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Quick Introduction to the Computer Lab for Windows Lovers

This document explains how to use the terminals for browsing (including WebAssign), editing simple Microsoft Office documents, spreadsheets, and accessing flash memory drives.

Getting Started

Computer Accounts

You need to get a Physics department computer account to use these machines. These accounts are NOT the same as your University mail account. See your instructor or ask the receptionist in 201 JFB.

Terminals and Servers

The terminals in the lab are not really stand-alone computers. They are ``thin clients'', that is, they are graphical displays with a network connection to powerful servers that manage sessions for many users at the same time. You must first select a server to manage your session. Then you log in to the server.

Logging on to the terminals

You should see a bunch of server icons on the left of your screen. Double-click on the one appropriate to your class. For Physics 3730/6720 you should choose one of three: ``cygnus'', ``draco'', and ``orion''. Once you have selected the appopriate server, you should see a login banner. Enter your assigned login user name and password in the space provided. Unix is case-sensitive, so be sure to type upper and lower case exactly as given. If you are successful, you will get the window manager screen.

Changing Your Password

If this is the first time you have logged in, you must change your password. Do this in three steps explained in the next four paragraphs: (1) Choose a good password. (2) Open a terminal window. (3) Use the Unix passwd command to make the change.

Changing Your Password

Do this in three steps explained in the next four paragraphs: (1) Choose a good password. (2) Open a terminal window. (3) Use the Unix passwd command to make the change.

Selecting Your Password

Your password is a string of letters, numbers, and/or special characters that you can remember easily but others would find it very difficult to guess. Unix distinguishes upper and lowercase letters. For the sake of security on this system, we urge you to choose your password wisely. Don't use names and words found in dictionaries. A combination of letters and numbers, upper and lowercase and/or special characters is good. Your password should contain at least six characters. For example, you could create a password from the first letters of a mnemonic phrase, such as ``H,llwht!'' for ``Houston, looks like we have trouble!''. (But don't use this one, now! Make up your own.)

Getting a terminal window

Open the root window menu by right-clicking with the mouse in an empty space on your screen. Select ``Open Terminal''.

Typing in a Terminal Window

The terminal window is the basic interface for typing in commands. Any command or other information you type will not be interpreted until you hit <Enter>. Before that, you may hit <Backspace> to redo the previous character. To redo the entire command from the beginning, hold down the <Ctrl> key while typing u. (This operation is abbreviated C-u in these notes.)

Changing Your Password

After you have invented a new password, type passwd<Enter> (it i.e. the letters passwd followd by the Enter key) at the prompt in a terminal window to run the procedure that changes your password. You will first be asked for your old password, then your new choice, and you will be asked to repeat your new choice to verify that you didn't make a typing mistake. You may change your password as often as you want using this method. It takes about one hour for the change to take effect, so you may have to continue to use your old password for a while.

Browsers and Microsoft Office documents

Web Browser

At the top of your screen you should see an ``Applications'' pull-down menu. Use it to select ``Applications'' -> ``Internet'' -> ``Firefox''. You can also start Firefox from a Terminal window by typing the command firefox &.

LibreOffice for Microsoft Office documents

The LibreOffice application understands and can edit simple Windows documents. This includes Excel spreadsheets and Microsoft Word documents.

To run LibreOffice, select Application->Office->LibreOffice Writer (for Word), Calc (for spreadsheets). You can also start it from a terminal window by typing the command libreoffice &. If you already have a Word file, say ``foo.docx'', you can open the document from a terminal window with the command libreoffice foo.docx &.

Logging Out

It EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to log out when you leave the console so the next user won't have access to your account. There are two ways to do this. (1) Select System->Log Out on the top menu bar. This logs you out and kills your session. (2) Click the ``X'' at the top right of the big session window. This kills the display, but your session can be restored if you log back in to the same server.

Locking the Screen

Please do not lock your screen unless you are just taking a quick bathroom break. The terminals are shared by everyone. Locked sessions will be killed by the administration.

About this document ...

This document was generated using the LaTeX2HTML translator Version 2008 (1.71) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, Nikos Drakos, Computer Based Learning Unit, University of Leeds.

The translator was augmented by "uces.sty" and "uces.perl" (version 3.0b), which are available from the Hamlet Project at the University of Utah.

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