CS Support

You can contact support by email at  support AT cs DOT usfca DOT edu
Make sure to CC support in all your subsequent replies!

System Administrators
Elias Husary, Harney Science Center 536 
Alex Fedosov, Harney Science Center 539

Hours: Monday-Friday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Frequently Asked Questions


Lab Machines


Q: I am a new student. How do I get an account?
A: If you enroll in a CS course, an account will be created for you automatically. Note that the CS account is separate from your main USF account -- the regular USF accounts do not work on CS machines. If you have not yet registered, but need to use your account in a CS class, e-mail support AT cs DOT usfca DOT edu or visit the CS Systems Administrators in HR 539 or HR 544.

Q: Which machines can I login to?
A: As a CS student, you can make use of any machine in the following labs: Harney 235 (Kudlick classroom) or Harney 530 (PC Lab).

Q: I was able to log in earlier but now I can't login anymore!
A: In 99% of the cases, this is due to your account being over quota. (i.e. you are using up too much disk space or you have too many files.) Even though you cannot login in GUI mode, you can still login in text mode (or using ssh) and delete files. Boot into Linux, press CTRL-ALT-F1, and type in your user name and password. (Or ssh into stargate .) If you are able to get in, type " quota -s " and press ENTER. Check your stats. If you are indeed over quota, delete some files and try logging in normally. If you are still unable to login in text mode, or your quota is fine, please contact support staff for help.

Q: So what's the deal with Mac passwords?
A: For technical reasons, Macs cannot use your existing Windows/Linux password for authentication. Likewise, Windows cannot use your Mac password. Linux, in fact, can use either one. This unfortunately means that you end up with two paswords -- one you use for Windows and Linux, and the other one you use for Mac and Linux. The easiest thing to avoid confusion is to use the same password for both. If you have never changed your password on a Mac, it is most likely still set to the last six digits of your student ID.

Q: How can I reboot HR 235 machines?
A: You can reboot them over the web here . Use your CS username and password to log in. This will also turn on a machine if it has been turned off.

Q: Where can I get more paper for the printers?
A: In the CS office. (HR 545) Sorry, but if you run out of paper in the middle of the night, you will have to wait until morning.

Q: How do I login to CS machines from home?
A: To access CS machines from home, connect to via ssh, and from there on, to any available lab machine to work on your assignments.
Under Windows, we recommend using SecureCRT or PuTTY .

Q: How can I transfer files to/from home? (Where is WebFTP?)
A: WebFTP is rather buggy and thus is not being used anymore. To transfer files to/from your machine at home, we recommend using:
  • Under Windows: WinSCP .
  • Under Linux: scp at the command line or gftp if you prefer a GUI tool. Alternatively, you can use shfs to mount your CS home directory on your home machine so that you can save your work directly to the CS server and not worry about copying files back and forth.
  • Under Mac OS X: scp from the command line, or the Fugu GUI client.
In all cases, connect to using your CS username and password.

Q: What is my quota? How do I know if I am over the limit? How do I free up space?
A: The quota for students is as follows:

Status Space (soft/hard) Files (soft/hard)
Undergraduate 1 GB / 2 GB 100k / 200k
Graduate 2 GB / 4 GB 100k / 200k

To find out your disk usage, log in to Linux, type quota and press ENTER.
If you need to free up space, we suggest that you first empty your browser's cache, which in 99% of the cases solves the problem.

Q: How do I change my password?
A: To change your Windows/Linux password: log in to Linux. Open up a terminal, type passwd , press ENTER, and follow the prompts.

Q: How do I access my Subversion (SVN) repository?
A: First of all, your repository is created automatically if the instructor requests it for the class. If none of your classes use Subversion and you want to make use of it, please e-mail support to have your repository created. The URL for your repository is<username>
Use your CS username and password to log in. Note that you must use your Mac/LDAP password to access it. See this FAQ entry for more info on passwords.

Q: I have some files on my Desktop in Windows. Can I get to them from Linux or Mac OS X?
A: Yes, they are actually located in your home directory in the .ntprofile subdirectory.

Q: I am trying to run IntelliJ IDEA on OS X, but it keeps asking me for the registration key.
A: The first time, you need to start it by typing at the shell prompt in OS X. This will set up the registration key. From then on, you will be able to start it by clicking on the application icon.

Q: I want to put up a web page. How can I do that?
A: Place your HTML files in the /home/web/<username> directory under Linux or on the W: drive in Windows. The files will be accessible under<username>

Q: How do I check my CS e-mail remotely?
A: Our mail server is . You can access it remotely via secure (SSL) IMAP on port 993 or secure (SSL) POP3 on port 995. Log in with your CS username and password.
For SMTP, use, port 25, TLS encryption, with your CS username and password.
Alternatively, you can just use our webmail

Q: How do I check my CS e-mail in the labs?
A: Under Linux, the available GUI clients are: Evolution, Kmail, or Thunderbird. In text mode, we recommend using pine or mutt. Under Windows, you can use Outlook, although we neither recommend nor support it because of its inherent security problems. See the answer to this question for information on configuring your e-mail client.

Q: How do I forward my CS e-mail to another address?
A: Create a .forward file in your home directory (or H: drive under Windows) and put the e-mail address to which you want to forward your e-mail inside that file.

Q: How do I sign up for class mailing lists?
A: You can see what lists are available on the main mailing list page . Pretty much every course has a mailing list, so you should subscribe to the mailing lists for the courses you are taking. (Follow the directions on the web page.) There are also some special interest mailing lists you may want to join. All CS students should also subscribe to the Students mailing list to receive news, announcements, employment and internship opportunities, etc.

Q: How do I submit my projects?
A: In most cases, your instructor will ask you to submit your project by putting it into a so-called submit directory. This is a special directory that can only be accessed by you, the instructor, and the TA, if any. Each class has its own submit directory. You can find your submit directory for a particular class under /home/submit/< class >/< username > under Linux and Mac OS X or S:\< class >\< username > under Windows.

Q: Is it true that I can get free Microsoft software?
A: Yes, with restrictions: you can only use this software for your school work. You can download it from this site . Contact support for access. (See above for contact info.) Your username and password will be sent to your CS e-mail address.

Q: Can you install Linux on my laptop / home computer?
A: Since repartitioning your laptop and installing Linux is a difficult task, we have created a VMware Linux image that you can use. Run it in the free VMware Player or VMware Workstation, if you already have it.
Download the image here (2.7 GB). Use your CS username and password to download.
You cannot login to the VMware image with your CS account. Instead, you will need to log in as root and create an account for yourself.

Q: I need to buy a laptop. Do you have any recommendations?
A: If you want to run Linux, we recommend IBM ThinkPads (expensive but worth it) or Dell laptops (the University standard.) We've had the most successes with these two.