Email @ Math & CS

Mail Clients

A mail client is a program for reading, sending and organizing mail messages.‎
Common mail clients are:‎

pine – the user logs in to one of our servers and accesses the NFS mounted mailbox directly.‎
Outlook - the user downloads the mailbox to his PC usually with the POP protocol.‎
webmail – the user browses to, the web server takes the mailbox from the mail server with the IMAP protocol.‎

Reading mail simultaneously with more than one client may corrupt the mailbox.‎

Outlook Configuration

Inside the departments, configure incoming mail server to mailhost and configure outgoing mail server to For the incoming mail server, provide your Unix user_name and password.‎
Outside the departments, configure incoming mail to and configure outgoing mail server to that of your ISP. The outgoing mail server of your ISP requires authentication, provide in the settings the user_name and password that you got from your ISP.‎

Leave Messages on Server

By default, messages read by outlook are deleted from the mail server, to leave them on the server: In Outlook Account settings find Advanced and check "Leave a copy of messages on server".‎

However, mail must be regularly deleted or moved from mailbox. With a huge mailbox you may have problems receiving new mail.‎

Changing Mail Account Password

.‎Browse to and fill out the form
The new password is valid for reading mail with Outlook (POP) from
and for reading mail with webmail (IMAP) from‎
Currently the password for POP and IMAP is updated overnight.‎

The new password is also (immediately) valid for login to unix servers, for mounting the home directory with Samba and for logon to PCs that are Domain members.‎

Mail Forwarding

Create a file named .forward in your home directory. Insert in the file a line with the address you want your mail to be forwarded to:‎

If you want incoming mail to be also left in your mailbox, insert the following:‎


Auto Replying (vacation)‎

Insert in .forward a line:‎

user_name,"|/usr/local/bin/vacation user_name"‎

Create a file named .vacation.msg in your home directory, containing a message to be sent back
For example:‎

Subject: I am on vacation
... I am on vacation until

The vacation message is sent to each sender only once per week. Incoming mail is left in your mailbox. When back from vacation, remove .forward.‎

Maximum Size of Message

There is a limit on the size of outgoing mail (about 5MB – 25MB per message). Non text messages are encoded and increase by about 33%, so the actual size is less.‎

Corrupted Mailbox

Each message in the (mbox format) mailbox begins with a line that begins with "From …"‎
If the mailbox does not begin with a "From …" line, it can not be parsed.‎

pine will give the message:‎
Can't open inbox (file /var/spool/mail/user_name): not in valid folder format

Outlook will ask you to enter User Name and Password …‎

:‎webmail will give the message
ERROR: Could not complete request …‎

How to fix

Create a lock on the mailbox:‎

 touch /var/spool/mail/username.lock

Backup the mailbox:‎

 cp /var/spool/mail/username

Edit the mailbox (file /var/spool/mail/user_name) and delete lines till the first "From …" line:‎

grep -n ^From /var/spool/mail/user_name (find the line-number of the first "From ...")‎
‎sed -i '1,(line-number - 1)d' /var/spool/mail/user_name (delete till "From ..." line) ‎

Remove the lock:‎

 rm /var/spool/mail/username.lock

Size Limits in Outlook

‎Outlook has a limit (20GB – 50GB) on the size of the .pst file that contains the mail folders. When the limit is reached, mail can not be received or sent.‎ You will need to create a new .pst file.‎

Mail Problems

Messages sent to me do not arrive
The message was detected by the mail filtering system as spam or containing a virus.‎

I get replies to messages I did not send
A virus running on someone's machine or a spammer sent messages which appear to come from you. You may then get replies from the recipients or failure messages from the mailserver if the message can not be delivered.‎

I receive spam message which are not addressed to me
A spammer sent you a message with an arbitrary address in the "To: …" header.‎