Migrate from Hosted Exchange to Office 365 (Exchange Online) Using Guided Steps

Written By Mohit Jha
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On March 18th, 2023
Reading Time 9 Minutes Reading

Are you a subscriber of hosted Exchange server and want to export your mailboxes to the cloud? Do you want to move from hosted exchange to Exchange Online (Office 365), but do not know how to? Read this write-up to learn how to migrate from hosted Exchange 2013, 2010, and 2007 to Office 365.

In this digital world, everyone aims to take full advantage of cloud services. And, they consider Office 365 as the most trusted cloud platform.

Why not?

Keeping pace with the changing technology is the key to staying in the business. Organizations, regardless of size, are realizing this fact and migrating from hosted servers to Office 365.

This is the era of cloud computing and data migration to the cloud is the happening trend today. Many users are exporting their emails from Exchange server to Exchange Online (Office 365) every day due to n number of reasons. However, many people are not aware of this process.

5 Simple Steps to Use While Migrating from Hosted Exchange to Exchange Online

  • Step 1. Download, Install, and Run the Software.
  • Step 2. Select IMAP as Source & Office 365 as Destination.
  • Step 3. From Workload Click on the Email and Apply Date Filter.
  • Step 4. Login with Respective Admin Credentials & Validate.
  • Step 5. Select Users and Click on Start Migration Button.

Keeping their need in mind, this post will describe two popular methods to move from hosted Exchange 2013, 2010, and 2007 to Office 365.

What are the Benefits of Migrating from Hosted Exchange to Exchange Online?

There are several benefits to migrating from a hosted Exchange server to Exchange Online, which is a cloud-based version of Microsoft’s email and calendar platform. Some of these benefits include:

  • Scalability: Exchange Online can easily scale to accommodate a growing number of users and their email needs.
  • Reliability: Exchange Online is built on Microsoft’s global, secure, and reliable cloud infrastructure, so it is less likely to experience downtime or other technical issues.
  • Security: Exchange Online includes built-in security features such as anti-spam and anti-malware protection, as well as encryption and data loss prevention capabilities.
  • Cost savings: By moving to Exchange Online, organizations can reduce the costs associated with maintaining their own Exchange servers and infrastructure.
  • Accessibility: Exchange Online allows users to access their email and calendar from anywhere with an internet connection, making it easy for employees to work remotely.
  • Integration: Exchange Online can be integrated with other Microsoft 365 apps such as SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams for better collaboration and communication.

How to Migrate from Hosted Exchange to Exchange Online (Office 365)?

Migrating from On-premise to a new environment like office 365 is not an easy task. Hence knowing available options to do is an added benefit.

[Note: Choosing the right approach is as important as knowing]

The following section describes an approach that you can follow to move from hosted to Office 365. The mentioned approach is known as Minimal Hybrid Configuration. You can check the complete pre & post-migration checklist plan for Microsoft Office 365 here.

Technique A:  Using Minimal Hybrid Configuration

Minimal Hybrid Configuration or Express migration is a simplified way of migrating mailbox data from hosted Exchange into Office 365. Using this method, users can avoid “Full Hybrid deployment” and perform the migration with minimum subset configuration. In this section, readers will come to know about the method of hosted exchange to O365 migration in only 6 steps.

Note: Minimal Hybrid Configuration can only be used if the user has never used a Full Hybrid deployment. If Full Hybrid deployment has ever been configured before, users will not see the Minimal Hybrid option in Hybrid Configuration Wizard.

Also Read: How to Migrate Teams from One Tenant to Another? Know the Challenges & Their Solution

Step 1: Domain Ownership Verification

The very first step of this migration is to verify the Office 365 domain you own. This step bears importance as Admins need to create email ids in the O365 environment for the users. Adding and verifying the on-premise domain is therefore essential before the beginning of the export process. Follow the steps mentioned here to complete this step:

a) Log in to your Office 365 account.

b) Navigate to Settings and choose the Domains option.

c) Click on Add domain located on the Domains page.

d) Domain wizard will open. Enter the domain name your organization uses in the on-premise Exchange Server, for example, contoso.com. Then click Next.

e) Select the TXT record tab to verify the domain. This option usually helps to verify ownership.

f) Once you have added TXT, wait for around 15 minutes. Then move to the next step.

g) Now click on Done>> Verify Now in the wizard. A verification page will open.

h) At this point, select I’ll manage my own DNS records option. End the process here and do not go to the next domain wizard step.

Step 2: Start Hosted Exchange Minimal Migration

Now, use global admin credentials to sign in to your Office 365 account. Make sure the system you are using is domain-joined to the hosted Exchange.

a) From the Admin center of Office 365, click Setup>> Data migration from the left pane.

b) Data Migration page will open, where you have to choose the Exchange option under the ‘Select your data service’ section.

c) Next, click on the Download application button to download Office 365 Hybrid Configuration Wizard and run it.

d) Click Next on the welcome screen of the Hybrid Configuration Wizard.

e) On the next page named On-premises Exchange Server Organization, keep the default values as they are. Only click on Next and the wizard will connect to Exchange Server by default.

f) Enter credentials for Hosted Exchange server and Exchange Server Online on the next page named Credentials. Click Next and the credentials will get validated.

g) On the next page termed Hybrid Features, click the radio button of Minimal Hybrid Configuration>> Next.

h) Click update on the Ready for Update page. This will prepare the hosted Exchange mailboxes for migration of Hosted Exchange 2013, 2010, and 2007 to Office 365.

Step 3: Provisioning Users

a) While you are on the User Provisioning page, enable the radio button beside “Synchronize my users and passwords one time (Recommended)”>> click Next.

At this stage, users will be asked to synchronize hosted Exchange with Office 365 by downloading and installing the Azure AD Connect wizard.

b) Download and run Azure AD Connect and then select Express setting default options.

When the synchronization is done, users will be redirected to the Data migration page of Office 365. On that page, all synchronized users will be visible. This is a one-time synchronization process and remains turned off for Office 365 accounts.

Step 4: Assign Users the Licenses of Office 365

At this stage, you have to assign users their Office 365 licenses. Then cloud mailboxes will get assigned to these users that will be used for importing hosted Exchange mailbox data. Like the given image, the requirement of a license will be indicated under the Status column on the Data migration page.

Go to Admin center>> Users>> Active users. Now assign licenses to the users.

Step 5: Initiate User Mailbox Migration

Since the part of assigning users, and their licenses are over, now you can start mailbox transfer by moving to the Data migration page. On that you, you need to perform these steps:

a) Click on the Setup option and then Data migration. Then click on Exchange.

b) Select the mailboxes you wish to migrate from hosted Exchange account to Office 365>> click on the Start Migration button.

Tips: To make sure that everything is working fine, initially migrate some mailboxes.

As the migration will take place, the progress status will be shown on the Data migration page.

Step 6: Update the Records of Public DNS

After the migration of mailboxes to Office 365 is done, change the MX record in order to point to Microsoft Office 365. The purpose of this step is to route all the new emails coming from this mailbox to Office 365. Users also have to complete the setup of different DNS records like CNAME, TXT, and SRV.

Must Read: How to Perform Tenant Migration in Microsoft 365?

Easiest Way to Migrate from Hosted Exchange to Office 365 (Exchange Online)

If you find the above-mentioned approach overwhelming and error-prone, then you should use the Microsoft MVP recommended SysTools IMAP to Office 365 Migration Tool. It is one of the most convenient & secure tools that can execute multiple migration projects at the same time. You can apply a date filter to migrate data selectively, you can also prioritize the user mailbox that would migrate first in the batch migration.

Download Tool Purchase

Quick  Software Working Steps to Migrate from Hosted Exchange to Office 365

Step 1. Download, install, and launch the software on your computer.

Step 2. Now choose IMAP as the source & Office 365 as the destination migration platform.

Step 3. Enable the Email checkbox under the Workload Selection and apply the date filter if required.

Step 4. In this step choose your preferred IMAP server from the available dropdown menu. The rest of the details will be automatically filled in by the software. Validate required permissions and click on Next.

Step 5. Log in with the destination Office 365 admin account credentials and validate permissions by clicking on the validate button. Then click on Next.

Step 6. Create user mapping for bulk user migration through fetch users, import users, or download templates. And validate the required permission.

Step 7. Provide the Source App Password for the desired accounts you want to migrate. Then Click on Validate button and then click on the start migration button to migrate from Hosted Exchange to Office 365.


If you are an Exchange Server user, you may have the need to migrate your data from hosted Exchange Account. In this post, we have discussed how you can use a minimal hybrid configuration & an automated approach to perform a step-by-step migration process safely. Users can choose accordingly any of these methods based on their requirements.