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Vacation Message

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HOWTO
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UNIX

This article will demonstrate how to turn on (and off) your vacation auto-responder.

If you are a Windows user, you will have to use an SSH client such as PuTTY to connect to a UNIX machine to do this. PuTTY is included on all Math Department Windows machines under 'All Programs > SSH'.

  • In the text field for Host Name (or IP address), enter the host name of your homedir server or a UNIX machine that you have access to and click 'Open' to continue.

    *if you are prompted by a PuTTY Security Alert, you must click 'Yes' to continue.
  • Enter your username and password to continue.

From this point on, the instructions are the same whether you are using a Windows or UNIX machine.


  1. In the prompt, type vacation and you should be prompted to turn on (or off, if it was already on) your vacation auto-responder.
  2. You will be brought into a vi or vim editor to create / edit your vacation message; the message that will be used in the auto-response.

    If you are unfamiliar with vi vim commands and hot keys, here is a quick primer that can be used to edit this document:
    k, l, j, h Moves the cursor up, forward, down and back, respectively; when not editing.
    i, a Inserts text before and after the cursor, respectively. Starts editing mode.
    ESC Ends editing mode - enters command mode.

    For more information, consult a vi / vim reference.

  3. After you finish creating or editing the message, press 'ESC' and type ':wq' to save and quit. If you wish to discard, use ':q!' or ':q', the latter will prompt you.
  4. Once the message has been saved, the prompt should read like this:

    And now the vacation is message has been turned on and will auto-respond until you turn it off.