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For new ECE students, please refer to the following document that gives an introduction to the ECE network. ECE Student Accounts and Network Resources.


Account Maintainance

How can I compress data in my ECE home directory to increase my storage space?

The simplest method of compressing large amounts of data is with what is called tar/gz compression. This requires combining all of the files into 1 large TAR file, and then compressing the TAR file into a TGZ or a TAR.GZ file. Here's some instructions: (These instructions assume you want to compress a directory and all of it's contents)

  1. Login to your ECE account.
  2. Find the directory you wish to compress.
  3. Enter the command 'tar -cvf filename.tar directory', replacing filename.tar with the name of the destination tar file, and directory with the name of the directory you want to compress.
  4. It should print up a list of all the files in that directory, along with their size as it places them into the TAR file. The files will remain there, however. You will have to manually delete them with 'rm -r directory' if you want to free up the space.
  5. Now, you must compress the large file. Do this by executing 'gzip filename.tar'. This converts the tar into a tar.gz file, while significantly reducing it's size.
  6. That's it!

If you want to only compress one file, then you can simply execute 'gzip filename'. This will add a .gz at the end of the file, and compress it.

Now, for uncompressing the data. If you're storing this, then probably, you one day will want it back. And here's how.

  1. Find the GZ or TAR.GZ file.
  2. Execute 'gunzip filename'. That will strip the gz extension off the file, and expand it to it's original size. NOTE: Be sure you have enough space to hold the file, or it may not work.
  3. Now, if the file doesn't have a TAR extension, then you're probably done. If it has a tar extension, then you'll need to execute 'tar -xvf filename.tar'. This will expand the tar file, and the entire directory structure it contains into the current directory. Once it is done, the TAR file will remain, so you will have to manually delete it if you want to with 'rm filename.tar'.

And that's everything you need to know about compression/uncompression. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to send them to ECE Admin.

How do I change or reset the password for my ECE account?

You have two options to change your password.

How do I FTP into my account?

To SCP or SFTP into your account, you first need a client program. Currently, the best for secured copying is winscp. *nix users already have an SCP and SFTP program. The only server that responds to SCP or SFTP from outside the department is yavin, so make sure you connect to, and log in with your usual login name and password. From here, you'll need to consult the documentation for your specific program on how to upload/download.

How do I set up a web page?

Setting up a web page is easy to do.

  1. First, ssh into your ECE account.
  2. Your home directory has to have execute rights so that the web server can get into your home directory. There isn't any need for everyone to have read access. Execute the following command to set the permissions: chmod 711 /home/YourLoginName
  3. Once in, see if you have a 'public_html' directory (execute 'ls>' and see if it's listed).
  • If one exists, then good.
  • If it doesn't, then execute 'mkdir public_html'.
  1. Now execute the command 'chmod 755 public_html'. This is important, or otherwise no one will be able to access the page.
  2. Once this is done, you can simply put your documents inside that directory using SCP or SFTP. Every document that you put online needs to be "world readable". If you don't know what this means, then just simply execute 'chmod 644 filename' on every file you upload the first time.

Once you have made an index.html file, you will be able to access your new page page by going to:
Be sure to replace YourLoginName appropriately.

If you have a question regarding HTML design or content, check out the W3C web page.

What will happen to my ECE account when I am no longer enrolled in the ECE department?

Two weeks into the semester in which you are not enrolled in any classes in ECE, your account is placed in "Expired" status. In this state, you will no longer be able to log into any computer in the ECE department, nor will you be able to SSH into your account. You can, however, SCP or SFTP into your account to download any remaining files you still need. When expired, all the contents of your home directory are compressed into a single tar.gz file to save space. After you download this file, you can then extract any or all of your files.

Your account will remain in this state for one full semester after you graduate. At the beginning of the next semester, your account will be deleted. So please make sure you get everything important from your account before this happens!


How do I access my ECE email account? (Faculty and Staff only)

ECE's Webmail account can be found at:

You can use any email client that supports POP or IMAP protocols like Outlook Express, Thunderbird, Eudora, etc. You can read here on configuring your email client. You can also access access your email through the unix command line utility called pine.

How do I access my ECE email account from MSU's Webmail?

MSU's Webmail email access gateway can be found at:

There is a field on the login page called Server. Clicking the drop down box for the Server field will display a list of mail servers. Select the server and enter your ECE user ID and password.

Please note that when using the ECE mail server, you have to use your ECE ID and password and not the MSU email account login ID and password.

How do configure a POP3 or IMAP program to check my email remotely?

First decide which protocol you would like to use: POP3 or IMAP.

POP3 is used to download your email from your ECE account to your local mail spool. This is great for individuals who like to download their email and read it offline. There are, usually, options to configure POP3 to leave a copy of each email on the server as well. Consult your application's documentation for help on this.

IMAP is used to access your email messages on the server. All of your messages remain on the server and can thus be accessed from multiple sites.

To configure a program like Netscape Messenger or Outlook Express, set your incoming mail server to Your outgoing mail server will be the SMTP server of your ISP.

Common SMTP servers:
Network SMTP Server
ECE Network
MSU Network

Please note that the SMTP server cannot be used as an SMTP server for anyone not on the ECE network.

If you use IMAP, clear the field that asks for your home folder to download any folders you may have created in your mail directory. This option is usually found in the IMAP server settings of your email client. Please consult your email client's documentation for more information.

How do I forward my email to another account?

Please identify the following steps:

  • You need to login to your ECE's Webmail account at
  • Click on the User Options button (located above the Logout button) to see a page with tabs named General, Mail, Address Book, etc.
  • Click on the Mail tab.
  • Scroll down and add the complete forwarding address to the Address to forward mail to field. Only one email address is supported at this time.
  • If you want to automatically delete the mail from your ECE account, enable Don't keep a local copy of messages.
  • Click Save.

How do I set my email to automatically reply when I'am away (vacation messages)?

Please identify the following steps:

  • Login to your ECE's Webmail account at
  • Click on the Options tab (located along the top, underneath the Search field)
  • Click on the Mail tab
  • Scroll down to the Away message textbox and type a message that should be sent when email is received
  • Check the Away message Enabled box
  • Click Save.

When you want to remove the away message, follow the first four steps above, uncheck the Away message Enabled check box, and click Save.

How do I filter/organize my emails?

Please identify the following steps:

  • You need to login to your ECE's Webmail account at
  • Click on the User Options button (located above the Logout button) to see a page with tabs named General, Mail, Mail Filters, etc.
  • Click on the button that says 'New Filter'.
  • This will bring a dialog box where you can create your filter rule.
  • When an incoming mail message matches the conditions of a filter rule, the corresponding actions associated with that rules are applied.
  • After creating any rule if you decide not use it any more, you can disable it by unchecking the 'Active' check box that appears in the 'Edit Filter' dialog box.
  • Click Save.

You can also set up filters directly from an email.

  • Logon at
  • Open an email that you would like to apply a filter to.
  • Towards the top of the main pane will be a box with all the emails associated with a conversation.
  • Right-click on an email and select New Filter.

Please read how to filter spam or unsolicited email if you looking to tackle unwanted emails.

How do I filter spam or unwanted emails?

Please identify the following steps:

  • You need to login to your ECE's Webmail account at
  • Select the message that you think is spam and click Junk on the toolbar. This action will move the message to your Junk folder and train the spam filter.
  • The contents of the Junk folder are NOT automatically purged, so may want to clean it frequently.

More information on SPAM filters is available here.


Which machines can I access in the ECE department through the "firewall?"

Here is a list of services that will be available to students:


For remote access, the best way to access the machines is obviously through SSH. Here is a list of SSH clients you can get for your PC/workstation.


  • OpenSSH
  • SSH Communications Security


  • PuTTY
  • MindTerm
  • SecureCRT

How can I access the wireless network in Simrall Hall?

The wireless network in Simrall Hall is part of the University's wireless network. Attaching to the wireless network is as easy as plugging in a 802.11b/g compatible wireless card and opening a web browser. The browser will open a page that contains instructions on how to install a VPN client. Follow the onscreen instructions to install the client. The VPN client will have to be started each time access to the wireless network is needed.

If the University web page doesn't appear after plugging in the wireless card, then the SID may need to be set. Each card is configured differently, so refer to the card's instruction manual. The SID needs to be set to

Why can I not access ECE resources from the wireless network?

The ECE department's wireless network is actually part the University's wireless network. Therefore when a computer attaches to the wireless network, it will actually get an IP address that is not in the ECE network address range. Because of this, the computer will not be able to access some ECE resources due to ECE's network filters.

To access SAMBA resources from the wireless network, use the fully qualified name to the SAMBA server. For example, normally the home drive can be accessed by mapping a drive to \\samba\unixhome. To access the same resource from the wireless network, use \\\unixhome.


How can I use the ECE calendaring system?

The ECE calendaring system is available through the ECE webmail interface. Calendaring is part of the ECE email system. Access to an ECE email account is only available to ECE faculty, staff, and students majoring in ECE.

Are there any calendars available by default?

Calendaring - Available Calendars


Where can I get paper for the ECE printers?

Students can get paper for the ECE printers by going to room 216 of Simrall Hall and asking the secretaries for a pack of paper. They will be more than happy to get a ream that can be used in the ECE printers.

If you need to print at other times during the week, and the printers are out of paper, you will need to go to the Library or Butler Hall to print.

How do I print to an ECE printer from my personal computer?

In order to print to an ECE network printer from your personal computer, you must first have an VPN connection to the ECE network. You can go to to get more information on how to connect.

You may also have to download printer drivers from the printer manufacturer's site before trying to install.

Once you are connected, open windows explorer and enter \\print to access available printers and needed software.

  • Open the PCClient folder and select the appropriate OS for your operating system. For windows install the client-local-install.exe file.
  • Once installed login to the PaperCut program.
  • Go back to \\print directory and right click on the printer you want and select connect.

PaperCut application does not accept your username and password

This error occurs when your computer login password and printing password are not in sync. To correct this, login to the ECE Intranet and on the bottom left select "Change Your ECE Password". Within 10 minutes you will receive a email saying your password has been changed.

The printer says it has a MIO Error. How do I correct this?

This error usually occurs when the printer is in the middle of a print job and jams. If the jam is not cleared within a set time limit, the print server will remove the job from the queue. Once the jam is finally cleared, the printer expects the same job to be resent. Since the job has already been removed, the printer reports an error.

This is not a critical error and can easily be fixed. Depending on the printer you are at, press the Select or Go button until the error clears. You may have to press it more than once. Also, make sure the printer is online after clearing the error. If not, press the online button to return it to an online state.

If you continue to have problems, please see the network administrator in room 139 of Simrall Hall.

The printer says Processing Data and doesn't do anything. What's it doing?

The printers occasionally get in a state to where they stop responding to the print server. If the printer ONLY has Processing Data on the LCD screen and doesn't start printing within 30 seconds, then it is more than likely hung. Turning the printer off and back on will clear this error.

The printer says it is ready but doesn't print anything. How can I make it print?

If the printer has Ready on the LCD screen and is not processing print jobs, then the print server has become hung for this printer. Unfortunately, there isn't much that can be done to clear this. If you know who sent the print job at the top of the queue, then they can cancel their job and the print server will usually start printing. Otherwise, print jobs will automatically be purged from the print queue between an hour and an hour and a half after they are submitted.

For the quickest resolution, please see the network administrator in room 135 of Simrall Hall.

How do I cancel a print job?

In Unix, the cancel utility cancels print requests. Users can only cancel print requests associated with their username. By default, users can only cancel print requests on the host from which the print request was submitted.

  1. First, find the print job ID. This can be accomplished by typing lpstat -d printername. Look through the list until the print job is found. The job ID is in the form printername-number.
  2. As the destination or the printer name to which you submitted your request is known

cancel jobID - cancels your print requests to this printer

If you are printing through Windows, then there are two ways to cancel.

  1. You could open up a terminal and issue the above cancel command or,
  2. Double click on the small print icon that appears in the system tray to see a list of all your current print jobs. Right click the one you want to cancel and select Cancel in the context menu that appears.

For the quickest resolution, please see the network administrator in room 139 of Simrall Hall.

General Problems/Questions

I have a question or problem about the computer that I bought for the new computer initiative?

If you have a problem with your personal computer, then you have several options:

  1. A majority of problems with personal laptops are caused by viruses and/or adware that has found its way onto the PC. Make sure that you have antivirus software and adware removal software installed.

    Antivirus can be obtained from Make sure to update the virus signatures often.

    There are two different adware removal programs that are recommended to get rid of adware. Spybot can be downloaded from Adaware, greater than v1.0.3, is another good tool to remove adware. It can be obtained from

  2. If you are having problems with network connectivity, either through ethernet, wireless, or your MSU dial-up account, the first line of defense is the Information Technology Services (ITS) Helpdesk which can be reached by calling 325-0631. Unfortunately, ITS cannot provide any additional services for faculty, staff, or student laptops. ITS requires both antivirus and adware removal tools to be installed and current before services can be rendered.

I have a question about the ECE computers, or facilities, and I can't find the answer.

If you have questions or need help regarding ECE computers or facilities, send email to "" onclick="return setCookie('eid', 'admin');" ECE Admin. If for some reason, you are unable to send email, then you may use this form.

I have a question about other MSU computers or facilities, and I can't find the answer.

If you have questions or need help regarding other MSU computers or facilities, then:

  • During working hours, you may contact the MSU Help Desk via one of the following methods:
    • call 325-0631 (available from 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM),
    • come to the Help Desk building at 108 Allen Hall,
    • email with the subject "open call",
    • fill out a form on the web under "Technical Support" at "".
  • For non-emergency situations occurring after-hours, you may contact the Helpdesk via email or the web as listed above.
  • For emergency situations occurring after-hours, you may call 325-7044 and explain the problem to the 24-hour systems operator.

Unix Commands

How do I ssh to an ECE server?

First, a short definition of what ssh is. SSH is a protocol that have been around for quite some time. It allows an individual on one computer to access another computer just as if they were sitting at the remote computer. SSH encrypts, or "scrambles", what is sent between the two computers.

You cannot telnet to ECE servers, as telnet sends all traffic in plain text and is insecure.

To ssh from a Windows PC, an ssh program will need to be downloaded. Google for "putty" to find a free Windows SSH client. Once the ssh program is started, follow the on screen instructions on how to connect.

How do I use the tar command?

The tar command is used to collect a group of files into one file. Thus, you can take a directory and make one file out of it. Why would anyone want to do this? It becomes easier to transfer and also, once the "tarball" is created, you can compress it. Tools for compressing the tarball are gzip and compress. The format for the tar command is as follows:

tar options filename.tar directory

-c Create a tar file
-x Extract an existing tar file
-v Verbose - list all files being added or extracted
-f File format - use this to save to files. You will almost always want this option.

This is the name you wish to call your tarball.

This is the directory or file list you wish to tar up.

An example: To create a tarball of your ee1002 directory, which is in your current directory, into a file ee1002.tar you would type: tar -cvf ee1002.tar ee1002

There are actually two different versions of tar on our system. There are only minor differences for the casual user. Sun's tar command cannot compress/uncompress at the same time it is creating or extracting an archive. GNU's tar, gtar on our systems, can compress and uncompress at the same time with the -z option. This brief tutorial only scratches the surface of what tar can do. To learn more type:

man tar

on any Unix system to get detailed instructions.

How do I print a text file in two columns?

A general overview is that you want to convert your ASCII text file into a formatted PostScript file. There are two commands for formatting text files into PostScript documents for printing: mp and enscript. The formatting between the two is a little different, so you will need to experiment with both to see which suits your needs best.

mp is a command included with OpenWindows. An example would be to echo the text file to the mp command and the direct it's output to the printer. This can be done in the following way:

cat filename.txt | mp -l - | lp -d printername

Replace filename.txt with the name of the text file you wish to convert. The option -l - for the mp command tell it to print landscape and direct its output to STDOUT. printername should be replaced with the name of the printer you wish to print to.

The enscript command we use is a GNU version. It is a little more flexible, but also requires more options to make it do a similar job:

cat filename.txt | enscript -2r -o - | lp -d printername

The only things different in this example are the options of enscript. The 2 option prints two columns, while the r option prints landscape. The o option specifies where the output should go, which we are sending to STDOUT again with the - option.

For more information on these commands, please reference their man pages.

Web Questions

How do I limit access to web pages?

You can limit access to your web pages with htaccess files. Click for more information on recipes for htaccess files that work in the ECE environment.

Windows Related Questions

How do I configure XWin32 to open a Xterm from yavin?

First, make sure that your xhosts option is blank. If anything is there, then make sure you remove it, or you may not be able to connect to yavin. To run XWindows programs within the ECE environment, please do the following:

  1. Start up XWin32.
  2. Current version of XWin32 come with putty. Start up an ssh session and connect to yavin.

NOTE: For any processor intensive applications, please use hoth or talus as the server name. Any processor intensive application found running on yavin will be removed.

In the session window, enter "xterm &" and press enter. If done correctly, you should see a XTerm window appear on your desktop. Then you can close the telnet window. If it doesn't work, make sure that you entered the right IP address, and that the xhosts option is empty.

How do I save a file to PDF format in the PC lab?

To create an Adobe PDF file with PDFWriter using the Print command:

  1. Open the document in its authoring application.
  2. Choose File > Print.
  3. In the Print dialog box, choose Acrobat PDFWriter from the Printer Name menu, enter the page range, and click Print or OK. In some applications, you may need to click Setup in the Print dialog box to get access to the Printer Name menu.
  4. In the Save As dialog box, enter a filename and location for the PDF file, and set other options if necessary:
  5. Click Save.

How do I capture a screen or window in Microsoft Windows?

To copy an entire screen to the clipboard, press PRINT SCREEN. To copy just the active window to the clipboard, Press ALT + PRINT SCREEN. After the desired image has been captured to the clipboard it can be pasted into an application by choosing Paste under the Edit menu in the application you want the image to appear in. Alternatively, the image can be pasted into an image editor such as Windows Paint for editing before copying and pasting it into another application.

How do I map a drive to ECE network drives on my personal computer?

There are many resources available to students with personal computers. One of these is the ability to map drives to ECE servers. There are a few caveats that need to be addressed. Students can only access ECE resources (drives and printers) while on the MSU network. Access outside the university is restricted and will fail if attempted. If Windows 95, 98, or ME is being used to access the ECE network resources, you must be logged into your PC using the same user ID and password as your ECE account. These OSs do not allow different user IDs to be used in mapping network drives and ECE servers will only allow ECE accounts to access them.

The first step to mapping a network drive is deciding which resource to access. The following choices are available:

Description Resource Name
Home Directories \\\UNIXHOME
Class Directories \\\course
  *** Replace course with the proper course ID (i.e. ECE1002) ***

To map the drive, open Windows Explorer. Under the Tools menu, choose the Map Network Drive option. A dialog box will pop up. Choose the local drive desired, type the resource name in from the table above (i.e. \\\UNIXHOME) and click OK.

A local drive should appear in the drives listing on the left that maps to the network drive selected.

How do I print to an ECE printer from my personal computer?

In order to print to an ECE network printer from your personal computer, you must first have an VPN connection to the ECE network. You can go to to get more information on how to connect.

You may also have to download printer drivers from the printer manufacturer's site before trying to install.

Once you are connected, open windows explorer and enter \\print to access available printers and needed software.

  • Open the PCClient folder and select the appropriate OS for your operating system. For windows install the client-local-install.exe file.
  • Once installed login to the PaperCut program.
  • Go back to \\print directory and right click on the printer you want and select connect.

How do I access the wireless network within the Simrall Hall (ECE) building?

MSU's ITS department has written instructions on accessing the wireless network within MSU. ECE's wireless network is included in MSU's environment, so the same instructions work within Simrall Hall as well.