New Student FAQ
Understanding all the many computing resources at Mines can take awhile. Fortunately, help is available. The Information & Technology Solutions department (ITS) provides many resources to help you with all aspects of computing at Mines.
- Frequently asked questions about computing are answered in ITS’s Knowledge Base (https://helpcenter.mines.edu/TDClient/1946/Portal/KB/) and online FAQfinder database (http://faqfinder.mines.edu).
- The Mines Help Center (http://helpcenter.mines.edu) is the place to submit a support request for computer help. Any computing question or problem can be addressed here.
- ITS also offers in-person help for common computer and account issues. Walk into the Mines Service Center (CT156, inside the Computer Commons) for issues that can be handled on the spot like laptop configuration, software installation, or trouble with logging in. Or call (303) 384-2345.
- Learn how to activate your MultiPass account which you will need to get started with computing at Mines (https:/its.mines.edu/getting-started). During this process, students will also set up a MyMail (http://mymail.mines.edu) email account powered by Google.
How and where can I find more information?
By looking on the https://its.mines.edu/ website or visiting the Computer Commons, CT 156A.
How and where can I ask questions or get help with problems?
- By submitting out a Mines Help Center support request.
- By calling the Mines Service Center at (303) 384-2345.
- By asking for assistance at the Mines Service Center in CT 156A.
What am I expected to know about computers when, or soon after, I start school?
You should be familiar with basic concepts of computer use — running applications, clicking, selecting text, and so on. You will receive an overview and some basic instruction about specific software in Cornerstone and class-appropriate instruction as you need it.
What campus computing accounts do I need?
You need to create one account, called a MultiPass, to get started. It will allow you to access the Trailhead campus portal for access to academic, student life, and administrative business services. You must use this account to access “Self-Service” features so you can confirm your attendance, select register for classes, select or waive a health insurance plan, update your address, see your bills, financial aid, and grades, drop and add classes, and authorize use of Colorado Opportunity Fund money.
A MultiPass account also allows access to campus Unix/Linux workstations, Windows workstations, web servers, and some other academic services, some protected web services (such as campus housing network activation, antivirus software downloads, email list management, and others). It also is used to create your optional personal web page space on Mines servers.
What should I familiarize myself with when I arrive on campus?
Activate your MultiPass account and read our Getting Started Guide if you haven’t already done so.
Login to Trailhead, the campus web portal, and explore it.
If you are living in a residence hall or Mines Park, configure your computer to take advantage of wired or wireless networking. Install our free antivirus software if needed. Be sure to apply all critical or security related patches to your computers operating system and application programs and continue to do this on a regular basis to keep them updated.
Familiarize yourself with the Mines website.
Login to a lab Windows computer with your MultiPass and familiarize yourself with the desktop layout and the types of applications that are available.
Read school IT policies concerning privacy and security and understand your responsibilities.
I’m bringing my own computer, why do I need to create a MultiPass account?
It is important to create this account since this will give you access to many resources on campus. Among other things, it is used for:
- Email is an official means of Mines communication; you are expected to check your account frequently.
- You must have a MulitPass account if you want to create and publish a personal web page on Mines servers.
- To register your computer for access to the campus wireless network requires an official Mines account.
I already have a personal email address. Why should I activate a Mines email account?
Many instructors will communicate with classes by email; ITS will not be able to help you if you are not using a Mines email address.
The Financial Aid Office, and other Offices, will not respond to off-campus email if the reply requires personal information.
It is a good idea to treat your Mines email address as a professional account for your academic work. Consider using a personal account through another provider for non-Mines related communication.
What will my email address be? When can I start using it? How do I get started?
Your Mines email address will be your username (chosen when you claimed your MultiPass account) plus @mines.edu — firstname.lastname@example.org. This applies to all students, faculty, and staff. Students may also use the combination “email@example.com” but why bother with the extra typing?
Can I get a personal web page area on school servers?
Yes. Here’s how.
What mail system and/or email protocol should I use?
We recommend that students use the web interface mymail.mines.edu. You can also use an email client like Outlook, Thunderbird, or Mac Mail, but they are moderately complex to set up. If you do so, ITS recommends that you use the IMAP protocol so you can access all mail from multiple locations. See more about student email on the ITS website.
Do you provide any methods to limit or reduce spam email?
Mymail.mines.edu is powered by Google. Google’s mail system has strong spam filtering features to help avoid spam.
Do I need to have my own computer at Mines and, if so, what kind?
It’s not required. Campus computer labs, including the Computer Commons (CT156), are open for extended hours most of the year. But having your own computer is often more convenient. In some cases, though, you will use specialized software only available on lab computers. Most students bring a computer. Maybe half bring a laptop. In terms of operating systems, about half of student computers run Windows, half run Apple OS X (though there is also an active Linux community on campus). Campus computer labs are typically Windows based, though some run Linux. Most central servers are Linux-based.
I’m buying a new computer, what configuration do you recommend? Are discounts available to students?
See the current ITS Recommended Minimum Configurations page.
What are Mines Network Access Policies?
ITS reserves the right to scan all computers that connect to the campus and campus housing networks to insure that security patches and appropriate antivirus software are up-to-date before allowing a system full access to the campus network. Be sure to update your operating system, web browser, and other applications with the latest security patches.
I already own a computer. Will it be good enough?
It depends on the configuration; if it meets or exceeds the ITS Recommended Minimum Configurations, you should be okay.
Would it be better to bring a desktop or a laptop?
It depends on how you prefer to work. Think about how and where you like to work, how careful you are with transportable equipment, whether you want a full-sized keyboard and bigger screen or what features are important to you. Usually, you will pay some premium for a laptop, but the gap in cost between laptops and desktops has been narrowing. Don’t assume you can take notes on a laptop in every class – some faculty find it distracting and may not allow it. Also, you generally will not be able to substitute using your laptop for a computer you are required to use during a class or lab, since it will likely lack specific technical software.
Should I bring a printer with my computer?
Yes, if you can. ITS charges student for printing, except for in-class use, even if it is for a class assignment. See the printing information in our knowledge base for technical details about printing on campus.
Do you provide any free software?
Well, the school pays for it but some is free to you. See the ITS software website for listings of free and downloadable software. Academic discounted software is available from several sources as well.
Can I use my personal PC to access files on Mines servers?
Yes, you can connect to your Windows-domain (sometimes called “ADIT”) folders and files from a personal computer, but you usually cannot access the software application that are licensed on those servers or installed on lab computers. For more information, read the ITS knowledge base article on “mapping” network drives.
What steps can I take to protect my computer in my Mines residential room?
A computer can be replaced fairly quickly, but your assignments, papers, projects, and personal data can take a long time to reconstruct, so it is important to do a few things to protect yourself:
Make sure your computer is covered for replacement under some type of insurance, whether it be your parent’s homeowner insurance or your own personal insurance.
Back up your schoolwork, music, photos and personal data and store the backups in safe place. Neither your laptop case or the glove compartment of your car is a safe place. Consider keeping one copy at home and another somewhere else. That way you won’t lose time and work if something happens to your computer.
Physically secure your computer with some type of protective lock, like a cable and padlock, but don’t damage furniture to do it.
Bring a surge protector or UPS system to protect your computer from power surges or interruptions. (Of course, that’s not necessary for laptops.)
Secure your computer with usernames, passwords and security software so that only you and people you authorize can use it.
Do not share your account or password information with anyone else, including ITS. ITS will never need your password to help you and will never email a request to reveal that information. Sharing a computer account can be grounds for disciplinary action.
Learn about computer security. Keep your operating system and applications patched and up to date. Run antivirus software and keep the virus signatures up to date. Install a personal firewall program if your operating system doesn’t have one. Most modern OS’s will have a firewall pre-installed. Use it.
Does Mines offer a computer-repair facility in case something goes wrong with my personal computer?
ITS does not offer service on personal computers, but we may be able to help with troubleshooting or questions. Start with the consultants in the Computer Commons, CT 156.
Are all campus housing units connected to the campus network?
All residence halls, the Mines Park apartment complex, fraternity and sorority houses are connected to the network.
I'm living in a residence hall or Mines Park. How do I connect to the wired network?
Please follow the directions here: https://its.mines.edu/residence-halls-wired/
What hardware and software do I need to use the campus housing network?
You should have a 10/100 network interface card in your computer and the appropriate drivers, a web browser such as Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, or Internet Explorer.
How secure will my computer be on the campus network?
Computers with permanent connections to any high-speed network are susceptible to remote attack if steps aren’t taken to protect them. A computer can be replaced fairly quickly, but your assignments, papers, projects, and personal data can take a long time to reconstruct so it is important to do a few things to protect yourself:
Run virus protection software on your computer and keep the software and virus definitions up-to-date.
Acquire and install anti-spyware software and keep it up-to-date. Ask ITS for current recommendations.
Turn off file and printer sharing and deactivate unnecessary services.
Use your computer’s built-in firewall to reduce the risk of intrusion via the Internet.
Don’t open email attachments you aren’t expecting and be suspicious of downloading software.
Pay attention to security updates and install appropriate service patches on your computer.
Do frequent backups of your schoolwork and personal data and keep them in a safe place (not in your laptop case) so you don’t lose valuable time if something happens to your computer.
Yes, ITS has already said this, but it bears repeating that these measures are as important, if not more, than physical security.
How do I access the network if I live at home, off-campus, or in housing without direct network connections?
Depending on where you live, you may be able to subscribe to high speed cable modem or DSL services through local providers. In these cases, Mines will not be your ISP so you will need to use the Mines VPN (Virtual Private Network) to access ITS secured services on campus. If you use a third-party ISP and you use a Mines email account, be sure to check information in the email section of our website or in FAQfinder for information on how to correctly configure your email.
I’m bringing a laptop and I want to use it in different locations on campus. How do I do that?
You must register your computer at the CCIT on-line form and use DHCP, or automatic network assignment, for connections outside of the campus housing network. You must register separately from the same form for Residence Halls use.
Is wireless network access available?
802.11g, 802.11n, and (in select locations) 802.11ac wireless network access is available throughout the campus including the Library, Computing Commons, CTLM, Student Center, Kafadar Commons, Residence Halls, Mines Park and most areas of academic buildings. You must register your wireless card from the form on the ITS web-site.
I have more than one computer – can I install a hub or wireless access point in my room?
No! Do not install any device — a hub, switch, router, wireless access point, Apple Time Capsule, and so on — that extends the campus network without permission and supervision of ITS Networking staff. If your roommate is not using the other network port or if you are in a single room with two ports, you can use the other port. Connecting any wireless hub or access point to the Mines network without the express permission and supervision of ITS Networking staff is a violation of your network use agreement and will result in having your network port turned off.
Can I offer services through my computer?
Yes, but any services you offer cannot be accessed from off-campus since inbound connections to individual computers are blocked by the campus border firewall. Also, any services that you offer to the campus through your computer must be legal and comply with all campus and ITS policies and guidelines. You must respect reasonable use limits and you cannot run any business via your computer that depends on the services of the campus network. You cannot offer services through your computer that require validation by a username and password. And of course you can not offer copyrighted materials, including games, videos, and music, unless you own the copyright.
What should I not do on the Mines network?
You are expected to comply with the law and all Mines and ITS policies. Software license agreements, copyrights and trademarks of all kinds must be respected. You cannot run a business or generate personal income through the Mines network, even if you are using your own computer. You are expected to respect the need for access and privacy of all other network users and not interfere with the operation of the network or its use. Intentionally spreading viruses, spam, worms, or attempting to compromise security, sniff network traffic, or gain access to other computers or computer accounts without permission will result in termination of network connections and disciplinary action.
What computers do I have access to? Where are the computer labs? When are they open?
There are hundreds of computers in labs managed by ITS in places like Arthur Lakes Library, the CTLM building, and the Writing Center in Stratton Hall. Most rooms are available as open labs when a class is not in session. Fully “open” labs are available in the Computer Commons and Library. Most departments also have computer labs for class use or use by students enrolled in their options. Computer Commons labs in CT 156 are open most of the time (hours). Extended hours are usually offered the week before final exams. Open times in other buildings differ, so contact that department for current information.
Can I look at my schedule and personal information on the web? Can I register for classes on the web?
Yes. You will do this through the Trailhead campus portal by logging in and then clicking on the “Self Service” icon which is a link to the administrative and business services section of the website. Most incoming students will be issued a prearranged schedule. You will receive this information at orientation or after you arrive at school.
What constitutes a good password?
ITS has published a thorough discussion on “Creating good passwords”. In general, passwords should consist of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. They should not be a word or combination of words, spelled forward or backward, in any language. Minimum length should be 8 characters (12 is better) and will go up to as many as the computer allows and you can remember. Consider grossly misspelled words or characters drawn from a phrase that has meaning to you or you can remember so you can reconstruct it. “Aunt Matilda’s birthday is February 5 and she has a 9 pound cat named Fluffy” could be AMb25&9lbcnF. (Don’t use that password, now, though! It’s been on the Internet!) Although you should change your passwords periodically, a strong password you keep for a fairly long time is better than a very weak password that you must change frequently. MultiPass will periodically ask you to change your password to make sure it is still secure.
Do you have resources to help me give presentations in class or to do special project work?
LCD projectors and laptop computers are available to borrow for short-term use to give presentations and to work on special projects. Projectors can be borrowed for a few hours and laptops can be borrowed for a maximum of two or three days, based on time of year, availability, and your borrowing history. You assume financial responsibility for damage or loss of any equipment you borrow, including any components or pieces like power and connector cables, remote controls, etc. Many students depend on these resources, so if you fail to return equipment when scheduled, you will not be permitted to borrow equipment again. See the Mines Service Center (CT156A) for more details.