All posts by Roy Smith

LabStats: Remotely Connect to a Lab Computer


Before you start, you will need access to the following:

Haverford students: Install and connect to Haverford’s VPN*
*only required when not connected to Haverford’s or Bryn Mawr’s network

Table of Contents:

 

What is LabStats?

Use Apporto if your device doesn’t support RDP* or if no computers are available via LabStats.

*i.e. smartphones, tablets, etc.

 

LabStats allows you to remotely connect to a subset of our Lab computers from a personal device. Since you’re connecting to an physical lab machine, you will have access to all the software typically available on them.

Accessible computers are broken up into the categories below:

  • Standard Lab Configuration

 

Connecting to a Lab Computer

Click the drop-down below for the instructions that apply to you.

Windows (Click me!)
  1. Navigate to our LabStats remote access page
  2. Choose a lab computer you want to connect to
    any computer currently in-use will not be listed
  3. Click Connect
  4. Click Download
  5. Save and open the RDP file
  6. Click Connect
  7. Enter your College email and password and click OK
    Haverford student? (click me!)
    • Username: quaker\username
    • Password: College password
  8. Approve the Duo two-step notification on your phone

      Don’t see the notification? Open the Duo Mobile app!
  9. Click Yes
  10. Wait a few minutes for installed applications to populate the Windows Start Menu
MacOS (Click me!)
Reminder: You must have Microsoft Remote Desktop installed!
  1. Navigate to our LabStats remote access page
  2. Choose a lab computer you want to connect to
    any computer currently in-use will not be listed
  3. Click Connect
  4. Click Download
  5. Allow the download
  6. Open the RDP file
    in the Downloads folder in Finder or your browser

    First time using Microsoft Remote Desktop? (click me!)
    1. When prompted, allow access to your microphone and camera
    2. Quit Microsoft Remote Desktop
    3. Find and click on the RDP File you downloaded to relaunch
  7. Enter your College email and password and click OK

    Haverford student? (click me!)
    • Username: quaker\username
    • Password: College password
  8. Approve the Duo two-step notification on your phone

      Don’t see the notification? Open the Duo Mobile app!
  9. When prompted, accept the certificate
  10. Wait a few minutes for installed applications to populate the Windows Start Menu

 

 

Important note: To avoid accidental Duo account lock out, please close of out LabStats completely at the end of your session.
*If you get locked out, the Help Desk will only be able to unlock your Duo account during Monday-Friday 9am-5pm business hours.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

No computers are listed. What should I do?

This means all Lab computers (with remote access functionality) are currently in-use. Check back in 15-30 minutes since, after 20 minutes of inactivity, users are automatically logged out and a machine might become available.

How do I disconnect?

How do I save files while connected?

Save anything you need to OneDrive, your H:, or a USB drive. Files saved locally (Desktop, Documents, Downloads, etc.) will be cleared when you logout.

Should I re-use the RDP files?

No. Anytime you close out a remote session and need to start a new one, please start the process over.

If you re-use a previously downloaded RDP file you risk attempting to connect while someone else is using the computer. In this scenario, the person currently using the computer will be notified that somebody else is trying to connect.

I can’t find x or y software. What should I do?

After connecting, it can take up to 10 minutes for applications to populate in the Windows Start Menu or Windows Search results.

Additionally, please be sure that the computer you’re connecting to has the software you need installed. You can find a list on our Software Configurations for College Computers tech doc.

 

Questions?

If you have any additional questions or problems, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Help Desk!

Phone: 610-526-7440
Email: help@brynmawr.edu
Location: Canaday Library 1st Floor


Backing Up: Why, Where, and How


Table of Contents:

 

Why do I need to back up?

Backups are critical to the integrity of your data, and ensure you’ll never lose valuable files in the event of a device failure.

  • 3-2-1: ensures your backup is redundant

 

Where can I store my backup?

Size Accessibility
Home Drive (H:)¹ 1TB
OneDrive¹ 1TB
Alternative
Cloud Storage
²
Various Various
USB/External
Storage
8GB-2TB via USB port
Code42
(Faculty/Staff only)
Unlimited via Software Center
(College computers only)

¹Access to College-provided resources is revoked after departure from the College.
²Faculty/Staff: College-related files should ONLY be stored on College-provided resources.

 

How do I back up using…

It’s best to back up at least once per quarter. Learn how to schedule automated backups using Code42 (faculty/staff only).
…Home Drive (H:)
via mapping to Windows
  1. Map your BMC Network Drive
  2. Open File Explorer
  3. On the left-hand pane, click username (\\home.brynmawr.edu\home) (H:)
  4. Right-click > New > Folder
    title your folder appropriately (i.e. Backup MM-DD-YYYY)
  5. On the left-hand pane, click This PC
  6. Navigate to Windows (C:) Usersusername
  7. Right-click and copy the file(s)/folder(s) you’d like to back up
  8. On the left-hand pane, click username (\\home.brynmawr.edu\home) (H:)
  9. Open the folder you created in Step 4
  10. Right-click and paste the file(s)/folder(s) you copied
via mapping to macOS
  1. Map your BMC Network Drive
  2. Open Finder
  3. On the left-hand pane, click username (//home.brynmawr.edu/home/username)
  4. Ctrl-click > New > Folder
    title your folder appropriately (i.e. Backup MM-DD-YYYY)
  5. Navigate to the file(s)/folder(s) you’d like to back up
  6. Right-click the file(s)/folder(s) and select copy
  7. On the left-hand pane, click username (//home.brynmawr.edu/home/username)
  8. Open the folder you created in Step 4
  9. Right-click and paste the file(s)/folder(s) you copied
via ingress.brynmawr.edu
  1. Navigate to ingress.brynmawr.edu
  2. Login with your College email and password
  3. Click Home Directory
  4. If prompted, authenticate with your College email and password
  5. Click the folder with your College username
  6. Click Upload Files…
  7. Navigate to, and select the file(s)/folder(s) you’d like to back up
…OneDrive
via OneDrive Online
  1. Navigate to webmail.brynmawr.edu
  2. If prompted, login with your College email and password
  3. Clickin the top-left
  4. Select OneDrive
  5. Click NewFolder
    title your folder appropriately (i.e. Backup MM-DD-YYYY)
  6. Open your newly created folder
  7. Click Upload, select either Files or Folders
  8. Navigate to, and select the file(s)/folder(s) you’d like to back up
via OneDrive for Business
…Code42
  1. Install via Software Center
  2. Setup your backup (skip to Step 2)

…USB/External Drive
via Windows
  1. Connect your USB/External drive
  2. Open File Explorer
  3. On the left-hand pane, click the USB/External drive
  4. Right-click > New > Folder
    title your folder appropriately (i.e. Backup MM-DD-YYYY)
  5. On the left-hand pane, click This PC
  6. Navigate to Windows (C:) Usersusername
  7. Right-click and copy the file(s)/folder(s) you’d like to back up
  8. On the left-hand pane, click the USB/External drive
  9. Open the folder you created in Step 4
  10. Right-click and paste the file(s)/folder(s) you copied
via macOS
  1. Connect your USB/External drive
  2. Open Finder
  3. On the left-hand pane, click the USB/External drive
  4. Ctrl-click > New > Folder
    title your folder appropriately (i.e. Backup MM-DD-YYYY)
  5. Navigate to the file(s)/folder(s) you’d like to back up
  6. Right-click the file(s)/folder(s) and select copy
  7. On the left-hand pane, click the USB/External drive
  8. Open the folder you created in Step 4
  9. Right-click and paste the file(s)/folder(s) you copied

 

Questions?

If you have any additional questions or problems, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Help Desk!

Phone: 610-526-7440
Email: help@brynmawr.edu
Location: Canaday Library 1st Floor


Encrypting a College-Owned Computer (macOS)

Before you start, you will need access to the following:

  • a stable internet connection
  • an eligible college-provided Mac

Want to encrypt an email? See Using Email Encryption in Office 365.


Table of Contents:

 

FileVault Encryption — What and Why

Not all devices are eligible to be encrypted. To determine if yours is, check if Disk Encryption is present in Step 2: Encrypt.
  • What: FileVault is Apple’s built-in encryption program for Macs.
  • Why: Encryption is critical to the security of your device, and ensures your data is protected in the event its lost or stolen.

 

Encrypting your Mac

Follow the steps below to ensure your device is encrypted properly.

Note: The screenshots used below were taken on a device running macOS Big Sur. Prior macOS versions may look different.
Step 1: Back up (Click me!)
  • Option 1: via your Home Drive (H:)*
    *Simply move any locally stored files to your mapped H:
  • Option 2: via Code42
Step 2: Encrypt (Click me!)
  1. Open Software Center
  2. On the left-hand pane, click the Featured tab
  3. Find Disk Encryption, click Encrypt
    If Disk Encryption isn’t present:

    Your device may not be eligible to be encrypted.

    Please reach out to the Help Desk if this is the case.

  4. Wait for the Disk Encryption policy to complete
  5. Click the Apple Icon () > Log Out
  6. Log back in
  7. In the top-center of your screen, click Enable Now
  8. If prompted*, enter your College username and password
    *If you’re not prompted for credentials, skip this step.
  9. Allow your device some time to complete the process.
Step 3: Verify Encryption (Click me!)
  1. Click the Apple Icon () > System Preferences
  2. Click Security & Privacy
  3. Click the FileVault tab
  4. Ensure you see:
    • “Turn Off FileVault…”
    • “A recovery key has been set.”

 

Questions?

If you have any additional questions or problems, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Help Desk!

Phone: 610-526-7440
Email: help@brynmawr.edu
Location: Canaday Library 1st Floor


Two-Step: Methods of Authentication

There are many different ways you can authenticate with Duo, learn about them here and choose which is the best for you.


Before you start, you may want to check out:

 

Methods Available

Push Notifications (via Duo Mobile)
Best Overall

The best balance between security & convenience; simply approve a push notification on your smartphone or tablet.

Generated Codes (via Duo Mobile)

Open the Duo Mobile app to get a code anytime, anywhere — no need for internet access or cell reception.

Call or Text

Receive a code via text or a prompt via phone call. Make sure you have reception!

Duo Token
Great backup option; good for travelers

Keep the Token on your keychain for easy two-step verification on the go — anytime, anywhere. Specific to your College account.

USB Security Key¹ ²
Best Security; good for travelers

Functionally the same as a Duo Token, a security key provides the most secure form of two-step verification on all your accounts.


¹Cannot be your only method of authentication.
²Only works with Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge.

 

Methods Comparison

Note: LITS strongly recommends having multiple authentication methods enabled to ensure you always have access to your account.
Push
Notifications
Generated
Codes
Call or Text Duo
Token
USB
Security Key
Usable w/o internet?
Usable w/o cell reception?
Usable w/o phone?
Requirements Duo Mobile
iOS/Android
Duo Mobile
iOS/Android
N/A Purchase Purchase

 

Questions?

If you have any additional questions or problems, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Help Desk!

Phone: 610-526-7440
Email: help@brynmawr.edu
Location: Canaday Library 1st Floor


 

Mapping your BMC Network Drives

Mapping your network drives allows you to access files stored on your H: or departmental files stored on the S: from your computer.


Before you start, you will need access to the following:

  • a laptop or desktop computer with internet access
  • Off-campus: a connection to the Pulse Secure VPN

 

Choosing a Network Drive

Note: You can map both drives, simply follow the instructions below twice.

  • Home Drive (H:)
  • Departmental Drives (S:)

 

Step-by-Step Instructions

Click the drop-down below for the Operating System that applies to you.

Windows (Click me!)
  1. Press thekey on your keyboard
  2. Search for and open This PC
  3. At the top, click ComputerMap Network Drive
  4. For “Drive”, select either H: or S:
  5. For “Folder”, enter the path of the directory you want:
    Home Drive (H:)
    \\home.brynmawr.edu\home\username
    Departmental Drives (S:)
    \\storage.brynmawr.edu\storage
  6. Un-check Reconnect at sign-in
  7. Check Connect using different credentials
  8. Click Finish
  9. When prompted, enter your College username and password
    “Remember my credentials” will only work until you change your password
  10. Click OK
  11. In a few seconds, your mapped drive will open in a new window
MacOS (Click me!)
  1. Open Finder
  2. At the top, click Go Connect to Server
  3. For “Server Address”, enter the path of the directory you want:
    Home Drive (H:)
    smb://home.brynmawr.edu/home/username
    Departmental Drives (S:)
    smb://storage.brynmawr.edu/storage
  4. Click the to add this address to your favorites
  5. Click Connect
  6. When prompted, select Registered User and enter your College username and password
  7. In a few seconds, your mapped drive will open in a new window

 

Questions?

If you have any additional questions or problems, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Help Desk!

Phone: 610-526-7440
Email: help@brynmawr.edu
Location: Canaday Library 1st Floor


Remote Instruction: Designing & Re-creating Documents


Before you start, you may need access to the following:

  • a Bryn Mawr College account
  • a laptop or desktop computer w/ internet access

Table of Contents:

 

Overview

Remote instruction can greatly benefit from the use of tools designed for online collaboration and sharing. If you’re faced with either a) interacting with or b) presenting materials for remote instruction, the following services can be extremely helpful.

Strive to make you documents self-sustaining — use form fields to clearly denote where a reader should interact with the document or annotations/comments to pose questions and provide feedback.

 

Document Types

Choosing the right file format for your document is incredibly important as it shapes what tools you have at your disposal and how people will interact with the information you present.


.PDF .DOCX Office Online
Form Fields¹
Annotations/Comments
Viewable on any device
Consistent formatting across devices
Default storage location Local Local Online

¹Allows for specific placement of fillable sections to easily allow responses while maintaining clean formatting.

 

Document Storage, Distribution, and Submission

Once you’ve created your document, the next step is to decide where to host it, how to distribute it, and how you’re going to collect responses.


via Email via Moodle via OneDrive
Distribution method Distribution
list
¹
Upload to
the course
Shareable link w/ view & download permissions
File size limit 20MB 128MB 1TB
Storage location Local Moodle OneDrive
Replies/submissions² Individual responses³ In the Moodle Course Share directly to recipient

¹Acts similar to a mailing list where one can send the same email to multiple recipients.
²The distribution method you choose does not limit your replies/submission method.
(i.e. You can send a document via Email and receive submissions via your Moodle course.)
³Create an Outlook Rule based off of your distribution list to automatically sort replies/submissions into a folder.

 

Document Design

Form Fields (.PDFs Only)

This great tool allows you to place specific, fillable sections in your documents. Make it obvious where a reader needs to provide input and keep formatting consistent & clean!

These fields can be used for something as short as a fill-in answer to as long as an open-ended question.


See more: Adobe Acrobat Form Field Basics

 

Annotations/Comments

Receive feedback & responses from your reader(s)! Highlight sections to pose a question & allow each user to add their own response.

Groups can collaborate on assignments or individuals can ask clarifying questions about the material itself.


See more:

 

Questions?

If you have any additional questions or problems, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Help Desk!

Phone: 610-526-7440
Email: help@brynmawr.edu
Location: Canaday Library 1st Floor


 

Technical Support during COVID-19

The following information is subject to change.
Last updated: July 7th, 2020


Table of Contents:

Overview

The following article outlines general procedures and guidelines for Technical Support during COVID-19.

At any time, a support representative or community member reserves the right to reschedule service if any of the below safety/health guidance are not being followed.

Guidelines for In-Person Support:

In-person support will only be used once all virtual support options have been exhausted. This includes email, phone, remote support tools, etc.

All in-person will:

  • Be by appointment only
  • Be done as quickly as possible while still being accurate and thorough
  • Follow social distancing guidelines
  • Require masks for all parties

Protocols: Hygiene and Sanitation

All support representatives must:

  • Wash hands with soap and water for ≥20 seconds
    Before and after any appointment
  • Bring hand sanitizer, and use before and after touching equipment
  • Use their own separate keyboard and mouse whenever possible
  • Wear a mask at all times during an appointment

Protocols: Quarantining Equipment and Loaned Items

The following applies to anything coming in/out of a LITS workspace:

  • In: may be quarantined for up to 72 hours before being worked on
  • Out: may be quarantined for up to 72 hours before being returned or loaned
This will significantly impact turnaround times for hands-on support requests.
Loaners will be provided as needed and as available. We cannot guarantee that we will have a loaner with your preferred Operating System.

 

 

Questions?

If you have any additional questions or problems, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Help Desk!

Phone: 610-526-7440
Email: help@brynmawr.edu
Location: Canaday Library 1st Floor


Students: Laptop Purchasing Guide

Looking to bring a laptop to campus? This document provides general guidelines and recommendations for a typical undergraduate student purchasing a laptop for four years of college. For information regarding specific requirements, please contact the department of your major.

Looking for information for faculty or staff members? See the Questions? section below.


Table of Contents:

 

Operating Systems

Both Microsoft Windows¹ and Apple’s macOS will work at Bryn Mawr. If you aren’t sure which you’d prefer, consider what software you’ll need to use as well as any differences in pricing.

Note: LITS does not recommend Chromebooks/ChromeOS due to their limited support for third-party software. See Examples for low-cost alternatives.


¹We recommend Win10 Home, but Pro and Education will also work.

 

Recommended Hardware Specifications

CPU/Processor: 4 or more cores

Your CPU is integral to the performance of your laptop; we recommend at least a quad-core processor. For limited web browsing and word-processing, a dual-core can be sufficient.

CPU Manufacturer: Recommended Brands:
Intel Core i5 or Core i7
AMD Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, or Ryzen 7
Tip: Comparing two laptops?

Generally look for more cores or a higher clock speed (e.g. 2.4GHz) to determine which model will perform better.

Learn more: What’s a CPU?

Your CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the brain that handles all computations required for your PC to function. The more cores, the more easily it can break up tasks and the higher the clock speed, the more calculations it can do per second. It is a chip that slots onto the main circuit board (a.k.a. motherboard) of your computer.

 

Memory/RAM: 8GB or more

Memory matters when multiple programs, windows, or browser tabs are running or open. We recommend at least 8 gigabytes (8GB), but 12GB or 16GB can make a significant difference.

Tip: Can I upgrade RAM later?

Some laptops allow you to swap out your current RAM sticks for larger capacity ones. However, many modern laptops, notably ultrabooks and Apple laptops, have their RAM soldered to the motherboard, making your configuration permanent.

Tip: RAM vs. Intel Optane Memory?

Watc out: Optane memory isn’t actually RAM! Optane is used to improve the performance of a slow hard drive and won’t help if your computer runs out of RAM capacity. See the Storage section below for more info about hard drives.

Learn more: What is RAM?

RAM (Random Access Memory) is a type of high-speed volatile storage that assists other hardware by temporarily storing data used by programs, and feeding it to the CPU more quickly than normal storage could.

 

Storage/Hard-Drive/Solid State Drive: 256GB (or larger) SSD

Your storage drive holds all the data on your computer. Its specs are based on size and type.

Size: We recommend you have at least 256 gigabytes of storage. Keep in mind your computer’s operating system files can use up to 30GB!

Type: There are two types of storage: HDDs and SSDs. As you can see below, they’re quite different so look at the specs before purchasing!

HDD (Hard Disk Drive) SSD (Solid-State Drive)
✓ More affordable
✓ Larger storage sizes
Much slower
✗ Very vulnerable to physical damage
Much faster
✓ Resistant to physical damage
✗ More expensive
✗ Smaller storage sizes
Tip: Small SSD vs. a Hard Drive?

Sometimes you can’t find any laptops in your budget with a 256GB SSD. We recommend choosing a smaller 128GB SSD over a HDD for anyone without many large files to store.

Tip: A computer has an NVMe drive. What does that mean?

NVMe is a newer protocol used by SSDs when reading and writing data. NVMe drives can be 5x (or more) faster than older SATA SSDs. If just “SSD” is listed, you can assume it is using SATA.

Tip: HDD Speeds — 5400 vs. 7200

If you have the choice, always choose a 7200rpm hard drive over a 5400rpm one. The speed at which it spins directly affects how quickly it can read data.

 

Warranty & Damage Protection

Tip: Can I extend my warranty?

Many manufacturers allow you to extend your warranty if your current one is still active.

Extended Basic Warranty

While most laptops come with a brief pro bono warranty, we highly recommend purchasing a 4-year extended warranty. For those four years, this will ensure any failed components will be repaired at no additional cost.

 

Accidental Damage Protection

A basic warranty won’t cover spilling coffee on your new laptop or knocking it off a desk. As such, we also highly recommend purchasing a 4-year accidental damage protection plan. This may eat into your budget, but it is usually much cheaper than the price of repairing or replacing a laptop.

 

Additional Considerations

  • Get hands-ongo to a store and physically interact with it¹
  • Size and weight: Is it comfortable to use and easy to transport?
  • Overall build quality and design:
    • How do the trackpad and keyboard feel?
    • How much does the chassis flex when you type?
    • Does the hinge feel strong and durable?
    • How bright is the screen’s max brightness?
  • Available ports: How many & what types² of ports are present?
  • Battery life: many reviews include battery life tests
  • Wireless connectivity: must support WPA-2 Enterprise
Tip: MacBooks and Keyboard Reliability


Generally, MacBooks have exceptional build quality. However, be aware that there are widespread reliability concerns with the keyboards in the current Air, Pro 13″, and Pro 15″ models. Click here for more info.


¹Otherwise, pay close attention to the return policy.
²Some USB Type-C ports support charging, data, and video output; other’s don’t. Be sure to check.

 

Software

The College provides Microsoft Office and anti-virus software to students free of charge, so there is no need to purchase these separately. You can find more information about provided software here.

 

Examples

Below are recommended specifications we would look for at a range of price points.

NOTE: You should always research what is available to you. This list is not comprehensive or necessarily up to date, and the models linked below are examples, not recommendations.

Before purchasing: Always look for reviews


Your own knowledge can only get you so far, especially if you can’t physically try out a laptop ahead of time. Always find a review from a reputable platform to make sure there are no issues with a product before you buy! A few reputable sources are: Notebook Check, Linus Tech Tips, Tech Radar, ars technica, but there are many others!

Affordable
(Less than $600¹)
Mid-Range
($600-$900¹)
High-End
($900+¹)
CPU Intel Core i3/i5
AMD Ryzen 3/5
Intel Core i5
AMD Ryzen 5
Intel Core i5/i7
AMD Ryzen 5/7
RAM 4-8GB 8+GB 16+GB
Storage 256GB SATA SSD 256GB NVMe SSD 512GB NVMe SSD
¹Prices listed do not include the recommended warranty & protection plans.
Last updated: June 5, 2020
Tip: Considering Apple’s MacBooks?


Current MacBooks start at $1000+ before warranty and repair plans, placing them in the high-end price range. While less expensive MacBooks (like the Air) are only suitable for basic use, more expensive models can perform quite well. Click here to compare MacBook models.


Questions?

If you would like additional assistance, have any questions or problems, or are a faculty or staff member, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Help Desk!

Phone: 610-526-7440
Email: help@brynmawr.edu
Location: Canaday Library 1st Floor