all the email addresses in my organization are in the format [email protected]. this was started when we were a small organization.

Now we have grown and need to use something a bit more professional like [email protected]

how can this change be implemented with minimal disruption?

We currently only use smarteremail.

Could recieving ONLY with the old and replying with the new be a solution..till we wean our recipients off the old email address?

Any suggestions are welcome. How will moving to exchange help in this instance? Can it be configured to automatically send out using a different address?


  • -> superuser.com?
    – Amadan
    Jun 3, 2010 at 17:40

3 Answers 3


I treat email address format changes like an employee going away: You need to have their email go somewhere where it will be read and handled for as long as there is a reasonable business need...

My suggestion would be to migrate all your users over to the new-format addresses on a given date (making sure that they're sending with the new-format addresses in From: and Reply-To: headers), and on the cutover day install aliases for [email protected] that point to [email protected].

After that you can expect that the "old" addresses will be around forever if you truly want "minimal disruption", but in practice you can watch the mail server logs and after a loooooooong time of no email going to a given old address (say 13 months) you can consider shutting off the old address.


In my experience, it is very difficult to get rid completely of the "old" addresses. Your new users are going to use only your new format, but your old users will send with the new one, and receive with both for a long time.

I know some companies implemented an auto-response script on the mail server, bouncing the mail and adding something like "The email address for this collaborator have changed, you can request the new one to [email protected]". However, this approach has a lot of weak points and I do not recommend it (for example, all robot generated mail is lost).

Be prepared for a long coexistence period.

Answering your first question, it seems more consistent to switch all your users to the new format at once (at least for the sending address)


With Exchange you can have any number of email addresses. You'll set one as the primary address and that's the address all email will go out as. The other email addresses are completely valid for recieving emails. As far as I'm concerned, there's no impact to the users and there's no need to "wean" them off of the old addresses. All new emails will go out with the primary address and all replies to the old addresses will be delivered to the user as usual.

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