Department of Computing Imperial College London
Introduction to Windows in DoC

Changing passwords / Using Windows / Email / Software installed / Printing / Disk space / Profile space
Removable media / Accessing Linux / Exceed / Your web pages / Norton AntiVirus / Screenlocking / Logging off

Workstations in the Department of Computing generally run two operating systems, Microsoft Windows Vista and Ubuntu Hardy Linux. If a workstation is running Windows and ready for login the screen will be displaying the "Welcome to Windows" banner (if the screen is blank try moving the mouse):

To log on to the computer press the Ctrl, Alt and Del keys at the same time. The screen will change to display the "Log On to Windows" dialogue box. If you are new to the Department of Computing you should have been issued with a username and password.

Enter details as follows:

The screen will now clear and the computer will log you on.

Changing your password

The first thing you should do once you have logged in for the first time is to change your password. Press the Ctrl, Alt and Del keys at the same time. The security window will now appear:

Select the "Change a password" option, either by holding the mouse cursor over it and clicking the left button, or using the tab key to move through the options and press Enter when "Change password" is highlighted. The change password window will now appear:

To change your password:

You are now ready to use Windows.

Using Windows

On the Windows screen are several icons along the left of the screen and a bar called the Task Bar along the bottom edge of the screen with a button marked "Start" on the left side. The start button is the easiest way to run applications. When the start button is clicked it shows a menu containing all of the applications, programs and utilities installed on the workstation.

Icons on the screen also offer a quick way to start applications. To use an icon, double click on the desired icon (use the mouse to click on the icon twice).


Our recommended installed and supported email client for Windows is Mozilla Thunderbird. Mozilla Suite also works fine, though Mozilla no longer develop this, so we would recommend a gradual transition to Thunderbird.

Mozilla Thunderbird can be started from:

Start -> Programs -> Internet -> Mozilla Thunderbird
Settings should be in place for new users.
Notes are available (for an earlier version but should still apply) if you need to configure it.

Eudora is installed but not recommended as there may be SSL related problems at the moment. Pegasus is installed and should work but is not supported by CSG.

Other clients are generally found in the same place as Mozilla:

Start -> Programs -> Internet

Simple Window Tasks

Most applications and utilities run inside a window. Each window operates the same way and has similar controls.

A basic guide to these window controls is:

  1. Click here to close or stop using a window or application.
  2. Click here to hide the window. The window moves to the start bar at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Click here to make the window the largest possible size (fill the screen).
  4. Drag here (dragging is when the user holds the mouse button down while moving the mouse) to change the size of the window.
  5. Click here to obtain all possible functions of the window.
  6. Drag here to move the window to a new location.

At the top of a window is a bar containing the title of the window. In the following example it is the Wordpad application:

Below the title bar are the menu options. To use a menu, click on the menu name and then on the desired option.

The Task Bar (running along the bottom edge of the screen) contains a minimised form of all windows that are open. Click on any you wish to maximise and this will move the window to a position above all of the other windows on the screen.

Software installed

There are lists of software installed on standard XP systems.

There may be many reasons why a particular piece of software you are looking for is not installed on the workstation you are sitting at. If it is on the list above and installed on similar machines, try rebooting - recently added software is installed on a reboot. If this doesn't work, it could be that there is not enough free disk space. Software is only installed if there is free disk in which to do it. There may also be other requirements - certain pieces of software are only installed on lab machines, only in the Studios on level3, or possibly only on staff machines.

If you want us to install a package that is not on the software list mail us requesting it. It may be provided or alternatively you will get a good reason why not (it may conflict with another package, or it may have restrictive licencing either in terms of the cost or the conditions imposed).

Using Printers

All of the lab printers are available for use from the workstations. To find out the names of these printers please check this index.

Print jobs are placed in a queue and are printed as soon as the job reaches the front of the queue.

To print from an application choose print from the file menu. A dialog similar to the one shown below should be displayed:

The printer selected in this example is called blueshift which is in lab 206; check the full index for details of other printers. To select a different printer point and click the mouse cursor on the arrow to the right of the printer name and select from the list (some applications show a different window with printer icons and a "Select Printer" box). You can select number of copies to print, and the range of pages. Click the "properties" button if you want to alter page orientation between portrait and landscape. Click OK and the file will be sent to the printer.

To set your default printer from all applications go to:

My Computer -> Settings -> Printers
right click on the icon for the printer you want and "Set as default printer".

Disk space

If you double click on My Computer you will see various areas of disk space on the system. When saving files you should nearly always use the one that includes the drive letter H. This will usually appear with your username, for example:

abcd01 on 'fs-homes' [H:]

This is disk space on the main fileserver and when you save files here you can access them from any workstation you subsequently log in to. You also automatically access this same disk space when you log in to the Linux systems. This is not unlimited disk space, and all users are allocated a certain amount which is known as their disk quota. If this is exceeded warning messages will be displayed. Details of the amounts currently set can be seen here (along with notes on temporary network storage areas such as "bitbucket").

Important note: files on the [H:] drive are backed up every night and copies can be retrieved by using the online retrieval system. Any files kept anywhere else on the Windows systems are not secure and their safety cannot be guaranteed.

To reduce the amount of space used drag unwanted files into the Recycle Bin.

Profile storage space

If you get a message saying that your profile storage space is exceeded double click on the little blue monitor icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen and that will show you what is taking up most space.

Note that you should not keep files on the desktop - they should be stored in drive H: - and a shortcut can be placed on the desktop if a desktop icon is desired.

If Mozilla or IE cache is taking up space go to the relevant preferences or options to clear it. In Mozilla this is under:

Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Cache
Click the "Clear Disk Cache" button, and set "Disk Cache" to 0.

In Internet Explorer:

Tools -> Internet Options
Click "Delete Files" under the "Temporary Internet files" header. You can then click on "Settings" to adjust and maybe point the cache to the TEMP folder on C: instead of your profile, or look at our
caching proxy server scripts (applies to Mozilla as well).

If this doesn't fix the problem have a look in your profile area:

My Computer -> Local Disk (C:) -> Documents and Settings -> your_username
and manually remove the files taking up the space. If you can't see the folders mentioned in the profile warning window, go to:
My Computer -> Tools -> Folder options -> View
and select "Show hidden files and folders". You might also want to untick the "Hide..." options. Be careful with these options though; you can see things (and delete things) which may be important.

We won't increase the profile storage space - this is a transient area, moved between machines when you log in and out, and is not really intended for storing any significant data. The limit is a domain-wide limit rather than a per-user limit, so it cannot be increased just for one user. 30MB is more than enough for the standard things which are stored within the profile.

File permissions

By default any file you create and save to the H: drive on the Windows systems is readable and editable only by you.

There is a fairly complicated method of setting file permissions from Linux on any file which you keep on the [H:] drive. Please see this page for a discussion of how this works.

Removable media

Most systems have DVD drives which can read and write CDs and DVDs. USB drives may also be used, and will automatically open up on Windows.

Accessing Linux systems


One method of getting a window on one of the DoC Linux systems is to use an application called PuTTY. You can find it here:
Start -> Programs -> Internet -> PuTTY -> PuTTY
When the "PuTTY Configuration" window appears enter the following: If you need regular access to Linux you might want to save the above details. Before clicking the Open button, type the hostname in "Saved Sessions" and click Save. Then the next time you use PuTTY you can just double click on the host name to start.

Various configuration details can be modified in the "Category" box at the left. I find it useful to go to "Selection" and select xterm (right pastes, middle extends) for "Action of mouse buttons".


If you want to run X applications use Exceed.

To start Exceed:

Start -> Programs -> Utilities -> Hummingbird... -> Exceed -> Exceed
Then start PuTTY as described in the section above.

You should then be able to start X applications from the PuTTY terminal, and they will appear on the local screen. A few examples of commands you could run to start X applications are:

xclock &
xterm &
xemacs &

Your web pages

To access your web pages, and save files with the correct permissions for them to be viewable, click the right mouse button on "My Network Places" select "Map network drive" and enter the following in the 'Folder:' box:

Norton AntiVirus software

All Windows Vista systems installed by CSG in DoC are protected by Norton AntiVirus Corporate Edition, with virus definitions files automatically updated from our servers. If you wish to install Norton on your home or portable workstation you can buy a CD from ICT's software shop, or copy the latest version we have from:
Start -> Run... \\win\dfs\Packages\tools\Symantec Client unmanaged
As a general rule, to avoid email borne viruses do not open attachments for which the provenance is doubtful, or where the subject headers and name of the attachment appear unusual.

Locking and unlocking the screen

If you will be away from the workstation for a few minutes you should lock the screen. This prevents any other users from getting access to your files or work. Do not lock the screen for longer periods - log out if you are leaving the workstation for more than a few minutes.

Apart from the shortcut "Windows Key + L", the option to lock the screen is on a menu along with some other useful utilities. To gain access to this list press the Ctrl + Alt + Del keys. This will display the window below.

What the various buttons do is probably obvious from the captions. "Task manager" brings up a list of all applications that are currently running. This can be used to quit an application that is no longer functioning properly.

Once the workstation is locked no other user will be able to use the computer. If anyone tries to use the workstation the screen will display a message saying the workstation can only be unlocked by the user that locked it, or an administrator.

To unlock the computer:

Once you have finished using the workstation

Once you have finished using Windows you must logoff so other users can use the workstation.

To logoff:

© CSG / Oct 2007