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Access & Authentication

Who has access to cloud services?

In short, everybody. Before you can access these services, we must provision your account, which normally happens as part of the CSE account creation process.

How do I login to cloud services?

For access to web-based services in Google Apps, we are using single sign-on technology that allows you to use your existing CSE NetID username and password.

For access to non-web services at Google Apps—such as IMAP access to Gmail from a phone or "thick" client such as Thunderbird(older than version 38.0.1)—you will use your Google-held password and your full CSE email address (<user>@cs.washington.edu) as your username. See the answer to the next question to learn how to establish and change the Google-held password.

For Thunderbird 38 and later version, its authentication method can be set to OAuth2 for both incoming and outgoing emails without requiring of the Google-held password. If you can, use OAuth2 rather than the Google-held password. At your first setting to OAuth2, Thunderbird prompts you to CSE NetID web login page. Once your CSE NetID credential has been verified, you can use Thunderbird to gain access and send your emails without any more prompts for the password.

For all Office365 services, you will use your Office365 password. Same for "thick" client and phone access. NB: Your "CSE Office365" username is your full CSE email address (<user>@cs.washington.edu).

We strongly recommend that your Google-held and Office365 passwords be different from your CSE NetID password.

Having trouble authenticating to Google IMAP? Sometimes it's necessary to clear your captcha, explained in the Gmail Help article I'm having trouble logging in with my username and password.

How do I change (or establish) my cloud password(s)?

Use the consolidated password changer.

We strongly recommend that your Google-held and Office365 passwords be different from your CSE NetID password.

I forgot my password - what now?

Forget your CSE NetID password? Read this. Forget a "cloud password"? You can reset it using the link just above.


The first thing to understand about your @cs.washington.edu email is that it goes to only one place, of your own choosing. Your email address is the same regardless which provider you choose, and arrives at your single mailbox no matter where it's sent from.

How do I select an email provider for my @cs.washington.edu email?

There's an app for that!

NB: Be aware that selecting your email provider will not move any existing mail – that selection will only change the destination where new incoming mail will be delivered. More information below about migration of existing email.

How do I access my email?

So many ways...

How can I migrate my CSE email (or other email) to Office365?

We are not aware of any tools for migrating or importing your mail from some other provider. You should be able to migrate your email using an the Outlook thick client, or an IMAP client such as Outlook or Thunderbird. You will need to configure your IMAP client to connect to your Office365 service (see above) and to your CSE email service (instructions), and then you can "drag and drop" folders from one to the other.

NB: Thunderbird does not handle moves of nested folders - in fact, that has been known to be destructive, and may destroy or corrupt your source message store. To use it safely, you must copy each leaf-node folder individually. In all cases we have seen so far, if you manipulate single folders, Thunderbird will do a "copy" of your folder, and will not delete your "source" folders! If you attempt to copy nested folders, Thunderbird may corrupt your source (IMAP) message store! Your mileage may vary, so try a simple test first, with a folder you don't mind losing. Create one, with simple content, if necessary.

How can I migrate my CSE email (or other email) to Google?

Google has some tools for user-based migration. Alternatively, you could use an IMAP client, such as Thunderbird or Outlook, but there are a number of shortcomings with that method. For CSE IMAP users, we have a tool to migrate you emails to GMail, contact CSE Support for switching your email provider and migrating your emails.

Check out these resources for migrating into Gmail:

  • These resources, provided by Google, are the recommended methods for migrating your email, if you want to do it yourself. In particular...
  • You could use an IMAP email client, such as Thunderbird or Outlook, which allow you to configure multiple accounts. You can migrate existing email by "dragging and dropping" folders from one service to the other. This method has some short-comings, though.

    NB: Thunderbird does not handle moves of nested folders – in fact, that has been known to be destructive, and may corrupt your source message store. To use it safely, you must copy each leaf-node folder individually. In all cases we have seen so far, if you manipulate single folders, Thunderbird will do a "copy" of your folder, and will not delete your "source" folders. Try a simple test first, with a folder you don't mind losing. Create one, with simple content, if necessary.

    This method may be slow as your client sends every message on a round-trip (from old-server to Thunderbird to new-server).
  • A documented limitation of Gmail is that no message may exceed 25MB in size, and folder migration will stall if such a message is encountered. To avoid the problem, sort your folder by size before the transfer and move any such messages to a folder that you will not be transferring.

    See How do I access my email [for Gmail], above, for configuration details. And remember: to configure a thick email client (such as Thunderbird) to work with Gmail, you will need to create a Google-held password - see How do I change (or establish) my cloud password(s)?, above.

    What about spam filtering?

    Your incoming email will continue to be scored by SpamBuster and, if you asked for it, quarantined. Note that both of our cloud email providers also provide spam filtering, and if you would prefer for all your spam to wind up in a single spot (for occasional checking), you should set your CSE SpamBuster preferences for "pass-through", not "quarantine". If you specify "modify subject lines" in the SpamBuster preferences, it will be easy to filter it at the destination, whether you use the Google or Microsoft service.

    Why don't I get copies of the messages that I send to mailing lists?

    This is a feature of Gmail. Gmail filters out duplicate messages. Because Mailman sends out the subscriber's copy using the same Message-ID as your original message, a copy of the message exists in your mailstore, labeled "Sent." Consequently, the incoming copy is not stored. Gmail does retain a copy of your original message (tagged as "Sent").

    A workaround is to set a Mailman option so that you receive notification when your "posting" is delivered to the subscribers of that mailing list - in Mailman jargon: a "Post Acknowledgment".   (How?) (How...)

    How do I get "mailto:" links to use Gmail?

    Here's 4 Ways To Set Gmail As Your Default Email In Your Browser, which explains it for some common browsers and operating systems. Note: if you have multiple Gmail accounts open, your "default" Gmail account is the one that will be used. That's the first one you logged into, so to change it, you'll need to log out of all of them and be sure to log into the one you want to use for "mailto:" links first.

    How do I set a vacation or out of office response?

    Automatic responses are set via your cloud provider's web interface. (Note: If you typically access your mail via Outlook, you must use your Cloud provider's web interface for this setting)


    I've been using Google Calendar with my @cs email address for some time, and now I get an "Oops" message. What should I do?

    You have probably been using the "consumer" version of Google Calendar, and you will need to migrate your calendar(s) to the "CSE-branded" Google Apps service. See "How do I migrate my calendar to Google?", directly following.

    Also see: What's the difference between a Google Account and a Google Apps account?

    How do I migrate my calendar to Google?

    To move a calendar from consumer service (a Google Account) to Edu service (a Google Apps account), you need to:

    1. Log into your Google Account (http://calendar.google.com). Jot down all the people you have shared your calendar with (if you have several calendars, you have need to do this for each calendar that you want to migrate to your new UW service). That information will not survive the migration, and you'll need to re-share your calendar manually.
    2. Also make note of the notification settings you have, including Mobile.
    3. Export all your calendars (which puts all your calendars into .ics format, in a ZIP file), and downloads it to your local hard drive.
    4. Log into your Edu Edition account ( http://gcal.cs.washington.edu).
    5. Delete your primary calendar (the topmost one, named with your fullname) in Edu Edition (this only deletes the events, not the primary calendar itself. For secondary calendars, this deletes the events and the calendar.)
    6. Import from the .ics files (from the .zip file) into the Edu Edition calendar(s).
    7. Share your calendar with all the people you shared your original calendar(s) with. [MAYBE:] Select the option that does not notify them, because they won't care, won't notice the difference, and it will only confuse them.
    8. Configure all the notification settings, as you had them previously.
    9. Your old Google Account calendar will now be your personal calendar, and your Google Apps calendar will be your UW calendar. (You will need to associate a new email address with your Google Account - your @cs.washington.edu address should only be associated with your "Google Apps for CSE" service.)

    If you also have Docs in your consumer account, see "How do I migrate Docs...", below.

    I want to save events to my cs.washington.edu calendar, but whenever I click on a "copy to my calendar" link, I am taken to a Google login page, where I can't authenticate to my cs.washington.edu account. What can I do?

    If you also have a Google "consumer" account, you can share your "CSE" calendar with that consumer account. Log into your consumer account from the Google login page. The "Add Event" page will offer you a choice of calendars to which to add the event, so choose your CSE calendar.

    Other Services

    What other cloud-based services do Microsoft and Google provide?

    See Beyond Email for a list of the cloud-based services available form Google and Microsoft.

    Also see the Collaboration section on this page.


    How do I migrate Docs from a "consumer" Google Account into my new CSE Google Apps account?

    You must manually export and import your Docs, Spreadsheets and Presentations. See these instructions.

    • Docs: Word, OpenOffice or RTF are probably the best choices for the format of your export files.
    • Spreadsheets: XLS is probably the best format to use.
    • Presentations: PPT is the best file format to use. (The help page suggests exporting to a PDF, but that will lose all the formatting markup.)
    • Warning: "Change Ownership" is probably not what you want. Despite the claim in this Help page, "Change Ownership" does not allow you to change across "domain boundaries". That is, you can change the ownership of a Doc to another Google (consumer) Account, but you cannot change ownership to an Edu account.

    How do I use the new Google Docs features?

    A new version of Google Docs is available - preview only at the moment (Apr 14, 2010). The original version was (is) based on an HTML data structure (with a limited subset of HTML), and a WYSIWYG editor - fidelity with Office was mediocre to poor. Live co-editing is possible, but klunky. The new version is much improved... it uses an entirely new data structure, has much better compatibility with Office, and the live co-editing is vastly improved:

    • more formatting options (and better compatibility with Office);
    • sync between all participants is done for every character, rather than every 10 seconds;
    • cursors are shown for each person, in a different color;
    • all participants can chat with each other in a side-bar;
    • a new Drawing Editor.

    To use the new features, visit the Google Docs Settings (Editing tab), and enable these two options:

    • Turn on Experimental Features
    • Create new text documents with latest version of the editor

    (You will get the new editing features if you open a document that someone else created with the new format - even if you do not change your editing settings.)

    To use the new features in Google Spreadsheets, click on the "New version" link at the top of the screen.

    NB: OFFLINE use of Google Docs will be disabled (temporarily) with the new editor - and with the old editor starting May 3. Google is working on a new implementation of offline mode, using HTML5 instead of Gears. (No word yet on when offline mode will be re-enabled.) Offline mode will continue to work with Gmail and Calendars.

    Learn more about the new editing features.

    What should I do when offline mode for Google Docs goes away?

    Offline mode for Google Docs will be temporarily disabled on May 3, 2010. (Also when you use the new editing features before that date.) Google is working on a new implementation of offline mode that uses HTML5 instead of Gears. (This disablement only affects the Docs service - offline will continue to work with Gmail and Calendar.)

    When offline mode is disabled, you should use a desktop application to edit your docs (MS Office or OpenOffice). Be sure to export your document before you go offline, and then re-import it when you go back online.


    How do I use my phone with Google services?

    Instructions are at Google Mobile Support. (You will be able to indicate your phone type, and then the select the various Google services you want to configure.)

    Also see: Google Mobile Home for a general introduction to Google mobile services.

    How do I sync secondary Google calendars to my iPhone?

    Once you have configured your phone to synchronize with your Google Calendar, it will only sync to your primary calendar. You can sync secondary calendars (up to 25), by visiting this site from your phone: http://m.google.com/sync/ . You might want to bookmark that site on your phone's browser, so you can add additional calendars later.


    What are the Terms of Use for CSE Cloud Services?

    See UW CSE Cloud Services Terms of Use for the terms that you must abide by for use of these services. Please understand that cloud services represent a rapidly changing landscape, and while we do not expect the Terms of Use to change frequently, they may occasionally need to be updated to reflect new information or conditions that arise. It is your responsibility to keep up (yeah, we know...). Significant changes will be announced to affected users, or broadly to the department.

    What are Appropriate Uses of CSE Cloud Services?

    See Appropriate Use for a description of what constitutes appropriate use of UW-sanctioned cloud services. Because they go hand-in-hand with the Terms of Use, please understand that this description may occasionally need to be updated to reflect new information or conditions that arise.

    The underlying UW Appropriate Use of Computing Resources document has been recently updated - Jan 27, 2010. The revised document better describes the impact of cloud-based services (none, basically! - the rules are the same no matter where the data lives), and clarifies the existing rules that apply to on-campus computing and cloud-based services.

    Personal vs. CSE cloud accounts

    Do I need separate cloud accounts to keep my personal life separate from my UW life?

    Yes - if you are a UW employee (faculty, staff, or student employee). The good news is that it is pretty easy to do this, and to keep things straight. This is really the way to go [Why?]

    Many people want to use cloud services, and often open a "consumer" account (gmail.com, live.com) and use that for UW-related work. This raises problems for you and for UW. There is a complicated, and sometimes non-obvious, set of regulations that come into play - your personal (consumer) Google Account or personal Live ID doesn't meet FERPA, for instance.

    Furthermore, the "sanctioned" cloud services provide a department-centric space for collaborating and sharing documents, calendars, sites, etc. Your email address is a department address, so is readily identifiable by others; you can easily share documents and calendars with others in the department (and still share with individuals outside the department, of course). "Groups" and Contact lists for people in the department will be readily available to you. These benefits will increase in value as more and more people in the department use these services, and as the services mature.

    . It means deciding which provider you want to use for your CSE email, then establishing a user ID that does not conflict with your @cs email address.

    Calendar: You will be able to easily share your personal calendar with your UW CSE cloud account, and vice versa. You can even be logged into both at once, and things just work as you'd expect.

    There is one hurdle you may encounter: if you have been using a consumer Google Account with your CSE email address as your userid. To reconcile this, be sure to read the information above in the Calendar section. We recommend that you do this before you migrate your CSE email or calendar service to Google!

    Docs: If you have accumulated some UW documents in your consumer account, migrating them is a pain. See these notes above.