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UWRF e-mail causes campus problems

November 16, 2006

E-mail is one of the most vital communication tools in today’s world. College students use it as a way to conveniently get in touch with their professors, peers and employers. Unfortunately, this year e-mail has been a little more of a hindrance than help on the UW-River Falls campus.

“It’s slow sometimes,” junior John Hepokoski said about the current e-mail system.

Hepokoski is not alone in his frustrations. Students at UWRF have noticed problems with their e-mail accounts, including slow loading time and delays in the amount of time it takes to send and receive mail.

“It’s frustrating because sometimes my e-mail doesn’t show up right away and it takes forever for the screen to load,” senior Andrea Geehan said.

The problems began last year when an outage caused faculty and students to lose some or all of their e-mail in their inboxes and folders. In order to efficiently fix the outage, Information Technology Services (ITS) had to upgrade the e-mail system, and it was during that upgrade that some things went wrong.

“Before the outage last year, there was a mechanism to control the quotas in mailboxes, but during the upgrade that part of the program broke,” Interim Manager of Computer Support Services Mary-Alice Muraski said.

This means that there is no way for ITS to control how much mail is saved on each person’s account, bogging down the system and causing every account to move at a slower pace.

ITS realized the problem with the performance of the e-mail system and has devised a plan to get things running smoothly.

“There is short-term and a long-term plan to get this fixed,” Muraski said.

The short-term plan is to correct small problems causing the system to slow, including decreasing the time it takes to send and receive e-mail, as well as controlling the quotas of mailboxes so the whole system can operate more quickly.

“We have to work behind the scenes, and the plan is to get this fixed within the next two months so that when students come back from J-term they will notice a different in the performance of e-mail,” Muraski said. “If we tried to fix this problem all at once e-mail would have to be completely down for at least a week or two.”

The long-term plan is to upgrade to a newer and more innovative system of e-mail. Muraski said the plan is to complete the project within the next 12 months, but until then she asks for students’ cooperation in making the current system bearable for everyone.

“We are almost out of disk space, and if we run out of disk space the system will shut down completely,” she said. “We really need students to clean out their mailboxes and discard old e-mails, and this includes clearing out the trash section.”

If students want to hang on to their old e-mails, they can check out its.uwrf.edu/support/apps/web/sm/archive.php. This Web site offers information on how to archive e-mail folders.

“We feel your pain,” Muraski said. “We are doing everything in our power to fix this, and we need everybody’s help and patience.”

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