Reading an Exchange Mailbox from GMail

So the other day, I’m trying to figure out how to read an Exchange mailbox from GMail and it’s really starting to get to me because I just can’t get the stupid thing to work. It shouldn’t be that hard, because it’s possible to use an IMAP or POP3 connection to Exchange, after all, but I just can’t get the GMail connection to work. To make matters worse, if you search for it (my usual method of solving such a problem), you end up with results, but not of the correct variety. You get pages that tell you how to forward from GMail to Exchange, and pages that tell you how to use GMail as a business platform – but not what I really want, which is simply to have GMail do the checking with Exchange being a regular POP3 account. So I had to keep digging.

I’ll tell you first that it is possible. Secondly, you do need to have POP3 configured (you should probably have guessed that one). Finally, it’s really not hard – you just have to be willing to play around and guess a few times in order to figure out the answer. After that, it works like a champ.

Just like any other POP3 account, log into your GMail account, click on Settings and then Accounts. Scroll down to where it says Get mail from other accounts. Add your email address and clck Next Step. This is where it gets tricky.

The POP Server is just what you’d expect it to be – and you can even use SSL here, which is pretty cool. Just like other POP3 accounts, you can leave the mail on the server if you want, which comes in handy if you’re traveling and don’t want to remove the mail from your server for some reason (or even if you’re at home and just want to use GMail for whatever reason). As with other accounts, you can add a label to the account. But there’s just one little trick you need to know in order to make it work. Up at the top, where it asks you for your username, make sure you specify the correct format.

All you Windows types, who are used to including this in domain\user format, make sure you’re paying attention and enter it as domain/user instead. That’s it. Use a forward slash instead of a backslash. And don’t even try and use the email address, because while it will work in some places (like Outlook Web Access), it doesn’t work in POP3 – at least not via GMail. I’m not even sure that a fully qualified domain name works here. Use the NETBIOS name instead, becuse it seems to work every time. And don’t forget to use a forward slash!

7 Replies to “Reading an Exchange Mailbox from GMail”

  1. Hi George –

    I will start by saying that I’m not completely clear on what you are trying to do.

    If you are forwarding from Exchange to Gmail, that is a bit of a different problem. You have to get the forwarding set up – which involves the creating of a contact, and assigning of the contact with an external email address under delivery properties (don’t forget that step, it is important!).

    Once you get that done, you really don’t need to do anything – mail sent to your Exchange user is automatically forwarded to your gmail user, and it will show up in your gmail inbox. You don’t need to retrieve it.

    But there are other ways to solve that problem.

    The iPhone actually has a built-in Exchange client – or so I understand, as I have never used it. You could use this to connect directly to Exchange. Android devices have one too, I believe.

    If you have a POP3 server on your Exchange installation, you could instead use Gmail to “dial in” to the Exchange server (pull vs push) – just make sure that you use the correct port. You have the selection of several when setting up the accounts. The only problem here is that it requires you to log into each account to set up the pull, and that could take a while if you have a lot of users, as well as needing their account information.

    And you could always just replace the Exchange server with Gmail for your domain – free for up to 25 users (I think that is their current number). If that doesn’t work, it is just $50 per user per year, and then you do not have to maintain a mail server.

    So there are a lot of options here – probably more than I have even mentioned. Hope that it helps!

  2. I have been trying unsuccessfully to set up forwarding of our Exchange 2003 emails to Gmail accounts so users can access the mail from their iPhones.

    I followed your instructions but keep getting an error that the mail server cannot be contacted. Do I need a different port that 110? IS there something that needs to be done on the Exchange Server to allow this to work? I tried setting up a Contact in AD with the gmail address and forwarding mail to that contact but that didn’t work either.

    We currently use OWA to access mail from the outside and that works on the iPhones but they don’t get incoming mail notifications. The forward would be the way to go I just can’t get it to work.

    Can you advise?

    Thanks for any tips you might have.

  3. Hey there

    Thank you very much.

    This is finally the solution I was looking for to solve my stupid exchangeGmail problem. I was searching a very long time for this.

    Stupid backslash…

    – A

  4. Hi Chad, Your information was helpful but I am still having an issue. I am trying to set up Gmail so I can access my exchange email with it. It says it finds the server but it fails authentication because of my username and passoword. I tried to input the information you wrote about but I dont know f I am doing it correctly or not. My username and alias are the same and when I login on OWA i have ot type LexKC but that does not work in gmail so can you tell me where I can find the domain to make sure I am imputing the correct info.



  5. Hi Danielle –

    This is the sum total of my knowledge on the subject. I’m afraid that I don’t have any idea about how nuevasync works – I just used this information to connect to Exchange from GMail, and it worked just fine. Beyond that, I’m really not sure. Sorry!

  6. Hi!

    I just bought the nokia e71 and want to use my gmail calender and mail with it. This can be done easiest with the exchange methode. I tried to use nuevasync but i can’t get it t to work…. Do you have an alternate methode? I really would like to use my google calender as well. Thanks!

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