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Cornell Optional Email Alias FAQ

This article applies to: Cornell Optional Email Alias

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My current email address (based on my NetID) suits me fine. Do I have to change it?

Absolutely not. The Optional Alias service is being provided in response to feedback we've received from members of the campus community, but if you don't want one, that's fine with us. If you do get an Alias, remember that it is an additional address; you can still use your address.

I'm a student. Why can't I get an Alias?

One driving factor is the need for a "use once then discard forever" policy, that is, each Alias can only be used by one person. Ever. This is to avoid misdelivery of mail. Given the size of Cornell and the transitory nature of students, the "namespace" (a term given to the pool of available, desirable Aliases) could be worked over in a very short time.

How much does this cost?

Nothing. Just like all other email services provided by CIT, there is no fee.

If people send me messages at both my address and my new Alias email address, will I still get all my messages?

Yes yes yes. Messages with your Alias address are routed to exactly the same place as your NetID address. You can use both addresses if you like, or either one. Your choice.

Can I sign in to my email (Outlook, Outlook Web App, Mail, etc.) and other Cornell services using my Alias instead of my NetID?

No. Your Alias does not replace your NetID. It simply lets you add another, more personalized email address. When you sign in to a Cornell system, you'll use your NetID and password, just like you always have.

Can I take someone else's Alias if they leave the university?

Nope. To avoid confusion and misdelivery of mail, we've designed the Alias system so that each Alias can only be used by one person. When that person leaves the university, his/her Alias is retired, never to be used again.

If I can talk someone of out an Alias they've already chosen, can we trade?

No. You are allowed to change your Alias once, but CIT will not get involved in swapping two active Aliases. Please see the previous question for more information.

How long will it take for a review of my special request?

We hope to respond to all special requests within a few days. There may occasionally be times when the volume of requests means our response will be slower.

How many Aliases can I have?

  • You can only have one Alias at a time. This is in addition to your address, which will continue to work.
  • After you have selected your initial Optional Email Alias, you are permitted to change it once, using the same interface you used to select your first Alias. See our Changing Your Alias article for slightly more information.

I know someone who has an Alias, and they don't fall into any of the eligibility categories. What's up with that?

When CIT introduced Aliases, we allowed people who had been making use of "fuzzy matching" capabilities to select an Alias. Anyone who fit this special "grandfathered" category was contacted.

I don't fall neatly into one of the eligibility categories, but I think I qualify for an Alias. Who do I talk to about this?

Contact the IT Service Desk. They will direct your request to the proper department.


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