How to use CSIL Windows systems

Note: On this page, "Windows workstation" means an x86-based computer running the Microsoft Windows 10 64bit operating system. While all of CSIL workstations dualboot, this page covers only the Windows portion.

If you could not find answer for your questions on this page, you may check out our CSIL Windows Known Issues Page for more Q&As.

Quick Start

We recommend workstations in ASB 9840 and SRYE 4013 for current semester (Fall 2023) for in-person use.

We recommend CSIL Windows Terminal Server when you need remote access to a CSIL Windows system.

It is OK to remote into workstations in ASB 9840 and SRYE 4013, but

since the lab is open for in-person use, your remote session may be interrupted abruptly.

It is OK to boot other CSIL workstations to Windows if you need to run Windows apps, but

it may take hours for a Windows system to become usable if it has been off Windows for long period of time.

these actions will take place: update the OS, update software, scan the whole system for malware, etc.

the system may reboot without warning when certain core system files are updated.

We (helpdesk) are working on a new scheme to speed things up for CSIL Windows users.




Who can use CSIL?

Only students who are currently enrolled in CMPT and DDP courses may access the computers in CSIL.


Where are the Windows workstations in CSIL?

At the Burnaby campus, CSIL is located in ASB 9838.

At the Surrey campus, CSIL is located in the new SRYE building room 3024, 4013 and 4024.

For current CMPT users:

You could find PDF files showing the workstation layouts of our labs. Please login here.

On these layouts, you will find the names of all the workstations and which OS (if not both) is available on them.

For MPCS students: the workstations are in SECB.


How do I access CSIL?

You must have an access fob.

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

Please see our Door Access FAQ for information on how to get your access fob.


What's the basic environment of CSIL Windows hosts?

  • We have about 180 CSIL Windows workstations and one CSIL Windows Terminal Server.
  • All CSIL Windows hosts are part of the SFU Active Directory (ADSFU) domain.
  • Operating system: workstations - Windows 10 x64 Enterprise with latest updates; the Terminal Server - Windows Server 2016 Enterprise x64.
  • Users have their SFU home directory mapped as their U:\ drive.
  • Users are using roaming profile with folder redirection feature.
    • Each user's Desktop, Documents and AppData folders have been redirected to CSIL File Server; they are all under:

    • DO NOT save your files here, it is not backed up and may disappear without notice.

We try our best to keep up with the latest service packs and patches from Microsoft and other software vendors.


What are the unique characteristics of CSIL Windows hosts?

Here is the list of the most important characteristics for CSIL Windows hosts, compare with default Windows installation:

  CSIL Windows
Default Windows installation
%APPDATA% \\\userdata\username\appdata\roaming C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming
Desktop (user)
\\\userdata\username\desktop C:\Users\username\Desktop
Documents \\\userdata\username\documents C:\Users\usrename\Documents
Download \\\username C:\Users\username\Downloads
%LOCALAPPDATA% <no change to default> C:\Users\username\AppData\Local
Start Menu <no change to default> C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu
%TEMP% c:\temp C:\Windows\Temp
%TMP% c:\temp C:\Windows\Temp
%JAVAHOME% C:\Program Files\java\jdk C:\Program Files\Java\jdk<version#>

Please note: %% denotes an environment variable.


Can I remote desktop to CSIL Windows workstations?

Since COVID-19 Pandemic, a few CSIL Windows workstations are now available for people to Remote Desktop in. Please click here to know more.

(During normal operations, the CSIL workstations are reserved for in-lab students.)


Can I access CSIL Windows resources from outside CSIL?


You may Remote Desktop Connection to the CSIL Windows Terminal Server, if you have access to CSIL.

Since COVID-19 Pandemic, a few CSIL Windows workstations are now available for people to Remote Desktop in. Please click here to know more.


Can I reserve a workstation in CSIL?

Yes! If you want to make a reservation, please ask your instructor/TA to email helpdesk.

In periods of high demand for particular workstations, students in affected courses may need to use a sign up sheet to reserve time on the workstations.


Can I share my account with others?


Only the student to whom the account is issued is permitted to use that account. Allowing your friends (or group mates) to use your account is NOT permitted.


How do I report CSIL related problems?

Please report all problems by emailing helpdesk.



CSIL Windows Accounts


What's my account ID on the CSIL Windows hosts?

Your CSIL Windows account has the same username as your SFU Computing ID.  A username is up to 8 letters and numbers (no '-' nor ' _').  Login to this page: if you're not sure of your username.


What's my CSIL Windows password?

Your CSIL Windows account password is synchronized with your SFU Mail password.


Why can't I log on to any CSIL Windows host?

Three common cases are:

  1. You are not taking any CMPT/DDP courses in the current semester.
  2. Maybe you aren't using the right password. Please click here to reset/synchronize your SFU Computing ID password.
  3. Your account is locked out temporarily (see the Q&A below).

Please email helpdesk if none of the cases apply.


Why is my account locked out?

The account will be locked out for 30 minutes if there have been 3 invalid logon attempts within 5 minutes.

After 30 minutes, the system will unlock your account automatically; you may try to logon again then. During the lockout, you may not be able to logon to any ADSFU-bound hosts either - which includes most of the CSIL Linux hosts.

Please note: the CMPT Helpdesk is not able to unlock your account.


The User Environment


Where is my "home directory" on a CSIL Windows host?

For CSIL Windows hosts, the U: drive has been designated as the home directory; and it is mapped automatically to user's SFU home during logon process. Please save everything to U: drive.

Some applications may not work properly with the home directory on a network drive; for these applications, please use a Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path to your home directory:


- where "username" is your SFU Computing ID.

Note: please do NOT save any important files under "My Documents" nor "Desktop". These locations are not backed up or preserved during updates.


What do I do if I don't have a U: drive?

You may map your SFU Home space yourself. Launch the File Explorer,

right click "This PC"

click "Map network drive..." on the popup menu

please use U: as the drive letter

and for the folder, enter: \\\username


What is my disk quota for my home directory?

Your home directory (U:) is mapped on SFU home; the quota for your SFU home is 10GB (Giga Byte) as of October 2015 (it was 1GB (Giga Byte) as of September 2013.).

Please check the IT Services web site for more information.


My Windows desktop doesn't look the same as it did last time I logged in. Lots of things are missing! What's wrong?

On a Windows host, user's environment settings are stored in a user profile. In CSIL, this profile is stored on a CSIL File Server - called "roaming profile". Every time you log on to a CSIL Windows host, the system copies your roaming profile from the file server to local hard drive. When you log off, the system writes the updated profile on local hard drive back to the server.

Sometimes this process doesn't work correctly, and your profile becomes corrupted. Unfortunately, you may not be able to work until it has been reset, so please email helpdesk to get it reset.

Note: All of your personal settings including explorer options, any DSNs you've defined, wallpaper, favorites and desktop settings and shortcuts will be gone after the profile reset.


I get an error message telling me I have exceeded my profile storage space; what I can do to fix this?

You need to move some items from your current profile folder to network or portable storage. The folder c:\users\username contains your current profile.

Please pay close attention to the "Recycle Bin" on your desktop - in many cases, it is the culprit. Please empty your Recycle Bin regularly.

Please check this Q&A for instructions on how to free up space.

Tech note: even with the folder redirection feature, some part of the profile never gets redirected. This portion of the profile could grow substantially and exceed the "profile storage space".


I get an error message telling me "\\freesia\userdata\username\..." is not writable; what I can do to fix this?

This error message means you have used up your CSIL Windows profile storage space.

You may read the previous Q&A for more details; click here for detailed instructions on how to re-gain space.


I get a warning message every time I logon to a CSIL Windows host: "login with a temporary profile"; what I can do to fix this?

In general, this error message means you have used up your CSIL Windows profile storage space.

You may read the previous Q&A for more details; click here for detailed instructions on how to re-gain space.


I logged on to the CSIL Windows Terminal Server for the first time, and my regular settings are gone! What's gone wrong?


When you logon to CSIL workstations, you are using one profile and you are using a different profile while you logon to the CSIL Windows Terminal Server.

This is a result of the user profile incompatibility between different Windows versions (e.g. Windows 10 and Windows Server 2008 R2). Thus, every CSIL Windows user has multiple roaming profiles.


How do I clean up profile storage?

Statistically, 80% CSIL Windows issues reported related to users' profiles. Without proper profile, users will encounter many strange issues, like:

cannot launch applications

cannot write to desktop, documents etc.

cannot sign out

while signed in, a temporary profile is used so all favorites and bookmarks are gone.

To combat this, you should clean up profile space to reduce the chance of profile corruption. Here is how:

logon to a CSIL Windows host (workstation or Terminal server).

Step 1

launch File Explorer (not the Internet Explorer!) and make sure you see all the system files and hidden files.

  • Navigate to folder \\\userdata10\username
    • right click the "Desktop" folder, select "Properties"
      • Wait till the number of the size stable.
        • If the size is bigger than 4MB, you need to move files/folders on your desktop to U:
    • right click the "Documents" folder, select "Properties"
      • Wait till the number of the size stable.
      • If the size is bigger than 4MB, you need to move files/folders under your Documents to U:
    • right click the "Appdata" folder, select "Properties"
      • Wait till the number of the size stable.
      • If the size is bigger than 50MB, you should check the sub folders to see if there are some unwanted files you could delete or you could move them to U:
    • For all other folders, please check the size of them all
      • If the size is bigger than 10MB, you need to check each sub folders to determine to keep the folder or remove it.

Step 2: work on folder \\\profiles7\username.v2

launch File Explorer (not the Internet Explorer!) and make sure you see all the system files and hidden files

  • Navigate to the folder in question.
    • check to see if any "*.exe" file; these are most likely malware/virus. Delete them permanently by hitting key combination Shift+Del.
    • check all the sub folders to see if there are any big files (size larger than 10MB). The big files most likely shouldn't be there. You could try to move them to a folder under U: and see what happens.

Step 3: this is repeat step 2 but just work on folder


Step 4: this is repeat step 2 but just work on folder


After accomplish all these 4 steps, your profile space is clean.

One more thing: if you see any non-empty recyclebin under any of these folders, empty it!


Where I should save my files?

Please save all your data - include documents, assignments, pictures, music, videos and so on - to your SFU home directory, i.e. the U: drive.

The UNC equivalent to U: is \\\username

*NEW!* We do provide a Github server, please ask the prof if you could/should use it.

*NEW!* You may use Microsoft OneDrive for storing some of your data.


Where I should NOT save my files?

Please do NOT store any files under these folders:

  • Any folder under C:\
  • "C:\temp"
  • "Desktop" (with the exception of shortcuts)
  • "My Documents" folder
  • "Documents" folder
  • "Application Data" folder
  • "AppData" folder
  • Any folder within your profile folder

Please always save your files on your SFU Home directory - the U: drive.


Can I set my own screen saver?


A default screen saver (password protected) has been installed for every CSIL Windows workstation user. The screen saver will automatically come on after 5 minutes of inactivity. You will automatically be logged off after another 20 minutes. This is to ensure the fair use of the CSIL resources.



Can I lock a Windows workstation?


You can lock the Windows workstation at any time, by hitting key combination Ctrl+Alt+Del, then clicking the Lock Computer button in the Windows Security dialog box.

WARNING: as with activating the screen saver, you can only do this for 20 minutes, then you will be automatically logged off, and any open file will be lost.




What software is installed on CSIL Windows hosts?

Click here to see the full list of software on CSIL Windows hosts. Note that not all hots have the same software installed.


  • Some multimedia software (e.g. Adobe CC collection) are only available on workstations
  • Imaging tools are only available on the workstations, not on the Terminal Server


May I install software for my course work on a CSIL workstation?

No. Your account will be disabled if you install software in CSIL without permission.

There are two reasons for this policy:

  1. The School is responsible for the licensing of all installed software in the lab. Many applications that are downloadable from the Internet aren't free - they require licenses.

    Installing licensed software without a valid license is a criminal offence in Canada.

  2. Many Windows applications make assumptions about where they place their files during the installation process and which registry keys they adjust. Installing software which makes unexpected assumptions can destroy your working environment.

If you are convinced that a specific piece of software should be available in CSIL, please check out the next Q&A for procedure.


How can I get software installed if the host doesn't have what I need?

You must make requests for the installation of course related applications (including shareware/freeware) through the instructors.

The instructors will make the request to the CS Technical Staff, who will examine the feasibility of all requests (cost, compatibility, network security, disk space requirements, etc.). Please make your requests as early as possible.


How do I run Eclipse?

Starts from Summer 2016, we have made changes to our shortcuts to Eclipse (for both Java and C++) so the workspace will be automatically on user's SFU Home space.

After consulting the experienced users of Eclipse, we decide to use the following folders:



To run Eclipse on a CSIL Linux workstation, please click here.


How do I run JCreator?

While you launch JCreator, you may need to specify the JDK path. The current JDK installation path in CSIL is:

c:\program files\java\jdk


Why can't I use TELNET?

Telnet software and port 22 have been disabled for security reasons. Please use a modern ssh client programs to access Linux/Unix hosts (like our CSIL Linux workstations and CSIL Linux CPU servers). We have PuTTY on all CSIL Windows hosts.


(obsolete) How do I run small Lisp?

There are some applications are not compatible with Windows xp+, e.g. small Lisp. The workaround of this issue is to use XP Mode.

Please launch "Windows XP Mode" and use the following credentials:

username: xpmuser
password: cmpt@sfu

Once you logon, you will easily find these special applications.

Please check out this page for more details: How to use XP Mode




How do I print?

Please print from your application to

New Lab Mono

A print "job" is then sent to the ITS print server. It is held there until you release the job to a printer. This method is used at computer labs across campuses. Click here for more details.

The CSIL printer only supports "letter" sized paper (standard 8 1/2" X 11").

Never use the A4 page format in CSIL !!

If you do need to have color printouts, you may print to (more expensive) New Lab Colour - but you need to release the job to a color device, e.g. right here in CSIL.


There are multiple printers on my list of printers when I print from Windows applications. What are they?

We have a few special pseudo-printers installed on each workstation; they are:

  1. PDF24 PDF
  2. Microsoft XPS Document Writer

When you print to any of these pseudo-printers you will get a file instead of paper pages. You will have to specify the file name and the location for your output file to be saved to. There is NO CHARGE to "print" to a pseudo-printer.

For more information on printing issues, please read the CSIL Printing FAQ.


How do I create a PDF file?

When print from a specific application, there might be an option "Save as PDF" - you could use it to generate a PDF file.

Otherwise, please print to a pseudo-printer "Microsoft print to PDF".

For any Microsoft Office 2016 product, you may save the document as a PDF file within the application.

*gentle reminder * The generated PDF file may not be 100% as the original; please check it thoroughly.

*another reminder * The generated PDF file may not be searchable; if you need the PDF file to be searchable, please verify it immediately.


I just printed to "New Lab Mono", but the printer is paused. Is there a problem?

There is no problem.

This is designed feature of the print release system.

You could release your job on the Ricoh device in CSIL, or you could go to any print release station around campus and release your job there.




I got a popup window that states: "The computer will be shutdown in 5 minutes." What should I do?

Save all your work and logoff!!

Otherwise, your unsaved work will be lost. This popup window most often occurs because of the Automatic Updates service we have installed. For better security and system stability, we need to apply patches to the operating system and the applications periodically, usually as soon as they become available. When the Automatic Updates service finishes installing certain patches, reboot of the host is mandatory.


How do I change file permissions on my folders/files?

Bring up the Windows native file manager, File Explorer (NOT Internet Explorer, the web browser). The shortcut is

Start -> File Explorer

  • Select a file(s) and/or folder(s).
  • Right click on the folder(s) and/or file(s).
  • Select Properties, then the Security tab.
  • Click 'Add' to add a user to your access list for the file or folder.
  • In the new window pop up, pick a user or users from the list of possible user IDs to add, then click 'OK'.
  • Change the permissions to whatever you want to give the selected user(s).
  • Click OK to apply the changes.


Can I get Microsoft software for free?


Through the Microsoft Developer Network Academic Alliance (MSDNAA) program - now the "Microsoft Azure Dev Tools for Teaching", Microsoft provides selected software packages to the academic users for free.

The School of Computing Science is a long time member of this MSDNAA program. Any student enrolled in at least one CMPT or DDP course in the current semester are eligible to get selected Microsoft software for free.

Please visit the How to get software for CMPT courses page for more details.

We strongly recommend using our CSIL workstations to get the MSDNAA software packages to your USB key. You could find PDF files showing the workstation layouts of our labs - just login here.


Can I burn course software CD/DVDs in CSIL (without downloading)?

No, not any more.

Unfortunately, we no longer have workstations equipped with DVD writer any more. So, you may get an ISO file to USB storage and use DVD emulator tool on your own system.

Please visit the how to get software for CMPT courses page for more details.


I want to use a Windows workstation but there aren't any available in CSIL. What should I do?

If there are still workstations available but they are running Ubuntu, you could reboot it and run Windows instead.

You could Remote Desktop to our CSIL Windows Terminal Server from any CSIL Linux workstation. Please use the "Local" CSIL Windows terminal Server in this case.

Click here for details.

You may also connect to the CSIL Windows Terminal Server from your own laptop via SFU wireless network. If your laptop is running the Mac OS X or a flavor of Linux, connect to the CSIL Windows Terminal Server using a remote desktop client for that operating system.


Lots of applications are missing when I login to a CSIL Windows host! What's going on?

Don't panic. In most cases, the applications for CMPT courses are installed. But, somehow their shortcuts don't show up on Start Menu. We believe developers in Microsoft are working on a solution - since July 15th, 2015.

In the meantime, you may try the following:

launch Microsoft Edge browser, this may trigger the generation of the shortcuts oo the Start Menu. If this does not work, proceed with the following:

launch File Explorer (you may use keyboard shortcut: Windows key + E).

copy & paste the following line to the address bar within the File Explorer window:

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\

browse through this folder and its sub folders and you should be able to find the shortcut to the application you need.

If you still could not find the shortcuts here, please email us (make sure the name of the workstation is included in your message) so we could fix it.


How do I set WinRAR to generate ZIP format files by default?

By default, WinRAR generates RAR format files. Most users however, find that the ZIP format is more desirable. Here is how you can set WinRAR's default archive format to ZIP:

  • Click Start -> All Programs -> WinRAR
  • Click menu item Options -> Settings... within WinRAR window
  • Click on the tab Compression
  • Click the button Create Default....
  • Change the Archive Format to ZIP
  • Click OK twice to save the settings


How can I access the notes from the instructors?

The instructors will give detailed information about where their notes are. Please read the emails and course web sites carefully.

For some courses, the instructors put notes on the CSIL File Server. In this case, you may access these notes by navigating to the network share:


The course specific folders will contain the notes from the instructors.

Please note: this share has been mapped as each user's N: drive.


I cannot find my files while I use WinSCP, any suggestions?

The default local folder of WinSCP may not be your SFU Home, so please change it to "U:" drive first. Like we show in this image - pay attention to the arrows in red.


How can I capture video clips in CSIL?

At this moment, the video capture devices are not in service. We are working on a solution. Sorry for the inconvenience.


The system runs super slow after I changed the OS to Windows on a CSIL workstation, what I could do?

This is a known issue and we apologize for the trouble.

For the time being, please use workstations in ASB 9840 instead of changing OS on other CSIL workstations. All workstations in ASB 9840 are running Windows for the semester.

The long story:

Since the COVID lock down, to make CSIL workstations more accessible remotely, we set them to run single OS (either Windows or linux).

When a system stays in one OS for months then changes to different OS, there are lots of security patches and software updates to be applied. This will dramatically slow down things.


CSIL Windows Servers

CSIL SQL Server :
Restricted access; used for courses: cmpt-354

User database name: username???
CSIL Windows Terminal Server :
Used for: Students need access to Windows software off-CSIL

CSIL Windows Terminal Server (local) :
Used for: NA (under maintenance, not in service)

CSIL IIS Server :
Used for: NA

CSIL File Server:
Store user's profile and application configurations only; do NOT store any data here!

User's folder: \\\userdata\username
Notes folder from the instructors: \\\notes\cmpt???
Software Repository Server:
This server stores software for CMPT students to use at home

The software folder: \\\repository
IT Services File Server:
This server hosts user's SFU file space

The UNC path of user's SFU home: \\\username


Did we answer your questions? If not, please check out our CSIL Windows Known Issues Page for additional information.


Last Update @ 2022.12.11