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February 17, 2000

Conversion to IMAP

Beginning April 1, IMAP will become the only centrally supported e-mail service available to Pitt e-mail users.

VMS, UNIX and POP e-mail services will be discontinued here. Students, faculty and staff still using those services must switch their e-mail accounts to IMAP by April 1.

Last month, Pitt's Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD) office sent e-mail messages to some 29,000 Pitt employees and students, telling them how to get help with the migration to IMAP.

The following are some commonly asked questions about IMAP, with answers provided by CSSD:

Why is the University moving to this one system?

IMAP was chosen to be Pitt's standard e-mail service for a variety of reasons. In addition to the administrative and support advantages of consolidating e-mail services, IMAP offers reliable basic messaging service and advanced features.

Advanced features include improved handling of file attachments, the ability to include multimedia files in your e-mail messages, and better off-campus access to your e-mail. IMAP supports a variety of popular clients, including Mulberry, Pine, Netscape, Outlook, and Eudora.

How will moving to IMAP improve my e-mail service?

Existing e-mail services here vary in their functions and performance. With IMAP, Pitt e-mail users will gain access to a reliable, basic service that also offers advanced features.

Will this transition cost me or my unit anything?

No. E-mail service is offered to all Pitt students, faculty and staff free of charge.

Will I need to change my current e-mail address?

No. Current e-mail addresses will remain valid. If, for example, your current e-mail address is, e-mail will still be delivered to you. All that will be required is setting a proper forwarding address.

So, if people send me e-mail after April 1 through VMS or UNIX, it won't be lost?

For users who now receive mail on VMS, Unix or POP, all you must do to ensure continued e-mail delivery is set your forwarding address to your IMAP account, following the instructions CSSD provided in the e-mail sent last month. These instructions also can be found on the Pitt technology web site: For users who receive e-mail through a departmental mail server or non-University mail service (e.g., AOL, HotMail), mail forwarding is already established and no changes are required.

Currently, I can't access my e-mail when I'm away from campus. Will IMAP in itself allow me to do so?

IMAP provides remote access to e-mail, but so do VMS, UNIX and POP. If you can't currently access your e-mail off campus, this could be for a number of reasons — one of the most common being that you receive e-mail through a departmental mail system that doesn't permit remote access. If you have questions about e-mail access, ask your departmental network manager or computer consultant, or call the Help Desk at 624-HELP (4357).

I get e-mail at Pitt, but CSSD didn't send me a message about IMAP. Should I be worried?

If you did not receive an e-mail message about the IMAP conversion, this probably means you do not get your e-mail through VMS, Unix, or POP.

As noted above, if you have already forwarded your e-mail to IMAP or if you get your e-mail through a departmental server or an outside mail service, there is no need to make any change.

My unit employs a network manager for our computer operations. Will that person handle the IMAP transition for me?

This will vary from department to department. If you received an e-mail from CSSD, you should check with your departmental network manager to understand how he/she wishes to handle this within your department.

I still use the old VMS and Unix timesharing systems for my teaching and research. Will I be able to use them after April 1?

Yes. Only Unix and VMS e-mail will be discontinued. The Unix and VMS timesharing services will continue to be available after April 1 for teaching and research.

How can I get help in moving to IMAP?

Written instructions and technical information are available online at the Pitt technology web site.

Conversion tools (software programs that simplify the conversion process by automating certain functions) and QuickStart training classes are being offered. Information about QuickStart classes is available on the technology web site. To register for classes, call the Help Desk at 624-HELP (4357) or the training office at 624-0341.

In addition, open meetings (called Conversion Clinics) are being scheduled to provide an overview of IMAP and answer questions about migrating from older mail services. CSSD will publicize the clinics on the technology web site and through advertisements in The Pitt News and the University Times.

If you have questions about the switch to IMAP, and to find out more about QuickStart classes and Conversion Clinics, call the Help Desk.

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