Migrating GroupWise to Exchange 2003

This weekend we will take another major step in our effort to migrate our GroupWise system to Exchange 2003, as we install the API gateway on our production GroupWise server.

As I posted here in February, we had made significant progress and had gotten our the basics of email and calendar access passing correctly through the appropriate gateways. We then found a roadblock with HTML related emails not being passed correctly through the API – Exchange Connector. We subsequently identified the appropriate steps that we’re going to take to get around this.

In order to get the Novell API Gateway to work correctly, we must make the following change as documented in Novell’s TID10073849 You must fill in the Addressing Format field with component in the API gateway object | Required Parameters tab. The “scary” part about this, is that it requires NWAdmin, and as my Novell guys tell me, you’re not supposed to do this with GroupWise 6.

Personal Address Books

The other thing that we have been working on developing is a tool to aid in the migration of personal address books. The migration tools provided by Microsoft do not include anything to automate the process of migrating a uses address books. (Don’t get me going on this one). There is at least one third party migration tool that will do this (I can’t remember the name at this point), but it is sold on a per user basis and the cost is just to high for us. Because the address books are critical to my users, we’ve started to develop a conversion tool. This tool will allow our users to export their address books (in Novell’s NAB format) and then convert them to a format that imports correctly into Outlook/Exchange Contacts.

Outlook does not have a facility for importing distribution lists (groups) into the Contacts, so this tool also produces a report for the user so that they can recreate the groups by hand. Our next step is to handle the frequent contacts list. Some our users want to migrate this too. This list needs to be cleaned up before import, because it contains information about internal users that will be stale or even just wrong once everyone is migrated to Exchange. The one downside to our tool is that it is not an automated process, i.e. it will move all of this information over as we migrate the users mail. It will have to be run as a secondary step and imported manually for each user. We’re still discussing whether we will do this for the users or have them do it.

While the code is not yet complete and tied fairly closely to our specific configuration, if you are interested we may be able to share it or at least provide some pointers. So drop me a line or leave a comment.

Leave a comment


  1. Aaron

     /  April 2, 2004

    When you migrate users look out for groupwise automatic maintenance affecting the personal groups that you are trying to migrate. If user A has a personal dl with user B and user C un it and you migrate user C. Depending on when the user C mailbox is hidden or deleted, the automatic PO maintenance will remove user C from the user A personal group. If you are hiding (instead of deleting) migrated mailboxes it makes a difference on whether user A and C are on the same postoffice.

  2. Thanks for the great info. We had not even thought about that.

    We knew that we were going to have to manually update the group/distribution lists for the system as a whole, but hadn’t even thought about the personal DL. Yuck!

    This is not going the fun; I just wish that we didn’t have to move the mail. It would be nice just to bring up the new system while still having access to the old, then let the users forward any mail that they wanted to save. However, this is not acceptable to our users. Oh well.

    I’ll update once we figure out our plan and put some user documentation together.

  3. Juan Botes

     /  May 8, 2004

    Thank you for your information in the above posting, helping us.
    We have other problem with our Groupwise 6 to Exchange 2003 migration:
    Mail is flowing via the connector between Exchange and Groupwise but directory updates on the groupwise is not happening. 😦
    The Error on the postoffice is “error reading record from wp directory services”.

    Please if you have any comments please email me.

  4. Will Kang

     /  May 12, 2004


    Very nice log. It’s nice to hear about others going through similar issues.

    I was looking around for some ideas regarding PAB migration from GW to Outlook. I’d love to hear more about what you came up with for your project.

    Will Kang

  5. kbn

     /  May 14, 2004

    Will – what we ended up doing was having our developer write some specific code that runs as a service and watches a folder. When a NAB file appears, it parses the file, and rewrites it with the headers that Outlook expects for doing an import. We then log into that users account and import the contacts for them. (At least that is our current plan).

    However, we just found a site called FreeEmailMigrations.com and that site has a tool called Sparkle that will allow the user to do the import for themselves. It even creates the distribution lists (which ours does not). There are some issues, but try it for yourself and see what you think.

  6. Gerry

     /  June 22, 2004

    Does HTML mail work between exchange and groupwise as we just recieve them as MIME attachments?
    (sorry if this appears twice)

  7. No, HTML email between the systems does not work. That is part of the reason that we ended up splitting incoming Internet email and directing it to the appropriate systems. (I talked about this in one of the earlier postings)

    The other big problem is that when we migrate users not only does the email and attachments migrate, but so does the complete MIME.822 file (i.e. we get a second complete copy of the email). For most messages this is not that big of a deal, what’s an extra K or two, but for messages with attachments it makes a big deal. For example an email with a 5 MB attachment, now takes up 10 MB because of the 5 MB MIME.822 file. If it was single instance storage we really wouldn’t care, but because the migration process breaks that I now have a lot wasted space.

    We are working with our users (especially those with large mailboxes) to find the biggest emails and delete the unneeded MIME.822 files from the emails (a nice feature that Outlook offers).

  8. Lee Armstrong

     /  May 28, 2005

    Is this tool available yet for the address books, I have some scripts at the moment and it is very tedious!

  9. Walter Zoo

     /  June 30, 2005

    Hi there,

    i am as well interessted in the script, maybe its possible for you to contact me?
    We are going to migrate around 250 users to Exchange 2003 and we still do have the magic addressbook problem.
    Thanks in advance for your help,

    With kind regards, Walter

  10. We are in the process of migrating from Groupwise to Exchange 2003. Currently, all of our inbound e-mail flows to our Exchange server. The problem is that all inbound html becomes text and this conversion is confusing our users.

    I reviewed your posting on Novell TID TID10073849 and checked out the TID. I checked our settings and everything appears to be correct, any suggestions?

  11. Robert,

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re having problems. It has been over 2 years since we completed our migration and I don’t remember enough to help you at this point. Good luck, and please post back if you find an answer.


  12. Brent

     /  June 13, 2006


    Our company is also downgrading from GroupWise to Exchange and having problems with HTML messages not being sent correctly through the API gateway. I will keep searching for a solution as it looks, from this page, like there has been none found so far.

  13. Hello,

    If you still have the tool/scripts for migrating the address book to exchange could you E-mail it to me please.

  14. Cliff,

    I’m sorry to say that I do not have the code any more. It ended up being so specific to our implementation that it would have been too much work to make it a portable application.

    That being said, if I remember correctly the export out of GroupWise was really just a CSV file (granted they called it something else). With a little of VB scripting, you could probably make a macro in Excel that would easily convert the data to an acceptable Outlook import file.

    If you do get it work, please let me know.


  15. Rhett

     /  August 22, 2006

    Hi There,

    I once did a migration from outlook to groupwise and used a tool called address magic to export the address’s from outlook to groupwsie, but the tool worked both ways. We used another tool called migpst to export mail from the .pst to groupwise. Now I need to do a migration from groupwise to Exchange and am wondering whether anyone knows of a tool that will take the groupwise mail and export it to a .pst file. I have heard that exchange has a migration tool, but as far as I’m aware it’s only available from a new exchange installation whereas I will be moving users to an existing exchange server, plus we dont particularly want to move all the mail onto the exchange server as there is 40gb or something.

    Does anyone have any advice please.

  16. We are in the process of moving from Groupwise 6.x to Exchange 2003 and have come to a road block with the connector tool. if anyone has any step by step info on it it would be helpful. email seancanno@gmail.com The info from Microsoft is showing steps that don’t exist in the GroupWise admin when creating a link. Also there is program from Quest Software that is a great migration tool and it migrates all address books to exchange, unfortunantly it is $15.00 a user min 100 users.

  17. sxc

     /  December 6, 2006

    anyone solve the groupwise html issue?

    have checked the tid as recommended above and we still can’t appear to get exchange to send the html messages to groupwise without it destroying them first.


  18. advice

     /  December 19, 2006

    Use the Groupwise 7 Connector for Exchange, the install is easy and it supports html, and much more…

  19. I am having a “discussion” with our IT guy about Mime.822 files in Groupwise. I contend that they are a massive waste of hardware memory because we do NOT use HMTL in our emails. He contends that the Mime.822 files cannot be stripped off. I find that unacceptable. If we don’t run in HTML, there must be a way to write a script file (or something) that will automatically remove the Mime.822 file once it has been received on the company server.

    But then again, I am a Civil Engineer, not a software engineer.

  20. Thanks for sharing

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