CS Support

You can contact support by email at support AT cs DOT usfca DOT edu
Make sure to CC support in all your subsequent replies!

System Administrators

Elias Husary, Harney Science Center  408
Alex Fedosov, Harney Science Center 407B

Hours: Monday-Friday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Frequently Asked Questions


Lab Machines


Q: I am a new student. How do I get an account?
A: If you enroll in a CS course, an account will be created for you automatically. Note that the CS account is separate from your main USF account -- the regular USF accounts do not work on CS machines. If you have not yet registered, but need to use your account in a CS class, e-mail support AT cs DOT usfca DOT edu or visit the CS Systems Administrators in HR 408 or HR 407B.

Q: Which machines can I login to?
A: As a CS student, you can make use of any machine in the following labs: Harney 148 (Kudlick classroom), Harney 413 (PC Lab running Ubuntu), CSI G12
(G12 classroom)

Q: I was able to log in earlier but now I can't login anymore!
A: In 99% of the cases, this is due to your account being over quota. (i.e. you are using up too much disk space or you have too many files.) Even though you cannot login in GUI mode, you can still login in text mode (or using ssh) and delete files. Boot into Linux, press CTRL-ALT-F1, and type in your user name and password. (Or ssh into stargate .) If you are able to get in, see the response to the question about student quotas below, and follow the directions to check how much disk space you are currently using.  If your quota is full, delete some files and try to login again in GUI mode.  If your quota is not full and you still can't login, contact support.

Q: How can I reboot HR 148 (Kudlick) machines?
A: You can reboot them over the web here . Use your CS username and password to log in. This will also turn on a machine if it has been turned off.

Q: How can I reboot G12 machines?
A: You can reboot them over the web here . Use your CS username and password to log in. This will also turn on a machine if it has been turned off.

Q: How do I login to CS machines from home?
A: To access CS machines from home, connect to via ssh, and from there on, to any available lab machine to work on your assignments.
Under Windows, we recommend using SecureCRT or PuTTY .  If you would like to ssh to stargate without typing in a password every time you ssh to stargate, you'll need to setup ssh keys first.  Then, once you're connected to stargate via ssh, access the ".ssh" directory in your home directory, create a file called "authorized_keys" if it doesn't already exist, then paste in the full contents of your PUBLIC rsa key.  Keep the private key private for security reasons.  For details on setting up ssh keys, see the video below.

Q: How can I transfer files to/from home?
A: To transfer files to/from your machine at home, we recommend using:
  • Under Windows: WinSCP .
  • Under Linux: scp at the command line or gftp if you prefer a GUI tool. Alternatively, you can use shfs to mount your CS home directory on your home machine so that you can save your work directly to the CS server and not worry about copying files back and forth.
  • Under Mac OS X: scp from the command line, or the Fugu GUI client.
In all cases, connect to using your CS username and password.

Q: What is my quota? How do I know if I am over the limit? How do I free up space?
Your home directory should have an 8GB total capacity.  To check how much space you've used, you can run:

quota -s

from the terminal in linux and look at the entry for your home directory.

If you need to free up space, we suggest that you first empty your browser's cache, which in 99% of the cases solves the problem.

Q: How do I change my password?
A: To change your Windows/Linux password: log in to Linux. Open up a terminal, type passwd , press ENTER, and follow the prompts.

Q: How do I access my Subversion (SVN) repository?
A: First of all, your repository is created automatically if the instructor requests it for the class. If none of your classes use Subversion and you want to make use of it, please e-mail support to have your repository created. The URL for your repository is<username>
Use your CS username and password to log in.

Q: I have some files on my Desktop in Windows. Can I get to them from Linux or Mac OS X?
A: Yes, they are actually located in your home directory in the .ntprofile subdirectory.

Q: I am trying to run IntelliJ IDEA on OS X, but it keeps asking me for the registration key.
A: The first time, you need to start it by typing at the shell prompt in OS X. This will set up the registration key. From then on, you will be able to start it by clicking on the application icon.

A: You can see what lists are available on the main groups page . Pretty much every course has a mailing list.  You will typically be automatically added to the course mailing list when you enroll.  If not, you can contact support or ask your instructor how they have chosen
to handle the mailing list for their course.

Q: How do I submit my projects?
A: In some cases, your instructor will ask you to submit your project by putting it into a so-called submit directory. This is a special directory that can only be accessed by you, the instructor, and the TA, if any.  You can find your submit directory for a particular class (if it exists) under /home4/submit/< class >/< username > under Linux and Mac OS X or S:\< class >\< username > under Windows.  Your instructor may ask you to submit your projects to svn or git instead, in which case you will need to make sure you have an svn or git repository.  Contact support if you need help setting up a repository.  Lastly, some courses may have their own alternate method for submitting projects that is not listed here.

Q: Is it true that I can get free Microsoft software?
A: Yes, with restrictions: you can only use this software for your school work. The CS department no longer manages the MSDN estore, you can access it with your USFConnect credentials at (via )

Q: Can you install Linux on my laptop / home computer?
A: Yes .

Q: I need to buy a laptop. Do you have any recommendations?
A: Our recommendation for laptops would be a laptop running Mac OS X, with at least 8GB of RAM and a 500GB or greater hard drive.  Mac OS X has a Unix-based core which operates similar to the Linux OS that our lab computers and courses use.