CUMC Email FAQs
How do I get a CUMC Exchange (@cumc.columbia.edu) email account?
What should I do if I've forgotten, locked, or need to change my Exchange email account password?
Please see information at the top of the Email at CUMC page.
The myPassword site should be used to instantly fix issues with your Exchange account password:
If you have forgotten your password and did not already set up security questions on myPassword, or are not able to successfully use the myPassword site to fix Exchange account issues, call us at extension 5-Help (212-305-4357) option 5.
- Log in to the site with your UNI first. See the FAQ below if you are not sure of the difference between your Exchange and UNI passwords.
- Select the appropriate link to reset (if you've forgotten your password), change, or unlock your account.
IMPORTANT! Changing your CUMC Exchange password also changes your MC account (computer login) password if you have one. It will not change your Columbia UNI password.
What is the difference between Exchange, UNI, and MC accounts and passwords?
For convenience, your UNI account ID or "username" is also used as your login for Exchange and MC, so you do not have to keep track of different IDs. However, your UNI and Exchange/MC passwords will not automatically synchronize when one is changed since they are separate systems. It is fine if you would like to use the same password for both to keep them "manually" synchronized.
- UNI accounts are provided to current Columbia faculty, staff and students. They are used to access University-wide resources such as myColumbia (payroll and benefits information) and Student Information Systems. See the Manage My UNI website for UNI password changes, resets, etc.
- Exchange (@cumc.columbia.edu email accounts) and MC (computer logins) are specific to CUMC. They are part of a structure managed by CUMC IT called Active Directory, which centralizes accounts and the rights or "permissions" the account has to login to computers, network drives, and the Exchange mail servers. They are essentially the same account, though not everyone with an Exchange account will also be able to login to MC-connected computers.
The myPassword site manages password changes, resets, etc. for both Exchange and MC accounts.
I changed my password and now can't open or send email from Outlook or my mobile device.
Your email program on your computer or mobile device may store your old password. Instructions below will help update your password in Outlook, for mobile device see the Synchronize Your Password page.
Outlook 2013 and 2010 on Windows
- Select the File tab in the upper left corner of Outlook, then the Account Settings box/icon and the option to Add and remove accounts or change existing connection settings.
- In the Account Settings - E-mail Accounts window, make sure the E-mail tab is selected. Double-click on your CUMC Exchange email account listed under the Name heading (it will typically be called CUMC) to open the Change Account window.
- Clear out the Password field in the lower left and type in the new password you selected for your Exchange email account.
- Click the Next button in the lower right, then Close/Cancel and/or Finish to save the new password.
Outlook 2011 on Mac
While it is convenient to let an email program store passwords, per University policy you should refrain from using this option to help prevent data leaks. If you do not save your password in your email program, you will only be prompted to enter your password each time you start the program, and the first time you send an email after opening the program.
- Select Tools from Outlook 2011's topmost menu bar.
- Select Accounts from the bottom of the Tools drop down menu.
- If there is more than one account listed in the left of the window, make sure your CUMC Exchange account is selected/highlighted.
- Clear the Password field and type in the new password you selected for your CUMC Exchange email account.
- Click the red button in the upper left corner of the Accounts window to close.
What is the difference between @columbia.edu and @cumc.columbia.edu addresses?
For current CUMC faculty, staff and some students, these addresses can both be used to receive email. If you are new to CUMC or haven't used it yet, be sure that your @cumc.columbia.edu is active by following steps under the Getting Started heading near the top of the Email at CUMC page.
While @columbia.edu addresses can be used to receive messages, the storage space to hold messages, attachments, contacts, and related account data is no longer available for CUMC affiliates. In recent years the University moved this storage space from mail servers managed by staff at Morningside to a Google owned system called LionMail. Google would not enter into the agreements needed to to provide adequate security for protection of ePHI in compliance with HIPAA regulations and University policies. Due to this, the Columbia Board of Trustees and CUMC senior management mandated that CUMC faculty, staff, and students use the Exchange email service managed in-house by CUMC IT.
The @columbia.edu addresses were kept for convenience but exist as a forwarding service only for CUMC affiliates. The storage space for your messages, attachments, contacts, calendar data etc. is on the CUMC IT Exchange servers under your @cumc.columbia.edu account, and can be managed by setting up your Exchange account on your computer using Outlook, via a mail program on your mobile device(s), and Web Outlook. See links in the left column of this page for specific instructions on using any of these.
How much space do I have on my Exchange account?
Storage space for a standard account on the Exchange server is 1GB. This includes your mailbox and its contents (including any attachments), Calendar entries, and other items that you have kept on the Exchange server. For instructions on checking your quota and help with your account including using archiving see the Manage Your Email Account Space page.
Can I receive more space on my Exchange account?
We recommend that anyone with storage issues on Exchange use archiving to stay under the default quota of 1GB (see above), however more space can be requested by contacting us at extension 5-Help, option 5. Billing information will be required.
What types of attachments can I use with my Exchange account, and how large can they be?
Attachments can be almost any file type as long as they are not Executables (files ending in ".exe"). Attachments can be up to 10MB; if you attempt to attach something larger, Outlook will display a warning when you attempt to send it.
If you need to share files larger than 10MB with others in your department there is typically a shared network drive that can be used. If the file does not contain sensitive information, it is possible to use an online file sharing services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive or Apple's iCloud, however you must be very sure that you are not violating institutional policies or requirements by using one of these services.
IMPORTANT: any files containing sensitive information including PHI, PII, or institutional information cannot be stored (temporarily or permanently) using a vendor that does not have a signed Business Associates Agreement with Columbia. Please contact Information Security if you need to transport PHI, PII (personally identifiable information) or other confidential information.
Can I use a program other than Outlook, such as Mac Mail or Thunderbird?
Exchange accounts are most compatible with Outlook, which is the CUMC IT standard supported email program. Some advanced Exchange account features are not compatible with other programs, so we do not recommend using them. Outlook is part of the Microsoft Office Suite of programs that is available for free to current CUMC faculty, staff and students.
Will I see the same mailbox sub-folders on any computer and Outlook Web?
If you have set up Outlook to receive your CUMC IT Exchange mail on multiple computers (such as a laptop when you are off campus and a desktop computer when you are on campus) you may not see the same sets of folders aside from those in your main mailbox. Your main mailbox is typically identified by your Last Name, First Name at the top of the list of folders; this mailbox is highlighted in the picture at the right.
These folders and the items they contain can be seen from any computer that has been configured to connect to your CUMC IT Exchange account (and the Outlook Web App), since they "sit" on the Exchange server. These are also the items that count towards your mailbox size, typically 1GB.
Any folders and items that you want to see from multiple computers should be created and stored under your main mailbox heading. Other folder headings such as Archives typically exist on that particular computer's hard drive, and therefore can only be viewed when using that computer. These items will also not appear when using the Outlook Web App. NOTE: items under the Favorites heading are simply links to a specific folder or item.
You can manually drag individual messages and some sub folders to different locations at your preference. Using Outlook's AutoArchive feature is also highly recommended to automatically move older items to help manage the space on your Exchange mailbox, please see Microsoft's tutorials on how to Automatically move or delete folder items with AutoArchive and AutoArchive Settings Explained. Archived emails will still appear in any search results and can be viewed from their folder(s) as with any other messages.
Why isn't Outlook auto-filling an email address in the To field, or using the wrong address for someone?
A feature of Outlook called Auto-Complete saves address and name information on a computer that you've previously typed in when sending a message or meeting request. The next time you type the first few letters of the contact name in a To field, Outlook automatically lists any user names or emails you have used before that start with the same characters. If Outlook isn't suggesting someone, you only have to enter it once on that computer/iteration of Outlook for it to save in Auto-Complete.
Information in Auto-Complete is specific to the computer, and is saved in the Outlook profile used on the computer. This means that addresses you typed in when using Outlook with your Exchange account on one computer (ex: a desktop at your office) will not synchronize with another (your laptop). Remember that you can use the CUMC Directory when searching for addressees (click the address book icon near the To or related fields) or save information in your Contacts, which will synchronize across different computers in the same Exchange account.
To remove bad or old information for one address saved in Auto-Complete on a computer, right-click on it while it is highlighted in the To field and select Delete. If you would like to remove all of the saved information in your Outlook profile on a computer:
- Select the File tab in the upper left corner of Outlook, then Options.
- Select Mail from the left column and scroll down to the Send Messages heading.
- Click on the Empty Auto-Complete List button to the right, then the Yes button in the pop up window that asks Are you sure you want to empty the Auto-Complete List?
- Once Auto-Complete is emptied you will be back at the Outlook Options window, select the OK button in the lower right to close and return to Outlook.
- Open a new email message or meeting request and begin typing in the To field. Outlook should not prompt you with any names or auto-fill and will begin re-creating a new Auto-Complete list for you.
What should I do with spam, junk or phishing messages?
Never reply to or click on links within unsolicited messages, and be sure to review the Email Security page for help identifying and protecting yourself from phishing attempts. Messages that are simply junk can be deleted, and blocked by setting junk email options - select your version of Outlook in the left column for links on adjusting junk filters.
If you receive phishing or repeated spam messages please report them as follows so we can try blocking them at the mail server. Be sure to include the messages full headers and forward the email to the correct address; select the appropriate link below to see instructions for the version of Outlook you are using.
What are Folder and Calendar Permission levels?
These levels allow the delegate to delete files in the folder you give them access to - use caution!
Permission levels grant various types of access to others with Exchange accounts to whom you have given delegate access. Full permission means the delegate can Read, Edit, and Delete a file or folder. Additional levels of access are listed below by ability:
These levels allow the delegate to edit/delete only files they have created:
- Owner - This grants FULL permission to the selected Outlook folder; it is not recommended.
- Publishing Editor - This also grants FULL permission to the selected folder, but it does not change who "owns" the folder. Be careful when using this option, though it may be useful if you want others to organize your folder.
- Editor - This grants FULL permission, except for the ability to create new folders. This is the recommended setting for Calendars.
The following grant minimal access to a folder:
- Publishing Author - Similar to Publishing Editor, except the delegate cannot delete files (or appointments) you have created.
- Author - Similar to Editor, except the delegate cannot delete files (or appointments) that you have created.
- Nonediting Author - The delegate can create items (not folders), but cannot edit anything. They can delete items that they have created.
- Reviewer - The delegate can see folders, but not sub-folders.
- Contributor - The delegate can create items.
- None - The delegate has no permissions. This is why you see a Default user with the Permission Level: None in the mailbox properties dialog box.
- Free/Busy time (Calendars only) - The delegate can see whether you have an item scheduled in the selected Calendar as Free or Busy. This is the default for all CUMC IT Exchange accounts to allow for easier selection when sending meeting invitations.
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