Moving to a New (E-Mail) Address?


It’s the end of the school year, and that means that students, staff and faculty all around the world are playing the grand game of musical chairs shuffling between schools. If you are moving from one institution to another and need to move your e-mails, here are a few easy steps to complete your move to a new (e-mail) address!

Find Your New Home

If you are moving to a new institution, you may get your new e-mail address before the end of the year. This will be really helpful in letting you roll your e-mail directly over. If you don’t have a new address to roll things to, you can get a free e-mail address from a variety of services, including, Gmail and Yahoo!.

Move the Automatic Stuff

Most people have some kind of automatic mail that comes in throughout the course of the day– blog subscriptions, e-mail newsletters, forums or mailing lists. Once you have your new address set up, you can change all of these over at any time. Most automatic mail messages have small links at the bottom that allow you to change your subscription settings/preferences, which would include your preferred e-mail address.

After that, make a list of any websites that require you to log in with your old address. These could be social sites like Facebook or Twitter, or membership-only areas of public sites. You don’t have to change the e-mail address on record to continue using the sites, but if you don’t, two things might start happening: first, if you lose your password to those sites, it can only be sent to your old (unupdated) e-mail. Second, many sites will shut down your account after a while if the e-mail address is no longer valid and their site messages bounce back. Prevent this by switching over any membership sites that you want to retain.

Get the Word Out

Open up your contacts and look at the people with whom you e-mail on a regular basis. Write an e-mail addressed to yourself, with all of these frequent contacts in the cc’ field (this is a nice e-mail courtesy for bulk e-mails– now all of the recipients won’t have to wade through all of your friends’ e-mail addresses to find the text of the message). Give everyone your new e-mail address, the date at which you are moving forward, and ask them to update their address book/contacts accordingly.

An example:

Hello, everyone– Since I’m moving on to the Wunderbar Academy of Good Thinkin’ next year, this address is closing on June 30. From that date forward, my new e-mail will be . Please update your contacts and address book. Thanks!

If you are a teacher or staff member, you may want to include a line about who will be in your position in the fall and include their e-mail as well.

You should also set up an auto-response in your e-mail. You may not want to do this until you’ve actually left the institution, though. All modern e-mail clients and providers have an option to set an auto-response which will send a message of your choosing to anyone who e-mails you. You can use the same text as your mass mail with minimal modifications. Be sure to give them your new e-mail if appropriate.

Pack the (In-) Boxes

People should now get the hint that your new e-mails will come from/go to a different address. But what about all of those e-mails that you have from your past account that you want to save? You can use a bit of trickery to take them with you using a mail client, such as Thunderbird, Outlook or Mac Mail. This isn’t required, but you may want to save some messages. The steps below can apply to individual messages or whole folders, whichever you prefer.

  • Add both accounts. In your mail client, add both your present and future account. This will display all of your messages and folders that exist in your current account, and let you create whatever folders you wish in your new account.
  • Select the messages or folders that you want to keep. This isn’t limited to your inbox– if you’re trying to grab everything, make sure that you search or grab your sent mail and archive folders as well.
  • Drag them from your old account to the corresponding folders in your new account. The mail client will do the heavy work of downloading them and adding them to your new account.

All Cleaned Out

You have now notified your frequent contacts, left forwarding instructions in the form of an auto-reply, and moved over any messages that you wanted to keep. When the time comes, you’re now ready to log out of your old e-mail address for the last time and carry on forward!


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