SFU Mail Migration: FAQ and Common Issues

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This article lists frequently asked questions (FAQs) and common issues you may encounter with the SFU Mail Upgrade & Migration to Exchange Online.


General FAQs

What is exchange online and why is it being adopted?
Exchange Online is a cloud-based email and calendaring solution provided by Microsoft as part of Microsoft 365. It offers secure and reliable email communication, calendaring, and collaboration tools accessible from anywhere with and Internet connection.

Aligned with the What’s Next: The SFU Strategy and SFU's digital transformation, IT Services continues to adapt to the evolving technological landscape and foster a culture of digital engagement that will empower students, faculty and staff to achieve our academic mandate.

SFU is introducing more Microsoft 365 (M365) features to help you with online collaboration and productivity at the university. By adopting Exchange Online with SFU Mail, these new M365 features will become available to you on SFU Mail.

What are the benefits from transitioning to Exchange online?
With Exchange Online, SFU Mail users will have enhance IT security, improve user experience and utilize more Microsoft Cloud resources. For details on new features, visit New Change to SFU Mail.
How do I access SFU email with Exchange Online?
To access SFU Mail on browser, visit Sign into SFU Mail on Browser for instructions.
When WILL i BE transitioned TO EXCHANGE ONLINE?
Between 2023 and 2025, your SFU mailbox account will be upgraded to Exchange Online. You will receive an email two weeks prior to your account being scheduled to the upgrade. For the most up-to-date information, visit We're Upgrading SFU Mail.
CAN I BE transitioned EARLier?
To ensure a seamless migration process, we have established a structured plan that prioritizes specific groups of mailboxes within the organization. Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate individual requests for early migration at this time due to these complex considerations.
How do I know if I have Exchange Online?

There will be two major changes once your account is upgraded to Exchange Online:

  • You will be asked to log into Microsoft when signing into SFU Mail. Your sign in email will be “YourComputingID@sfu.ca”.
  • The user interface will be modernized when accessing SFU Mail on browser.
New look for SFU Mail!
Will there be interruptions or Impacts?
Yes, there is expected to be both interruptions to SFU Mail and impacts to how you use SFU Mail, which may include:
  • A new Microsoft sign in page
  • A new SFU Mail URL for browser access
  • Only approved apps can connect to SFU Mail

For information on what you need to know, see We're Upgrading SFU Mail.


Common Issues after Upgrade

On browser, I see "Something went wrong. We couldn't find a mailbox for this recipient/account." What should I do?

You will see this error if:

  1. Your browser cookies may be invalid. Try clearing your browser cookies, or a different browser, and sign into https://outlook.office.com/.
  2. You are signing into https://outlook.office.com/ before your SFU account has upgraded to Exchange Online. Please continue to use https://mail.sfu.ca until your upgrade is complete.

If you are still encountering sign in issues after your upgrade, contact us using the SFU Mail - Report Migration Issue form.

On iOS or Apple Mail, I can't sign in after the upgrade. What should I do?
You will need to remove any existing SFU Mail account from Apple Mail and re-add your account. See Remove an existing SFU Mail account from Apple Mail for Mac for instructions.
On Outlook, I can't sign in after the upgrade. What should I do?
You will need to sign out all your existing mail accounts from the application, and re-add your SFU Mail account. Visit our SFU Mail How-to Guides for set up instructions.
my Shared calendars no longer work after the upgrade. How do I fix this?
To fix this, you will need to ask the owner of the shared calendar to remove and re-add you to the calendar. For instructions, see Microsoft's page on Share your calendar or open a shared calendar.
If re-adding you does not resolve the issue, it could mean that you and the shared calendar are on different Exchange environments. In most cases, using Outlook for Windows may be the temporary solution until both the shared calendar and you are upgraded to Exchange Online.
My Email Signatures are missing, what do I do?
As part of the SFU Mail upgrade, email signatures are wiped on server-sided applications, such as on SFU Mail on web browser. We kindly ask you to re-add them to your account. You may find your email signatures in a previously sent email.
Why are some legitimate emails getting junked or missing?
We've recognized this issue and collaborating with Microsoft to get this resolved. To assist us with this process, we encourage you to select "Not Junk" on legitimate emails. If you believe to be missing legitimate emails, please send us a support ticket using the SFU Mail - Report Migration Issue form.




How secure is Exchange Online?

Exchange Online (or SFU Mail) at SFU is protected by the enterprise-level security from Microsoft. Microsoft also provides the following to SFU Mail:

  • Data access to files and folders on a user’s Exchange Online Mailbox is only limited to the user account,
  • Data replication of core user data to at least two geographically distributed Microsoft data center for disaster recovery purposes, and
  • Encryption of data in transit and at rest.

To learn more about Microsoft’s trust and security related information, visit the Microsoft Trust Center.

Why is mail.sfu.ca becoming outdated?
The current SFU Mail weblink, https://mail.sfu.ca, will continue to work even after upgrading to Exchange Online. However, you may encounter some issues with the redirects to Outlook, https://outlook.office.com, where your browser settings, certificates and cookies may cause problems.
When I try to connect to SFU Mail on mobile, I see a "Device Administrator" Prompt. What is this?

The prompt, including the listed permissions, is standard messaging when an Exchange account is connected to an email server with controls in place. In this case, SFU Mail has cybersecurity rules imposed by Exchange ActiveSync to enforce a consistent level of security and controls across connected devices. SFU IT administrators do not have such capabilities on your personal devices.

All users of SFU systems are bound by GP-24 which outlines appropriate use and access to electronic records, and IT staff are given appropriate role-based access to perform the work necessary for only their job function; accessing data on a personal device without user consent would be a violation of that policy.

Activating Device Administrator allows Exchange to enforce cybersecurity rules onto your device for it to operate securely within the SFU environment (i.e., signing into SFU using your computing ID and MFA), and conversely, allowing your device to access SFU-related data, such as role and contact information through a secure connection.


Can I use my personal Email app to access SFU Mail?
Only third party tools approved for use by a University-supported initiative and backed by Privacy Impact and Security assessments will be enabled for SFU Mail access. Personal productivity and personal preferences for workflow aren't sufficient to allow third party tools that consume SFU email or calendar data.
We encourage you to try Microsoft Outlook to access SFU Mail, as it's SFU's fully supported email client for personal desktop and mobile use while providing the most seamless experience.
My App is critical for research, learning, or other university business needs. How do I get my app approved?
If you believe that your third-party application is critical for research, learning, or other university business needs, visit External Apps/Tool Changes and FAQs for details on getting your application approved by IT Services.
Can I use IMAP/POP with my Email application?
You can only connect to SFU Mail through IMAP/POP with approved email applications. Email applications will require OAuth2 authentication method and approved by IT Services (enabled by an Exchange IT Administrator) for it to connect to SFU Mail. Unless you are using this connection/app for teaching-, research- or business-critical activities, we recommend switching to a modern connection method.
Visit IMAP Setup for details.


Looking for technical details on changes to third-party applications connected to SFU Mail? See External Apps/Tools Changes and FAQs.

Looking for support? Send a support ticket using the SFU Mail - Report Migration Issue form.


Article ID: 6951
Fri 10/6/23 4:12 PM
Wed 4/10/24 11:42 AM

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SFU mail is the emailing system at SFU for all SFU members.