Migration to Microsoft Outlook

by Henry Wong

Eudora has been staff's standard email client software since the 1990s. Due to its weak security features and the lack of multi-language features, it is no longer a suitable email client tool for most of our users. The Computing Services Centre (CSC) has been providing support to both Microsoft Outlook Express and Outlook as alternative email tools for several years with the aim of eventually phasing out Eudora. With the current Outlook version getting more mature and powerful, the CSC decides now is the right time to adopt Outlook as staff’s standard email client software.

MS Outlook has many features that Eudora lacks. The following are some key features:

  • Multi-language Support

As MS Office supports editing and viewing of documents in more than 80 languages by taking advantage of the Unicode text encoding standard, this means that when you're in MS Outlook, you can easily read or send messages in many different languages.

  • Junk E-mail Filter

The Junk E-mail Filter is designed to work with other Outlook 2003 features to help prevent many of the unwanted e-mail messages that you receive every day. It uses state-of-the-art technology developed by Microsoft Research to evaluate whether a message should be treated as junk e-mail. Any message that is caught by the filter is moved to a special Junk E-mail folder, where you can retrieve or review at a later time if so desired.

  • Calendar

The calendar and scheduling components of Outlook are fully integrated with its e-mail, contacts, and other features. You can view them in a day, week, or month at once. With Calendar you can create appointments and events just as you would write in a paper-based organizer, and then send meeting request via email to all attendees, and create reminders to yourself for the meetings/events.

When integrating with Microsoft Exchange Server, you can have more powerful calendar and scheduling functions such as calendar sharing and making group scheduling.

  • Tasks

A task is a personal or work-related errand you want to track through completion. A task can occur once or repeatedly (a recurring task). A recurring task can be repeated at regular intervals or repeated based on the date you mark the task complete. In Outlook you can create tasks list to track through the completion of your specified tasks and automatically remind you when they are due.

  • Notes

It is the electronic equivalent of paper sticky notes. Use notes to jot down questions, ideas, reminders, and anything you would write on note paper. You can leave notes open on the screen while you work. This is especially convenient when you're using notes for storing bits of information you may need later, such as directions or text you want to reuse in other items or documents.

  • ActiveSync

You can synchronize e-mail messages, calendar items, contacts, notes, and tasks between Outlook running on your desktop PC and your mobile devices such as Pocket PC or PDA.

  • MS Exchange Client

The Microsoft Exchange server provides a highly reliable, scalable, and unified messaging and collaboration infrastructure. MS Outlook is its client counterpart. Together they provide many new and enhanced features such as Shared Calendar, Group Tasks list, Public Folder, Global Address list, Group scheduling, etc. Setting up of Exchange server will be one of the "Future Enhancements to the CityU’s Email Infrastructure (Ref: Network Computing Issue 50 - December 2006)".

The massive rollout of the MS Outlook will take place some time in the summer term of this year. When this is formally released, the CSC will provide on-site support to users on MS Outlook setup and one-off migration of users’ local mailboxes from Eudora to Outlook. The migration will be arranged on a departmental basis within a scheduled period. The whole process will be expected to complete before the end of year 2008, and no more support service on the use of Eudora will be offered by the CSC once the whole migration exercise is completed.

Staff members are encouraged to switch to using MS Outlook as soon as possible. In order to enable staff to get familiar with Outlook, training courses will be scheduled frequently throughout the year. At this stage, the CSC has already started to provide standard support service on the use of MS Outlook through its  Help Desk. Staff can seek help from them when needed.