Email Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about email? Please check the list of frequently asked questions - you might find your answer!

If you can't find the answer to your question here, please contact the HMS IT Service Desk by calling 617-432-2000 or filling out an online support request.

How do I get an email account?

How many messages can I store on the server?

How can I request a larger email mailbox?

What type of software can I use to access my e-mail?

How much does it cost?

Can I have a shorter email address?

How many e-mail messages can I send per day?

Is there a size limit to the attachments that I can send?

Are there certain types of attachment files that I cannot send or receive?

What kind of virus protection does the e-mail system offer?

Is there an internet site offered to access my e-mail?

Is there a way to recover deleted items once I have emptied my deleted mail folder?

What is the best way to access my e-mail when I am traveling?

How can I customize my e-mail signature in Outlook Web Access (OWA)?

Why do I get so much spam?

How do I change my password?

How do I get an email account?

Email Account Application Form

This form is to be used by HMS/HSDM departments or individuals requesting electronic services for HMS employees, consultants Spherion temps, or other non-HMS employees. Check with Human Resources at 617-432-2035 or email human_resources@hms.harvard.edu on the status of your employment.

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How many messages can I store on the server?

HMS faculty and staff aren't limited to a specific number of messages. The total size of your email account, including message, calendar and contact folders, cannot exceed 1 GB. You will be contacted when your account exceeds 950 MB. To check your current account size:

  • In Outlook Web Access (Premium Only): Hover the mouse pointer over the account name in the Mail listing, and the current account size will be shown.
  • In Outlook 2003 & 2007: Right-click on the acount name and choose Properties for Mailbox... Click the Folder Size... button. Total account size will be shown in Kilobytes (KB). Click Close and then OK to return to the email listing.
  • In Entourage 2008: Right-click or control-click on the account name and choose Folder Properties. Click Storage at the top of the dialog box. Total account size will be shown in Kilobytes (K). Click OK to return to the email listing.

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How can I request a larger mailbox?

If you think you need more than 2 GB of email storage, please contact the HMS IT Service Desk by calling 617-432-2000 or filling out an online request form, so that your account needs can be reviewed. Follow the directions shown above to check how large your email account currently is.

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What software can I use to access my e-mail?

Microsoft Outlook (for Windows) or Microsoft Entourage (for Mac) provide full email and calendaring functionality.

Any POP or IMAP email software can be used for email (no shared calendar) functionality. Instructions are available for many version of popular software.

HMS Outlook Web Access permits basic mail and calendar functionality from any web browser.

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How much does it cost?

There is no cost for an HMS email account.

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Can I have a shorter email address?

HMS IT has adopted the standard email address naming convention firstname_lastname@hms.harvard.edu. If you'd like to request an alternate email address, fill out an Email Alias Request Form.

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How many e-mail messages can I send per day?

You can send unlimited email messages per day.

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Is there a size limit to the attachments I can send?

Yes. Messages up to 20 MB can be sent through the system. If you need to exchange a large or prohibited attachment, consider using HMS Secure File Transfer, rather than email.

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Are there certain types of attachment files I cannot send or receive?

Yes. For security reasons the list of attachment types you are not able to send or receive are:

.bat, .vbs, .pif, .com, .exe, .jar, .dll, .scr, .sys, .vxd, vbd, .lnk, .ade, .adp, .bas, .chm, .cmd, .cpl, .eml, .hlp, .hta, .inf, .ins, .isp, .js, .jse, .mde, .msc, .msi, .msp, .mst, .pcd, .reg, .sct, .shb, .shs, .url, .vb, .vbe, .wsc, .wsf, .wsh

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What kind of virus protection does the e-mail system offer?

The HMS Exchange servers are protected by Antigen Anti-Virus by Sybari. This is an advanced defense system that receives constant updates from the top six anti-virus solution providers in the world, ensuring that you get the quickest solution every time.

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Is there an internet site offered to access my e-mail?

Yes. Outlook Web Access (OWA) is a web-based email client available at: https://email.med.harvard.edu

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How can I customize my e-mail signature in Outlook Web Access (OWA)?

  1. Log into OWA at https://email.med.harvard.edu
  2. Select Options at the top right of the window.
  3. Select Messaging in the left column.
  4. In the space under E-mail Signature enter the information you want to appear at the bottom of each message.
  5. Click the checkbox next to "Automatically include my signature on outgoing messages".
  6. Click Save.

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Is there a way to recover deleted items once I have emptied my deleted mail folder?

Yes, using Outlook Web Access (Premium version only). Note that you shouldn't expect to find deleted items much older than two weeks back.

  1. Log into OWA at https://email.med.harvard.edu
  2. Select Options at the top right of the window.
  3. Select Deleted Items in the left column.
  4. The total number of deleted items will be shown at the bottom of the scroll list.
    • Use the arrows to navigate between pages
    • Click a column heading (Subject, Deleted On, From or Received) to sort by that column.
  5. Highlight a message or messages and then click the Recover to Deleted Items Folder link.
  6. Click Save.
  7. Click Mail to return to the main OWA window.
  8. Open the Deleted Items window and then use the move to folder command to remove the item Deleted Items.

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What is the best way to access my e-mail when I am traveling?

Users can access their email account using Outlook Web Access (OWA), a web-based email client, at https://email.med.harvard.edu.
Note: OWA is optimized for use with Internet Explorer for Windows users; Safari for Mac users.

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Why do I get so much SPAM?

HMS successfully blocks 90% of incoming mail as spam. If you'd like to report spam messages that get through the server spam filters:

1. Forward spam email as an attachment to spam@access.ironport.com.
2. The missed spam must be sent as an attachment in order for the Ironport Security Appliance (the tool Information Technology uses to block spam) to process the mail correctly.
3. Please forward missed spam immediately so that IronPort can effectively write rules to filter the spam. Stale spam is not very helpful.

View tips and information about preventing and and dealing with spam.

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How do I change my password?

  1. Log into eCommons (ecommons.med.harvard.edu).
  2. Click on Preferences in the upper left corner of window.
  3. Click on Password at the top of the window.
  4. Click on here under Change Your eCommons Password.
  5. Enter your new case-sensitive password and then click Submit.

Remember to use your new case-sensitive password the next time you access your HMS email account.




Copyright 2014 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.
Site Updated: 6/13/2014
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