This page provides an overview of how to move your email from any University email service to a non-University email system of your choice.
More specific instructions are available for moving from
The Leaving Campus pages also have helpful information about what happens to your other University accounts after your departure.
The steps to take from one email system to another are fairly constant. Since not all email services offer web-based email import, here we outline a general process using email client software to move your mail.
Apple Mail is free with Mac OS X, and it comes automatically installed on your Mac. (Look for the postage stamp icon.)
Thunderbird is free from the Mozilla Organization's website. It's available for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems.
Outlook is free through the Microsoft campus license agreement from the Software WebStore as long as you're affiliated with the University. However, you'll need to uninstall Outlook once you leave the University.
(Eudora, an older email client, is not recommended for email migration.)
After you've installed your email client software, you'll need to:
- Connect it to your current University email server
- Use your client software to back up your University email
Connecting your client to a University email server
- If you use Exchange, follow the Exchange installation and configuration instructions for your client.
- If you use Google Apps @ Illinois, follow the Google installation and configuration instructions for your client.
- If you use a departmental email server, contact your department's IT support staff for assistance.
Using your client software to back up your University email
- Each email client has its own method of backing up the email you have in your account. Search for "backup" in your client's Help pages.
In order to add your new email service to your client, may find it helpful to print this page and fill in the table with your new service's information.
Where to find this information? If you're not sure what server name or security settings to use, check your email service provider's help pages for information about IMAP email settings for client software. (For reference, here are Gmail's settings.)
|Your username, user id, or login|
|Your email address|
|Your incoming mail server (IMAP)|
|Your incoming mail settings||
|Your outgoing mail server (SMTP)|
|Your outgoing mail security settings||
After you've added your new email service to your email client, you should have two inboxes: one for your University email and one for your new email.
Send a test email from your new account to your University account (and vice versa) to make sure that both email accounts are set up correctly.
You will need to enter your new email address in the campus Electronic Directory by performing the following steps:
- Open the web page https://ede.cites.illinois.edu.
- Log in using your NetID and NetID password.
- Scroll down to the Email field.
- Type in your new email address.
- Scroll to the very bottom and click on Apply – you should get the message that "The field email has changed."
- Click on the LOGOUT button.
(Take this step before beginning to copy your email, so that any email received while you're moving will arrive in your new inbox rather than your old one.)
Regardless of which email client you use, keep these guidelines in mind:
- Use a wired connection, not a wireless one.
If your connection is interrupted while your email is being copied, some data could be lost.
- Copy and paste -- DON'T drag and drop.
Drag and drop will delete your email from the University email system at the same time that it copies to your new email system. If anything goes wrong during a drag and drop, you won't have your original email to re-copy from. If you copy and paste, you'll be able to compare the number of your emails and re-copy any emails that didn't copy correctly.
- Make sure to copy all the folders you want, not just your inbox.
If you've filed email in other folders, or if you want to keep your sent mail, make sure to copy those folders too.
Before you remove your University account completely, make sure that all your emails and attachments have finished copying correctly.
- Compare the number of messages in each University email folder with your new email system.
- Tip: Use the total number of messages, not the number of unread messages.
- Open up a few emails with attachments to make sure that your attachments have transferred correctly. Check a range of attachment types, such as images, PDF documents, and attached emails.
- Check the quota in both locations. Don't compare the percentage of your storage space that's been used, since your new account likely has a larger quota than the University email did. Instead, look at the reported usage in megabytes.
- If a folder appears not to have copied correctly, delete it from your new account and make another copy from your University account.
After you're certain your new account is working correctly and that all the messages you want to keep have been copied, you can disconnect your University email account from your email client software.
After your University account is disconnected, your email client will contain your new email account and your copied email.
Most email services can import contacts stored in a "comma-separated value" (CSV) file format. Generally speaking, to move your contacts from one system to another:
- Log in to the web interface of your University email account.
- In the "Contacts" or "Address Book" area, look for an option like "Import / Export" or "Backup".
- Export your contacts into a .CSV file format. (If given several .CSV options, the Windows .CSV format is accepted by most email services.)
- Save the .CSV file in a location on your computer where you can easily find it again.
- Log in to the web interface of your new email service (if it has one) or use your email client software.
- In the "Contacts" or "Address Book" area, look for an "Import / Export" option.
- This time, choose the "Import" path. When prompted, go to where you saved your .CSV file and load it into the new email system.