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HECS - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Look here for answers to common questions and problems.

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Getting Help

Who does HECS support?

HECS supports History and Economics graduate students, staff, and faculty members in their departmental computing needs.

How do I request technical assistance?

If you still require technical assistance after reading this FAQ sheet, you can easily request additional help.

The best method is to use the online work order system at http://sas.rutgers.edu/workorder/. Just fill in your NetID (NOT your history or economics username) and click "Lookup." Most of the fields will then be pre-populated for you. It's fast and easy. Please be as specific as possible when describing your problem.

The work order system is there even when your support staff is not immediately available, allowing you to report your problem even in the wee hours of the morning. Because the system is Web-accessible, you (or colleagues on your behalf) can submit a work order from anywhere in the world. What's more, your request can often be reviewed and solutions devised even when the support staff is not physically present. Best of all, the workorder system is independent of email. As long as your web browser is working, you can submit a workorder - even if your email is misbehaving.

In short, the workorder system makes it easy to get help when you need it!

What should a workorder include?

When submitting a request, make your problem description as detailed and specific as possible. For example, instead of this:

"My computer won't start ... "

use a description like this:

"After installing the new Widget program, my computer no longer starts but instead shows this error message: Invalid system disk. The version of Widget I installed is 1.5. My computer runs Windows XP."

Basically, you should include all the information necessary for the support staff to reproduce your problem so that a solution can be devised.

If there is a required field on the form to which you do not know or have an answer (e.g., serial number), simply write "unknown" or "n/a" as appropriate. While accurate data is obviously a good thing, it is better to submit a mostly-complete workorder than no workorder at all.

If the purpose of your workorder is to report problems with your email account, list an alternate email address (e.g., your hotmail account, your colleague's address) in the email contact field so that you actually receive communications regarding the status of your workorder.

Are there any other ways I can receive help?

You may also make an appointment to stop by the office or, if circumstances require, work through some problems over the phone. If necessary, computing staff will physically visit your office PC to solve the problem.

Walk-ins during office hours are also welcome. However, it is best to notify us that you are coming so that someone will be available to help you when you arrive.

How do I make an appointment?

One way, of course, is to submit a workorder describing your needs and asking to meet with someone to work on the problem face to face (or via phone). In fact, this is often the natural result of reporting a problem that simply can't be solved "from afar." Even when a physical visit is required, however, submitting a workorder permits the request to be tracked via the system and allows preparations to be made so you receive the fastest support possible.

Alternatively you can contact the computing staff directly at support@history.rutgers.edu or via phone (732-932-6511 in History; 732-932-1362 in Econ). However, due to time constraints and competing demands, requests submitted via the online workorder system will receive highest priority. Please use the workorder system whenever possible - it is very much appreciated!!!

Novell

What is "Novell" and what do I need to know in order to use it?

Novell is the network operating system we use. It's the server software that provides access to our network resources: e.g., network printers, network storage space, etc.

In order to communicate with our Novell server, our PCs need to have the Novell client software installed, which in turn needs to be configured with the correct settings. In History and Economics, the main Novell client settings are as follows:

Username: usually your last name or some variant (e.g., Robert Smith's might be rsmith)

Password: a password you choose (at least 7 characters)

Tree: fas-admin

Context: users.history.fas OR users.econ.fas, as applicable

Preferred Server: nclust.rutgers.edu

Note: the last three settings can be found under the client's "Advanced" login section.

When a Novell user logs in, a "login script" runs that creates certain "drive mappings" - e.g., H:, L:, W: - that appear as ordinary drive letters in Windows Explorer. H: is your "home" directory and is your place to store confidential documents that no one else can access. L: is where personal web pages go. W: (for "workgroup") is where you might save files that you'd like to share with others.

All important personal data should be saved to your H: drive - never on C: - since it is backed up regularly. Users receive 50MB of space on the server to start with (H: plus L: combined), but you can request more if it is legitimately needed.

How do I change my Novell / Email password?

There are several ways to change your password. Probably the easiest method is to use the password management page:

https://secure.sas.rutgers.edu/apps/pwchange.

If you have problems, you may contact us to reset your password for you or for further instruction.

What else should I know about my password?

For security purposes, passwords expire every 90 days. In fact, a password can expire shortly after you login. Since your departmental email address relies on this same password, you can experience what seems to be odd behavior: e.g., you've logged in to Novell but cannot login to email.

One way to avoid this sort of problem is to always change your password as soon as you are prompted to. If your password is about to expire, Novell will warn you when logging into a Novell workstation. You will also receive an automated email reminder once a day, starting 7 days before your password expires.

If your password has already expired, Novell will give you 7 "grace logins" before totally blocking you from resources. Unfortunately, however, you can use up grace logins very quickly when checking email since many email clients re-authenticate you every time a mail transaction occurs.

The best course of action, then, is take the initiative and change your password before you are forced to - e.g., once a month or so or as soon as you are reminded.

I lost a file! Is there a way to restore it?!?

If you saved the file to the Novell server (e.g., your H: drive), you may be able to use a Novell feature called Salvage to restore a previous version of your file. In Windows Explorer or My Computer, navigate to the folder containing the file. Right click on the folder and choose Salvage Files. Since Novell tracks changes to your documents, there may be a number of filenames matching the one you want to restore. Highlight the one you think is your best option (e.g., the one with the latest time stamp) and choose Salvage File. Close the Salvage window and look in the folder for the file you just salvaged. If it's not the correct one, try again.

Tip: if you accidentally make unwanted changes to a document, you can restore a previous version. In this case, you'll need to carefully examine the timestamps of the files in the Salvage Files window to determine which one you want to restore. Be careful: if there is a file in your directory with the same name as the file you want to salvage, you should rename it before salvaging. Salvaged documents overwrite existing ones!

If the Salvage feature does not work for you, you can submit a workorder to request that the file be restored from backup tape, if possible.

Can I access files on the Novell server from off-campus?

See this page for instructions on using NetStorage to access your files on the server from off-campus.

Email

What is the difference between @rci, @eden, and @mydepartment email accounts?

RCI and Eden accounts are provided by New Brunswick Computing Services. Typically, RCI accounts are given to faculty and staff. Eden accounts are given to students. You can think of these as "University" accounts. As such, SAS-IT has no control over them. If you require special help with these accounts, you are encouraged to visit their respective web sites or call 732-445-HELP. Being familiar with the University and computing needs in general, SAS-IT can often "lend a hand" with RCI and Eden questions but RUCS has the definitive answers.

On the other hand, @history or @econ accounts are department-specific accounts. They are provided by History-Economics Computing Services and SAS (School of Arts & Sciences). HECS has the administrative power to help you with problems or questions related to these accounts.

What are the advantages of using an @mydepartment account?

Besides the fact that they are supported by someone you probably already know, @mydepartment accounts offer some additional benefits.

First, the naming convention behind them is intuitive. Because they usually follow the convention of first initial + lastname@department.rutgers.edu, they are easy for others to remember (and even guess).

The new email server system to which the History and Economics departments have moved also offers the option to access email via a web browser (excellent for travelers), the ability to configure server-based rules for email handling (like vacation messages, email forwarding, etc.), and protection from harmful email attachments.

How do I access email, and can I do so from off-campus?

You can access email whether you are on-campus or off-campus. Mail access generally occurs through the same mechanisms for either scenario.

You can access your departmental mail through two different methods: 1) a dedicated email client like Mozilla Thunderbird, or 2)Webmail.

To use a traditional mail client, you need to configure it with some settings:

Incoming Server (IMAP): imap.sas.rutgers.edu

Outgoing Server (SMTP): smtp.sas.rutgers.edu

Username: your full department email address (e.g., smith@department.rutgers.edu)

Password: your Novell password

You should also select the option to use a secure connection (SSL), but NOT the option for secure authentication.

Where you find these settings depends on the email client you are using. For detailed instructions on setting up Mozilla Thunderbird to access your History or Economics email account, click here.

In order to use Webmail, you must do the following:

Open your preferred browser - e.g., Netscape, Firefox, or Internet Explorer - and go to http://webmail.sas.rutgers.edu/.

I will be out of the office. How do I set up an automated ("vacation") response to incoming mail?
See this page for information on setting up an auto-reply 'vacation' message.
How do I set up server-based rules to "filter" my incoming mail?
To be added...
How do I forward mail from my SAS account to a different email address?

Instructions on forwarding email can be found here.

I'm running out of space in my mailbox. I tried deleting a bunch of messages but I still don't seem to have any space. How can I reclaim it?

Here are some tips for using your space wisely:

  • When deleting messages, sort your messages by size and target the biggest (unwanted) ones first. Deleting one big message is sometimes more effective than deleting hundreds of small ones.
  • Be sure to check your Sent folder and delete unwanted items from there. Often times people forward messages with large attachments and forget they ever did. Many of these are prime candidates for deletion.
  • After deleting messages, you need to "purge" them to fully reclaim the space they were using. If using Webmail, click the Purge Deleted link (upper right). If you are using Mozilla Thunderbird, first choose File->Empty Trash and then File->Compact Folders.

Personal Web Pages

Can I have a personal web site?

Everyone who receives a Novell account in History and Economics is automatically provided space to store personal web pages. To post a home page, login to Novell and save your web page to your L: drive as index.htm (you may also use .html as the file extension if you prefer). Whatever page you name "index.html" or "index.htm" is the page that will first appear when visitors go to your website's address

You can organize additional files and folders in your web site any way you'd like by organizing them in the L: drive. Your entire L: drive is accessible via the web**, and can be found at the following address:

http://fas-history.rutgers.edu/username - History users 

http://econweb.rutgers.edu/username - Econ users

Personal web sites should comply with the University's acceptable use policy.

**Warning: do not save any confidential data on your L: drive. Everything on L: is accessible to the entire world.

Can I update my personal web pages from off-campus?

See this page for instructions on using NetStorage to access your web folder from off-campus.

How do I create my personal web pages?

There are basically two ways to create web pages:

1) Use a text editor like Notepad to create and "mark up" a document with the appropriate HTML tags. In this scenario you are manually coding the HTML. The advantages of this method is that you usually end up with cleaner, more human-friendly code - which can make maintaining your page easier. You might also gain tighter control over the appearance of your document. Of course, if you don't know HTML this is not really an option (and you probably don't want to ever see the code!).

For most people the second method is the way to go:

2) Use a visual editor like NVU, Microsoft Front Page, or even Microsoft Word's HTML editor to automatically create the appropriate HTML code as you design the document visually. 

Which editor is best for you? It depends at least partly on whether you want to spend any money. For instance, NVU  is free but the others mentioned above are not. You can download NVU here:

http://nvu.com/index.php

On the other hand, from a simplicity point of view, Word's ability to translate regular Word docs into HTML is probably the easiest method since you are probably already familiar with the Word interface.

You might try checking out the RUCS www page for more tips: http://www.nbcs.rutgers.edu/www.html.

Why does my old web page keep showing up in my browser even after I updated it?

Browsers usually employ something called a "cache" to store the contents of web pages you have viewed. The cache helps to speed up subsequent visits to a web site because its contents can be obtained from the local system instead of being downloaded again.

If you have updated the contents of a web page but the old contents keep appearing in your browser window when you try to view it online, chances are you are seeing the contents from the cache. To view the new contents, try clicking the Reload / Refresh button or View->Reload/Refresh in your browser. Sometimes you have to do this multiple times before the new content appears.

Can I ask for help with my personal web site?

Absolutely. Unfortunately, however, HECS simply doesn't have enough staff to help you build your entire site. Instead, we can get you started on your own and answer specific questions as they arise.

Check out the RUCS www page for more possibilities: http://www.nbcs.rutgers.edu/www.html.

Viruses/Worms

Does Rutgers offer antivirus protection for my computer?
Yes. Rutgers makes antivirus protection available to all faculty, staff, and students free of charge. Our license permits faculty, staff, and students to use the software on any personally or University-owned equipment. RADS (Rutgers Antivirus Delivery Service) is the supported antivirus solution for Windows platforms at Rutgers. Leveraging technology from Trend Micro, RADS keeps your system protected from viruses, spyware, trojans, and other threats on the Internet and updates itself automatically as soon as new components are available.

If you are using a computer in Van Dyck or New Jersey Hall, the antivirus software is already installed for you. If you wish to download RADS for use on a personally-owned machine, you can download it here:

http://software.rutgers.edu

If you previously installed McAfee antivirus on your computer, you should immediately install the new version of RADS. Our license with McAfee expired on July 1, 2006, and you must remove it from any computer on which you installed it.

Why am I getting emails that say I sent a virus to a particular email address?

If you are getting email bounced back to you with subject lines such as:

  • "mail delivery failed"
  • "returned mail: user unknown"
  • "returned due to virus..."

along with a complaint that your email is infected with a virus, and yet you are sure that you did not send that email, what you are seeing is the result of one of the many worms/viruses that spread themselves by harvesting email addresses from an infected PC’s address book.

First, if you do get one of these messages from an address that you know you actually sent an email to, your system may indeed be infected with a virus. In this case, you should immediately scan your system using a virus scanner. If you are using a PC or laptop supplied by the department, you more than likely have Trend Micro Antivirus installed. However, if this is on a personally-owned machine, you can still download a copy of Trend Micro Anti-virus software for free (Rutgers has a site license for all students, staff and faculty to use at Rutgers or at home) at

http://software.rutgers.edu

The package you need to install is called RADS (Rutgers Antivirus Delivery Service). If you require assistance checking your system or installing the software, or if Trend Micro detects a virus, please submit a workorder.

Otherwise, if you are sure you did not send email to the address referenced, and you received one of the above messages, what you are seeing is the result of Bagle, MyDoom or similar mass-mailing worms. In this case, the virus does not reside on your system. Instead, it is probably infecting a PC of someone who has your email address in their address book. The virus then tries to spread by emailing itself, using a forged return address from the infected system’s address book (which may be your email address). Others then get email sent to them with your name on it (but which you did not send). The email server for that address rejects the mail, but bounces it back to you with the above messages. Unfortunately, short of notifying every single person who may have you in their address book, there isn’t much that can be done about these messages. If you have up-to-date antivirus software on your machine, you will be protected.

PDF File Conversion

Is there a way I can convert files to PDF without purchasing the full version of Adobe Acrobat?

Yes. There is a free program called PDF Creator which you can use to convert documents to PDF format. Once installed, you will see a new printer on your system called  "PDFCreator." When you need to convert a document to a PDF, simply "print" it to this special virtual printer, and you will be prompted to save it as a PDF file. 

You can download the PDF Creator installer here for use on home machines or laptops. When installing, be sure to select the "Standard Installation," NOT the "Server Installation." If you need PDF Creator installed on a machine at Van Dyck or New Jersey Hall, please let me know.

How can  I scan and email documents in PDF format? 

Instructions for scanning and emailing documents from the Xerox 490ST machine can be found here. Please note there is both a limit on the size of the scanned document and allowed email attachments. Therefore, this procedure is best for relatively short documents.

Miscellaneous

Are there detailed instructions on how to use the media workstation in the 3rd floor History lab?

Yes. There are are instructions here.

How do I get a Rutgers NetID?

Instructions on obtaining a Rutgers NetID can be found here. Please note that SAS Computing has nothing to do with your NetID. If you have problems with your NetID, you must contact the NCBS Help Desk at 445-HELP or by email: helpdesk@nbcs.rugers.edu.

Are there detailed instructions on how to use the Economics departmental scantron machine?

Yes. Oleg Korenok has provided a detailed set of instructions here.

What do I do when I need new computing equipment or software?

If you require new computing equipment or software for University-related needs, HECS can help advise you on what you may need to purchase. Of course, you will need to have some way of paying for the purchase - e.g., grant or research funds.

If you already know what you want and where to get it, you can submit your purchase request directly through normal channels (i.e., the RIAS system). Otherwise, HECS can help you compose a purchase request with the necessary part numbers, vendor name, etc., for you to submit through the appropriate mechanisms.

Do the History and Economics departments provide any computer labs?

Yes.

History has a lab for History graduate students, undergraduate Honors students, and faculty in Van Dyck room 306. If you have not used the lab in the past, please visit the main office in room 111 to request permission and instructions for accessing the lab. The lab currently accommodates up to 10 PC users at a time. Two scanners and two printers are also available. The lab is open during ordinary building hours. Those with access to the building after ordinary business hours can also access the lab.

Economics also has lab space. Economics graduate students can make use of the computers in New Jersey Hall room 107.

In addition, Economics offers lab space to Economics graduate students in New Jersey Hall room 306 (aka, the Graduate Student Library). The library is open during ordinary building hours. Those with access to the building after ordinary business hours can also access the library lab.