Microsoft renews its battle with email user inertia as it tries to convert more Gmail users to

For those who are considering the switch, a new import tool aims to make the transition easier. It helps guide users through the set-up process and quietly imports old Gmail messages into

This isn't Microsoft's first attempt at helping Gmail users switch, but it's an improvement over past efforts. Instead of dumping all messages into a single “Gmail” folder, the new import tool retains all your existing Gmail labels, sorting them into corresponding folders on

But even this approach isn't flawless. For sorting messages, Gmail uses labels, allowing you to apply more than one label to any message. users folders, so adding an e-mail to more than one folder creates a duplicate message. If you're a label-crazy Gmail user, you'll end up with a lot of duplicate messages in To cut down on copies, Microsoft recommends deleting any outdated Gmail labels before importing to

Once the import process is under way, Microsoft sends instructions for setting up Gmail forwarding, so all new messages will land in your inbox. Users can also view instructions for changing the default “From” address in If you're just taking Microsoft's e-mail service for a spin, you'll want to make sure Gmail is your default “From” address, so any replies will show up in Gmail.