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Questions and Answers

Reasons to use CS Mailstores

So why should I use Computer Science mailstore?

There are several reasons why you may wish to use your Computer Science mailstore.

Spam Checking

Using CS mailstore allows you to educate SpamAssassin (see Spam Email) about the email that you receive. This allows the spam checking to be more accurate when spotting the email spam you receive.

For more information see: E-Mail Spam and Virus Checking

Flexibility

You can make changes to how your mail is dealt with automatically. For example you can filter messages into folders (see: Filtering Email), or forward to other addresses (see: Forwarding Email to a Different Address).

Unix Access

You can directly access your mail folders from your Unix account. This allows you to run a wider selection of a mail clients (see: Email Clients).

For further information see: Moving Your Mailstore

Changing to a CS Mailstore

How do I switch to using my Computer Science mailstore?

Log in to the Unix host (see Unix Hosts) where you wish your email delivered and then at the prompt type:

mailinfo -C

Note: only new email will be delivered to your CS server.

For more information see: Changing Mailstore

Forwarding Email to a Different Address

How do I forward my email from a CS mailstore to another address?

In your home directory on your Unix host (see Unix Hosts) create a file called .forward and put the email address that you wish the email to be forwarded to and nothing else.

Storing and Forwarding Email to a Different Address

How do I forward my email from a CS mailstore to another address and keep a copy here at Kent?

In your home directory on your Unix host (see Unix Hosts) create a file called .forward and put something like the following in the file substituting the email address as appropriate:

 # Exim filter
unseen deliver you@other.address

Filtering Email

How do I automatically filter my email into different folders?

To set up mail filtering on a Unix host you need to create a .forward file that will filter your email.

Your filter file lives in your home directory on your Unix host (see: Unix Hosts), mine is here:

/home/cur/pao/.forward

The first line of the file must read:

# Exim filter

Then to filter, say, email from your Aunty Marge you could add:

 if $h_from: contains "auntymarge@homeaddress.co.uk"
then
save "${home}/Mail/auntymarge"
seen finish
endif

You could then repeat the above for other things such as mailing lists etc.

You can also use a filter to tidy spam (see: Spam Email).

If you have syntax errors in your mail filter, then Exim will be unable to deliver your email and will instead queue it until the filter has been corrected.

To test a filter file in the most basic way you can do:

exim -bf /home/cur/pao/.forward </dev/null

to test the filter more thoroughly you can do:

exim -bf /home/cur/pao/.forward a-saved-email

where a-saved-email is an email that you have saved, you could then edit this mail to change the subject line etc to see what your filter file is matching and that it is doing what you expect it to do.

For more information on Exim mail filtering please see Exim Filter Specification.

Accessing Email via the World Wide Web

Can I access my email over the web?

Yes, you can access CS email via the World Wide Web using our webmail client which can be found here.

Email Clients

What email clients are available?

There are several mail clients available on two main platforms:

Unix (i.e. raptor or myrtle)

  • pine
  • mutt
  • mh/exmh

Windows (Public PCs)

  • Outlook 2003
  • Outlook Express

We also have a webmail client (see: Accessing Email via the World Wide Web).

POP vs IMAP

What are the differences between POP and IMAP and which should I use?

POP

POP is an abbreviation for Post Office Protocol. The main feature of POP is that by default (dependant on your mail client) when you retrieve your mail the messages are removed from the server and downloaded to your machine.

IMAP

IMAP is an abbreviation for Internet Message Access Protocol. The main features of IMAP are that your mail stays on the server and that you can easily have multiple mail folders on the server.

Advantages and Disadvantages of POP/IMAP

Protocol Advantages Disadvantages
POP Message storage limited only by the capacity of your computer. Reading your e-mail from multiple computers or e-mail programs can result in messages scattered about.

Messages are stored on your computer. If your computer fails you may lose all your e-mail.

IMAP Messages are stored on the server and are not affected if your computer fails.

Easily use multiple computers or e-mail programs to read mail.

By setting up a filter file, your mail can be pre-sorted into folders on the server.

Message storage is limited to your quota on your Unix filestore.

Reading messages while offline requires use of your e-mail program's offline mode.

Client Settings for Receiving Email

What settings do I need for my mail client to receive mail?

You should always use SSL encrypted connections. Ideally IMAP should be used so that messages are stored on the server and backed up.

Both on and off-campus

POP-SSL
  • server type: pop
  • server: csmail.kent.ac.uk (for staff)
  • port: 995
  • username: CS unix host login
  • password: CS unix host password

IMAP-SSL
  • server type: imap
  • server: csmail.kent.ac.uk (for staff)
  • port: 993
  • username: CS unix host login
  • password: CS unix host password

Client Settings for Sending Email

What settings do I need for my mail client to send mail?

For both on and off campus

  • server type: smtp - authenticated
  • server: smtp.kent.ac.uk
  • port: 465
  • username: Kent Windows logon name
  • password: Kent Windows password

You may need to tick a box marked SSL to enable encryption

Dealing with spam

How can I deal with spam email?

See our section on spam email: Spam Email

Vacation Messages

How do I set up a vacation message?

To set up vacation message on a Unix host you need to create a .forward file that will filter your personal email (as it is not a good idea to respond to mailing lists) and reply to that with a message of your choosing.

Firstly create a directory called vacation under your home directory and in that place a text file called message with the message you want to respond with i.e.

 I am away on holiday until September 14th 2007, I will respond to
your email when I return.

Next you need to set up a mail filter, this lives in your home directory on your Unix host (see: Unix Hosts), mine is here:

/home/cur/pao/.forward

The first line of the file must read:

# Exim filter

Then to filter my email I have:

 if personal alias P.A.Osborne@kent.ac.uk then
mail
to $reply_address
subject "Re: $h_subject:"
file $home/vacation/message
once $home/vacation/once
endif

The if personal alias ensures that the email is address directly to you and is not marked as a mailing list, cc'd or bcc'd. Do note that unless you also have a spam filter in place, vacation messages will be sent to spam emails which pass the personal email test.

The once part ensures that a list of addresses that you have already sent the vacation message to is stored so that you only send a vacation message to each person once only.

It is always worth getting the mail system to syntax check your mail filter otherwise your email will not be delivered so:

 exim -bf /home/cur/pao/.forward < /dev/null 

Finally, check that the vacation message is working by getting someone else to send you a message and check they receive a response. You can't simply send yourself a message as the auto-responder won't respond to that, but obviously you can use any other email account to which you have access.

School of Computing, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 824180 or contact us.

Last Updated: 13/10/2017