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University Information Services

If you are unable to look at your incoming email, it will continue to build up on Hermes. When your backlog of mail gets beyond a certain size new messages will not be able to be delivered (and will ultimately be returned to the sender as undeliverable). How to prevent this happening will depend on your circumstances but will probably be covered by one of the following:

Moving to a new email address temporarily:

  • forward (redirect) your email from your Hermes account to your new account. This can be done either as described below or you can set a forwarding address for your @cam email using Lookup
  • unsubscribe from mailing lists before you go. Resubscribe from the new address if necessary

Away for a short time:

  • set up a vacation message, as described below
  • unsubscribe from or suspend mailing lists

Forwarding (redirecting) your email

To set up forwarding (redirection) of your email, you will need to know details of your new or temporary account, so you may not be able to set it up until you are away from Cambridge.

  1. Use a web browser to go to and login to Hermes.
  2. Select Settings in the Application Bar
  3. Select Mail Processing
  4. Select Redirect
  5. Tick Enable and type in the Redirection address: e.g.
  6. If you want to leave a copy on Hermes then tick Leave Copy on Hermes - N.B. use this with care as your mail could build up and take your inbox over quota (this would eventually result in mail being returned to the sender).
  7. Select Update button.
  8. Remember to Logout of Hermes when you have finished.

Once the redirection is set up, it will be in effect until you cancel the redirection or the account is closed (at which point incoming mail is rejected or, if you have set up your change-of-address autoreply, an autoreponse giving your new address is sent).

To cancel a redirection log in to Hermes, follow steps 1 to 4 above then untick the enable box and, for safety, remove the redirection address.

Setting up a vacation message

Vacation messages are only sent out in response to messages personally addressed to you, that is where your name appears in the "To" or "Cc""; field of a message. Typically a vacation message is used to alert a sender that you are away (not necessarily on vacation) and will be replying after you return.

  1. Use a web browser to go to and login to Hermes.
  2. Select Settings in the Application Bar
  3. Select Mail Processing
  4. Select Vacation
    • Tick the Enable box
    • Type the message you wish to send into the Vacation Msg. box
    • You can also change the Subject if you wish
    • The Aliases box can be used to define a comma separated list of additional email addresses which will trigger vacation messages in this way. This is normally used in conjunction with "friendly" email address associated with an institution.
    • Interval (Days) is the number of days that should elapse before another copy of the message is sent to anyone. In general you should leave this at the default of 7
  5. Select Update

To cancel your vacation message log in to Hermes, follow steps 1 to 4 above then untick the enable box. When you go away again you can edit the existing message and re-enable it.

Note: Unsubscribing from mail lists

This is not part of the Hermes management system.

If you are a member of an active mailing list, you could receive large quantities of electronic mail over a short period. If you are away and have not redirected your email these messages will build up and could cause problems as described earlier.

In these circumstances you should unsubscribe from, or suspend, the mailing list before you go. To this end, when you subscribe to a mailing list, make sure that you keep the information provided about how to subscribe and unsubscribe, as the way to do it varies between lists. It usually involves sending a message to a specified address.

See the information about mailing lists for further advice.

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