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Email Migration to Oxford Nexus

Over the coming few months, accounts in the Herald email system will be migrated to the new Oxford Nexus email system. The timetable for the move to the new system is shown below (all dates are 2009):


Date Who? Additional information
15th June beta testers Checking consistency of migration processes, plus further checks of email client behaviour
20th July 1st tranche early adopters Early users, all providing critical feedback of migration experience and documentation, etc.
27th July OUCS Whole of the department moves over.
From 3rd Aug (over 2 week period) 2nd tranche of early adopters Whole, smaller units move over.
1st Sept New users Exchange accounts created. Undergraduate, 'taught-course' postgraduate migrations begin.
7th Sept - 2nd Oct 1st Herald migration window Staff and research postgraduates
19th Oct - 11th Nov 2nd Herald migration window Remaining staff and research postgraduates

Eventually, there will be a a final deadline for exceptional people who could not be migrated in the two main migration windows.

How will I know when I'll be migrating?

Firstly, an IT support person who knows you should make a judgement as to which window is the most convenient for you. Then, at least two weeks in advance of your migration, you will receive a message with your 'slot' allocated to you. It should be an overnight migration, but some people will be given a daytime three-hour slot. If your migration time is highly inconvenient (e.g. you may be planning on working overnight at that time), let your IT support staff know and they will re-schedule it. Nevertheless, the migration is designed to be as unintrusive as possible.

1. Who will, and will not, be migrated?


Who To be migrated? Additional information
Everyone actively using their Herald email account and not falling into one of the other categories here Yes All Herald account users who have email in their account and who are not due to leave the University before the end of October 2009 must be migrated.
Active Herald email users who are due to leave before the end of October 2009 No This is based on today's University Card information. If expiry dates are extended, these users will fall into the above migration category and will be given good notice of migration.
Herald accounts set to forward email elsewhere Yes If you are forwarding email from Herald, you are actively using the Herald account. It will be migrated, but the forwarding will continue as before. Do not confuse Herald with any other account, such as the one that receives your forwarded email. The two are quite separate and it is your Herald account that is to be migrated.
Unused Herald accounts Yes There are many people who have a Herald account but who may not realise that they do, or have forgotten. These include those who had an account created but have never used it. It may be that your mail is routed elsewhere (e.g. to your department's email service). If this applies to you, you need not worry as you may not notice migration. We still must send announcement emails to your Herald account to warn you, in case you do use the account.
Users with mail routed elsewhere and with no Herald account No This page concerns people migrating from Herald to Oxford Nexus. At a later stage, some departments and colleges who run their own email servics may wish to migrate to Oxford Nexus. This will be scheduled and publicised later.

[Note about unused accounts: Even if you do not use an account, people may be trying to contact you via that address. To make sure you do not miss those messages you should make necessary arrangements, for example have mail to that account routed to your normal address.]

Please see the first of these pages for information as to when accounts are due to be migrated.

2. Why do I need to migrate?

The University took a strategic decision to provide a 'groupware' service consisting of a range of services, closely coupled to email. This means that Herald email users will be migrated to the new system first. The default quota will be doubled to 2 GB to cover email and calendar entries.

For more information about the process surrounding the selection of the new technologies, please see the Groupware pages on the ODIT web site.

3. What will the email migration mean to me?

This section contains information regarding the migration of your email to the new system. For general information as to what is provided by the Oxford Nexus service, see our FAQ page.

3.1. Webmail

Apart from some new facilities (such as calendars, to-do lists and more), the main difference you will notice will be to Herald Webmail, which will be replaced with the Microsoft Outlook Web Access, locally known as Oxford Nexus email web interface. This new interface should be intuitive and easy to use. If you use an email client program instead of, or as well as, Herald Webmail this should work as normal after the migration. Your University or College IT Support Officer may help you change some settings afterwards if appropriate.

Further information regarding your Webmail contacts, signature, vacation message and more upon migration are given in the following sections.

3.2. Using your Oxford username and password

After the migration, you will continue to use your Oxford username and password, as you did with Herald and Herald Webmail.

3.3. The email program installed on my computer

If you use an email client instead of, or as well as, Herald Webmail this should work as normal after the migration. You may need to refresh or resubscribe to your folder list but you should not be asked to perform anything technical, such as changing your connection settings. You may see some new folders that have been created during the migration (such as Calendar, Contacts, Deleted Items, Journal, Junk E-Mail, Notes, Outbox, Sent Items, Tasks). These are part of your Nexus account on the Nexus server. Please check the Junk E-Mail folder periodically to ensure you do not miss genuine email messages that are erroneously identified as spam/junkmail (more information on the mail filtering page. Your Department or College IT Support Officer may help you change some settings afterwards to allow access to the full groupware functionality (for example, to share your calendar, to set up meetings or to use distribution lists).

3.4. POP configuration

If you are using POP configurations for Herald then please speak to your local IT officer (or contact OUCS Help Centre) for migration to Nexus. If you need to use POP (for example if you do not have access to a good Internet connection/broadband and need read your email off-line), you can find the necessary connection details on the Accessing Nexus using POP page.

4. What should I do before, during and after the migration?

This section describes what to do in the moments immediately before, during and after the migration. Before the migration begins, please ensure that you have addressed the most urgent issues of:

The migration should take no longer than three hours. You will be notified in advance exactly when your migration will take place. During the migration, you will not be able to access your email. Should an email be sent to you during that time, it will be 'queued' for delivery and delivered after the migration completes.

4.1. If you access your email via a web browser (Herald Webmail)

On the day of migration, if you are using a web browser to access Webmail, please close it down completely before migration begins. Please note you can still re-start it to browse the web but do not re-connect to your webmail interface. The following list summarizes what you will need to do:

  • Close down all of your open browser windows
  • After the migration is due to have finished, re-start your browser and check your email
  • Please go to to check your email
  • Please change any bookmarks you have that may point to (or similar) to
  • If you do go to the old Webmail interface by mistake you will be re-directed over to Oxford Nexus instead.

Immediately following the migration of your email, checks will be done to verify the numbers of emails and folders successfully migrated. If there is a discrepancy, the migration should abort.

4.2. If you use an email program that is installed on your computer

Many people have an email program or client (such as Outlook, Eudora or Pegasus) installed on their computer. This makes accessing their email easier, especially if you need to work on emails whilst you are not connected to the internet. If this applies to you, then please:

  • Close down your email program before the migration is due to start
  • After the migration is due to have finished, check the status of your migration by attempting to reach Herald Webmail at
  • If the information at that page says that you have finished, re-start the email program and check your email
  • If you are able, please 're-subscribe to' or 'refresh' your email folders (see Subscribing to folders.. and find your client program, for instructions as to how to do this for most popular clients)
  • Please browse through your email to ensure that everything has migrated correctly
  • Microsoft Outlook users may wish to reconfigure their clients to make optimum use of the groupware functionality. There is no hurry to do this, and you may wish to speak with your IT support staff before doing this. An extensive programme of user training is planned by both OUCS and local IT staff. It may be beneficial to attend a session along with other members of your working group to establish new time-saving practices.

5. Herald features that will transfer automatically to Oxford Nexus

The following items will be automatically copied from Herald or Herald Webmail to Oxford Nexus:

  • Your Webmail vacation message (also known as the "Out of Office" message)
  • The status of your Webmail vacation message (i.e. if your vacation message is switched on at the time of migration, it will remain on when the migration is finished, and vice versa). After migration, you can change these settings within the Outlook client OWA or OWA-light (for web browsers other than Internet Explorer).
  • Your Herald quota
    • If you have a standard 1 GB Herald quota, this will become a quota of 2 GB. Those few people with a quota in excess of 2 GB currently will keep their previous quota.
  • Your Webmail signature
  • Your spam filtering configuration including Whitelist and Blacklist (but see more detailed spam filtering notes)
  • Your Webmail contacts (but see more detailed contact notes)
  • Your email forwarding settings (and you can change these in OUCS Self-Registration)

6. Things that may need some attention

6.1. Message flags (or marks/tags/labels) are not migrated

If you have used the 'flag' or 'mark' (or tag or label) messages functions of your email client (or of Webmail), these flags/tags will be lost on migration, unfortunately. Therefore, before you are migrated you may wish to create some new folders in order to file important messages separately, and move flagged/tagged/marked/labelled messages into those folders. Most email programs that are able to see them, will also 'sort' emails using these flags or tags and you will then be able to move all of the flagged, marked or tagged emails into a (sub) folder of their own. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to re-create these flags or tags after migration.

6.2. Webmail contacts

If you have used Herald Webmail to store contact information, this will be migrated. However, the postal address may need some attention after migration. The address in Herald is in only one field and so this is migrated to the "Street" field in Oxford Nexus. All data should be there, and you can tidy these up manually if that is important to you.

More details...
The address field in Herald Webmail is a single free-text field. In Oxford Nexus it is divided into a series of parts: Street, City, State/Province, Postal code and Country/Region. Due to the difficulty of automatically evaluating which of the parts map to which, all of the information is migrated into the Street field.

6.3. Webmail contact groups

Webmail contact groups are distribution lists that have been created in Herald Webmail. Unfortunately, they cannot be migrated. Before the migration, you will be sent an email containing the information in your Herald Webmail contact groups. You may be able to import this into another application or create distribution lists by hand within Oxford Nexus.

6.4. Spam filtering, whitelisting and blacklisting senders

In Herald Webmail you were able to set your own spam filtering levels (e.g. "save to junk-mail folder messages with a score over 10", "discard messages with a score over 20" etc.). After migration, you should now find that this is set to one of four categories: Off, Low, Medium or High. No messages will be discarded without saving: they should go to your Junk E-mail folder. If you wish to change the settings, please go to OUCS Self-Registration).

Occasionally SPAM filtering has not been enabled upon migration as expected. To check the filter is on, please login to Nexus Web Access and double check that "Options" (top right) - "Junk E-mail" (left sidebar) -> "Automatically filter junk e-mail" is switched on.

In Oxford Nexus, whitelists and blacklists are to be found under the 'Junk email' option, in your 'Safe Senders' lists. These will be migrated from your current settings in Herald Webmail.

6.5. Your preferred sender and your primary email address

Once migrated, you will only be able to send email from (one of) your University email address(es) through the Oxford Nexus email web interface. You can still use an email client (via to send as other email addresses, if this is something you need to do. The preferred sender address you currently have set in Herald Webmail will be migrated where applicable.

6.6. Some special folder names

Oxford Nexus has some reserved folder names for folders which play special roles. These include Inbox, Drafts, Sent Items, Deleted Items, Calendar and Contacts.

(If you have them) the following folders will be migrated straight to the same Oxford Nexus folders:

  • Deleted Items
  • Drafts
  • Inbox
  • Junk E-mail
  • Sent Items

However, if you have them, the following folders will be migrated to folders with new names:


Herald folder   Oxford Nexus folder

If you have (or had) any folders of these names in your original Herald account, you may find you need to tell your email client to refresh or 'subscribe' in order to see the new folders.

6.7. Viruses

No matter how careful you have been, it is very likely that you have some emails that contain viruses. Even though email entering Herald was scanned for viruses, some of the emails may have been sent before the virus definitions appeared and an adequate defence was created. You may even have email that you have never opened in your Deleted Items or Junk or Spam folders which have viruses or malware. When these emails are migrated into Oxford Nexus, the system will perform a scan and then remove attachments that contain viruses and notify you . If you find an important email where the attachment has been removed, please contact IT Services Help Centre in order to investigate cleaning the attachment and returning it to you. However, please note that quarantined items of these types will be deleted after 30 days.

6.8. Corrupted emails

Herald/Webmail was excellent at storing anything given to it, even if it was corrupt. The Oxford Nexus system is not as tolerant. If, during migration, corrupted emails are detected, these will be 'bundled up' into an email attachment and delivered to you. As they are corrupt, you may or may not be able to open the attachment. Testing has shown that a high proportion of corrupt email has been junk or spam, so you may not need these emails.

On some occasions, especially if the number of corrupted messages is high, or large emails are found in the mailbox, the corrupted messages cannot be forwarded on. When this is the case, the migration will fail and the account will revert to Herald. A message containing the subject lines of the corrupt messages will be sent.

7. Things that could cause the migration to fail

7.1. Double quotes and other invalid characters in folder names

With or without knowing it, you may have double quotes (i.e. ") in your folder names. Similarly, you may have corrupted or extremely odd characters in some of your folder names (almost all international characters will migrate fine, however).

If this is the case, and these have been there for some time, you should have received an email informing you of these characters. We would like you to find them and amend them. If you do this successfully, the migration should proceed as planned: otherwise it will fail.

If you think that you are affected by this problem, please use Herald Webmail at to find such folders, and then re-name the folders to remove the double quotes.

If you have difficulties doing this, please see your local IT support for assistance. If you do not have access to such support, please contact IT Services Help Centre.

7.2. Migration problems associated with case sensitivity in folder names

Again, with or without your knowing it you may have folders where the only difference between them is in upper and lower case characters. Herald is Unix-based and treats these folders as unique, different folders. However, the Oxford Nexus system cannot tolerate the coexistence of such folders. For example, you may have folders such as:

  • a and A
  • Coursework, coursework and COURSEwork
  • Junk and junk

The migration procedures will eventually merge the contents of these sets of folders but will fail on the first attempt. So, if you wish to keep them separate, it is important that you rename them (e.g. as Coursework1, Coursework2 etc.). If you fail to re-name them, the migration may fail the first time, but when attempted again, the contents of the folders will be merged into one folder. You will receive warning emails before this occurs, so please heed these warnings and re-name the folders.

Please re-name them (and/or delete one) so that your migration will not fail and you are inconvenienced. Many thanks.

Use Herald Webmail at to find such folders and re-name the folders or move the emails into one folder and delete the associated empty folder. (We suggest you use Herald Webmail as other email client programs may hide the folders from you).

If you have difficulties doing this, please see your local IT support for assistance. If you do not have access to such support, please contact IT Services Help Centre.

7.3. Messages which you have deleted but which are still flagged to be deleted

With Herald, there is a two-stage deletion process. (You may or may not be aware of this as your email program may keep this hidden from you). When you delete an email, depending which email program you are using, any or all of the following could occur:

  • the message is marked to be deleted
  • it is hidden from your view
  • it may be greyed-out or appear with a line through it
  • as well as any or all of the above, a copy of it may be created in your Deleted Items folder

The migration process is designed so that you will lose no data. Therefore, your deleted items are preserved as well. Even the items marked to be deleted. Therefore, it would assist greatly if you could run a purge (or a compact, whatever your email program calls it) to remove these multiple copies. If you are confident that you do not need them, please also delete all of your 'Deleted Items' and purge these away as well. This will assist the migration to run smoothly.

7.4. Folder ending in slash (\ or /) characters

Herald email may tolerate the deliberate or accidental use of folder names ending in \ or in / (the stroke, slash or virgule characters). However, the Oxford Nexus email service is less tolerant.

Unfortunately, folders with slashes at the end of their names can cause emails to be filed in the wrong folder during the migration process.

If you think that you are affected by this problem, please use Herald Webmail at to find such folders, and then re-name the folders to remove the slash characters.

If you have difficulties doing this, please see your local IT support for assistance. If you do not have access to such support, please contact IT Services Help Centre.

8. What happens if the migration fails?

If the migration fails, your Herald email remains safe and you will continue to be able to use Herald. As all email arriving during the time of the migration will have been queued, you should not lose email messages. Your account will still need to be migrated in the future. Your IT support will be informed and you should seek their assistance to diagnose the problem as to why the migration failed. IT Services Help Centre may have specific bookable triage sessions in order to assist as well.

9. How can I find out more about the new Oxford Nexus?

We have produced a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section listing common problems and answers to them.


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Written by IT Services. Latest revision 2 March 2015