Groupwise to Outlook Migration

Performing a large migration from GroupWise to Outlook is time consuming, but can be efficient if proper planning is made.


First, one should know the size of the GroupWise files (Inbox, Sent, Trash and personal folders) that are being converted to Outlook format. This includes the Archive if that is being converted as well. This is accomplished by performing a “GWCheck” on the GroupWise database. The Archive can be determined by examining the file sizes within the Archive folder.


Second, one must purchase a GroupWise conversion tool. One of the most commonly used utilities is sold by Quest Software and is called GroupWise Migration Tool. Other products are out there, but I have used that product in the past and it works well.


Finally, it is recommended that you download a GroupWise Cleanup Agent to purge the user’s PC of all things GroupWise since the uninstall process supplied by Novell is not adequate. I used the GroupWise Client Remover utility by Nexic software, but others are available.


The migration process described here is based upon these criteria:

1. The GroupWise system is maintained in-house and accessible by the person performing the migration (adequate access rights are required).

2. The Email system being migrated into is a hosted solution with the Exchange servers owned and managed by an email provided and an Outlook client is being installed on each user’s computer.

3. Adequate access rights to user PCs.  Some parts of the conversion required being logged into the PC as the user.


The steps described below are not written in stone and can be modified as necessary based upon circumstances and the unique architecture of your email system.


1. Create a user account on the new hosted Outlook system for each user being converted/migrated.  If a custom configuration file is created for the new user, please save that *.prf file.  Please note that each *.prf file is unique and must be stored separately for each user.  Do not get them confused!

2. Within each GroupWise account being converted/migrated, create a:

  a. Folder called “Fwd to Outlook.”

  b. Rule that:

      1) Forwards all new emails, appointments, tasks and reminders to the hosted solution email account (contact your provider for the appropriate email address).

      2) Marks the new item as read.

      3) Moves the new item to the “Fwd to Outlook”

      4) Stops all rule processing  

3. Step 2 above is only needed until all employees are migrated to Outlook.  Then the rule can be removed (or the GroupWise system can be shut down).

4. Using the GroupWise Migration Tool (see the software instructions for proper use), convert a user’s GroupWise email account (or use the batch tool to convert many GroupWise accounts at once).  The user should be out of GroupWise system for the cleanest conversion, but technically does not have to be.  If the user is active within GroupWise, some emails sent during the conversion may not be captured and converted.  In addition, any changes to email locations (moved from folder to folder, sent to archive, removed from archive, etc) may also not be captured.

5. Three files are created by the Migration tool (it may be different if you use some other utility beside Quest’s). 

  a. GWUserid .pst (The address book and contact list)

  b. GWUserid -1.pst (The mailbox information)

  c. GWUserid -2.pst (The archive)

6. Go to the user’s PC and uninstall GroupWise.  The uninstall process requires a reboot, so you need the user’s network password or the user must be present for the next step.

7. Logged in as the user, use the GroupWise Cleanup Agent to better purge the user’s profile and the system of GroupWise.

8. Install Outlook.

9. Logged in as the user, using the user specific *.prf file obtained in Step 1 above, configure the user’s Outlook client.

10. Once Outlook is installed and configured, you can import the converted GroupWise data.  I found it most efficient to import the data in the sequence identified below. 

  a. Address book and contact list (GWUserid.pst)

  b. Archive (GWUserid-2.pst)

  c. Mailbox (GWUserid-1.pst)

11. The reason the Archive is imported before the mailbox is that Outlook does not know it is an archive and will not auto-archive it.  It will import it as regular email, therefore you must re-archive it manually.  The above sequence prevents the archive and the mailbox data from getting mixed up.

12. Retain the *.pst files until the user confirms all data is properly imported.  After that, you can delete them at your discretion.