Google Groups Migration

Moving Mailgroups to Google Groups


Willamette University’s legacy Mailgroup system is scheduled for retirement on November 1st, 2020.  As the owner of one or more Mailgroups your participation in this migration is required for several key reasons described at the end of this tutorial. For now, we’ll focus on the task at hand.

To get started, head to the existing Mailgroup Manager page where we’ve made a few changes. Note the addition of a column on the right-hand side with migration links unique to each mail group...those will be quite important as we move through the following steps. And if one or more groups have a blank space without a migration link, don’t panic; we’ll cover those as well.

When you request the migration of a group, you’ll get a few emails with information about the migration and what to do next. If you’re just looking for the quick walk-through of required steps, stick to this Tutorial and you’ll be in good shape. Any questions? Contact the Help Desk or your User Services Consultant.

Oh, and before starting, be sure your browser is logged in to your Willamette gmail account and not your personal one...or that of a family member.


In the Mailgroup Manager...

  1. For each Mailgroup you would like to continue using:
    1. In the corresponding right-hand column, Click the Request Migration to Google Groups link (If there isn’t a link to click, skip ahead to Step 3)
    2. Click Confirm Migration
    3. Wait for about 15 seconds
    4. Proceed to Step 2, the Migration Completed page
    5. In some rare cases, a Migration Failed page may appear; if this happens, proceed to Step 3
  2. Tasks at the Migration Completed page
    1. Required Step: Setting the Group Prefix
      1. Near the top of this page, Click the link to access settings for the freshly migrated group
      2. In this Google Group Settings page, the first option is Subject Prefix. Beneath this is a link to the suggested prefix. Click this Suggested Prefix Link to auto-fill the prefix line.’s the exact prefix the old mail group had: [group-name]
      3. Click Save
    2. Can be done later: Managing Group Membership in Google
      1. There’s a link at the bottom of the Migration Complete page to the Google Group Members page for this specific group (Note: If you’re already at the Google Groups Settings page, no need to go back to the Migration Complete page, just click Members in the left-hand navigation list, it’ll take you to the same place)
      2. Here, you can Invite users, remove members, or change a number of member rights and privileges as needed. This is covered in our Google Groups documentation.
      3. Return to the Mailgroup Manager page and start over at Step 1
  3. Migration Failed or No Migration Link?
    1. This Mailgroup has customized settings that can not be easily reproduced in a Google Group through an automated process. It may also have already been migrated.  Contact the WITS Help Desk, your WITS USC or submit a Service Request and be sure to include the name of the group and group owner
      1. WITS will create the new group and be in contact once complete
      2. This new group will only be available in Google Groups
      3. Return to the Mailgroup Manager and start over at Step 1 
  4. Finished Migrating what?
    1. Use Google Groups to manage new features of your migrated groups! Examples include:
      1. Set the Prefix (Important)
      2. Set message footer
      3. Use Moderation
      4. Set Auto-Reply
      5. Invite or Add new members
      6. Set member permissions
      7. Remove members

Common Missteps

Clicking the “Mail to:” link

In our old Mailgroup Manager page, be sure to click the NAME of the mailgroup and not the email address. Clicking the email address will open your default mail client...not exactly what we’re here to do.

Clicking Back or Refresh during Migration

It takes a little time for the migration process to complete. The more users a group has, the longer this may take. Be patient. The page will refresh once the process is completed and you can continue to follow the above tutorial.

Ignoring the Subject Prefix step

This step can not be automated and requires your participation, but we made it as simple as possible: Click the suggested prefix link. Click Save. That’s it.

The Subject Prefix is an important tool for sorting and identifying email sent to group members.  Many community members have been using these group prefixes for decades and have filters set to route these messages into unique folders and use them as general search terms. Setting the Subject Prefix will keep these processes running smoothly while avoiding mass-hysteria among your peers.


Mailgroup Migration appears to have been done already

Some groups have co-owners and someone else likely migrated the group already.  Yay, just move on to the next group in your list!

Mailgroup Migration gives a "Forbidden" web page

You and a co-owner of the group likely attempted to migrate at the same time.  Not common, but quite confusing.  Return to the Mailgroup Manager page and refresh the browser'll probably see the group now displays "Manage in Google Groups"

Basic process tree:

  • Do I still need the group?
    • NO: Simply ignore the migration request and it will deactivate on November 1st
    • YES: Migrate, success, set the prefix, move on to the next group
    • YES: No Migrate Link or Migrate Failed: contact WITS, move on to the next group
  • No more groups left to do?
    • Review / clean-up membership in Google Groups interface
    • Done
  • I want a new group during the transition!
    • You are free to create user-managed groups through the Google Groups interface
    • If you need a data-driven or a special kind of group, contact WITS
    • Manage the new group in Google

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