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How to Migrate Exchange 2013 to Office 365; Step-by-Step Guide to Follow

Published By Mohit Jha
Nimisha Ramesh
Approved By Nimisha Ramesh
Published On March 20th, 2024
Reading Time 9 Minutes Reading

Overview: This guide walks you through the top 5 ways to migrate Exchange 2013 to Office 365 step by step. You will also learn how to use a professional solution to migrate unlimited mailboxes from your Exchange server 2013 to Office 365 with minimal effort and no downtime.

As we all already know Microsoft announced, its ending support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 on April 11, 2023. Hence, business running on Exchange Server 2013 has to migrate to other platforms, and what could be the best other than Office 365? But before addressing the elephant in the room, let’s have a quick look into the possible reasons behind this operation.

Some of the Possible Reasons Behind the Exchange 2013 to Office 365 Migration

  • Office 365 is more secure, and it has a user-friendly simple GUI.
  • It offers a unified interface to manage multiple Office 365 users.
  • Instant access to all new features, software, and security updates from Microsoft.
  • Cost-effective and scalable Office 365 subscription plans for custom needs.
  • 24×7 Remote access to the cloud data without any dependency on server networks.
  • Office 365 does not require server maintenance, and server, or software upgrades. Everything is managed from Microsoft’s end.
  • Reduced energy consumption, and hardware and IT infrastructure cost compared to Office 365.

Different Approaches to Perform Exchange 2013 to Office 365 Migration:

  1. Cutover Migration (Complex, Supports Exchange 2003, 2007, 2010, or 2013)
  2. Staged Migration (Lengthy, Supports Exchange 2003 or 2007)
  3. Hybrid Migration (Complex, Supports Exchange 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019)
  4. IMAP Migration (Migrates Only Emails with Limitations)
  5. Quick & Reliable Automated Tool (Supports all Exchange Versions without any Limitations)

Let’s discuss each method in detail to learn the step-by-step process that helps to migrate Exchange Server 2013 to Microsoft Office 365.

Approach #1 – Using Cutover to Migrate Exchange Server 2013 to Microsoft Office 365

The Cutover migration method only supports the migration of Exchange servers 2003 2007, 2010, and 2013. This procedure cannot be used if Exchange 2016 needs to be migrated to Office 365. The Cutover migration process is time-consuming in addition; depending on the amount of data that has to be moved, it might take days or even months.

Here is an overview of the associated steps for cutover:

  • Step 1. You have to verify that you own the domain.
  • Step 2. Now connect your email system to Microsoft 365 or Office 365.
  • Step 3. Configure a cutover migration batch.
  • Step 4. Now you can start the cutover migration batch.
  • Step 5. Route your email directly to Microsoft 365 or Office 365
  • Step 6. Now you can delete the cutover migration batch
  • Step 7. You have to assign licenses to Microsoft 365 and Office 365 users

In the post-migration, you need to decommission the Exchnage environment.

Note: When you decommission the Exchange server you must be aware that it can have unintended consequences. Before decommissioning your on-premises Exchange organization, it is suggested that you contact Microsoft Support.

Approach #2 – Using Staged Exchange Migration to Migrate Exchange 2013 to Office 365

The Staged migration method only supports the migration of Exchange servers 2003 and 2007. If you have to migrate Exchange 2013 to Office 365 then you can not proceed with this method. Moreover, there is a potential risk involved of data loss, if the process is not performed properly.

Approach #3 – Using Hybrid Migration for Exchange 2013 to Office 365

To establish mail flow using Azure AD connect, the user must first set up directory synchronization in the Hybrid migration approach. Furthermore, both on-premises and Office 365 platforms can be deployed in a hybrid environment. Although there is no limit to the number of users that can be migrated, its configuration is far more difficult than Cutover and Staged migration.

Approach #4 – Using IMAP to Move Exchange Server 2013 Mailboxes to Office 365

IMAP migration only allows you to migrate emails and not other mailbox items like contacts, calendars, or tasks. There is also a size restriction; you cannot migrate emails larger than 35 MB, and items more than 500,000 from a user’s mailbox. It makes it the least preferred migration approach while dealing with tons of organizational data.

Also Read: How to Export Office 365 Mailboxes to PST using eDiscovery – Free Tutorial

Why do IT Admins Avoid the Manual Method of Exchange 2013 to Office 365 Migration?

There are several obvious reasons for avoiding the manual method of migrating on-premise Exchange 2013 to Office 365. It is the most technical and time-consuming process at the same time. Moreover, if any step goes wrong, it might result in data corruption or deletion. Let’s understand some of the most prominent shortcomings of these methods.

Limitations of Using Manual Method in Migrating Microsoft Exchange 2013 to Office 365

There are several limitations to using a manual method to migrate Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 to Office 365, including:

  • Manual migration can be a complex and time-consuming process that requires a deep understanding of Exchange 2013 and Office 365. The manual method involves various technical steps and PowerShell commands that make it uncommon and unachievable among non-technical users. 
  • Manually migrating data carries a higher risk of data loss or corruption, as there is a greater chance of human error. Moreover, there are possibilities of emails getting lost in transit until the DNS record changes are reflected.
  • Manual migration is typically unsuitable for large-scale migrations, as it can take a significant amount of time and resources to migrate many users or data.
  • If there are any issues during the migration process, it can be difficult to receive support from Microsoft or other third-party vendors.
  • The manual migration process can take a lot of time and resources, which can be a significant limitation for organizations with a large number of users or data.
  • Automation is not possible in a manual migration process, which can lead to errors and inconsistencies in the data.

The Cutover method requires a maximum of 2000 mailboxes to migrate to Office 365. You can not migrate more than 2000 user mailboxes in one go. The hybrid migration approach is the most laborious of all manual techniques. Even for an IT administrator, it is the most difficult and requires delicate configuration to do. Last but not least, all these manual methods do not ensure data security and integrity throughout this process.

Overall, the limitations and shortcomings listed above make it abundantly clear that manual approaches are not a comprehensive approach to use when dealing with important organizational data. Business companies should also be aware of these shortcomings since they may eventually result in business discontinuity.

Approach #5 – Professional Way to Migrate Exchange 2013 to Office 365 Step By Step Quickly

Unlike the above manual methods, the FreeViewer Exchange to Office 365 Migration Tool offers seamless migration from Exchange servers to Office 365 including emails, contacts, calendars, etc. It is always a prime choice of IT admins when it comes to migrating crucial organizational data with maximum data security and integrity. Let’s have a look at the features.

Smart Features of This Software That Make It A One-Stop Solution

Moreover, it comprises various modern-day features that make this entire migration process error-free and smooth. Some of them are as follows:

  • Migrate Exchange Server 2013, 2016, and 2019 to Office 365. 
  • Offers Built-in Date and Category Filter for Selective Data Transfer.
  • Comes with Three Types of Re-Run Migration for a Complete Data Transfer.
  • Provision to Migrate Newly Arrived Data from Source without Duplication.
  • Offers Bulk User Mailbox Migration Through User Mapping. 
  • Provides an Inbuilt Dashboard to Track the Status of Ongoing Migration. 
  • Supports Windows Server 2012, 2016 Windows 10 and 11 (64-bit).

Detailed Software Working Steps to Migrate Exchange 2013 to Office 365 Easily

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

Download Now Buy Now

Step 2. Select the source platform as Exchange and the destination as Office 365.

exchange 2013 to office 365 migration

Step 3. Enable the required mailbox categories such as emails, contacts, calendars, etc. Apply the inbuilt date filter for selective data migration between these platforms. Then click on the Next button.

exchange to office 365 migration

Step 4. Provide Exchange server details like Exchange server version, Admin Email, Admin password, Active Directory IP, and Exchange Server IP. Now validate the permissions by clicking on the validate button. Then click on the Next button.

enter exchange credentials

Step 5. Provide destination Office 365 admin account credentials such as Admin email and application ID and validate the required permissions. Then click on the Next button.

enter office 365 account credentials

Step 6. If you are heading toward bulk user mailbox migration from Exchange 2013 to Office 365. Then, it is advised to create a CSV mapping file with all source and destination user email accounts. Now, validate the required permissions and click on the next button. 

fetch users

Step 7. In the last step click on the start migration button to migrate Exchange 2013 to Office 365 without data loss. 

migrate exchange to office 365

Bringing It All Together

The process of moving Exchange Server 2013 to Office 365 involves various complexities. Therefore, picking the appropriate strategy for the situation becomes vital. Although certain manual ways may be utilized for the same, as mentioned above. However, they have their drawbacks and limitations too.

So, it’s always a good idea to invest in a trustworthy and expert solution, as mentioned above to migrate Exchange 2013 to Office 365 safely, without any limitations or data loss. 


Q1. How to migrate Exchange 2013 to Office 365 in 5 steps?

Since migration is a complex procedure to carry out, but still if you choose the right approach for it you can easily perform it in just 5 steps. With the above-discussed software, you can remove the friction that businesses feel while migrating to cloud platforms. Follow the below 5 steps to complete the entire migration from Exchange 2013 to Office 365.

  • Step 1. Download, Install, and Run the Software.
  • Step 2. Select Exchange and Office 365 Platforms.
  • Step 3. Choose Exchange Workload and Apply Filter.
  • Step 4. Login with Exchange and Office 365 Credentials.
  • Step 5. Create Mapping, Validate, and Click on Start.

Q2. What could be the possible issues with Exchange 2013 to Office 365 migration?

There can be several issues, which a user might face. Some of the most common issues are listed below:

  • Connection Issues.
  • The Specified Object Was Not Found
  • SMTP Address has No Mailbox Associated With It
  • The server Cannot Service this Request Right Now
  • Unable to Connect to the Remote Server.
  • Data Integrity Issue

However, if you switch the conventional method with the above-discussed automated software then you can easily overcome them.