Archives—August 2011

Remote access to Windows desktops blocked at the campus border

The protocol used to access your windows desktop remotely (RDP) has been blocked at the campus border as a result of a sustained cyberattack that was starting to compromise some machines on campus.

In order to protect our campus assets, and minimize the disruption caused by these attacks, IT has had no choice but to block the protocol at the campus router, which means users will be unable to connect to their campus desktops directly; instead users are advised to connect to campus through our virtual private network (VPN), accessible through

Please contact User Services (487-1111, if you need help using our VPN system.

Photo “1997 China – Great Wall” (c) 2011 nlnnet, on Flickr

Huskymail upgrade postponed

The Huskymail upgrade scheduled to happen on Aug. 27th has been postponed until Thanksgiving break.

Multiple parties have provided feedback that an email downtime right before classes began would inconvenience faculty, staff and students as they prepare for the beginning of the term. IT has decided to reschedule the upgrade until Thanksgiving break, which is the next window of opportunity for this upgrade. We will send further information in November about the timing of this upgrade.

Huskymail to be upgraded to version 6

UPDATE: Upgrade postponed till Thanksgiving break; please read this notice

On Saturday, August 27, 2011, Information Technology will be upgrading the major software components of our campus email system, Huskymail. We are performing this upgrade to provide additional and updated email and calendaring features, and to fix several long-standing bugs.

This upgrade requires an outage which will begin at 8:00 PM on Saturday, August 27 and is expected to last for 8 hours, until 4:00 AM on August 28th. During this time, the Huskymail web client ( and all ActiveSync, IMAP, POP, and Outlook clients will be unable to connect. Incoming messages will be queued on our servers and delivered at the end of the outage: no incoming messages will be lost.

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Home Directory Move for Physics, Math and Computer Science

Home directories for Physics, Math and Computer Science users are being integrated into central storage starting this Saturday, August 13th, at 10:00pm. The integration involves an 8 hour-long file synchronization between storage shares, and a subsequent reconfiguration of servers and services to point to the new storage paths.

The integration will bring these home directories in alignment to the rest of the home directories on campus;  after the move is done, users in the three departments involved will have the same user experience on any computer they log in on campus, with the same set of home directories, networked drives, etc. available to them no matter what campus resource they log into.

The move will also integrate the accounts in these departments into the campus-wide Identity Management System.

The maintenance period is scheduled to be completed by 4:00pm on Sunday, August 14th. During this window, users are asked to terminate any background process that may be writing to their home directories, and log off any systems they may be logged into. After the maintenance window, User Services staff will be monitoring our issue management system in order to respond to any (however unlikely) problems caused by this integration. Please contact if any home directory-related problems arise.

Mac OS 10.7 not working with campus VPN service (now fixed)

UPDATE: F5 Systems provided a hotfix for this issue: the VPN has been tested to work on 10.7 and 10.7.1

Mac OS 10.7 (Lion), which now comes installed on all recently bought Apple desktops and laptops, does not interoperate well with our virtual private network (VPN) server ( The vendor for the VPN , F5 systems, is still working on the issue. As soon as they release a fix for this problem, we will be updating our system. Please watch this space for updates on this issue.

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Princeton Review mentions “great computer […] facilities,” and they are getting better!

The Princeton Review recently recommended Michigan Tech as being one of the “Best in the Midwest” universities. The Review mentions high agreement among students that we have “great computer and athletic facilities.” Though we are pleased to get that kind of feedback (after all, managing the labs is one of our main activities), we are more pleased to know that we are making the computer lab experience even better.

As a result of the reorganization of IT at Michigan Tech, we are breaking down the barriers between labs. Starting this Fall, we will be providing our students with open access to computer labs across campus. What does this mean? Our students will no longer be confined to using a specific computer lab for their computing needs. They can simply go to any available lab on campus, login to a desktop, and be presented with their settings, software, bookmarks, network folders, etc.

Now how cool is that!

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Windows software image lab beta testing

The beta image of our windows software is ready to be tested by the Michigan Tech community. The test lab, located in EERC 134, contains the lab image to be spread throughout all the general computing windows labs. We highly encourage faculty and staff to test software pertinent to instruction and research, in order to make sure that this Fall goes smoothly for our students. Staff will be on location at EERC 134, for the rest of the week,  to assist testers and receive feedback. The testing form we use to keep track of defects with the image can be found here: ITSS Fall 2011 Lab Image Test Sheet

Computer lab software list, Fall 2011

IT has finalized the list of software to be installed in the computer labs this Fall. The list of all the requests made, sorted by department, can be found here: AY2011 Software.

A more concise list of all the software that is going to be available in labs can be found here: Lab Software List

These lists try to capture the lab software picture information for the whole campus: as such it is very likely that it contains errors and omissions; please let us know if there are any errors contained therein.

All open Windows labs (to be found here) will contain the same software load, making it possible for students to experience the same environment no matter what lab they log into. The Linux Labs in Fisher/Rekhi, will continue to have a Fedora Linux 13, with recent patches installed, while a test program for RedHat 6 unfolds during Fall term, with a possible upgrade happening during Christmas break.