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The Microsoft Mail Migration in CERN
Per Hagen (with the Mail Service Team) IT/DIS
Why we must migrate away from Microsoft Mail:
Microsoft Mail is not certified to work in year 2000 and
For some time the need to replace Microsoft Mail with a more
modern tool has been discussed. The Desktop Forum approved in October 1998
a plan to migrate all the Microsoft Mail users to
the central Mail Services. This must
take place before the end of September 1999 when the Microsoft Mail Service
will be stopped.
There are in addition several issues with the aging MS Mail:
No support from Microsoft since 1994.
No external access (home, elsewhere).
Makes Windows unstable (old 16-bits application).
No backup if MS Mail client running during night.
Impossible to do incremental backup (requires very large tape capacity).
Bugs and limitations with gateway to Internet.
Poor Internet mail integration.
No auto-forwarding possibility.
Central Mail Service
A central Mail Service has been built up during the last years. This service
has as its goal to serve all e-mail users in CERN. The QuickMail and AFS users
have already been migrated to this service. The VMS mail users are migrating
to it as well.
The improvements for the MS Mail users are the following:
External access (home, elsewhere on the Internet).
Platform independence thanks to standard Internet protocols.
A central Mail Server gives higher stability and reliability.
Supported by a team (not by a single individual).
Better integration with the Internet.
You need a mail client in order to access and store e-mails on the Mail
Server. Netscape 4 is the recommended and supported mail client.
It is integrated with the NICE application support and pre-configured
for you ("ready-to-use"). It is also the standard Web-browser
for all platforms in CERN. The Mail Server is accessible from outside CERN.
You will therefore have access to all your e-mails from anywhere on the
Internet provided you have a properly configured mail client or
You find it in the NICE
Start menu - Applications - Connect to mail
There is a half-day's training course available paid by central funding.
This is basically the same scheme as what was offered during the QuickMail
migration. You subscribe to this course by using the Web. You can either
navigate the Web from the CERN home page or more directly via the Web page
the English version (click on the English flag), follow the links:
Office Automation and Administrative Techniques
and in section "Email",Introduction to Netscape Mail
N.B. The same recipe can be applied to register to the
"Introduction à Netscape Mail".
You need to know your EDH user name and password to register online.
Otherwise you can also contact your Divisional Training Officer (DTO) .
When to migrate
Migration will be done division by division. You will be contacted by e-mail
before the migration takes place. You should wait until you receive such
an e-mail before you take action unless you have an urgent need for being
migrated (such as access to e-mail from outside CERN or leaving the organisation
for an extended period)
What do to before migration
Delete e-mails you are sure you no longer need. In particular check
the folders Inbox and Sent mail. On the other hand, do not
delete e-mails which are valuable for you! In particular do not attempt
to archive valuable e-mails by saving them as Microsoft Message files (
Learn how to use Netscape Mail.
Clean-up your Microsoft mailbox.
When the Microsoft mail service stops, and in any case after year 2000
it will no longer be possible to read these e-mails. The reason is that
Microsoft Mail is using an encrypted format which we cannot decode!
Whom to contact
Contact your divisional coordinator. These are normally the same persons
that give you PC desktop support in your division.
If you have any doubt, contact
What happens during the migration
When your Microsoft mailbox is deleted your address is also removed from
the Microsoft Global Address list the following night (GAL). Until this
happens other Microsoft Mail users might continue to send you e-mails. Other
people who send e-mails to your Microsoft mailbox after it has been deleted
will receive an error message, although somewhat cryptic. They will
then hopefully look up your GEM (Generic E-mail Address) from the CERN's
home Web page. Since most e-mails in CERN are converted to the GEM format,
our experience is that this is not a major problem. This was indeed the
case for the successful migration of 1500 QuickMail users.
You start to use Netscape Mail.
We change your PEM (Physical E-mail Address) to the Mail Server. From now
on e-mails sent to you will arrive in Netscape Mail.
We copy your e-mails and attachments from MS Mail to the Mail Server.
We send you a copy of the Personnel Address Book (PAB) together with instructions
how to import them into Netscape Mail.
We verify that the e-mails copied are readable.
You check that the e-mails are readable.
You confirm within a few days that the migration was successful.
We then delete your Microsoft mailbox after forwarding you any new unread
e-mails which might have arrived there.
We apologise in advance for the inconvenience the migration causes for
you, and thank you for your understanding and cooperation in this matter.
We know that forcing you to change your mail client will cause you a certain
amount of disruption and we will try to minimise this.
For matters related to this article please contact the author.
Last Updated on December 14th, 1998 at 17:17:20
Copyright © CERN 1998 -- European Laboratory for Particle Physics