This document is an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) list of the most common email-related problems dealt with by the OUCS Helpdesk.
Click on one of the topic names to view the questions for that topic. To view the answer for any question, click the '+/-' link. Click again on any link to hide its contents. (If the links don't work for you, see the advice at the bottom of this page.)
[+/-] Getting Started
The central Oxford University email system is part of the Nexus service. All new University card-holders new get automatically issued with an Oxford account which gives them access to Nexus and other services. A letter containing the account details should be received within a day or two of the card, and at the same University address. The letter contains details on how to activate the account.
Once activated, access to Nexus is either by the Outlook Web Access service (https://nexus.ox.ac.uk/owa) or via an email client such as Outlook, Entourage, Thunderbird or Eudora - for client configuration information see our web pages at http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/nexus/email/clients.xml.
For further information see the main OUCS email web page at http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/email/
Nexus is Oxford University's central email system. You can access your Nexus email account by several methods. One way is to use an email client program such as Outlook or Eudora. Another option is to use your normal web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Netscape, Safari etc.) to access Nexus's web interface which is called Outlook Web Access (https://nexus.ox.ac.uk/owa). You can use whichever method suits you best, or even alternate between them - you access exactly the same remote inbox and mail folders in each case. You get access to more Nexus features (such as calendar, contacts, to-do lists) if you use a Microsoft client (Outlook or Entourage) or access Outlook Web Access using Internet Explorer. Note that email clients operating in POP mode normally remove new messages from the central system so they are then only accessible on that local machine.
See the OUCS Nexus client configuration web pages at http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/nexus/email/clients.xml
IMAP and POP are two of the ways that dedicated email clients such as Microsoft Outlook or Eudora can interact with a mail system. Many commercial systems will only offer one of these access methods. IMAP is the default option for Nexus but it is possible to use POP instead (your local IT support staff or OUCS Help Centre can supply the connection details).
IMAP is geared to giving you a view of a remote
email repository. Messages and folders normally reside on a remote
system such as Nexus, although IMAP clients also provide local folders.
You can move mail to and from between remote and local storage although,
as with POP, locally stored material is only visible from your own
machine. IMAP is useful for people who access their email from various
locations and want it located in a secure central repository. IMAP tends
to involve longer online connections than POP.
POP is geared to fetching your new mail from a
remote system and storing it on your local machine. The remote copy is
normally then deleted automatically, although POP mail clients can
usually be configured to retain a copy on the central system. POP is
good for people wanting the minimum length of connection (e.g. over a
phone line) and who want to work offline as much as possible, and on the
same computer. However, once downloaded, messages will not be viewable
Any IMAP-capable email client such as Outlook Express, Netscape Mail, Eudora etc. should be able to transfer messages directly into Nexus IMAP folders using the client's own facilities for moving messages and folders. This includes items from the client's local folders, and also items from other IMAP system to which the client has a connection.
Nexus's web interface has no facility to import messages or address books. You can, however, use Outlook (available on the Help Centre computers) to import your contacts from a variety of other systems, so long as these are in a suitable format (it may be necessary to export the addresses from their present location using an export facility in the old email client). Once you have imported them into Nexus, you can access them in Nexus's Outlook Web Access interface.
The 'Finishing at Oxford' web pages at http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/registration/finish/index.xml?ID=files contain information about the moving of email accounts which may be adaptable for this problem.
[+/-] Password and Quota
Your password is changed via the web page at: https://webauth.ox.ac.uk/password. Please read the information on the web page about how to choose a new password.
If you use an email client such as Outlook Express that remembers your password (to save you typing it in each time), the stored setting will need updating to match your new password. There is a web page on how to do this in various email clients.
If you can't get your Nexus password to work:
Contact the OUCS
Help Centre for further advice.
<CapsLock> key turned on
Some possible reasons:
For Nexus accounts, login to Nexus Account Settings and select the
[Show email usage and quota] option.
For personal accounts, Nexus quotas are currently fixed for all at 2GB. Generic accounts for departmental or college administrative use, or relating to academic projects or groups, can apply for additional quota. Requests for additional quota should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org supplying details of the account concerned. Up to 1GB additional quota can be provided free but additional quota of 3GB or more is charged and can be bought by your local ITSS through the registration system (providing costs can be borne by the department or college).
[+/-] Problems and Limits with Sending Email
and the options for secure (SSL/TLS) connections should be
enabled (see our email configuration web
pages for details). The sending port
should be set to
Some of the more common failed delivery messages for Nexus are described at the Interpreting failed-delivery reports page. If you cannot find your message there, you can ask for help from your local IT support staff or the OUCS Help Centre.
This may be because you have activated your Out of Office reply but have not entered any message text.
The size limit for email messages on the Nexus system is 100 MB. This includes the email 'envelope' and any attachments. External email systems may have a lower limit, so your recipient may not be able to receive large messages even if you can send them.
The short answer to this question is 500. However, it is not usually a good idea to send email to a large number of recipients in one go as mail servers may well treat the messages as spam. Many email clients will allow you to 'mail merge' and send email one at a time. An added advantage of this is that you are usually able to tailor the message (for example, to have it begin with "Dear [First_Name] [Last_Name]"). Another excellent way of making mass mailing easier and avoiding the problems already mentioned is to create a mailing list that you can manage yourself. See http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/email/maillists/ for information on how to create and manage mailing lists.
If you are trying to configure Eudora's SSL options and clicking the
Last SSL Info button just results
in an error message "You have never checked mail using SSL connection with
this personality since the last time you started Eudora", then:
For more information on configuring Eudora, see the OUCS web pages
Last SSL Info button - this should open
up the Certficate Manager screen
[+/-] Undelivered, Missing or
Accidentally Deleted Emails
Possibly. Deleted items go to your Deleted Items folder. If you deleted it from there as well (and some people's email programs are set to Empty Deleted Items on exit), you now have a second chance with Oxford Nexus. Items are kept in the Recover Deleted Items store for a further seven days which you can access using Outlook or Outlook Web Access Premium (with Internet Explorer). See the Deleted email - restore page for details.
If the sender gets an error response, this may indicate the nature of the problem, for example:
If the sender receives no error response, it could be that:
VIRUS ALERT - the message contained a virus and was
intercepted by the University's email scanning system.
SMTP error 550 - Recipient address does not exist.
means they are using an incorrect email address - carefully check both
parts of the email address either side of the '@' sign.. If this problem
is following a direct reply to a message you sent, your own email client
could be misconfigured.
Child process of local_delivery_mbx transport returned
75 usually means that your email account does not have
sufficient free space for the message to be delivered. You need to free
up some space by deleting and purging unwanted messages.
SMTP error 550-Invalid HELO... may mean that the
sender may be using a misconfigured email service - for more information
see the web page at http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/email/external/sending.xml
[Set spam filter level] option.
A few email clients are able to do this, most notably Microsoft Outlook (though not Outlook Express). In Outlook:
[Tools/Options/Security] dialogue and
untick the box labelled
Do not allow attachments to be
Using Nexus, you can send and receive messages with a size up to about 100 MB. This includes the email 'envelope' and any attachments.
[+/-] Junk or Unwanted Emails
This is usually caused by a virus infection, most often on someone else's machine. The virus trawls the infected machine for email addresses which are then used to send out infected messages to random recipients which appear to come from randomly chosen senders. The apparent senders may then get replies from the targetted recipients, or failure messages if the emails could not be delivered for some reason. There is little you can do about this other than always keeping your own machine up-to-date with anti-virus software and system updates.
Nexus has a powerful junk-mail filtering facility which can place suspected junk-mail into a folder called Junk E-mail. You can change how strict the junk-mail filtering is by logging in to Nexus Account Settings and selecting the
[Set spam filter level] option.
Using the junk-mail filtering facilities in Nexus should significantly reduce the amount of junk mail that arrives in your inbox. However, some messages do not contain sufficient indicators to mark them as junk mail. If any such messages are sent from a consistent email address, you can use the blacklisting facility. However spam messages usually have a forged sender address.
Some email client programs automatically display a message's content in a 'preview pane' before you open the message. However, there is ususally a configuration option to stop this happening, for example:
option, and/or untick the
Off and deselect the
[View/Autopreview] menu option.
[View/View_Attachment_Inline] menu option
[View/Show-Hide/Message_Pane] menu option.
[Tools/Options/Viewing_Mail/Preview_Pane] menu option.
Many email clients, such as Outlook, include an option for blocking senders. See the documentation for your email program.
Some characteristic of these messages, or the route by which they are being sent (e.g. via a 'blacklisted' site), is resulting in them being assigned a junk-mail score higher than your junk-mail filtering threshold. The simplest solution is to use your email program's 'whitelisting' or 'safe sender' option - messages from a specified email address will always be delivered normally regardless of their junk-mail rating. See the documentation for your email program.
[+/-] Address Books
This depends on your email program. In many clients, right-clicking on the
may produce an option to save it in your address book. See the documentation for your email program for details.
[+/-] Finishing at Oxford
See the 'Finishing at Oxford' web pages at http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/registration/finish/
Information on this topic is included in the 'Finishing at Oxford' web pages at http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/registration/finish/index.xml?ID=files
[+/-] Using Mobiles to Access
OUCS staff may not have any direct expertise in the device that you are trying to configure. If the general help here cannot help you, it may be worth bringing your device into the Help Centre. The staff in the help centre may try to assist if they feel familiar with your device or others like it. Otherwise, you could try a web search instead.
Your device may have a built-in email client. If it has, try looking at our mobile email configuration pages to find suitable setup instructions. Hopefully, you can get your device to pick up and send emails.
The cost of interacting with Nexus should be free. However, the overall cost to you depends on how your device connects to the Internet. If you have a Wireless LAN connection, it is usually free (but places like airport lounges may charge). If you are using your mobile telephone via 3G or GPRS, then you are likely to have to pay a charge to your mobile phone company. If you are abroad (away from the country that runs your mobile contract) then it can be very expensive, and using a Wireless LAN could help to avoid the costs.
The answer depends very much on your device. On many devices it is easier to configure the email client within your device to pick up your email than to use teh Outlook Web Access interface.
This is the first problem that you should overcome before trying to pick up email. Try to find some manufacturers instructions (or possibly some from your mobile 'carrier') that explain how to connect your device to the Internet. Once you have managed that, check that you can browse some web pages (e.g. try http://www.bbc.co.uk) then return to the issue of making your email client work.
Much of your security considerations should relate to how you are connecting to the Internet. Often, wireless connections are not very secure, but this depends on the type of wireless connection you are currently using. Pubs, shops and cafes may be quite open and 'insecure', whereas the University's Eduroam is relatively secure. When you interact directly with Nexus, your username and password should be encrypted.
Probably. Whatever, you do next, you should change your password as soon as possible. See the web page at https://webauth.ox.ac.uk/password. Until you do this, it may be possible for a thief to see all of your personal email and maybe to send emails pretending to be you. This is because many hand-held devices will remember your username and password. Once you have changed your password the thief could see some of your old emails (sometimes this is just the start of the emails, but it could be the whole email). This is a risk with mobile devices. Always try to lock the device witha password or PIN (but this is not necessarily completely secure).
This really depends on your device and your client. Many clients will allow you to browse through your most recent messages and respond to them and to 'queue up' your replies until you next connect. However, some clients may insist that you remain connected in order to read, prepare, and send emails.
This should not matter. Your email should not normally be sent until it the whole email has been processed and a confirmation received from the server. If you are not sure whether it has sent successfully, check out your 'sent items' folder (or equivalent). If it failed to send, some email clients will leave it in a 'drafts' folder (or equivalent).
This is really down to how your client is configured and behaves. Most mobile clients tend to leave the emails on the server but you should experiment with this and check how your client behaves. If you are having difficulty with this behaviour you should decide whether your server settings (see also "IMAP and POP") are set correctly.
"Push email" describes a method whereby email is sent to your device, and usually you do not have to actively check your email by telling your device to connect to the server. It is the method often used with BlackBerry and some other devices, but requires special (non-standard) functionality at the server end. This method contrasts with the "pull" method whereby you consciously tell your device to check the server and to collect emails from the server.
Currently Nexus does not support this "push email" usage but may at some stage in the future.
It is possible to configure a BlackBerry to pull email but this is often seen as contrary to the way that most people want to use such a device. Your service provider (usually a mobile phone company) may not support any other method than 'push'.
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Written by Peter Higginbotham, June 2004. Latest revision Thu, 05 Dec 2013