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Student Email FAQs

General Questions
Contact the Help Desk at 443-518-4444
              if you still have questions.

  1. How do I get an HCC student email account?
  2. How do I access my email?
  3. What is my HCC Student Login ID, password, and email address?
  4. I can't log into my email account. What do I do?
  5. I think I forgot my password. What do I do?
  6. How do I change my password?
  7. Can I forward my HCC email to another account? (Yahoo, Gmail, etc.)
  8. How much storage space is in my mailbox and how do I keep it below this limit?
  9. How long will my HCC student email account remain active?

Outlook Web Access (OWA) Features and Views

  1. What is Outlook Web Access?
  2. Why aren't some features of OWA available to me?
  3. Why can't I see all of my messages and folders?
  4. What is a distribution list and how do I create one?
  5. How can I quickly skim my email and delete unwanted messages?
  6. Where are Public Folders?
  7. What is the Reading Pane and how do I view it?


  1. A box popped up saying I had new mail.  Why can't I see the new message in my inbox?
  2. I opened an email that contains images, but the images are blocked.  How can I view them?
  3. I have not checked my email for a long time and have accumulated too many messages. How can I efficiently clean my mailbox without individually opening and deleting each one?

Security Issues

  1. Does HCC block spam from student email?
  2. Why is it important to "properly log off" of OWA ,and how do I do this?

Q: How do I get an HCC email account?

When you register for a credit course at Howard Community College, a personal HCC student email account is automatically created for you. Your HCC email account is the official form of communication with the college. HCC encourages you to use this account to communicate with your instructors and classmates as well as to receive notification of upcoming college events and activities.  

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Q: How do I access my email?

Using a computer with Internet access, you can log on to your HCC student email. Simply connect to the HCC home page at and then click on the "Email" link in the upper right corner of the page, above the search bar.   Enter your HCC student login ID and password.

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Q: What is my HCC student login ID, password, and email address?

If you have forgotten your login ID, please refer to your New Student documents, contact the HCC Help Desk, or utilize the "What's My User ID" on the HCC Express login page to obtain your HCC Login ID.  

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Q: I can't log on to my email account. What do I do?

If you just registered today, your email account will not be available until tomorrow. If you have an established working account and now you can't login, you may have mistyped your password, causing your account to be locked.  Close your browser and retry after 30 minutes when the account automatically unlocks. You may also want to reset your password through Password Services to ensure that you are using the right credentials. Please contact the Help Desk if you continue to have a problem logging in.

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Q: I think I forgot my password. What do I do?

If you forgot you can reset it through Password Services. If you have any trouble resetting your password please contact the Help Desk.

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Q: How do I change my password?

You can change your password through Password Services. The password that you set through Password Services will be the password for all of your HCC account except Canvas. You should use the same password as myHCC to log into your HCC email account.

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Q: Can I forward my email to another account?

Yes!  You need to login to your HCC email account and follow these instructions.

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Q: How much storage space is in my mailbox and how do I keep it below this limit?

Your mailbox limit is 150 megabytes. Once you exceed your limit, you will not be able to send or receive mail until you delete messages and empty your Deleted Items folder to free more storage space. To view your available storage space when using the Internet Explorer web browser place your mouse above your name in the menu on the left of your screen.

If you scroll to the far right side of your message list, you can view and sort messages by their size to help you pick the largest ones to delete to free space quickly.   When you delete messages, they are moved to the Deleted Items folder.  To finally remove them, you must empty your Deleted Items folder by clicking the X icon or right-clicking on the deleted items folder and choosing empty.

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Q: How long will my HCC student email account remain active?

It will remain active as long as you are a registered credit student.  If you registered in the spring, your account remains active through the summer and up until the last day to register for a credit class the following fall semester.  If you do register in the fall, your account will remain active and unchanged.  If you do not register, your account will be deleted.   The IT department will send several notifications before deleting your mailbox but if your mailbox is full, or you do not regularly monitor it, you may miss the message and lose all stored items.

Similarly, if you registered for fall semester, your account remains active through the winter and up until the last day to register for a credit class in the spring semester. 

If you know you won't be registering, plan to forward messages and documents you wish to keep from your HCC email account to an alternate email address before your account is deleted.

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Q. What is Outlook Web Access (OWA)?

Outlook Web Access is Microsoft's web-based email application that includes many features of the desktop Microsoft Outlook application.  With OWA, you can use a web browser to access your HCC student email from any Windows or Macintosh computer with an Internet connection.  OWA opens in a window within your browser; therefore, your web browser toolbar remains on the top of your screen and the OWA toolbar is at the top of its window. 

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Q:  Why aren't some features of OWA available to me?

The type of web browser you use to access your student email will determine which features you have.  Not all browsers support the premium version of OWA, which requires Internet Explorer 6 or above.

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Q. Why can't I see all my messages and folders?

There are several possible reasons why you can't see all messages and folders. 

OWA displays items one page at a time.  To view the rest of your pages, click on the page forward or backward arrow found at the bottom right of the message list.  Note that you can see the total number of your Inbox items beside the arrow.  To change the number of items displayed on each page, click on options/messaging options.  In number of items to display per page, select a number.  Be aware that the higher the number, the longer each page will take to refresh.

Your folders may seem to disappear because the left navigation pane of the OWA window contains small arrow buttons to minimize them.  Locate and click on the arrows to restore the view.

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Q: What is a distribution list and how do I create one?

A distribution list contains more than one email address for members of a specific group of people.  For example, suppose you want to regularly email your best friends.  If you create a distribution list and name it Friends, you can address one email to Friends and the message will be sent to all members of that distribution list. 

To create a distribution list, click on the small down arrow next to the new button on the top.  From the drop down menu, select distribution list and assign it a name.  Begin adding member names by typing in email addresses, or selecting names from the college global address list or your personal contacts list.  Save and close the distribution list—it will be stored in your contacts folder. To email your distribution list, click contacts, select the distribution list, and click on the new message icon at the top of the box.

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Q: How can I quickly skim my email and delete unwanted messages?

Open the first message at the top of the page.  Once you have read it, instead of closing or deleting it, use the down arrow (next item) to view the next message. Continue using the down arrow to skim quickly through all messages.  If messages contain attachments you want to keep, click on the attachment and choose Save.  Store these attachments on your home computer or removable media.

When you are finished scrolling through the page, highlight all of the unwanted messages (hold down the shift or control key to highlight multiple messages).  Click on the delete icon X to delete all highlighted messages.  Repeat with subsequent pages of messages.  Finally, empty the deleted items folder to free storage space in your mailbox.

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Q: A box popped up saying I had new mail.  Why can't I see the new message in my inbox?

Your mailbox in OWA does not refresh instantly.  This helps prevent constant reduction of your Internet connection speed.  To view the new message immediately, click on the pop-up announcement before it disappears.  If you miss it, use the refresh button (the browser's or OWA's) to update the page.  This will also update your entire mailbox to allow you to see all of your most recently received messages.

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Q: What are public folders and how do I view them?

HCC posts information about the college and upcoming events in the public folders.  You may wish to view them, or even post your own announcements in the Classified Ads or Community Events public folder.  To get to public folders, in the left (navigation) pane, click public folders.  A new window will open,  containing all available HCC public folders.

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Q: What is a "reading pane" and how do I view it?

A reading pane (also called a preview pane) is the area within the OWA window that displays a selected email message.  Single click on a message to view it in the reading pane, or double-click the message to view it in a separate window. The reading pane is only available in the OWA client of Internet Explorer 6 and above.  If you have OWA premium and still do not see the reading pane, or if it is there and you want to remove it:

  1. In the toolbar (top of OWA window), click on the show/hide reading pane icon.
  2. Choose one of the three options: right, bottom, or off.
  3. You may adjust the size of any pane by clicking and dragging the lines between panes.

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Q: I opened an email that contains images, but the images are blocked. How can I view them?

Sometimes images, music, and other external attachments to email can contain “beacons,” which are used by spammers to verify the existence of an email address so they know future spam will go to a valid address.  Outlook Web Access attempts to prevent this by blocking anything that could contain a beacon.  You may see a warning with a "click here to unblock" option.  If you trust the sender, choose unblock.  If you don't, the images will be blocked when you view the email, and the beacon (if one is there) will not be activated.

Some pop-up blocker programs (including Windows XP's) can also interfere with images and other OWA features. You may need to modify your pop-up blocker settings if you experience problems with the attachments dialogue box, new email notifications, move/copy, reply, or other features. 

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Q: Does HCC block spam from student email?

A: Yes, the college uses a content scanner to minimize the effects of spam from Internet email.  This scanner is programmed to block messages that contain pornography, profanity, spam advertisements, and common junk email.  If you do not receive an important message that was sent to you, and believe that it may have been blocked by the content scanner, please contact the Help Desk.  To locate your message, the email system administrator will need you to be as specific as possible.  Be prepared to provide the sender's email address and the date/time the message was sent.

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Q: I have not checked my email for a long time, and have accumulated too many messages. How can I efficiently clean my mailbox without individually viewing and deleting each one?

A: If you have accumulated so much mail that it is too cumbersome for you to clean out, contact the Help Desk.  The email system administrator can run a "clean mailbox" utility on your mailbox with parameters you agree upon.  For example, you might choose to delete all messages from the inbox if older than 60 days.  Before contacting the Help Desk, determine which messages you need to keep.  Also, see General Question 7 above for tips to help you delete the unwanted messages yourself.  

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Q: Why is it important to "properly log off" OWA and how do I do this?

The Log Off button is located on the right side of the OWA window.  Simply click to log off and remember to close your browser.   This fully terminates the session ensuring that someone who uses the PC after you cannot get into your mailbox without your login credentials.  If you are using a computer in the college's  computer study lab, you should also be sure to log off of the computer.

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Contact the Help Desk

 Help Desk

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(443) 518-4444

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Help Desk is located
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and is open during
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