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Switch to Exchange e-mail begins final phase

by George Spain
Center for Academic and Research Computing
While more than 10,000 e-mail recipients have already made the switch to Exchange, another 5,800 IMAP users are expected to do so in the next six weeks, according to Kurt Nendorf, director of infrastructure services for the Office of the CIO.
“Next week, or so, we will begin converting the IMAP users,” said Chris Williamson, customer services manager for OCIO, and point person for the transition. She’s had to make adjustments since the big push to switch GroupWise came last October.
“October was a learning experience for us. We were flooded with calls from people with questions about the new mail system. Most of the calls involved where to find items that had been moved. While the Help Desk was able to handle the vast majority of these calls, we learned what to look for during the next round of updates. Since then, we have added additional Help Desk staff, and we’re ready for the next batch of questions when we begin the IMAP transition. IMAP mail is the system used by such clients as Mulberry, Apple Mail, Thunderbird, and Mozilla, she said.
“While almost all GroupWise users were Windows users, IMAP users comprise both Windows and Macintosh users, and we’ve taken care to prepare information for both of these systems users,” said Williamson.
W. Roger Poston II, director of academic and research computing services, also under the OCIO, reinforced Williamson’s statement.
“Macintosh users are just as important to us as Windows users, and we’re committed to producing resources (printed, web-based and training) that address their needs. We have recently posted a comprehensive document for setting up a Macintosh on Exchange. You can find it at”
The main clients for Exchange server mail connections will be Outlook for Windows and Entourage for Macintoshes. While the two programs are similar, they are not functionally equivalent. There will be some things Outlook Exchange users will be able to do that Entourage users can’t, and some things Entourage Exchange users can do that Outlook users can’t. But all Exchange users will have mail, address books, contacts, and calendars available.
Frank C. Clark, Ph.D., vice president of information technology and chief information officer recommended the move from two separate systems to a single, integrated e-mail/calendaring system. The MUSC Information Technology Governance Council and the Vice Presidents Group approved the recommendation.
“We wanted three things out of our new e-mail system. First, it had to be industry standard and in widespread use. Second, it had to be multiplatform. Finally, it had to be scalable in a financially reasonable way,” said Clark.
IMAP users should have an easier time with the concepts of Exchange mail than did the GroupWise users. That’s not to say IMAP users won’t have to make a few adjustments. They will be introduced to time quotas as well as size quotas. They will have to move their personal address books and contacts to another format. They will have to learn a new way to archive  or create long-term storage for those files that will be important for months or years ahead.
“We learned a lot from listening to those who have already made the transition,” said Williamson. “We now have in place several strategies for making the IMAP user’s transition as simple as possible.
“First there’s the move itself. Users will get a detailed e-mail notice telling them when they are moving and what steps to take immediately after they’ve moved. We’ve also made provisions for special ‘managed folders’ to show up on new accounts that will contain the files from their previous e-mail programs.
“Then we have the Help Desk (792-9700) fully staffed and ready to answer any questions new users might have. Also, we will have a Web  site in place that will give detailed information to both Windows and Macintosh users. Finally, we will schedule a series of training sessions for those who need more information on the new system,” said Williamson.
Information on Exchange, including class schedules, can be found at

Friday, Feb. 22, 2008
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