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Q: How can I configure Pine or Alpine to use the Exchange IMAP server?

This article refers to Exchange Email and Calendaring. If you're looking for Office 365 Email and Calendaring, see: Office 365 - Email and Calendaring Landing Page.

If you're not sure which system you're using, see: How do I tell if my email and calendaring data is on the Exchange On Prem Server or using Office 365?

These are not the standard native exchange instructions for connecting your device to MIT Exchange email. These are a workaround for users who need IMAP protocol functionality not provided by the native Exchange environment. If you are looking for the native MIT Exchange instructions, see: MIT Email Setup Landing


On Athena

Migrated Users Only
Anyone who registered for their Athena account after January 2010 should not need to run this command.

Athena users will only need to run this command after they have received confirmation from IS&T staff that they have been migrated from Cyrus to Exchange.

Athena users (including people who connect to via SSH) should type the following command:

$ /usr/lib/debathena-alpine-config/update-pine-config exchange

This will update your Pine configuration to use the Exchange server, and will save a backup copy of your ~/.pinerc file.

Manual Configuration

This section should only be used by people running versions of Pine on operating systems other than Debath

  1. Start pine by typing pine in your Terminal window.
  2. Press S to enter the Setup screen, then C for the Config screen.
  3. Use the arrow keys to scoll down to the line called "Inbox Path".
  4. Press Enter to change the inbox path.
  5. Pine will prompt you for "Name of Inbox server", you should enter the following:
  6. Edit the
    Be sure to replace username with your Kerberos username.
  7. After you press Enter, pine will prompt you for the name of your INBOX folder, which is simply INBOX.
  8. Press E to Exit setup, and then Y when prompted to commit the changes you just made.
  9. View your INBOX as usual, but this time you will be prompted for your Kerberos password. ( You may initially see a Kerberos error that you can ignore, but it should then prompt you for your password. If it does not, please see the next paragraph.) You should then be able to view your Inbox.

If you are having trouble seeing your folders, try adding this line to your ~/.pinerc:
folder-collections=Exchange {}[]
(again, be sure to replace username with your username._

Note: If you have a large number of messages in your Inbox, it may take up to several minutes before Pine finishes opening your Inbox. During that time, it may tell you that it is still waiting for a response from the server and ask whether it should keep waiting. You should tell it to continue waiting for a response.

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

June 17, 2021

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  1. Aug 04, 2014

    Quick note: to reverse this process, replace "exchange" in the incant above with "cyrus" which will automatically configure your Pine email to go the other way.

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