New mail systems -- an explanation, sort of.
Kevin Cole, Gallaudet University
January 31, 2001


There seems to be some confusion about upcoming changes in e-mail. Let me see if I can add to your confusion. <*grin*> You may want to print this out, and keep it with whatever messages you get from ITS concerning e-mail.


Anyone who has an e-mail address has their incoming messages stored on a computer called a "mail server". (America Online users have a mail server, Yahoo users have a mail server, HotMail users have a mail server, Gallaudet users have a mail server, etc.) A mail server is not the computer that you sit in front of. It is a computer somewhere else. It is sometimes called a "remote computer". The computer you sit at all day is called your "local computer".

There are two different types of mail servers: One kind (IMAP) lets you keep some of your mail on the remote mail server even after you have read it. The other kind (POP3), forces you to move your messages from the remote server to your local computer before you can read them.

The advantage of IMAP is that you can read your e-mail from many different computers, because the actual mail messages are on the remote server. If you use POP3, then your messages are moved to your local computer, and you cannot go to someone else's computer and read your e-mail.

The problem with IMAP is that if something happens to the remote mail server, then your e-mail is unavailable. If the IMAP mail server crashes, then your Inbox is destroyed. Also, any other folders you that you do not keep on your local computer will become history.


ITS maintains two or three mail server computers in the basement of EMG. However, the software that they chose for handling the mail is not very good for an organization of our size.


ITS is planning to turn off their mail servers, and contract our mail out to a company called Corio.


When they turn off their computers, your Inbox, and folders you have created in, go away. Forever. Goodbye.

Also, Gallaudet's mail system will soon forget any forwarding address you have set. (If you have previously told Gallaudet's computers that you do not want to receive mail at Gallaudet, but that you want your mail automatically sent to AOL or HotMail or Yahoo, it will forget that setting.)



First, save that password that ITS just sent you.

Second, learn about sorting your mail, so that you can move it or delete it more easily. In Netscape's Messenger, you can sort by From, Date, or Subject, by clicking on the grey bar at the top of your list of messages. Click on it once to sort in ascending order, (A to Z) or (01/01/1999 to 01/01/2001) or click a second time to sort in descending order (Z to A) or (01/01/2001 to 01/01/1999).

Next, delete the messages you don't want.

Then move the messages that you DO want to folders ON THE LOCAL COMPUTER. Make sure that when you move to a folder it is not a folder on (the remote mail server.)

I suspect most users will only need to worry about their Inbox folder. However, I know some of you have managed to create other folders on the remote server. The messages in those folders are probably ones that you want to save.

Finally, on Monday, after things have changed around (assuming ITS manages to get everything done on the weekend), start your machine as usual, and when you connect to e-mail, give it your NEW password.

If you have a forwarding address set, you will need to add it back into the system again after logging in with the new password.

Some of you may have your e-mail set to automatically remember your password. For security reasons, that's not a great idea, and it will cause you a special headache on Monday, because your computer will try to connect to the new mail system with the old password.

To fix that, in Netscape,

  1. Click on "Edit", then "Preferences".
    A new window should appear on your screen.
  2. Click the [+] next to "Mail and Newsgroups".
  3. Then click "Mail Servers".
  4. On the right, click "", and then "Edit".
  5. Uncheck the box that says "Remember password".
  6. Click "OK" and "OK" again.
  7. Exit Netscape and any mail windows you have open.
  8. Go back into mail and see if it asks for a password now.
  9. If that doesn't work, restart your computer and try again.

Good Luck in the Brave New E-mail World. I'll see you on the other side!