Users reporting problems with Office Live Small Business e-mail migrations

Users reporting problems with Office Live Small Business e-mail migrations

Summary: Office Live Small Business users hustling to move your e-mail before Microsoft starts shutting down the service on May 1: Your calls for help aren't falling on totally deaf ears.


It's April 30. That's the last day Microsoft is supporting Office Live Small Business (OLSB), its Web-site hosting and design service which is being succeeded by Office 365.

From some e-mails I've received, as well as from reports in Microsoft's online forums, it's been a less-than-smooth path for those attempting to get off of OLSB. While some Office Live Small Business users are taking Microsoft's suggested path and moving from OLSB to Office 365 -- a task which also is giving some users problems -- others aren't going this route.

There are messages from users in both and frustrated by trying to migrate from Office Live to Windows Live and use their existing domain names and email addresses.

"It appears that a support person at Office Live has to manually release the domain name so it can be administered by Windows Live (via and this is not happening," said one of those users who contacted me via e-mail. While some individuals are seeing their issues resolved, others are saying they're concerned about potentially losing their e-mail access; some also claim they have lost e-mail access during their migration.

"What is strange to me is that since the Office Live accounts are Hotmail accounts, why (didn't) they create a support method to simply request that Microsoft move the Office Live email accounts to Hotmail email accounts and prevent a vast majority of their customers from going through this pain," said the aforementioned user. "I understand that they will no longer offer the hosting service, but people aren't complaining about the ability to save or migrate their websites in anywhere near the number of complaints/concerns over losing their email."

The site is providing those encountering OLSB e-mail migration issues with some tips and guidance. But that site also notes users are getting conflicting and confusing messages from Microsoft about the e-mail migration piece of the puzzle.

I asked Microsoft for an update today on the e-mail migration component of the OLSB shut-down. Spoiler alert: There's a little bit of good news in the answer to Question 2.

Here's the latest from a company spokesperson:

Q: For users with reported issues or open support tickets, what could or should they be doing given today’s deadline? A: We’re working to address open support tickets as quickly possible. OLSB users should check the Transition Center where we’re providing continuously updated answers to the most common questions and issues.

Q: Is today truly the day for OLSB shut down. No plans to delay it? A:: OLSB will continue to run through April 30, 2012 (Redmond, WA time). Tomorrow, we will start closing the service down site by site. We’re continuing our commitment to helping ensure a straightforward transition by arranging for custom email hosted through Windows Live Hotmail to still work for up to six months and providing a support form users can submit to recover OLSB data if they missed today’s deadline. This form will be available in the OLSB Community tomorrow (May 1).

Topics: SMBs, CXO, Collaboration, Microsoft, Software


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Oh geez

    How long have these people had to migrate? "Lack of planning on your part does not make an emergency on my part" seems to ring true here. I don't know how these people manage to run a business with such poor planning skills.
  • "Oh geez" .... you should have tried this process it was PAINFUL

    I was one of the early migrators, and it took well over two weeks to complete the process; including inability to update nameservers until I migrated my domain from MelbourneIT. Support personal at Office 365 only knew how to go by the script they were provided. Following the steps regliously in the transition guide still resulted in migration script errors and countless hours on the phone with Microsoft support....and even though the end result of the migration was successful....the transition script still did not complete correctly....which a Microsoft rep's reply after 5 days of research was to ignore the script error. Office 365 Admin page still shows that uncompleted script with a link that states "Hide the setup steps for (domain name)" because as the only resolution to the script error.
  • "Oh geez" - and FYI

    I am a huge supporter of Microsoft and its products, and continue to be a huge supporter and user of Office 365....a GREAT PRODUCT.
  • SkyKick and migration

    A shout out to Skykick for saving my website and my email and migrating it to 365. I could not be more relieved and happy - whew!
  • Complete clown show

    MIcrosoft tied up thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of email domains with OLSB. These email accounts run on hotmail. The logical thing to do would give anyone the ability to simply switch the account registration over to Windows Live Admin Center. And if you had to write some applications to do this, Microsoft, we would expect a company like you to do it. If nothing else it would make sense to eliminate support calls.

    Instead there was no central place to go for migration help. Users who did not need or want office 365 we completely ignored. Microsofts various support boards are littered with desperate pleas for help mostly from administrators who are technically competent and new exactly what they were doing.

    After months of pleading, mixed answers, misinformation, and general complete ineptitude on Microsofts part, Microsoft finally posted some instructions on how to switch your mail accounts from the free service that was being discontinued to the free service that was still alive. Now remind you both of these services use the exact same Hotmail backend, this was just the internal, behind-the-scenes location of the account administration.

    The instructions mandated that you backup everyones email (which couldnt be done without asking them for their passwords). It also requested that you launch a scud to their offshore support group requesting that the obliterate your old account. Only at that point could you add your account to the new service (wouldnt let you while the old service was active). No word on when or how this would happen so you could plan for downtime or help keep email from bouncing.

    One your old mailboxes suddenly disappeared, you were required to immediately change your DNS settings and set your mail up on the Windows Live Admin Center. This whole time mail is now bouncing.

    More problems. Only god knows where the support requests for this odd set of instructions wound up. The most common outcome is requests were ignored for days then responded to in a Dell customer support fashion with a copy-and-paste answer to an unrelated question.

    So one brave engineer at Microsoft said if people would publicly post their domain name and the fact that they are in complete peril, hed run something behind the scenes that would help. As if this was not enough of a snafu already, it appears the behind the scenes fix was trashing some peoples domain accounts rendering them useless in either the old or the new platform. Other strange things were happening too. After the engineer ran the back door fix and some got their domains working in the new service, it appears that support finally did something based on an old shutdown request floating around and then trashed the newly reconfigured domain again rendering it useless.

    Does this sound so ridiculous that you cant believe it? Especially from Microsoft? Just go peek at the Windows Live support board. Can you imagine calling a group of people and telling them "hey you know that email migration I've been telling you about... we'll uh it happened today and now your mail is completely down. errr uh now you have to go to site blah blah for your mail because Microsoft won't allow me to set up your account... it either tells me the user already exists or can't be reused, and uhh yeah call me if you need help with your phone and Outlook..."

    This is an absolute abomination Microsoft. You have humiliated thousands of engineers dedicated to your products. You have tanked no telling how many thousands of domains. All because someone was too cheap and/or stupid to write some programs that would basically transfer user records from one active directory to another.

    Warning to anyone considering Office 365. I wouldnt trust this management team to run a laundromat.
  • micosoft hotmail

    how many times is microsoft going to be changing the email service,im getting fedup
    they will be lossing customer if they keep this up.