Configuring Pine to read your mail on the Exchange servers

If you want to use Pine to read your mail from the central MS Exchange servers, here are instructions on setting it up to use the Exchange servers' POP3 server instead of getting the messages from an SMTP mail spool.

About the Exchange servers

The recent migration from MS Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2000 has greatly simplified the configuration of POP mail clients; gone is the need to know precisely which mail server your account is hosted on and you can now use standard usernames instead of convoluted domain/username/local address invocations. Almost all of you will have your mail account on the Exchange server As you will be using Pine's inbuilt POP3 client, Pine will require the server address to have /pop3 appended to it. So if your mail server is, then when you use POP to retrieve your mail the mail server address will be:

About usernames under Exchange 2000

Unlike Exchange 5.5, Microsoft Exchange 2000 uses standard usernames and your mailbox username will be the same as your IC username/login-name.

Configuring Pine

When using Pine with a POP server, your Exchange mail server address and your POP username are combined into a single string enclosed in curly braces, which defines your mail inbox. The syntax is:

{mail server/user=username}

So if you are Joe Bloggs with the username jnb and the mail address, your combined server/username inbox string will look something like:


  1. Start up pine in the usual way by typing pine at the UNIX prompt

  2. Now select the S SETUP option using your cursor keys

  3. Type the letter C to select the configure mode

  4. Locate the line beginning with inbox-path and press the return key (this will usually be on the fifth line down from the top)

  5. You will probably see this already set to something like No value set: using inbox: delete this and type in your Exchange server/username inbox string; for example, if you really are Joe Bloggs, then you'd type:


  6. Press return to accept the change, then press E to exit from setup ...

  7. ... answering yes when prompted.

  8. Now you can use Pine to retrieve your mail in the usual way by pressing L to select your inbox folder:

  9. you will be prompted for your password - this is your central college computer account password (this is not a research cluster password which may well be completely different).

Andy Thomas

Research Computing Officer
Department of Mathematics

last updated: 07.10.2012