides the user about the other supported scenarios for Exchange coexistence.

3. Check to Ensure If Prerequisite Steps Have Been Done.

This would entail the user installing must-have requisites for MS Exchange Mailbox, Client-Access-roles, and Edge-Transport-Server. These steps of installation are basically for the prerequisites including Windows-Server-2008-R2, Windows-Server-2012-R2, Windows-Server-2012, and SP1 i.e. Service Pack 1 OS.

4. Ensure Disjoint Namespace Configuration.

This Microsoft Exchange server migration checklist will brief the user about the process of configuring DNS or the Domain-Name-System suffix-search-list using the Group-Policy-Management-console. A DNS suffix search list is necessary for adding more than one DNS suffix.

5. For all MS Exchange version 2007 mailbox databases, select an offline address book.

This would brief the user about using the Exchange’s Management-Shell/Exchange’s Management-Console to provision offline-address-book or OAB recipients of downloads. There are 3 ways to identify which recipient is using which OAB.

6. Generate Legacy MS Exchange’s Hostname.

This would guide the users about creating and checking legacy domain-name-system (or DNS) host names. This is required to ensure that legacy MS Exchange 2007 and MS Exchange 2010/2013 do coexist. Client-Access-servers and Autodiscover make use of this particular hostname while it re-directing legacy users to Exchange servers.

7. Installing MS Exchange 2013/2010.

This would guide the user about using MS Exchange 2013/2010 Server Setup-Wizard for MS Exchange 2013/2010 Mailbox’s installation, Client-Access roles and Edge-Transport role’s installation. Further, this would even guide about verifying this installation of Exchange Server migration from Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2013. To do this, it is recommended that one must run the Get-ExchangeServer cmdlet and then go on to review the setup-log file.

8. Prepare MS Exchange 2010/2013 Mailbox.

In an Exchange-run enterprise, mailboxes are usually considered the most common type of recipients for information workers. All mailboxes have an Active Directory user account that is associated with them. Such mailboxes are used for sending/receiving messages and for salvaging messages, tasks, documents, appointments, notes, etc. It is easy to create the mailbox with the help of Shell/EAC.

9. Ensure Configuring MS Exchange-Related Virtual-Directories.

This would brief the user about ensuring the configuration of virtual directories that are MS Exchange-related. Even though MS Exchange 2013 Client-Access-server doesn’t tackle the processing of client protocols, still some settings are needed for application to the Client-Access server. Such settings are for certificates as well as virtual directories.

10. Ensure Configuring Certificates for MS Exchange 2007 & 2013/2010.

This will outline a Digital Certification overview providing details of various certificate types, which certificates should be chosen, Proxying, as well as best practices for Digital certificates. Mostly, in MS Exchange, SSL is designed for creating secure communication between client and server. The reason for this is, that clients make use of computers and Smartphones within the enterprise and even outside their organizations. So, while installing MS Exchange 2013, client communication is auto-encrypted.

11. Ensure configuring Edge-Transport’s Server.

This would guide the user about creating Internet mail flow with the help of a subscribed Edge-Transport server. For establishing Internet mail with the help of an Edge-Transport server, subscribing Edge-Transport-server to an Active-Directory site is needed. After subscribing, this would auto-generate the much-required twin Send-connectors for Internet mail flow.

12. Ensure Unified-Messaging Configuration.

For successfully deploying unified messaging or UM, some factors like various components, features, as well as UM elements are to be considered within the Microsoft Exchange server migration checklist. Such factors would help to plan appropriate UM infrastructure and deployment. This happens to be the most basic yet very vital step in helping in unified messaging deployment helping the user to plan his Voicemail System, UM’s Deployment, as well as connection establishment with the telephony network. For proceeding with deployment, it is needed that the user is aware of UM’s IP gateways, UM’s hunt groups, as well as UM’s mailbox policies, users’ Voicemail, UM’s services, UM’s dial plans, auto-answer, and route-incoming calls.

13. Ensure Enable Configuration of Outlook-Anywhere.

This would guide the user about Outlook-Anywhere and also regarding its advantages. In MS Exchange Server, this is also termed RPC-over-HTTP. Moreover, this attribute allows clients to establish connections with particular MS Exchange Servers over the Internet and even from outside their enterprise network. This would entail the user managing Outlook-Anywhere, its coexistence, and the testing of its connectivity.

14. Ensure Service-Connection-Point’s Configuration.

MS Exchange 2013/2010 Client-Access server doesn’t take customer-protocols-processing responsibility, but at the same time, some settings are employed for Client-Access-server including certificate settings as well as virtual-directory settings.

15. Ensure MS Exchange 2007 Version URLs Configuration.

This will briefly discuss the systematic configuration and MS Exchange 2007’s external URL testing guidelines. Mostly, when the MS Exchange 2007 mailbox user is connected to the MS Exchange version 2013 Client-Access server, then that would redirect the connection to the MS Exchange version 2007 Server. For this, MS Exchange server 2013 uses an external hostname that is configured on UM’s virtual directories, Outlook-Web-Access, Offline-Address-Book, MS Exchange’s Web-Services, Exchange ActiveSync’s virtual directory’s internal hostname, as well as Exchange 2007 server’s Exchange-ActiveSync. A major point of consideration is that on the MS Exchange 2007 server, internal and external host names vary from the MS Exchange 2013/2010 server hostnames. Also, they point to the MS Exchange 2007 server version.

16. Ensure DNS Records’ Configuration.

After server configuration, the next major aspect is DNS record-changing, helping in directing the connection to the new MS Exchange 2013 server.

17. Migrate Exchange 2007 Mailboxes to Exchange 2010/2013.

This would brief about requirements for moving mailboxes from 1 particular server to the other, also guiding about MS Exchange 2010/2013 moves, as well as migration endpoint. Both mailboxes can be on the same server or can be on the variant server, or maybe on some separate domain, on any dissimilar Active-Directory’s site, or also in any forest too.

18. Ensure Flawless MS Exchange 2013 Public Folder Data Migration to MS Exchange 2013.

This helps those firms that are using Public Folders, as this would help them know Public Folders, and also guide them about migrating those public folders to MS Exchange 2013 from any previous version with the help of serial migration.

19. Tasks Required after Installation.

This part is within the Microsoft Exchange Server Migration checklist. helps brief about configuring the new MS Exchange 2013 organization after installing the MS Exchange 2013 server. This brief will be about client-access configuration and mail flow, Internet-mail-flow configuration through the subscribed Edge-Transport server, MS Exchange 2013 installation verification, and installation of MS Exchange 2013’s management tools.

Also Read: How to Copy OneDrive Files to Another OneDrive Account – A Step-By-Step Guide

Wrapping Up

A checklist reminds the user if they are not missing out on anything. Thus, while migrating to Office 365, having a pre and post-migration checklist proves to be of huge help to the users. Additionally, we have also recommended a professional tool that will help you in this migration process.


By Mohit Jha

Mohit is a writer, researcher, and editor. Cyber ​​security and digital forensics are the two subjects that keep Mohit out of his seat. In addition, he hopes that the well-researched and thought-out articles he finds will help people learn.

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