IT Center Blog

New E-Mail Lifecycle Started – What you Should Know!

April 20th, 2022 | by
letter box on house wall

Source: Pixabay

If you weren’t part of RWTH Aachen University for a while, you might already know it – the E-Mail Lifecycle. For the e-mail domain it is starting today again. That means, if you have left the RWTh, it will be checked regularly if your mailbox is still in use – if not, it will be deleted. In this article you will learn how this works and what you should pay attention to.

E-Mail Lifecycle, what is it and who does it affect?

The e-mail box in the mail domain is allocated for life. But it is not always used for such a long time. The E-Mail Lifecycle is a process that checks which mailboxes are actually still being used by former RWTH members and which are not. For your RWTH email addresses, this means that if you do not use them for a long period of time after leaving RWTH and log into your mailbox, you will receive several automated emails asking you to log into your mailbox. If you do not do so after repeated requests, it will first be deactivated and finally deleted.

The E-Mail Lifecycle only affects mailboxes of former members of RWTH Aachen University. Employees currently employed and active students are not affected. So if you are no longer employed at RWTH or have finished your studies, keep an eye on your mailbox if you want to keep it.

Diagram of the E-Mail Lifecycle

Source: Own illustration

What does the E-Mail Lifecycle look like?

The process is as follows:

  1. The first step is to check whether a person who is currently no longer a member of RWTH Aachen University has not logged into the mailbox for six months. If so, an e-mail is sent automatically asking the person to log in to the mailbox once – either via an e-mail program or via the Outlook WebApp. This is required even if forwarding has been set up!
  2. If the person has still not logged in within one month after the first email was sent, a second reminder email is sent.
  3. If, after the second e-mail, there is still no login to the RWTH mailbox within one month, the mailbox is initially deactivated and finally deleted after a certain period of time. No further notification will be made.

If the person logs into the mailbox during the process, the e-mail lifecycle for this mailbox is stopped. A corresponding confirmation is then sent by e-mail within 24 hours of logging in.

Problems logging in?


What is the point of all this?

The background of the E-Mail Lifecycle is simple: Even though the RWTH mailbox is allocated for an unlimited period of time, this service is not used equally by every RWTH member. The process therefore checks which mailboxes are actually still in use and thus identifies unused mailboxes. This ensures that resources are not occupied in vain. In addition, potential attack targets can be avoided through unused accounts.

The process existed in the past, but was temporarily discontinued due to technical changes in identity management. As of today, it’s back to: If you don’t want your RWTH mailbox to disappear prematurely, you should log in regularly – but at the latest after six months, because that’s when the E-Mail Lifecycle starts. If you still mess up on responding to the e-mails in time, contact the IT-ServiceDesk. The mailbox can be restored within a certain period after deactivation. We will then check whether this applies to your mailbox.


Responsible for the content of this article are Marlen Helms and Michael Wirtz.

(*) Paragraph added on June 27, 2022.

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