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Fix your Mount Union .EDU email

UPDATE #3: This whole post is pretty much irrelevant now. Besides the slightly vitriolic nature, the entire Outlook Web App was recently updated to match the aesthetics / functionally of Outlook.com and is incredibly more usable. Post will remain here for posterity.

UPDATE #2: I’ve found the magical URL which only makes you sign in once: outlook.com/owa/mountunion.edu. Just bookmark that and you’ll be good to go.

UPDATE: I simplified the instructions for those looking to set up your mobile email without the required passcode. More instructions under the “IMAP and POP clients” section.

This past week, my iPhone’s email just stopped working. It wasn’t long before many of my friends began complaining of similar problems. I knew that somewhere, a switch was flipped and the new Mount Union email system was finally set loose.

Students of Mount Union - our webmail has changed. Unfortunately, it’s taken a turn for the worse. While the increase in storage is nice, it’s overshadowed by a terrible, terrible, user experience.

The Good: An upgrade in space from 30 MB to just under 25 GB and lifelong @mountunion.edu access.

The Bad: Being forced to sign in twice on webmail.mountunion.edu.

The Ugly: Broke existing mobile clients without telling us how to fix them, and the new webmail interface is a complete cluster.

Though the underlying technology took a step forward, we’ve taken five usability steps back. Overrun by a terrible color palette, unnecessary gradients and shadows, and unpredictable rendering - the new interface is a complete user experience failure. The old interface wasn’t great, but at least it was simple and usable.

Adding sprinkles to this cupcake from the netherworld, many of us who had set up Exchange on our smartphones and tablets had the entire system just stop working. Forcing us to the webmail client.

The only good thing about the change is we have more space.

  • Anonymous Student

Nearly 2,200 students use Mount’s email daily. By the end of this post I hope we can fix your existing setup, give you a way to avoid the webmail interface completely, and start enjoying email again.

Welcome

To get started, scroll down to the section of instructions that applies to you. If everything else fails, take the Reference Instructions below and head to Google. I’ve already created a search for you, just replace “myclient” with the name of the application you are trying to set up.

Good luck, friend.

Reference Instructions

These settings will be referenced in the sections that follow as we set up new email clients, and fix your existing one.

POP setting
Server name: pod51008.outlook.com
Port: 995
Encryption method: SSL

IMAP setting
Server name: pod51008.outlook.com
Port: 993
Encryption method: SSL

SMTP setting
Server name: pod51008.outlook.com
Port: 587
Encryption method: TLS

You can also just hand this information to one of your technically-inclined friends, and I’m sure they’ll know what to do with them.

Fix your smartphone or tablet

NOTE: One of the new rules of setting up your mobile device with access to Mount’s Exchange email server is that you must have Passcode Lock on your device. If you don’t have one set (a 4-digit key to unlock your phone / tablet), you will be prompted to create one after finishing the Exchange setup. While I recommend setting one for general security, if you really don’t want to be forced to unlock your phone, skip down “IMAP and POP clients”.

iOS Exchange

For the iOS devices, it’s as simple as removing (then re-adding) your email account.

Homescreen > Settings.app > Mail, Contacts, Calendars

Select your Mount Union account.

*Scroll to bottom* > Delete Account

Confirm the delete and wait for it to finish removing your account. Once it’s done, go back to Mail, Contacts, Calendars.

Add Account... > Microsoft Exchange

Enter in your full Email, Password and give the Description something like “School”. Once you’re done, click Next.

If you get a “Cannot verify server identity” popup, just click Continue. If you’ve entered all your credentials in correctly, you should see everything verify with a checkmark. You can then resume using your email as usual.

Android Exchange

Unfortunately, I don’t have an Android device to test with. However, I anticipate the course of action being similar to iOS. Simply remove your existing Mount Union email account from the device, then re-add it back. Note that with Android Exchange, you may have to set your username in the form of campus\yourusername.

If you have trouble setting up Exchange, jump down to the “IMAP and POP clients” section for general instructions which should work for you.

Fix your computer

Most of you probably access webmail.mountunion.edu through a web browser like Chrome, Safari, or Internet Explorer. However, having a standalone client to handle your email will be a faster, and overall better, experience.

There are tens of email clients available for the Mac and PC, but I’m just going to walk you through instructions setting up the default clients that come pre-installed on your machine. Macs have Mail.app, and PCs have Windows Mail.

Mac Mail.app

Setting up Mail.app is pretty straightforward. I’m using OS X 10.8.2, so these instructions are for the latest version of Mail.app, but they should be the same for most cases.

System Preferences.app > Mail, Contacts & Calendars

Click on Microsoft Exchange and enter in your Name, full Email Address and Password. You may get a “Can’t verify the identity of the server” popup, but just click Continue when it comes up.

Once it finds your account, click Continue and select the services you want set up. I usually uncheck all the boxes except for Mail and Contacts. Click Add Account. Go open up Mail.app and you should see your mail begin to download. Now whenever you want to check / write an email, just open Mail.app.

Windows Mail

Setting up Windows Mail is slightly less straightforward, you need the Reference Instructions from above, but it’s pretty easy nonetheless. If this is your first time opening Windows Mail, I suggest this excellent tutorial from Sonic.net.

Windows Mail > Tools menu > Accounts

Click Add, and then select E-mail Account as the type of account you wish to add. Click Next. Use the information from the Reference Instructions above to complete the setup. Make sure to use IMAP server setting for your Incoming mail and the SMTP server settings for Outgoing e-mail.

I wasn’t able to test these instructions, however in addition to the Sonic.net tutorial, I also found the official Microsoft instructions.

General IMAP and POP clients

Enter the Reference instruction information from above. For specific instructions, I recommend that you head to Google. I’ve already created a search for you, just replace “myclient” with the name of the application you are trying to set up.

iOS Passcode-less email

NOTE: Make sure you have your Wi-Fi turned OFF before doing the following steps. You can turn off Wi-Fi by going to Settings.app.

Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Add Account...

Select Other from the bottom of the list, then choose to Add Mail Account. Here, enter you Name, Email and Password - just choose something like “School” for the Description.

Under “Incoming Mail Server”, enter pod51008.outlook.com as the Host Name, and enter your full @mountunion.edu email address under User Name. Do the exact same thing for “Outgoing Mail Server” as well.

Your mail should now work. Remove the old Mount Union account, and feel free to turn OFF your Passcode lock.

Android Passcode-less email

I haven’t tested the Android set up, but this tutorial from UCSanDiego has great pictures and instructions for setting up IMAP on Android.

Wrap-up

Hopefully one of the above instructions worked for you. If not, I’d recommend taking your email client and laptop / phone / tablet down to Mount’s IT department and having them set it up for you. If you have any comments, corrections or questions, feel free to shoot me an email. Cheers, everyone.

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Thursday, 3 January 2013