Computing Lab Frequently Asked Questions

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Information Technology Services (ITS) Computing Labs

What are the ITS Labs?

ITS Labs are used by students from all disciplines for their course work. They house some general and some class specific software, so you may find them adequate for some of your CMPT courses. Go to the ITS Computer Labs page to find out more.

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Where are the ITS Labs?

All over campus. Go to the ITS Computer Labs page, and click the link to a specific campus. And on the page for this campus, you should see the link to the "Labs and Locations" page.

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Who can access ITS Labs?

All SFU students can access the ITS Labs when they're open, and not already booked by someone else. Check the schedule to make sure the lab you want is available at the time you want.

Go to the ITS Computer Labs page; click the link to a specific campus. On the page for this campus, click the link "Labs and Locations" page and you will see reserved times.

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When are ITS Labs available?

Go to the ITS Computer Labs page; click the link to a specific campus. On the page for this campus, click the link "Labs and Locations" page and you will see reserved times..

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What hardware is in the ITS Labs?

Go to the ITS Computer Labs page; click the link to a specific campus. On the page for this campus, click the link "Labs and Locations" page and you will see the list of the labs, click the link to the lab and find out more about the lab.

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Computing Science Instructional Labs (CSIL) Facilities

What is CSIL?

CSIL is comprised of several rooms with computers, most with Internet access. Students registered in one or more Computing Science courses can use CSIL to do course work, access their SFU Email accounts, and access the World Wide Web.

CSIL is supported by the CSTS (Computing Science Technical Services) group. The fastest and most efficient way to contact us is email helpdesk. Note we normally only provide service Monday to Friday, 0900 hrs - 1600 hrs (9:00am - 4:00pm).

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Where is CSIL?

Burnaby Campus

CSIL@Burnaby is located on the main floor of the Applied Sciences Building. See the campus map for directions to the ASB. CSIL consists of these areas: ASB 9838 North, ASB 9820, ASB 9840, ASB 9804 multimedia, ASB 9700, 3 team rooms (ASB 9812, ASB 9814, ASB 9816)

Currently,

All of th CSIL workstations dualboot Windows and Ubuntu Linux.

Please check out our CSIL Burnaby layout - you can see the layout of CSIL@Burnaby, and find out the names of workstations.

Surrey Campus

CSIL@Surrey is located on the east side of Galleria 4. Please see the Surrey campus map for directions to the Galleria. There are two rooms: SRY 4050 and SRY 4080. All of the computers in these rooms are dualboot Windows and Ubuntu Linux.

Please checkout our CSIL Surrey layout - you can see the layout of CSIL@Surrey, and find out the names of workstations.

About name differences under Windows and under Ubuntu

Since all of our CSIL workstations dualboot, we have configured one cname for each workstation. e.g. asb9700u-a08.csil.sfu.ca points to asb9700-a08.csil.sfu.ca. Thus,

under Windows, the name is: asb9700-a08.csil.sfu.ca

under Ubuntu, the name is: asb9700u-a08.csil.sfu.ca

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How do I get in to CSIL?

Burnaby and Surrey Campuses

CSIL is accessible by security fobs at both campuses. Any undergraduate student registered in a CMPT course (or MACM 101), all CMPT graduate students, and all CMPT instructors can obtain a fob to CSIL. Read the Door Access FAQ for more details.

No valid CS access fob, no access, no exceptions.

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When is CSIL available?

Generally, CSIL is open from the 9:00am of the first day of the semester until the end of the exam period. During the semester, CSIL is open 24/7, to valid CS access card holders.

No valid CS access fob, no access, no exceptions.

Between semesters, CSIL is open only on an as-needed basis. Contact helpdesk if you need access during this time.

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Can I access CSIL computers from off campus?

Yes. You may access certain Windows and Linux/Unix systems from off campus.

For Windows users:

For remote access to CSIL Windows systems, Windows users may connect to the CSIL Windows Terminal Server (TS) via a Remote Desktop Connection (aka RDC, or RDP). Read the How to Use CSIL Windows Terminal Server page to find out all the details. Note that you CANNOT access other CSIL Windows systems remotely.

You can use ssh (secure-shell) to connect to any Unix/Linux computer with a text-only interface. You may have to install a free ssh Windows client on your Windows machine. Search Google for an ssh client (we recommend PuTTY for Windows users).

After you have installed your ssh Windows client and you've started it up, connecting to a CSIL Unix/Linux computer is a 2-step process:

  1. Connect to fraser.sfu.ca.
  2. From the fraser Unix prompt, ssh to your chosen CSIL Linux machine:

    ssh -p 24 linux_machine.csil.sfu.ca
    ssh -p 24 linux_machine.cs.surrey.sfu.ca

(To find the name of the Linux workstation you would like to connect to, please check the CSIL Burnaby layout or the CSIL Surrey layout.)

For Linux users:

Run ssh (secure-shell) at the command line. With ssh, you can connect to any Unix/Linux computer with a text-only interface. Connecting to a CSIL Unix/Linux workstation is a 2-step process:

  1. Connect to fraser.sfu.ca.
  2. From the fraser Unix prompt, ssh to your chosen CSIL Linux machine:

    ssh -p 24 linux_machine.csil.sfu.ca
    ssh -p 24 linux_machine.cs.surrey.sfu.ca

(see the CSIL Burnaby layout to find Unix/Linux machine names to connect to, and the CSIL Surrey layout to find a CSIL Surrey machine).

About CSIL Linux CPU server

Since all of our CSIL workstations dualboot, to provide our CSIL users uninterrupted access to Linux systems from off campus, we have built a few CSIL Linux CPU servers. You could find more information here.

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What hardware is in CSIL?

At both the Burnaby and Surrey campuses, the CSIL facilites have a variety of Dell computers in separate labs, as well as an enterprise grade printer for general printing.  A digital camcorder and other equipment is available on loan from the Burnaby CS general office. Note that CSIL labs are sometimes reserved for selected classes, tutorials and events, and certain equipment is reserved for students from particular courses. See the CSIL Burnaby layout to see where our equipment is located at the Burnaby campus, and the CSIL Surrey layout to see our CSIL facilities in Surrey.

Click here for more information.

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What software is in CSIL?

For Linux/Unix software, see the Unix/Linux software page.

For Windows software, see the Windows software page.

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The SIMS system shows that I should be using ASB 9838; which study area I should use?

When the SIMS system shows a lecture or lab session will be held in ASB 9838, it means the lecture or the lab session will be held in one or more study areas of the CSIL@Burnaby.

The instructor and/or the TA of the specific course should inform you about detailed study area information before the session.

You could also check out the latest Lab Schedule for CSIL@Burnaby for details.

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Using CSIL

What is my user ID and password?

The ID and password you use in CSIL is the same as your SFU Campus Computing (email) ID and password.

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Where can I find out more about UNIX?

Please visit our Unix/Linux FAQ page first.

There is information on Unix at the Unix Tools Web Site.

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Where can I find out more about Linux?

Linux is a UNIX variant, thus many of the things that you would look at for general UNIX knowledge are applicable to Linux as well.

Please visit our Unix/Linux FAQ page first.

The Linux distribution we use in CSIL is from Ubuntu, and you can find out most everything you need to know about Ubuntu at the Ubuntu Web Site.

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Where can I find out more information about Windows?

Please visit our Windows FAQ.

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How to select a specific Operating System on a CSIL computer?

To prvovide most flexibility to our users, most of our CSIL computers dualboot Windows and Linux (Ubuntu).

All of the computers in the following rooms/areas are dualboot:

Burnaby: ASB 9700, ASB 9820, ASB 9838 North, ASB 9804 and ASB 9840

Surrey: SRY 4050 and SRY 4080

If you are in these rooms/areas, you could easily switch between Windows and Linux.

If the computer is off, please push the power button on the case and make your selection on the OS select screen (GRUB).

When you see the Windows logon screen and you would like to use Linux (Ubuntu):

. hit key combo Ctrl-Alt-Del

. left-click the arrow right to the red power button on the bottom-right corner of the screen 

. left-click "Restart"

. wait till the OS select screen shows (this may take about 90 seconds)

. use up-arrow key to hightlight "Ubuntu" (the default OS) and hit Enter key to select it.

. login when the Ubuntu login screen shows

When you see the Ubuntu logon screen and you would like to use Windows:

. left-click the small power button on the top-right corner of the screen

. left-click the "Restart" button

. Wait till the OS select screen shows

. use down-arrow key to hightlight "Windows" and hit Enter key to select it.

. logon when the Windows logon screen shows


Just a reminder: The instructor of a specific course decides which OS will be used for this course. Please confirm the choice of OS with the instrcutors in advance.

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Can I use my laptop in CSIL?

Yes.

But you may NOT disconnect the network cable from any CSIL machine and plug it into your laptop. To get access to the Internet for your laptop, use the SFU wireless service.

You may hook up your laptop to an unused VGA cable where these are available. Just remember: put the LCD panel back to working order before you leave the spot, i.e. make sure LCD is set to the correct input and the computer is displaying the CSIL logon screen.  

Warning: If you disconnect the network cable from any CSIL machine, your account will be suspended.

Warning: Playing games in CSIL is prohibited - even on your own laptop. Your account will be suspended if you play games in CSIL or on any CSIL computer.

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When I'm logged into a CSIL machine, where is my home directory?

You will be able to mount your SFU Campus Home directory when you log on to any CSIL workstation.

On Windows:

After you log on to a CSIL Windows system, your SFU Campus Home directory will be auto-mapped to your Windows session. Your SFU Campus Home directory should be mapped as your U: drive.

** Your files must be saved to your U:\ drive. The local hard drives and other network shares on CSIL Windows systems ARE NOT BACKED UP, AND MAY BE ERASED BY CSIL STAFF AT ANY TIME, WITHOUT NOTICE.  

You may find more details here.

On Linux:

/home/{userID}/sfuhome/ - This is the place to save all your files, it will be auto-mounted for you when you log on to a CSIL Linux system. This is your SFU Campus Home directory - the same folder you see when you log on to fraser.sfu.ca.

After you log on to a CSIL Linux system, your session will set your linux home directory to /home/{userID}/.  The purpose of this folder is to allow your login profile to follow you between machines. Please be aware: this folder should be considered TEMPORARY STORAGE ONLY. This space may be cleared out without advanced notice. DO NOT USE it for any important files.

Again, please save all your files to: /home/{userID}/sfuhome/

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To demo my project in CSIL, I need some extra software packages; may I have them installed?

No.

Only the instructors could request software installation at the beginning of the semester.

We strongly suggest all CMPT students to use CSIL for their course work. The helpdesk could not help on any issue related to a specific user's personal computer.

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How much data storage space do I have?

You will have exactly the same storage space on your home space (sfuhome) as when you log on to fraser.sfu.ca directly. See the ITS Web site - this space is provided by ITServices, not the School of Computing Science.

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How to use the team rooms?

The Team Rooms (ASB 9812, ASB 9814 and ASB 9816) are intended for meetings of teams from CMPT courses with assigned team projects.  TAs can allocate specific time slots for teams via our TA Booking system.

When a Team Room is not booked, it can be used on first come basis - maximum 2 hours/day per person or group. CMPT course project teams have priority over other users.

Please tidy up the Team Room after use. Please take out extra chairs to the hall way line up along the glass wall - 4 chairs are reserved for each Team Room so they should be kept inside the room.

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Reporting Problems

Who do I complain to?

CSIL facilities are open 24/7 during the semester but we cannot provide this coverage for our helpdesk email. Our official hours of operation are: Monday to Friday, 0900 hrs - 1600 hrs (9:00am - 4:00pm).

With this in mind, please be as clear as possible about any problem you need to report to us. Click here for the email template.

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Who do I email to?

For problems with any CSIL machines, email helpdesk AT cs DOT sfu DOT ca.

For problems with course software, email helpdesk AT cs DOT sfu DOT ca.

For problems with printing in CSIL, email helpdesk AT cs DOT sfu DOT ca.

For problems with machines in any IT Services Lab or with your wireless connection, email help AT sfu DOT ca.

For problems with your email, call the ITS help line or email them at help AT sfu DOT ca.

For problems with printing in any IT Services Lab, email help AT sfu DOT ca.

To activate your campus (email) account, go to the my.sfu.ca website.

For more details on what ITS can do for you, see the ITS Labs Page.

*IMPORTANT*: do NOT forward your SFU email to anything else. The benefit does not cover the chaos it creates. Remember: do NOT forward your SFU email to anything else. We repeat again: do NOT forward your SFU email to anything else.

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DOs and DON'Ts in CSIL

CSIL Rules

  1. No eating or drinking in CSIL.
  2. No gaming.
  3. Be familiar with SFU's policy on computing resources, better known as GP24. Please also read the CSIL Policies.
  4. Don't attempt to install your own software on CSIL computers. This is strictly prohibited, and will lead to a loss of your CSIL privileges. Customizing your working environtment is highly recommened.
  5. Don't attempt to plug in a laptop or other computer to the CSIL network with a network or other cable. This is strictly prohibited, and will lead to a loss of your CSIL privileges.
  6. Don't put transparencies into CSIL printers!!
  7. CSIL is monitored at all times by security cameras and activity logging. This is to protect both you, and the equipment in CSIL. Damage will be seen and noted, but please report damage as soon as it occurs as we can fix it faster than if it goes unreported.

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What is GP24?

Here you can find the full text of GP24. General Policy 24 outlines rules for Fair Use of Computer Resources at SFU.

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Typical Problems

I forgot my password.

Please visit the web page: https://my.sfu.ca/ForgotPassword

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I can't log in.

If you could lnot logon to a CSIL Linux workstation, please check out the login troubles FAQ.

If you could not logon to a CSIL Windows workstation, please click here for the answers.

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My access fob doesn't work.

Please read though our door access FAQ.

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I can log in, but can't run course software.

Some course software has licensing restrictions that only allows a certain set number of simultaneous users. You may have to try again later.

Windows

Your Windows profile may have been corrupted. Please check this Q&A for more details.

Linux

There might be a problem with your command shell configuration files. Contact helpdesk for assistance.

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I can't print to CSIL printers.

Check out the CSIL printing FAQ.

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I can't send email to my course list.

This is normal.

Only the instructors and the TAs can send to the course mail list. For more information about CS course mailing lists, see our mailing list FAQ.

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The monitor of the computer I want to use has no display. What should I do?

Generally speaking, there are a few scenarios and fixes.

  • Firstly, the computer may be turned off or in hibernation. Try pressing the NumLock key to see if the numlock light changes.  This verifies that the system is running. If the system is not running, push the power button of the computer to turn it on.
  • Secondly, if the system is indeed running, please check the settings of the LCD panel: the input must be set to “Auto-Select” to ensure it displays properly for workstations in CSIL. For the LCD panels have no "Auto-Select" feature:
    • please change it to DisplayPort for all ASB 9838 North workstations which use onboard video.
    • please change it to DVI - this must be done for all ASB 9838 North workstations use Nvidia graphics card.
    • please change it to miniDisplayPort - this must be done for all ASB 9700 workstations.
  • Thirdly, please ensure there is only one video output from the computer to the LCD panel.

Background information: To provide convenience for laptop users in CSIL, we have put a VGA cable for each LCD panel in a few study areas. The VGA cable (w/ blue connector) is for laptop hookup only. The workstations in these areas are using digital connections (w/ white connector or black connector) for display. If the VGA cable is hooked up to these workstations, they won’t display properly.

If the computers in study areas ASB 9840 have the VGA (blue connector) hooked up, this is wrong. Please disconnect the VGA connector from the computer and reboot the workstation. In fact, mix up onboard video card's output with descrete video card's output will always fail.

When the workstations are using VGA connections only, disconnecting this VGA cable for personal use is prohibited.

These issues are mostly caused by individuals hooking up their own laptops and changing connections of the displays and LCD panel settings. Laptop users, please be considerate: change the settings/cables back to their original settings once you are done; TIA!

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Last update @ 2017.12.13