Making the Switch to Gmail from PAWS

Written by Derek Wilson on March 30th, 2010

Recently in my communications class I was required to present a five-minute persuasive speech on a topic of my choosing. Naturally being somewhat of a nerd I picked something tech related but also something I thought the other students would care about and also take action upon. I presented my speech on why you should be managing your email with Google’s Gmail service. My speech aimed to convince students why they should stop using the PAWS email system at the U of S and start using Gmail. In an effort to make switching as easy as possible for students I created a step by step handout of how they could switch to Gmail. Below are the 3 steps that I laid out for them which perhaps you’ll also find handy. In future weeks I’m planning on writing a few more guides on some of the features of Gmail since it’s something I use daily and quite frankly love like a family member.

Here are the 3 basic steps required for switching to Gmail from PAWS.

Step 1: Signing Up

Visit and click on “Create an Account”. Fill in the form as required making sure to pick a professional sounding login name. Addresses in the format first.last or initial.last can be good choices if available.

Step 2: Forward Existing Mail to Gmail

UofS Students:

  • Go to and login with your NSID and password.
  • Click on “Forwarding” under the heading “Email” on the left hand menu.
  • Enter your new Gmail address in the “Forward to” space and click “Set Forwarding”.
  • Now future email sent to your PAWS account will be automatically forwarded to Gmail.

Hotmail Users:

  • In Hotmail go to Options > More Options (In inbox, link is on upper right hand side)
  • Under the heading Manage your account click “Forward mail to another e-mail accounts”
  • Select “Forward your mail to another e-mail address” and type in your gmail address
  • Click Save, and you’re done!

Step 3: Import Old Emails into Gmail

  1. Download and install Mozilla Thunderbird:
  2. In Thunderbird navigate to File > New > Mail Account
  3. Enter your email and password from your new Gmail account and click “Continue
  4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 this time using your old email address and password (for U of S students this means your PAWS account)
  5. Thunderbird will start to load your messages. This could take a while if you have a lot of email.
  6. Select your old email inbox in the left menu column (for U of S students this means your PAWS account)
  7. Click on a message then press “Ctrl + A”  to select all messages.
  8. Click and drag these messages to your Gmail inbox in the left.
  9. Wait patiently while Thunderbird moves your mail.
  10. Voila! Enjoy all the new capabilities of Gmail without losing any old emails!

That’s it, I did it in under 3 minutes and I’m sure you can too. If you have any questions or would like to request a step-by-step guide for something else related to Gmail  feel free to leave a comment.