Chris Alexander

On Engineering

Upgrading Your University Webmail

22nd March, 2010

You may have seen my recent rant (#2405) about the University of Reading’s e-mail software. I got so fed up, in fact, that I decided to do something about it.

That something was to “migrate” my University e-mail to Google Mail. With a release a few months ago, Google gave Mail the complete toolset you need to get it to act as a mail client for your Uni account - seamlessly. This wasn’t the only reason, though - with a Google account, the mail and contacts sync much better with my Nexus One.

Here’s how I migrated so you can too - in about 15 minutes.

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Step 1 - Signup

This one’s easy. Sign out of your main Google account (or hit up an Incognito window in Chrome), head over to Google Mail, and sign yourself up for a new account. I chose my Uni username, so I have siu07cja@googlemail.com - works pretty nicely, and you could just sign in to Google Mail with the same credentials as you use for Uni (although new password is of course recommended!).

You don’t have to do this, of course - you could use an existing Google Mail account. However, I find it easier to keep things seperate.

Step 2 - Getting E-Mail

Next, we want to get our Uni e-mails retrieved into the Google Mail inbox.

To do this, go to your Google Mail account, select Settings from the top right, then the Accounts and Import tab. Hit “Add POP3 e-mail account” under “Check mail using POP3″.

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Then, enter your University e-mail address and click “Next Step”.

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Then, fill in these details in the input boxes, then click “Add Account”.

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Your mail should then be set up to retrieve.

Step 3 - Sending E-Mail

Now we need to be able to reply to e-mails from our Uni account.

This is important as lecturers may ignore or be suspicious of e-mails sent from non-University e-mail addresses.

To do this, we need to prove to Google Mail that we own the account.

Once again go to Settings, Accounts and Import, then select “Send mail from another address” under “Send Mail As”.

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Then enter your name and University mail account, and click “Next Step”.

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On the next screen, select the second option “Send through reading.ac.uk SMTP servers”. This is so that outbound e-mails as signed as being sent from the University mailservers - very useful. Fill in the details as below, and click “Add Account”.

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Step 4 - Tweaks

You’re now at the barebones stage, where everything will work! There’s a couple of tweaks you can make to really complete the experience though.

First of all, you can make it send from your Uni mail account by default. On the Accounts and Import page, under “Send mail as”, click “make default” next to your University mail account.

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Finally, you can enable a cool Labs feature which means whenever you click the Refresh button above your Inbox, it also goes and grabs your POP3 e-mails - very useful for getting mail quickly!

To enable this, go to Settings, the Labs tab, scroll down to Refresh POP Accounts, hit the Enable button next to it, then click Save at the bottom of the page.

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