Using Netscape v4 for E-mail with IMAP


The use of Netscape for reading mail is not supported. You should be using Outlook, Outlook Web Access or Apple Mail to access Cornell's Exchange server, not Thunderbird, Eudora or other mail client.

The information below is OBSOLETE. It has been left for informational purposes only.
Netscape Messenger is one of several utilities that can be used to read your e-mail. Some of the others are Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Outlook Express, Qualcomm's Eudora, and Pine. This describes how to configure Netscape Messanger (part of Netscape v4.x) to read your e-mail.

Mail is transferred among mail servers using the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). Configuring a mail server is beyond the scope of this document.


Desktop systems usually use one of two different protocols to fetch mail from a mail server: POP or IMAP. POP (PostOffice Protocol) assumes that all mail messages will be downloaded to your desktop system for management there. By default messages are deleted from the mail server. POP clients can be configured to leave messages on the server, but they don't provide any way to manage messages there. POP works best when only one PC is used to access your e-mail.

In contrast, IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) is designed to manage messages in folders that are kept on the mail server. Copies of the folders are generated on whatever PCs are used to access the server. Mail is available from whatever PC you need to use, whether at home or at work.


Cornell's central mail servers (postoffice.mail.cornell.edu) use only the POP protocol. They don't have enough disk space to store mail for everyone on campus. They also do no virus filtering because of the large amount of traffic.

Wilson Lab has several mail servers, all of which support POP, IMAP and very simple virus scanning. These are the VMS systems LNS61 & LNS62 and CESR10 as well as the Unix system MAIL.LNS.CORNELL.EDU.

Netscape Instructions

The descriptions below assume you're configuring Netscape to read mail on a PC running Windows. Netscape is also available for Unix, Linux and MacOS.


  1. Install SSH

    If you're reading mail from home, seriously consider installing SSH on your home system. SSH will encrypt the traffic between your home system and your mail server.
  2. Install Netscape v4.78 or later
  3. Configure Netscape to access your mail server
  4. Invoke Netscape Messenger
  5. Subscribe to mail folders
  6. Read your mail


  1. Install SSH
    • Peruse Selden's description of how to install TTssh
    • Configure SSH to forward the SMTP, POP and IMAP mail ports of your local system to your remote primary mail server.
    • Of course, you should configure other port forwardings, too.
  2. Install Netscape Communicator
    • A recent version of Netscape is usually on PC00 at LEPP
    • The most recent version can be downloaded from Netscape's Download Web page.
    • Caveats
      • Be sure to install the complete version of Netscape Communicator, not Netscape Navigator, which is just the Web browser.
      • Older versions of Netscape have serious mail handling bugs and security vulnerabilities.
      • Finding v4.7x is almost impossible when browsing Netscape's web site, since they're now pushing v6 very heavily. Unfortunately Netscape v6.x still has many problems.
  3. Configure Netscape Messenger
    1. Invoke Netscape Communicator
    2. Select Menu "Edit"
    3. Select item "Preferences..." which opens a new window
    4. In the pane "Category," select the [+] in front of "Mail & Newsgroups" (expand its outline)
    5. In the pane "Category," select "Mail & Newsgroups"
      • Choose your personal preferences among the options.
    6. In the pane "Category," select "Identity"
      Fill out the form:
      • Your Name (your own name as it should appear in the "From:" line)
      • Email address (your address on the mail server. e.g. me@lns.cornell.edu )
      • Reply-to (optional)
      • Organization (optional)
      • Signature file (optional)
      • Attach my personal card (optional, but discouraged)
    7. In the pane "Category," select "Mail Servers"
      • In the pane "Incoming Mail Servers" select "Add" which opens a new window "Mail Server Properties"
        • Select the tab "General"
          • Server Name: LNS61.LNS.CORNELL.EDU (or LOCALHOST if using SSH)
          • Server Type: IMAP Server
          • User Name: your login username
          • Remember password (optional)
          • Check for mail every [] minutes (not too frequently, please)
        • Select the tab "IMAP"
          • uncheck(?) "Mark new folders for offline download"
          • uncheck "Use secure connection" (not yet available on LNS61)
          • Remaining options: pick whatever is appropriate for your usage habits
        • Select the tab "Advanced"
          • all fill-in fields should be empty
          • uncheck "Show only subscribed folders"
          • check "Server supports folders..."
          • check "Allow server to override..."
        • Click the "OK" button.
      • In the pane "Outgoing Mail Server"
        • Outgoing mail (SMTP) server: LNS61.LNS.CORNELL.EDU (or LOCALHOST if using SSH)
        • Outgoing mail server user name: your login username on the server
        • Use SSL for outgoing messages: select "Never" or "If Possible"
        • Local Mail Directory:
          • Select "Choose"
          • Browse to an appropriate directory (e.g. Z:\users\username\mailfolder\ )
    8. In the pane "Category," select "Newsgroup Server" if you want
      • Add appropriate news servers e.g. LNSNEWS.LNS.CORNELL.EDU (or LOCALHOST if using SSH)
    9. In the pane "Category," select "Addressing"
      • Select options appropriate for your usage habits
    10. In the pane "Category," select "Messages"
      • By default forward... "As Attachment" (recommended)
      • Check "Automatically Quote..."
      • Then ... "Start my reply above the quoted text" (recommended)
      • Select "Spell check..." if you want
      • In the pane "Message Wrapping"
        • Check "Wrap incoming..." (recommended)
        • "Wrap outgoing...at" 72 (recommended)
      • In the pane "Send messages..."
        • Select "As is..." (recommended)
    11. In the pane "Category," select "Window Settings"
      • Select options appropriate for your usage habits
    12. In the pane "Category," select "Copies and Folders"
      • Select options appropriate for your usage habits
    13. In the pane "Category," select "Formatting"
      Disable HTML! This is very important. Many viruses use HTML to propagate. It also more than doubles message sizes.
      • In the pane "Message Formatting" select "Use the plain text editor"
      • In the pane "When sending HTML..." select "Convert the message into plain text..."
    14. In the pane "Category," select "Return Receipts"
      • Select options appropriate for your usage habits
    15. In the pane "Category," select "Disk Space"
      • Select options appropriate for your usage habits and disk space
    16. In the pane "Category," select the [-] in front of "Mail & Newsgroups" (shrink its outline)
    17. In the pane "Category," select the [+] in front of "Advanced" (expand its outline)
    18. In the pane "Category," select "Advanced"
      Disable scripting: this is often used by Web site viruses. Unfortunately, many sites use scripting so they can look fancy.
      • Check "Automatically load images" if you want
      • Uncheck "Enable Java Plugin"
      • Uncheck "Enable JavaScript in Mail and News"
      • Uncheck "Enable JavaScript"
      • Check cookie acceptance according to your privacy concerns.
    19. Click on "OK"
  4. Invoke Netscape Messenger
    • Select the Menu "Communicator"
    • Select the item "Tools >"
    • Select the subitem "Message Center"
    • Select the Menu "Communicator"
    • Select the item "Messenger"
    • With Netscape your active window, type <Control-2>
    • Click on the "Letter in mailslot" icon in the bottom border of Netscape
  5. Subscribe to mail folders
    1. Single-click (highlight) the topmost "localhost" in the leftmost pane
    2. Select Menu "File"
    3. Select item "Subscribe..." which opens a new window "Communicator: Subscribe to IMAP folders"
      • Its list of folders should refresh itself. If not, click on the button "Refresh List"
      • Select (click with left mouse button) the folders that you want to subscribe to: those that you want to access from your local system
      • Click the "OK" button
  6. Read your mail
    1. Double-click on the folder you want to examine
    2. Single-click on the message you want to look at
    3. Learn to use the icons at the top of the Messenger window.
Topic revision: r4 - 30 Jun 2010, seb
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