Management of Electronic Mailboxes
Last revision: August 9, 2004
Information Technology Systems and Services monitors the sizes of all electronic
mailboxes on a nightly basis. If your mailbox exceeds a certain limit, an automated
procedure will move your mail from your incoming mailbox to a mail folder in
your personal directory. Your mail will not be deleted, but you must access
it differently. The reasons we do this are:
- Users can suddenly encounter problems while reading their mail because
their inbox has grown too large to work with.
- It is now more common for email to contain more than text. It is easy
to include attachments such as pictures, data, video, voice, animations,
documents, etc. Attachments increase the size of the message, sometimes considerably.
- Although ITSS restricts the size of any one piece of mail that is delivered,
it is still possible for many customers to receive many large pieces of mail.
UMD receives hundreds of megabytes of email a day. Much of this is processed
each day by the individuals who receive it. When mail is left unread it accumulates
and can grow very large rapidly, especially if it contains attachments or
the customer is on a list server.
- Users who have large inbox areas put an extra load on the system while
they read their mail. The system has to read through the whole inbox, sort
it, and on demand, rewrite it. Many customers accessing very large inbox
areas can cause the whole mail system to slow down.
- Although we have allocated a large area for mailboxes, if we let mailboxes
grow without limits we will run out of space very quickly.
The process we follow is that each night a check is made of all the mailboxes
on the system. If your mailbox size exceeds a certain size, it will be moved
to your folder area. A message will be sent to you that indicates your mailbox
has been moved, and it will give you the folder name that was assigned to your
mail. The folder name will be the word mbox followed by a '.' and the date, for
example, mbox.20000122. You will still be able to access the mail, but you will
have to use the folder commands in your respective mailer to do so. The mail
message sent to you includes the information as to how to access your mail folder
Email users who leave their system and email client connected all the time
should note that the above procedure may cause them some problems. Most mail
reader software packages will notice that the mailbox size has changed (it
is ok for it to grow, but not ok for it to shrink), and this may require you
to reconnect when your mailbox is moved. This sometimes means you will lose
whatever changes you have made to your mailbox, for example, any messages marked
for deletion may reappear the next time you access this folder.
You can keep your inbox small by using the folder feature to save your mail,
or by marking email for deletion. Note that mail, whether it is in your inbox
or a folder area, is charged at the standard rate for disk storage.
If you have any questions about the process of moving your inbox please contact
our Help Desk at 8847. If you have any questions about billing please contact
the ITSS Department Office (itss, 7587).