Princeton’s e-mail server fails over fall break

Princeton University undergraduates have had problems using their e-mail accounts since Saturday, after technology officials encountered unexpected difficulties while upgrading e-mail software during the school’s fall break this week.

The Princeton Office of Information of Technology scheduled an e-mail server outage over the weekend to upgrade e-mail server software, but the network experienced an unplanned outage on Sunday night, Princeton officials said. Many students said they have had trouble reading and sending messages and attaching files.

The new server software caused several unexpected problems, the most serious of which affected e-mail delivery to students’ in-boxes, OIT Support Services Director Steven Sather wrote in an e-mail to undergraduates. He said OIT’s first priority is to ensure that all students can send and receive messages.

“OIT has also received reports of general ‘sluggishness’ and problems related to composing messages using webmail,” Sather said. “As soon as the undergraduate mail server is stabilized, we will shift our focus to these others issues.”

Princeton’s e-mail server has been almost fully operational since late Monday, but a few students have still reported problems with receiving e-mails and attaching Microsoft Word documents, Princeton OIT assistant Meka Asonye said Wednesday.

“The e-mail is actually fixed right now,” Asonye said. “There have only been a few unexpected problems over the weekend.”

Asonye said OIT chose to upgrade the server software on Saturday because it was the first day of fall break following midterm period at Princeton, a time when students rely less on e-mail.

Princeton freshman Joung Park said he was annoyed by the outage, but understood that officials were trying to improve Princeton’s e-mail system.

“It was annoying, but they had to update it, so it was okay,” Park said. “And no one really sends e-mail during fall break.”

— Raymond Pacia

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