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IMAP and Disk Space

Your NC State e-mail address lasts you the duration of your stay at NC State. You are allotted 50 MB of storage space for your e-mails. This is in addition to your 50 MB AFS disk quota (ie. personal account space in the Andrews File System) also allotted for your stay at NC State. For more information regarding NCSU email, feel free to visit the IMAP at NC State webpage. Although file storage space starts at 50MB, space allocation can be adjusted and more can be bought. By simply going to the SysNews web site and logging in to "User Info," Unity computing account holders can click on "Quota Manager" and increase their total quota allocation to 300 megabytes. ITD staff expect to make more quota available to Unity account holders in the coming months as they assess and analyze usage patterns for the new system.

Checking IMAP quota

Its always fun to try and figure out where all of your IMAP quota has dissappeared to. Here's a couple of ways to check that:

Email Clients

Setup instructions for the most popular email clients can be found here.

Filtering / SPAM

The most common way for people to get viruses today is through e-mail. Virus coders will write a program so that it looks up all the contacts in your address book and proceed to e-mail itself to these people as an attachment. Anti-Virus software typically auto-scans any e-mail attachment you may receive. However, it is often a good idea to double check this if you are unsure of the results of the scan. For more information regarding anti-virus software, please visit Wolftech's anti-virus website.

Your university e-mail also comes with a handy defense tool: Pure Message. Pure Message is a mail filtering agent that attempts to identify spam and viruses by using text analysis and predetermined definitions. Pure Message has various ways of dealing with viruses and spam and handles each email differently, based on it's their individual 'hit' percentages. For example, Pure Message adds one or both of it's detection headers to an email (based on the hit percentage), which makes filtering easier. Pure Message will strip any legitimate message of any virus that may be present and deliver the clean email. Any unlegitimate email messages (ie. virus-generated) will be removed from your inbox completely. It is important to note that Pure Message does not delete spam. For more information regarding Pure Message, including ways to improve its effectiveness, visit the Pure Message webpage.

For a history on the term spam and its usage, please visit this history of spam.

For specific information on configuration of certain e-mail clients, we highly reccommend Resnet's Email Setup page.

NOTE: We need to build our own version of these pages.

NOTE: New Unity accounts created as of May 2nd, 2006 will have a new spam filtering system in place. Any incoming email that has been tagged by PureMessage as spam (X-Spam-Flag: YES) will be automatically routed into a "SPAM" folder in the user's IMAP account. The user can then easily browse the filtered mail and delete it at their leisure. In addition, the accounts will have an email message inserted that explains the SPAM folder, how it should be used, and other links to useful information.

Phishing Attacks

In response to recent email attacks directed at campus from identity thieves, OIT is taking steps to stop this mail from coming in to campus or, more importantly, from going out as unwary campus users send their personal information to ID thieves.

Email addresses that are discovered to be used in phishing attempts, both here and at other higher education institutions, are stored in the "anti-phishing-email-reply" googlecode project. OIT is using this list on the campus mail relays to prohibit mail from or to these addresses from being delivered. In addition, OIT staff can add addresses to this mechanism if a direct attack on campus is linked to an address.

While this measure should help the overall identity theft problems on campus, OIT would like to remind the campus community that we will NEVER ask for your password or other personal information via email or other method. Any concerns about a questionable email should be directed to the NC State Help Desk for clarification.

For more information, please contact the NC State Help Desk at or 515-HELP(4357).

Reply-to Spam

We’ve had faculty members hit with a number of emails from the outside world that implied they were sending out spam. This is something that will affect each of us at one time or another, usually in large concentrated bursts with occurrences spread out over time. I wanted to take a few minutes to explain what you’re seeing.

When you send an email, you tell your email client who you are and how to "reply" to you. There's nothing stopping you from lying about this -- no authentication, no error checking, etc. Email simply works by trusting that you're entering the correct information.

Enter the spammers...

Spammer X decides he wants to mass email the world. HOWEVER, he also doesn't want to get back any of the rejection emails -- i.e. he doesn’t' want to spam himself. He doesn't care if his emails are rejected or not. So what does he do? He randomly selects someone else's email address and tells his email client, "use this" as the "reply-to" address.

From that point on, he doesn't get an junk emails back from his victims, or automated ones from their email servers' spam filters.

You do.

What can be done to prevent this? Absolutely nothing. Unfortunately, email in general does not come with an authentication system to guarantee you are you. I can very easily make an email *appear* to have come from the Chancellor. Many options have been discussed, but no substantial solutions have come from them yet.

It’s pretty easy to determine that the email didn't come from you -- assuming you look at the header information for the emails (and know what you’re looking for)... there will be many angry people out there in the world though who will neither know how to do this nor would take the time to do so if they did. Some, rather than deleting, may reply with an angry email, which, unfortunately, will come to you. Email servers with spam filters on them won’t care, but if programmed to do so, will reply to you.

Either way, you’ll get emails.

All we can suggest is that you treat this as you would any other spam email and simply delete it.


Any message which has an identified virus attached will be removed, and neither the virus nor the message delivered.

Messages with unscannable attachments, or where the virus status of the attachment cannot be verified, will continue to be delivered with the warning message attached as they had been previously.

This change should affect an extremely small portion of mail, but enough hopefully to improve service on the email system. For any questions regarding the change, please contact the Helpdesk at 515-HELP.



Maximum email message size is 15MB -- this will limit the size of attachments that can be sent via NCSU email to just *under* 15MB.


In an attempt to streamline the mail process and protect users from malicious mail messages, attachments sent to campus Unity accounts in the following formats:

  • .exe
  • .pif
  • .dll
  • .lnk
  • .scr

will no longer be delivered to users as of Wednesday, July 5th. Users who need to send files of this type should put the files into an archive (such as Zip) before they send the file.


On July 1, 2006, ITD Systems will be changing the way that over quota Unity email accounts are handled.

Currently, when a Unity email account goes over quota, new message delivery is retried every 30 minutes for 3 days. After 3 days, the message is returned to the sender with an "undeliverable" error.

For those accounts that have been continuously over quota for 30 days, the message will be rejected immediately, and the sender will be informed that the recipient account is not being used.

This is intended as a courtesy to the sender, who will then be able to immediately pursue other contact methods.

Starting on July 1st, folks who send email to Unity account holders who have been over their allocated quota for 30 days or more will have their email returned to them immediately, instead of after the normal 3-day waiting period, with a message indicating that the account is not being used. Account holders affected by this policy have several choices available to them:

  1. Lower their usage below their quota
  2. purchase additional quota:
  3. have their Unity email forwarded to another address:

For more information about this change, please contact the NC State University Help Desk at or 515-HELP(4357).

Vacation Message

One of the server-side filters can also be used to take certain steps when you will be away from your email for an extended period of time. Commonly called a "vacation" message, this functionality can let you notify email correspondents of your absence, possibly giving them an alternate contact or date for your return.

Important notes about this functionality:

  • You can determine how often a vacation message will be sent back to someone.
  • By defining this period of time, no matter how many emails someone sends you, they will only receive one reply from the system. For example, if you'll be gone for 2 weeks, you can set the interval for 7 days. Should someone email you during the first and second week, they will only receive one "vacation message" each week. Any additional emails they send you after the first will not result in a reply to them. This will prevent you from "spamming" people who send you a lot of emails while you're away.
  • You must remember to manually turn the vacation email OFF when you get back.
  • There is no way to set a date to automatically start or end these messages.
  • Vacation emails will NOT be sent in reply to emails received from mailing lists.

See Email:Vacation Messages for details.

Mail Forwarding

Unity/Eos account holders can have their e-mail forwarded to a different e-mail account. We have implemented a new system to manage email forwarding from your Unity account. The new system is a part of the USMDB system that you already use to manage your file space quotas.

The features of the new system are:

  • Self-Service - anyone with a current Unity account can setup, edit, or remove their forward at any time.
  • Address Validation - The destination address must be validated before it will be used for a forward. The system will send a confirmation email to the requested address, to verify that address can receive mail from NCSU.
  • Renewals - All forwards must be renewed every 12 months. This is done to make sure the forward is still being used by the account holder. You will receive a renewal reminder on the 1st and the 15th of the month before your account expires. Renewals are be completed by simply clicking on the link sent in the renewal reminder message.
  • Expirations - Forwards no longer require an expiration date. You can use an expiration date to setup a temporary forward if you like. Permanent forwards will never expire, so long as they are renewed annually, as mentioned above.

The new Email Forward Manager Tool is located here: and can also be found from the SysNews Homepage, under System Tools, E-Mail Tools, USMDB - Email Forward Manager.

For more information about USMDB and the new Email Forward Manager, see the User SMDB FAQ, found at:

Spam email will not be forwarded to your offsite email address. For more information on that, please visit our Spam: Forwarding Policy page.

Email Alias

The naming convention on campus for faculty and staff aliases is when this does not conflict with an existing alias. Aliases not conforming to this convention may be created if they

  • have more than 8 characters
  • or contain an underscore

To setup an alias, send a message to with the following information:

  1. the alias you would like to have (usually
  2. your actual full Internet email address
  3. the NC State department or unit with which you are affiliated

Notification will be returned to you via email, usually within a few hours. There are no fees are charged for this service.

Student "Preferred" Email

As of August 13, 2007, all official email correspondence from the university should be sent to students’ Unity email addresses. This includes email regarding student account information, eBILLs, and correspondence from instructors regarding classes. Students have been notified of the change in the email address that is associated with their records in the student information system. Instructors should continue to use students’ email addresses provided by Registration and Records.

The university implemented these changes because of the increased use of email for official communications and the need to have confidence that the email is being delivered to valid student email addresses. Students still have the option of forwarding their email to another account by going to

Unable to contact SMTP server

Occasionally you try to send email and Outlook complains that it can't talk to the server? Check the time as perhaps this is why:

"Eight times a day, at 12:26am, 3:26am, 6:26am, 9:26am, 12:26pm, 3:26pm, 6:26pm, and 9:26pm, every mail relay restarts itself. The process takes about two minutes, and during much of this time, you can't send mail to them."

Not sure why the servers are configured to do this, but know that they are.