Information About Using Lab Computers

Depersonalized “personal” computers

Williams College OIT provides desktop computers, both windows and mac, for use by students, faculty and staff in common areas across campus. An important distinction between these lab computers and others you may use is that OIT has endeavored to depersonalize, as much as possible, these inherently “personal” computers. This depersonalization is required to provide a reliable and secure computing environment for all to use.

Essentially, this means that software may behave differently on the lab/classroom computers then it does on your own personal computer.  Please let us know if something does not work as expected an we will work to find out why.

Log in to start

On Lab/classroom computers, unlike public kiosks, it is best to log in with your own account login information.  This is your username and password which should be the same as what you use for email except that on the username part, you leave off the “@wiliams.edu”.

If you want to use a lab/classroom computer that someone else left logged in, you really should log them off first and then log yourself in.  It is possible that the person before you either intentionally or accidentally left the computer in a compromised state and your use of it will compromise your accounts!

Save your work (often)

Just as you keep your personal belongings in sight in public spaces, it is important to be mindful of where your personal data is being stored when using lab computers. A couple of important reminders help to make sure you always have a copy of your work:

Always – select “Save As” and use your own personal USB drive or network file space when saving your work.
Do not edit documents directly from web-based email. Instead save the attachments to your USB drive or network space first. Then, when done editing, make sure to “Save As” like above.

While we will try to provide fair warning, any data left behind on lab computers is subject to deletion without warning. There are several reasons, not the least of which is hard drive failure, which can cause the immediate loss of stored data.

Also, as with any computer, please save your work often. Do not edit a document for hours, for example, without saving copies as you go along. Power failures happen when you least expect them!

Log off when done

Since your private network space may be available to you while logged into lab computers, it is important to log off when done to prevent others from inadvertently deleting or changing data that is important to you. Also, you are responsible for the security of your account and could be questioned should someone use your account inappropriately.

Mounting Network File Shares

On lab/classroom computers network “home” shares attempt to mount when you log in. However, random things can and do interfere with that drive mapping. If the network file share(s) fail to mount, then the shares can be mounted manually.
On Macs use the “Finder — Go” menu and click on “Connect To Server …” then enter:   smb://files1
On Windows – open any file explorer window and in the location field at top of the window enter :   \\files1
In both cases, use “files1” for student home directories. Any other file share you have access to can be substituted.  Note that on lab/classroom computers you will not be asked to enter login credentials to access the file share.  This is because you are already logged into the computer with AD credentials.  Whatever AD credentials that were used to log into the computer will be used to log into the files shares.

Printing Issues

Any issues with printer supplies (paper, toner, etc) or printer malfunctions should be reported to the Student Help Desk in the CET.  They can be reached by email to: stchelp@williams.edu  or by phone at: 413-597-3088

Please, No “Camping”

Please do not leave your personal belongings, books, study guides piled around lab computers when you are not actively using a computer. All lab computers are available on a first come – first serve basis and “reserving” a computer is not permitted. With nearly 500 lab and classroom computers on campus you are sure to be able to find an open seat somewhere.

Please contact the lab manager (email below) if you need access to a computer for a long running job .

For other help

Contact labmanager@williams.edu with any questions or suggestions.