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Migrating from Hermes to Exchange Online

The University’s Hermes email system will be switched off in December 2021. Its replacement – Microsoft Exchange Online – offers several advantages: 

  • A 100GB mailstore quota;
  • A good webmail interface via https://outlook.office.com  
  • Integration with Outlook calendars and Teams;
  • Easy delegation of access where a co-worker is required to operate email on behalf of the account owner.

It also presents a few challenges:

  • Outlook is the recommended program for operating Exchange Online email, but the Macintosh version of Outlook is not as fully functional as the Windows version. You do not have to switch to Outlook, and we will do our best to support all other email programs;
  • Some Thunderbird users have reported problems that have been difficult to resolve. If you do use Thuinderbird and encounter issues, you may have to switch to Outlook.
  • While the process of migrating to Exchange Online is pretty straightforward, migrating old, locally-stored emails into Outlook is much more problematic. If you wish to switch to Outlook, and your current email program stores email on your computer, we recommend that you do not migrate those messages, but instead keep your old email program alive (but not active) so you can use it as a searchable archive of old messages if required. 
  • Full calendar integration is only available if you use Outlook for calendaring;
  • The Macintosh version of Outlook currently only supports @cam addresses as outgoing identities – you won’t be able to send or reply with your @gurdon address. 

 

Before switching:

If you currently use an email address that ends with '@hermes.cam.ac.uk', note that this email address will stop working after the migration. It's a server-level address and cannot be adjusted to forward messages to another address, so you'll need to do the following:

1) In advance of switching, alert all of your contacts who use this address, to let them know that the address will stop working soon, and provide an alternative address (you can do this with your vacation message tool, and/or in your email signature.

2) If you have used this email address when setting up any internet services/shops etc, then you should update those internet services before switching, using your @cam or personal email addresses. If you don't, that service will be unable to reach you or authorise any password resets etc.

If you prefer to use an email program rather than webmail, make sure your operating system meets the recommended requirements (Win 10+, Mac OS v10.14+). If you're using Mac OS v 10.12 or earlier, you'll have to upgrade one increment at a time to reach 10.14. Installers for previous versions of MacOS are here.

 

When you're ready:

Follow the UIS instructions to change your account and move any mail that is currently store in Hermes over to the Exchange Online server. This may take a while if you have a lot of mail stored in Hermes, but the dashboard will provide information. Note that the migration is a TWO-STAGE process - the initial stage takes a while and captures all mail that's stored on the server, and the second stage captures all new mail that arrived while the first stage was under way.

 

After migration:

  1. The migration process will move all mail that is currently on the Hermes server into the Exchange server. That's all it does. It doesn't adjust your email program to use the Exchange server - you'll need to do this yourself.
  2. You can immediately operate your email and check the transfer in Outlook Webmail.
  3. Any mail that you had organised in folders on your computer, from within an email program, will not be moved. You won't lose access to them - they will always remain accessible through your current email program.
  4. You can carry on using your current email program, OR you can switch to Microsoft Outlook. The former is a good choice if it's essential for you to retain full and fast access to your library of old email messages - the messages that were not stored on the server. The latter is a better choice if your priority is to remain as 'joined-up' as possible with the University's communication and calendaring systems (Calendars, Invites, Teams meetings etc) and you don't mind having all of your old messages in a separate program.
  5. Instructions for configuring your preferred email program are here: Microsoft Outlook | Apple Mail | Thunderbird
  6. When your email program is configured, it might take some time to populate and synchronise all the folders and messages that are on the server. Don't panic if folders look empty at first - please be patient and don't try to fix this by copying messages from elsewhere - it may take a couple of hours for the software to complete the job.
  7. Finally, after configuring your email program, you'll need to disable (but not delete!) your old account that is still set to check and send mail through Hermes servers. To fix this in Apple Mail:
    1. Go to Mail > Preferences > Accounts
    2. Click once to highlight the Hermes account in the left-hand panel
    3. Untick the 'Enable this account' box on the right-hand panel.