My school, as well as many others, uses Microsoft Exchange server for email. It provides a nifty little web interface that resembles Outlook. Sadly, it does not feature a search function. This means that it is a severe pain finding old emails. Other drawbacks to using the school’s email system include loss of account after you graduate, as well as a 100mb storage limit. This may seem reasonable, but consider that you’ll be using it for the next four years. Possibly more, for some of us. After a semester and a half, mine is already a quarter full; I’m not even a heavy email user.
So, what is one to do? You could live with it, but I dislike living with annoyances. I believe I have found a better solution: forward all your mail to Gmail.
Unfortunately, Exchange provides no way to forward email. That’s ok. Gmail has a feature to automatically grab email from any pop-enabled inbox. Here’s how to do it.
- Get a Gmail account. You can use your existing one, or set up a new one for this specific purpose. I opted for the latter.
- Click on the “Settings” link in the upper right-hand corner of the Gmail interface.
- Click on “Accounts”
- See the “Get mail from other accounts” field? Go for it.
- The address you enter for POP should be the address you go to for webmail, with the “exchange/” post-fix removed. The default port should be fine.
- Note that you can opt to reply to email using the the university address. I’ve got Gmail set to do this for mail grabbed from the university account.
- Also note that you can set imported email to be automatically tagged. Very, very nice.
- Sit back and wait. Gmail will periodically grab email (starting with newest) from the account in 200mb chunks. It might take a while.
So, yeah. Gmail is searchable, Gmail dosen’t randomly mark emails from my parents as spam, and Gmail has about twenty-eight times more storage space then the school gives me. I really don’t have much reason to open up university webmail anymore.