December 18, 2018

Reminder: Action required on your UW Deskmail email account before December 31, 2018 – Official Legal Notice

The following email was sent to individuals who have an active UW Deskmail account (also known as UW Email, Alpine, Web Alpine, or Pine).

You are receiving this message because you have an active UW Deskmail account (also known as UW Email, Alpine, Web Alpine, or Pine) and need to take action before the retirement of your UW Deskmail account on December 31, 2018. This is your official legal notice of these changes. Read below for details about the steps you need to take.

COUNTDOWN TO DESKMAIL RETIREMENT: 8 Business Days to the Deadline

As announced in December 2017, the University of Washington has embarked on a program to modernize its email and productivity platform services — the Email Modernization Program. The goals of the Program are to ensure that current students, faculty, and staff have access to the latest email and productivity platform tools, to facilitate responsiveness to records requests, and to protect sensitive data. This message explains the rationale for the Program and how it will affect various groups of users.

The decision to modernize email and productivity platform services at the UW was reached after careful review of the costs, technologies, and resources required for delivering email and productivity platform services, as well as consideration of the effects the Program will have on a wide variety of users. The decision is also grounded in the counsel of the UW’s Office of the Attorney General, the Institutional Privacy Official, and Records Management Services. UW Information Technology (UW-IT) will be available to support departments and people migrating from the two UW email services being retired (UW Deskmail and UW Windows Live) to the two email and productivity platforms that will remain (UW Google G Suite and UW Microsoft Office 365).

Changing technology

Email services have changed dramatically in the years since UW introduced and developed its own homegrown systems (i.e. Deskmail, Alpine, and Pine). In particular, Google and Microsoft have become the dominant providers and have invested heavily in upgrading and integrating cloud-based email services, coupling them with a wide variety of productivity tools. At the same time, it has become cost prohibitive for the UW to upgrade its homegrown solutions so that they keep pace with the email service and technology standards set by Google and Microsoft.

Legal compliance

UW email and productivity platform services are subject to numerous state and federal laws, such as the Public Records Act, FERPA, HIPAA, and other regulatory schemes. These laws and regulations require the diligent protection of certain information, thoughtful records management, and the careful review and release or disclosure of information for regulatory, investigative and other purposes. Given the tremendous growth in usage of email and productivity tools in recent years, allowing former faculty, staff and students to continue to use these UW services — as has been the case up until now — has made compliance with such requirements increasingly burdensome.

The Email Modernization Program

The UW has embarked on its Email Modernization Program to address this changing technology and these legal concerns. The Program is intended to ensure that current students, faculty, and staff have access to the latest email and productivity tools, and to diminish the burden and cost of legal compliance. The basic elements of the Program are:
• UW’s homegrown systems (UW Deskmail, Alpine, and Pine) will be retired, as will UW Windows Live
• UW will provide email through UW Exchange Online (as part of the UW Microsoft Office 365 suite of productivity tools) and through UW Gmail (as part of the UW Google G Suite of productivity tools). These services are available for all three campuses, the UW Continuum College, and UW Medicine.
• These services will be made available only to current members of the UW community.
• Retirees, with some exceptions, and UW alumni will no longer have access to UW G Suite and UW Office 365, although they will maintain UW email forwarding privileges.

Review important dates along the Email Modernization Program timeline

What this means for users of UW homegrown systems (UW Deskmail, Alpine, Web Alpine, Pine)

Deskmail (also known as Alpine, Web Alpine, Pine) and Email Delivery Manager (EDM) will be fully retired on December 31, 2018. Access to accounts will end and all data will be permanently deleted. UW students, faculty, staff, Emeriti Faculty, and Emeriti Librarians using these systems are responsible for migrating their email and files to either UW Exchange Online (UW Microsoft Office 365) or UW Gmail (UW Google G Suite) before December 31, 2018.

Individuals with accounts on Deskmail WILL NOT be able to receive email until email forwarding is redirected to an alternate email service. They WILL lose access to their Deskmail account, inbound email will bounce, and any remaining mailbox data will be permanently deleted soon after.

IMPORTANT: Only your Deskmail account will be deactivated. Your UW NetID and UW email address are NOT being deleted or deactivated.

Steps you need to take

Please reference the instructions and links below to migrate your UW Deskmail account. The steps below are also listed on IT Connect.

  1. Check with your department/unit IT support to see:
  2. If you do not have an existing UW Exchange Online or UW Gmail account, see links below for instructions to set up your account:
  3. Change UW email forwarding on your UW Deskmail account
    • IMPORTANT: After you change forwarding on your UW Deskmail account you will not be able to set it back, and your UW Deskmail account will be permanently deleted in two weeks. Note that your incoming email will continue to be forwarded after the account has been deleted. For more information on the account deactivation timeline, please see UW Deskmail timeline.
    • Select one of the following:
      • Forward to UW Office 365 to forward to UW Exchange Online
      • Forward to UW G Suite to forward to UW Gmail
      • Forward to and enter an alternate email address
      • Stop UW Email (not recommended, not available for employees)
  4. If you need to migrate your email, decide whether you want to:
    • Migrate all content
      • UW-IT has arranged for a third-party consulting firm called Comparex to assist with email migrations between UW email services, for a $25 fee per email account. Approximate turn-around for a Comparex-supported individual migration request can be up to 10 business days. Requests must be submitted prior to December 14, 2018 to ensure completion of migration prior to the December 31, 2018 deadline.
      • Migrate a few folders
      • Migrate a few email messages
  5. Manage content that cannot be migrated

Preserving public records

When migrating email, take care to preserve UW records according to records management guidance and the General Records Retention Schedule or the UW Medicine Records Retention Schedule.

Additional information


If you need help, please contact:

  • Your department/unit IT support, or
  • UW Information Technology Service Center (available 24×7)

Thank you for your assistance with this important initiative.

UW-IT Email Modernization Program Team