IT Services

The Faculty of Science IT team provides all levels of desktop support to faculty, staff, and students. Our services include:

  • hardware /software troubleshooting (PC and Mac support)
  • setup of new computers and printers
  • network troubleshooting
  • software installations
  • access to wireless for visiting scholars, etc
  • virus, spyware, malware checking and removal
  • network data storage setup
  • advice on data encryption and back up
  • remote desktop setup
  • audiovisual support for Faculty of Science scheduled rooms (testing, training, troubleshooting)
  • software and database development advice
  • advice on new computer purchases (Dell and Apple)
  • recycling of IT equipment

The IT team can only provide the services listed below when resources permit:

  • troubleshooting of computers, tablets, etc. not owned by SFU
  • initial troubleshooting that should be performed by users
  • quotes on new hardware and software (outside of Dell and Apple)

Our Team



Dave Carmean
King Chao
Fred (Hong) Chin
Omar Zabaneh
James Lang
Steve Obadia

SFU specific and general help is available from IT Services.  Visit their help page for information on SFU specific technologies (Student Information Services, Canvas, FINS, etc.).

New to SFU? Please go to our web page

Computer Accounts

All faculty, staff and students have an SFU Computing Account. You may activate your account online. An SFU Computing Account gives you access to e-mail, the web including web publishing facilities, library services at SFU and worldwide, campus labs, online file storage, and a wide variety of computational, statistical and other software. For the photocopier accounts and printing to photocopiers, see your departmental office.

Submit a Support Request to set up visitors with a temporary account to the SFUNET wireless.

Computing Software Available

SFU has a variety of software available through a number of sources.

  • SFU IT services manages statistics, MS office, and some other software.  
  • SAS, JMP, S-Plus and StarOffice are available free to SFU students, staff and faculty. Maple, SPSS and Systat are available free to SFU staff and faculty. 
  • Matlab is available to current SFU faculty and researchers. 
  • R Project for Statistical Computing is open-source and free to everyone.
  • Citation software is available, but check out the free Firefox extension Zotero "to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources". Mendeley is another reference management and sharing tool.
  • The SFU library has several GIS software site licenses for academic purposes.   
  • Macintosh users requiring Windows-only software should investigate Crossover which allows many Windows programs to run without buying the MS Windows system.  Crossover is not to be confused with programs like Fusion or VirtualBox which require a separate Windows licence and a lot more resources. We can install Windows on SFU owned Macs using the SFU site licence, but not on PC's without a Windows licence.
  • Anti-virus software is available for University owned computers, submit a Support Request to have it installed. The free versions of AVG and Avast may be used on most student/home computers but not on SFU computers.  Mac users should consider Sophos for home use.
  • If you need to compress or zip a file or folder- try right clicking it.

Computer Stores in Metro Vancouver and online

Calendars, Resource Scheduling, Tips

Help Available

The preferred way to handle IT requests is by submitting a Support Request. You can view tickets at

SFU specific and general help is also available from IT Services.  For faculty/staff/student help from 8am-10pm on weekdays call 778-782-4828. For after hours support or network related issues call 778-782-3230.

File Space & Back Up @ SFU

SFU has directions to access webspace here.  With a PC using Internet Explorer, click on If you get the 'This page cannot be displayed' message click the refresh button and put in your user name (Firefox needs an extension called fireftp).

On Macs (prior to Lion) use Safari to click on afp:// (if you don't use Safari copy the link and in the finder go apple-k to connect to server and paste the link in the dialog box).  Newer Macs can use SFTP  to connect with Fugu or Cyberduck

You can also use Textwrangler which has a built in SFTP client.  

On campus you can use \\\username on a PC or with a Mac  smb:// Note these all access the same storage place, so you can also use this to transfer files.

Other Backup methods: online services, external hard drives, CD's, & email.

Dropbox easily allows you to access files from different computers. After registering go to to double the free space allotment.  There are several online backup services - look for something that works automatically and is incremental (keeping previous versions of your files).  

You can backup your files to a CD or an external hard drive but if you store it near your computer it will be affected by the same power surges and fire/water damage. SyncBack is a free and easy way to backup or synchronize PC files/computers/ ipods, etc. Also, you may e-mail yourself a copy of important files. Google Gmail is a great free email with lots of storage so it works great as a backup. Email for more information. 

Dropbox or any cloud service (including Gmail)  with servers outside of Canada should not be used for storing any personal information of students or staff.

System Security for MAC 10.6+, WIN7+

Choose a secure password

IT Services' current standard for choosing a secure password can be found at

Experiencing password fatigue?  Consider using a password management tool.  Typically these are encrypted systems that rely on setting a master password to access all other passwords.

  • LastPass
  • DashLane
  • RoboForm
  • KeePass
  • OnePassword

Disable Auto-Login

Password protecting your computer at login is a first line of defence in securing data.

By default, Windows and Mac disables auto-login.  If you have enabled automatic login, it is highly recommended that you reverse the process.  Here's how.


System Preferences --> Users & Groups

--> Click the lock to make changes --> fill in Username and Password

--> click Login Options

--> ensure Automatic Login is set to Off


Click the Start button --> type netplwiz

 --> uncheck the box Users Must Enter A User Name And Password To Use This Computer


(If you do not see the checkbox and label, then auto-login is disabled. )

Set Your Computer to Logout When Not in Use



    System Preferences --> Security & Privacy --> General tab

    --> Check Require password immediately after sleep or screen saver begins




    Click Start button --> Type Change screen saver --> Press Enter to launch --> Select a screen saver --> Check On resume, display logon screen

Click Start button --> Type Change screen saver --> Press Enter key

Select a screen saver from the drop-down menu --> Check On resume, display logon screen  --> Save settings by pressing OK

Install Anti-Virus

SFU IT Services provides Trend Micro, an enterprise level anti virus program for staff and faculty.  Versions are available for both Windows and Mac.  You will need to contact your department's lan administrator to download and install TM.

Turn-on Firewall (Especially for laptop users)


    System Preferences --> Security & Privacy --> Firewall --> Turn On Firewall


    Start --> Control Panel --> System and Security --> Windows Firewall --> Turn Windows Firewall on or off

Update Your System Regularly

To protect yourself against the latest online threats, turn-on automatic updates.


System Preferences --> App Store --> Select the following items

Automatically check for updates

Download newly available updates in the the background

Install app updates

Install system data files and security updates


Control Panel --> System & Security --> Windows Update --> Turn automatic updating on or off

Don't Go Phishing

Phishing is the act of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

How to avoid it?

  • Be suspicious of all unsolicited electronic correspondence (asking for personal information)
  • IT Services will never contact you requesting your account information
  • Report phishing attempts to IT Services (SFU Connect --> Report Phishing)
  • Never email personal, financial or account-related information
  • Go directly to the site rather than clicking on an email link


Lock-Down Your Hardware, Secure Your Portable Media

Especially if you work near a high-traffic area, secure your PC using a cable and lock.  Locking down a computer with a cable is not a failsafe against theft. Rather it's a deterrent against the opportunistic thief.

Portable media such as USB keys, Cds/DVDs and external hard drives can be easily lost or stolen. If you need to store sensitive data on portable media, ensure that it is securely destroyed when you are finished with it, or that it is locked away in a safe place.

Turn Off Unnecessary File Sharing


    System Preferences --> Sharing --> De-select check from File Sharing


    Start --> Control Panel --> Network and Sharing Center --> Change advanced sharing settings --> Home or work --> Check the following

Nework Discovery: Off

File and Printer sharing: Off

Public Folder Sharing: Off

           File Sharing Connections: Use 128-bit encryption.

            --> Save Changes1


Back Up Your Data (To A Secure Network Drive)

Ask your department's lan administrator to discuss backup strategies.

Create a Separate Admin Account, Use a Standard Account for Daily Work

Why use a standard user account?

The standard account can help protect your computer by preventing users from making changes that affect everyone who uses the computer, such as deleting files that are required for the computer to work. We recommend creating a standard account for each user.

When you are logged on to Windows with a standard account, you can do almost anything that you can do with an administrator account, but if you want to do something that affects other users of the computer, such as installing software or changing security settings, Windows might ask you to provide a password for an administrator account.1

1. (

Turn on Encryption

[Contact your department's lan admin]

File encryption ensures that in the event your computer is stolen, the thief cannot access protected data. Windows and Mac OS X have built-in encryption software, Bit Locker and FileVault respectively.


    System Preferences --> Security & Privacy --> FileVault tab


    Start --> Control Panel --> Security --> Bit Locker Drive Encryption

Consolidate Old Accounts

If your have old accounts that are no longer being used, save any important data then delete the account.