Frequently Asked Questions

Account Activation

U-Mail accounts are eligible for activation about a week after the Registrar's Office has processed your Statement of Intent to Register. UCSB Extension Open University students are eligible to activate their accounts only after we've receive registration information from the Extension offices.

Once you're eligible, you can activate your account at our Account Activation site. To activate your account you'll need an UCSBnetID, which you can get from UCSB Identity Services.

Your email address is your UCSBNetID followed by @umail.ucsb.edu and the password is the same as the one for your UCSBNetID.

If you run into any trouble activating your account click the [help] button for further instructions.

Your U-Mail account uses the same password as all UCSBnetID-based services. You can update your U-Mail password using the UCSB Identity Manager.

Undergraduate and Graduate accounts will be closed 13 months after you are no longer registered. University Extension accounts expire 30 days after the end of the quarter. You will receive an e-mail notification 30 days before deactivation. Check out our account deactivation info for full details.

U-Mail account services -- and the various electronic services affiliated with your UCSBnetID -- funded primarily by tuition and are meant as a provision to registered students. As such, we at U-Mail don't have the authority to grant account extensions.

If you have some continuing relationship with the University for which you believe your account should remain active, you'll need to get authorization from the Office of the Registrar (undergrads) or Graduate Division (grad students). To keep your account active, you'll need to obtain documentation from one of those offices demonstrating this relationship, along with the duration for which your account will need to remain active. Once you've delivered this documentation to our 4101 SAASB we can process an account extension for the duration specified. You can obtain the form required on our website here.

Unfortunately, we can't forward mail directed to your U-Mail address after your account has been closed.

Using Your Account

U-Mail accounts have 25 gigabytes (GB) of mail storage, which corresponds to approximately 500,000 average-sized messages.

As you approach your mail storage limit your mail client will notify you of your usage. Once you exceed your storage limit you will not receive any further mail until you delete messages from your mail folders.

Yes -- most e-mail services limit the size of a message. On U-Mail this limit is 25 megabytes (MB), which is the de-facto standard across modern e-mail services. 

Absolutely not. We support a number of e-mail "client" programs for reading and sending e-mail. In fact, we recommend any of our supported mail clients for day-to-day use of your account -- especially if you have your own computer.

See our Using U-Mail page for more details.

U-Mail supports a number of popular mail client programs -- Such as Microsoft Outlook, Mac Mail, and Mozilla Thunderbird -- for use with your U-Mail account. See our Using U-Mail page for details.

If you're having trouble using any of these, first check that you've configured them according to the instructions above. Once you've verified they're set up correctly you can ask our help desk if you're still having trouble.

Yes. You can use the "mail forwarding" feature to redirect your incoming mail to another e-mail account. This is ideal if you have multiple e-mail accounts and you want to read all of your mail from the same account.

You can enable e-mail forwarding  as follows:

1. Sign in to U-Mail WebAccess at http://portal.microsoftonline.com

2. Click Outlook

3. Click on All options from the top-right drop down menu

4. Click on Connected Accounts

Go to the Forwarding section located near the bottom of the screen

5. In the box beneath Forward my e-mail to:  Enter the forwarding email address

6. Click on Start Forwarding at bottom right of screen  (Stop Forwarding and Save button will appear)

There are a number of reasons you may not receive a e-mail message. Before contacting our help desk you might first check the following:

  1. That your correspondent has the correct e-mail address. If they have a typographical error in your e-mail address they will receive a "bounce" notification letting them know this.
  2. That the message hasn't ended up in your junk-mail folder. U-Mail employs sophisticated spam filtering technologies, but they're not perfect. As such, legitimate e-mail may end up in your junk-mail. See our Spam Filtering page for details.
  3. We employ a technology called greylisting to further limit spammers ability to abuse your e-mail. For first-time correspondents, greylisting introduces a short delay (typically less than 15 minutes) before the message arrives in your inbox. So if you're expecting a message from a new correspondent, be aware that it may not arrive instantaneously.

After you leave UCSB your account will be deactivated. If you'd like to save a copy of the messages in your U-Mail account you'll need to follow our guides for exporting messages.

Yes, but only under certain circumstances. For details see UCSBnetID Reissue infomation published by UCSB Identity Services.

Yes. There are a number of settings you can adjust to optimize our spam filtering rules for your account. Check out our Spam Filtering page for details.

Yes.  Complete the following:

  1. Click on the cog wheel next to your name when you sign into OWA to bring up additional options.
  2. Click on “set automatic replies
  3. Toggle from “Don’t send automatic replies” to “Send automatic replies
  4. Ensure that the checkbox for “Send replies only during this time period” is checked
  5. Fill in the start and end time range for your out of office notification period
  6. Complete your out of office message response in both text area boxes.  Note that “senders inside my organization” refers to other UCSB students using the Office365 service and “senders outside my organization” refer to everyone else.  You may elect to have both the inside and outside organization messages be the same
  7. Ensure that “send automatic reply message to senders outside my organization” is checked
  8. Ensure that “send replies to all external senders” is checked
  9. Click “save

To ensure that your out of office notifications are working, note that you cannot have BOTH automatic replies enabled AND email forwarding enabled.  One must be disabled.

If you absolutely need both automatic replies AND forwarding, you need to create an inbox rule:

  1. First, create and enable your automatic reply message. See previous FAQ item for assistance.
  2. Disabled your email forwarding
    1. click the cog wheel image, then click “options"
    2. In the center pane, click “connected accounts
    3. in the forwarding section, blank out and erase any forwarding email address you may have
    4. click “save
  3. Creating an inbox rule for both automatic replies and forwarding
    1. Click Organize Mail, and then click Inbox Rules.
    2. Click New (), and then click Create a new rule for arriving messages.
    3. In the Name box, specify a name for the rule, and then click More options.
    4. Under When the Message Arrives, select Apply to all messages.
    5. Under Do the Following, point to Move, copy or delete, and then select Copy the Message to the Folder.
    6. Click Select Folder, and then select Inbox.
    7. Click Add Conditions.
    8. Under Forward the Messages to, select User whom you have to forward.
    9. Click Save.

Your full email address is your UCSBNetID followed by @umail.ucsb.edu and the password is the same as the one for your UCSBNetID. For example if your UCSBNetID were joegaucho, then your U-Mail would be joegaucho@umail.ucsb.edu.

Office 365 Upgrade


The decision to select Office 365 rather than Google Apps for the U-Mail service platform was based on a number of factors. In our evaluation of the two products, both were found to meet both the business and technical requirements for UCSB's student communication and collaboration needs. In some areas, Google was found to be superior, and in others Office 365 shined. We elected to move forward with Office 365 for the following reasons:

  • The Office 365 platform had already been selected for the forthcoming faculty/staff communication and collaboration service platform. By choosing the same platform for the student service we'll enjoy more seamless collaboration opportunities between students and instructors as well as economies-of-scale gained by managing a single platform for both services.
  • Many U-Mail customers (about a third) already forward their U-Mail to their personal Gmail accounts. In the course of our testing, we discovered that Google's handling of multiple logins (e.g. being simultaneously logged in to a personal Gmail account and an edu Gmail account) was cumbersome at best. By selecting Google Apps we would have inflicted this inconvenience on a large fraction of our customers. Instead, those customers who prefer to use Gmail can continue to forward their U-Mail to their personal Gmail accounts.

We can enable these Office 365 features at any time, but before we do we need to make sure we can provide adequate customer support for these tools. This is why we're starting with the e-mail platform first, so that we can ensure we've got a handle on that before expanding the service to include these new features.

No. Your U-Mail address will continue to be [UCSBnetID]@umail.ucsb.edu.

When we move your account, all of your messages and folders will be synchronized with your new Office 365 account. 

We plan to begin migrating accounts to Office 365 near the beginning of Fall quarter 2012. Our plan to proceed slowly and cautiously, so we expect the process will take a couple of months.

Our aim is to not do any account migrations over weekends and holidays to ensure our customers can reach our support desk if they have questions or problems. And we expect that we'll cease doing migrations around midterms and finals, since our customers will likely have other things on their mind. 

As a result it's difficult for us to predict when a particular account will be migrated, but our guess is sometime between October and December. 

Once an account is selected for upgrade, we take the following steps:

  1. A message will be sent your U-Mail account notifying you that the we're beginning to migrate your account to Office 365. At this time you can continue to use send and receive messages from your old account.
  2. We'll begin copying each of your mail folders and messages to your new account so that its contents are identical to your old account. Once we begin, any messages sent to your U-Mail address will be delivered to both your old inbox and your new inbox.
  3. After all of your messages & folders have been synchronized, your new account will be ready for use. At this point, any new messages that are sent to your U-Mail address will be delivered only to your new account.
  4. Although you'll still be able to login to your old account, we to make sure you don't use it anymore. To make sure you're aware of this, we'll rename your the inbox in your old account to inbox.old and create a new empty inbox.
  5. Once the migration of your account has completed, you'll be sent a message notifying you of this to both your old account — where it will be the only message in your inbox — and your new account. This message will inform you that your new account is ready for use and provide instructions for access.


Your e-mail is important to you; it's also important to us to ensure that when we migrate message to the Office 365 server that they transfer with 100% reliability. We automatically detect errors during the migration and if even a single message or folder doesn't get transferred then we do not consider it a success. We send two e-mails to you during the migration - the first to announce that we have begun migrating your account and the 2nd to indicate if it was a success or if it needs to be re-attempted to resolve errors. If you received a follow-up message indicating your account migration needs to be re-attempted then you should continue using your U-Mail account as-is and know that another attempt to migrate your account will take place in 1-3 days.