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Information technology tools and resources at the UW

UW Deskmail Email Retirement

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Deskmail (aka UW Email, Alpine, Pine) — the UW’s legacy email system — will be retired by the end of 2018. Users and departments need to plan to migrate from Deskmail to one of UW’s other email services.

Why is UW-IT retiring Deskmail?

The Deskmail email system was developed at the UW more than three decades ago and was quite successful for its time. However, email technology has evolved dramatically in recent years. Deskmail cannot keep pace with the more robust email and collaboration tools available from leading providers such as Google and Microsoft. Additionally, it has become increasingly cost prohibitive for the University to continue to maintain and upgrade the extensive on-premise infrastructure required to operate the Deskmail service.

What can I use instead?

UW students, staff and instructors can choose between two world-class cloud-based email systems: Exchange Online (Office 365) and UW Gmail (Google Mail). For more information on how the services compare see the Which email should you choose? page.

Timeline for retirement

The UW Deskmail, Alpine, and Pine email systems will be fully retired on December 31, 2018.

Deskmail Retirement Timeline

[Note: “Data Storage” refers to individual or shared UW NetID accounts with an associated Deskmail mailbox, who forward their email to an alternate email service such as Exchange Online, UW Gmail, or a personal email address.]

Important milestones

  • December 7, 2017:  Official announcement of Email Modernization Program, including Deskmail retirement and Alumni/Retiree email service retirement.
  • December 13, 2017: Deskmail service retirement notification to affected subscribers.
  • December 14, 2017: “Data Storage” mailbox users instructed to manually deactivate their Deskmail account.
  • January 2018*: No new Deskmail accounts will be provisioned as of this date; ability to change email forwarding to Deskmail blocked.
  • March 30, 2018: Access disabled and any remaining “Data Storage” mailboxes deactivated. “Data Storage” users must complete mail migration (as desired) and manual account deactivation prior to this date.
  • December 31, 2018: Access disabled and any remaining Deskmail mailboxes deactivated. Departments and users must complete mail migration prior to this date.

*  Exact date to be determined; schedule information will be updated as it becomes available.

Migration Options

Individual Mailbox Migration

Individual Deskmail users can choose from several options to migrate their mail:

  • Migrate mail yourself:
    • A Deskmail Copy Tool is available to move your mail from Deskmail to UW Gmail. You can access this tool through the UW NetID Manage Portal after you change email forwarding to UW Gmail (the tool is provided at no additional cost).
    • Instructions for how to manually migrate mail from Deskmail to Exchange Online are available here.
  • Get assistance with migration:

Once mail has been migrated to an alternate email service, users are requested to manually deactivate their Deskmail account through the UW NetID Manage Portal.

Full Unit or Department Mailbox Migration

Bulk mailbox migration support using Comparex is available for units, departments, or colleges moving most or all of their operation from Deskmail to either Exchange Online or UW Gmail. Please contact so our team can consult with you on your needs and timing, as well as offer recommendations for supporting your users through the transition. Additionally, refer to the Deskmail Bulk Migration Toolkit for numerous planning and communication resources departments and units may use as-is or adapt to their purposes.