Frequently-Asked Questions

You've got questions.

We've got answers.

Welcome to the CSE Lab FAQ, a collection of oft-asked questions, and our best attempts at answers. The questions and answers are ordered, alphabetically, by topic.

The sidebar to the left contains links to detailed information on many of the topics covered here; if your question isn't answered in the FAQ, it may be answered in one of our other Support articles.

The following is a list of top-level FAQ categories, with links to the that section of the FAQ.

Authentication -- Backups -- Databases -- E-mail -- File Service
Hardware -- Networking -- Printing -- Software -- Miscellaneous

Authentication (Accounts, Passwords, Keycards)

I've forgotten my password. What do I do?
There are several ways to resolve this issue.
  1. You can use the CSE Password changer: and choose "Forgot Password". This will have you verify your identity with your UWNetID Credentials.
  2. If you don't have a UW NetID, Send e-mail to for further instructions.
  3. Stop by the CSE Support office in room 207.
I'm supposed to have access to <insert name of host here> but I can't log in.
Let's first see if the host is available. Can you run the "ping <host>" and verify that you can access the host?
If this is a research host, you may need to be added to a special password class. Please see your advisor.
If this is an instructional host, it may be an issue with your account password.
I'm supposed to have access to <insert room number here> but my keycard won't let me in.
An e-mail to with a request to be added to the access list for that room is a good place to start. You may need to speak with your advisor or instructor and have them approve the request for access.
How can I manage Linux/Windows group memberships?
The department has a system called "grpadmin" for managing group memberships. Group names and members are consistent across our Linux and Windows hosts. Documentation on "grpadmin" is available at and the web interface to "grpadmin" is available at A Linux command-line version is available on lab-managed Fedora workstations and servers as "grpadmin". (This program not available on RHEL systems.)
What is the department's computer account expiration policy?
How can I get administrative privileges on my computer?

If you have a lab-managed Windows system, and do not have local administrative rights, please contact CSE Support and we will correct this for you.

If you have a lab-managed Linux system, please contact CSE Support and let us know you would like to have your computer converted to user-managed. You will be responsible for installing the system, and maintaining it, including security patches. Network privileges may be revolved if your system becomes troublesome.

CSE Lab staff will not, under any circumstances, help you with your system software, nor will they provide updates or additional applications.

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Backups and Restores

I've just deleted a really important file / directory. Can I get it back?
Quite possible, though there are exceptions. Send an e-mail to with the location - a complete path to the file or folder, something like "/projects/instr/datasci/week3" or "/homes/gws/julie/thesis-finalversion.tex"- and the day and time that you deleted it. We'll do our best to restore it for you. If we can't restore it - perhaps it is on a partition or machine we do not back up, or perhaps that file or folder doesn't show up in even the most recent backup - we'll let you know.

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I'd like to set up a MySQL (or PostgreSQL) database on a CSE server.
For general-purpose use, see
If you're wanting to use either MySQL or PostgreSQL for an instructional purpose, see either (MySQL) or (PostgreSQL).

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How do I find out who is on a mailing list?
Use the UNIX "fing" command, on a lab-managed Linux host. For example, "fing -r faculty" will tell you who is on the "faculty@cs" mailing list.
What can I do about spam, junk e-mail, scams, and hoaxes?

The department has a web-based spam filtering interface called "SpamBuster". Information on this tool is available at

If you wish, you can forward suspected spam / phishing / hoax e-mail to us at

How do set up an "out of office" reply?

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File Service

Does the department have an anonymous FTP server?
Yes, see for more information.
Given a directory path, how can I find its file server?

For an NFS-mounted directory path - "/homes/iws/jouser" for example - the "df" command will return the file server name in the "Filesystem" column, or the path to that resource, should you be calling "df" from the machine on which the directory resides.

% df /homes/iws/jouser
Filesystem 1K-blocks Used Available Use% Mounted on
tango:/m-u5/u5/jouser 14270572544 41643008 14228929536 1% /homes/iws/jouser

In this example, the "/homes/iws/jouser" directory is served from the file server named "tango".

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Hardware / Maintenance

There's a machine in the basement lab that's broken. How can I get it fixed?
Send an e-mail to with the name of the machine (it's on a sticker on the top or front of the machine) and the issue to be resolved.
My machine is missing its mouse / keyboard. What do I do?
If the machine in question is in one of the instructional labs, please send an e-mail to with the name of the machine (it's on a sticker on the top or front of the machine) and we'll replace the keyboard or mouse.
If the machine in question is in a research lab or your office, stop by the Support office (room 207) and we'll give you a new keyboard or mouse.
I need to borrow a video adapter / power supply / DVI cable / network cable / video camera.
We have equipment - laptops, video cameras, etc. - that can be reserved for use. See for more information. Smaller items - video adapters, cables, etc. - can be found in the Support office (room 207). Some of these items need to be checked out for short-term use.

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I have a new computer / tablet / smartphone and want to connect to the CSE network.
Connecting a device to our wireless network is easy. Complete the form found here: and it'll be set up. You'll need to know the MAC address of your device.
The wireless network in room <insert room number> is really slow.
Send an e-mail to and let us know where the wireless connectivity is poor. It could be an access point that needs rebooting, or repair.

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How do I add a printer?
(Windows) Start --> Devices and Printers --> "Add a Printer" --> "Add a network, wireless, or Bluetooth printer."
(Macintosh) See
(Linux) If your Linux box is lab-managed, "lpstat -a" will list all of the currently available printers. If your Linux box is your own, or user-managed, add "ServerName" to the "/etc/cups/client.conf" file and restart the "cups" daemon, to enable access to our research printers.
The printer is out of paper.
If there's more paper sitting near the printer, please refill the main paper supply tray... but only halfway, to minimize paper jams. If there's no more paper sitting near the printer, please e-mail and let us know.
The printer is (nearly) out of toner.
Our printers will warn of a "toner low" condition long before printing quality is compromised. If the printing quality has been compromised, please e-mail and let us know.
How do I use the poster printer?
See for all things related to the poster printer.
The poster printer is out of paper.
The poster printer's a finicky beast. The poster printer page - - has some information about changing the paper, but if you're at all skeptical about tackling that job, send us an e-mail at and we'll change the paper roll.
I like banner pages with my printouts. How do I turn them on?
Banner pages are disabled by default in the instructional labs. See for instructions on enabling them.
I think banner pages are a waste of paper. How do I turn them off?
See for instructions on disabling banner pages.

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Do you have software I can download to my computer?
We have some; see for more information.
The University has a wider variety of software available to download and/or purchase; see to see what they have to offer.
How do I use MATLAB?
See for information on this program.
Can we get <insert name of package> installed in the lab?
We'll at least look into it. Please tell us, in an e-mail to, what software you'd like installed, and on what machine(s).

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I went to the Support office to ask them something. No one was there. What do I do now?
An e-mail to will be read by Support staff, and assigned to the appropriate member of the Support team. The CSE Support team members all have offices on the second floor, near the Support office. Feel free to stop by one of their offices for assistance, should the main Support office be closed.
My question wasn't answered.
Please let us know how to make this a better resource.

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