Help from IT Services

1. Help Centre Frequently Asked Questions

The answers to the Help Centre's most Frequently Asked Questions can be viewed below in a series of topic areas. You might also find the Service Desk How to guides useful.

If you still need advice from IT Services after reading through all of the FAQs, and other options on this page see the contact us section below.


Email Problems

FAQ 1. New to Oxford?
If you are new to Oxford University, please see Registering for New Accounts.
FAQ 2. How do I set up my email software to access Nexus?
Take a look at our Nexus email client configuration pages.
FAQ 3. How do I access Nexus online?
Log in to the Outlook Web App using your Single Sign-On username and password.
FAQ 4. My email account's activation code is lost or has expired.
  • Lost activation codes can be replaced by your local IT support staff. Alternatively, the IT Services Help Centre can give you a replacement either in person, or by internal University post to your college/department, or by email to your registered alternative address.
  • Expired activation codes can be temporarily unexpired by your local IT staff or via a request to the IT Services Help Centre.

If you can't come to the Help Centre in person or contact us by telephone (01865 2 73200)

FAQ 5. I've forgotten my password or it has expired.
  • Forgotten and Expired passwords can be reset using Webauth, provided you have previously set up a Webauth security question.
  • If you have not set up a security question, or have forgotten the answer, you will need to obtain a Rescue Code. This can be obtained from your local IT support staff. Alternatively, contact the IT Services Help Centre - we can issue Rescue Codes to you in person, or by internal University post to your college/department, or by email to your registered alternative address.

If you can't come to the Help Centre in person or contact us by telephone (01865 2 73200)

FAQ 6. I can read my email, but get SMTP error messages when I try and send emails.
Your outgoing mail is handled by the SMTP server you have specified in your email software's account details - see our Nexus email configuration pages for details.
FAQ 7. Why do I get messages replying to emails I never sent?
This usually results from a malware infection, most often on someone else's machine. The malware trawls the infected machine for email addresses which are then used to send out infected messages to random recipients which appear to come from randomly chosen senders. The apparent sender (e.g. you) may then get replies from the targeted recipients, or failure messages if the emails could not be delivered for some reason. There is little you can do about this other than always keeping your own machine up-to-date with anti-virus software and system updates.
FAQ 8. I accidentally deleted some messages on Nexus - can I get them back?
Possibly. Deleted Nexus items go to your Deleted Items folder. If you have deleted it from there as well (and some email programs can be set to 'Empty Deleted Items on exit'), items are kept in the 'Recover Deleted Items' store for a further seven days. You can get to this store using Outlook Web App.
FAQ 9. Messages sent to me don't arrive.
If the sender gets an error response, this may indicate the nature of the problem, for example:
  • SMTP error 550 - Recipient address does not exist. - the sender is using an incorrect email
  • VIRUS ALERT - the message contained a virus and was intercepted by the University's email scanning system.
  • Child process of local_delivery_mbx transport returned 75 - your account does not have sufficient free space for the message to be delivered. You need to free up some space by deleting and purging unwanted messages.
  • SMTP error 550-Invalid HELO may mean that the sender may be using a misconfigured email service.

If the sender receives no error response, it could be that:

  • The message was actually delivered but was intercepted by the junk-mail filtering system - your junk-mail filter settings may be too high. To see how to check your settings, go to the mail filtering page.
  • The message contained malware and was intercepted by the University's email scanning system. In such cases, no response may be sent to the sender.
  • Your mailbox may have been over quota when the message arrived. The mail system will periodically retry to deliver the message, so clear out some old messages and wait (up to 24 hours) for the message to be delivered on the next attempt. This process will be repeated for several days before finally reporting the failed delivery to the sender.
FAQ 10. How can I reduce the amount of junk mail I get?
Use the Nexus account settings page to set your spam filter level - choose between Off, Low, Medium or High. Messages which are tagged as spam are put in the 'Spam' folder, and are automatically deleted after 90 days. See the spam filering pages for more details.
FAQ 11. How do I send large files to colleagues?
The message size limit for Nexus users is 100MB. If you need to send files of greater size please see the OxFile web page for more information.
FAQ 12. What should I do if I receive a message or a link to a web page asking me to reveal my username and password?
Be extremely wary of a message that ask you to reveal your username and password or a message that links to a web page asking you to reveal your username and password. Be wary even if the email appears genuine. This is usually a phishing attack that has been set up by a scammer. They may attempt to replicate the look and feel of legitimate and familiar University or College login pages. More details about what to do are given in the web pages about phishing.
FAQ 13. Why can't I add a mail signature using OWA on a Mac?
This is a known bug which only affects Macs. You can set a signature using OWA on a PC, and go back to using your Mac once it's been saved.
FAQ 14. Other email problems
Many other common email problems are covered in our email FAQ web page. Information about Nexus email is also available on the Nexus pages

Malware

FAQ 15. I think I've got malware - what should I do?
  • If you don't have up-to-date anti-virus software installed, disconnect your machine from the network and install some current anti-virus software e.g. download the Sophos package onto a USB stick. If you have difficulty obtaining or installing Sophos, some anti-virus programs can be run via a memory stick to perform a quick scan/removal of the most common malware.
  • If you received an onscreen message saying malware was detected, make a note of the exact message text. Then check for guidance about removing that particular malware on your antivirus software supplier's web site.
  • If you have the Sophos anti-virus software, the message may just be a warning that a virus was blocked from attacking your system - in this case, run the Sophos SAV program and check that it is configured to disinfect/remove viruses rather than just inform you.

For further information see the anti-virus web pages.

FAQ 16. Where do I get anti-virus software from?
University members can download the Sophos anti-virus package from the Software Registration and Download page.
FAQ 17. I get an error when I try and install Sophos.
Error Message Solution
"Another installation is already in progress" If restarting the machine doesn't help, then try using Microsoft's Program Install and Uninstall troubleshooter.
"You do not have sufficient privileges to run the Sophos" Carry out the following steps:
  1. Click on the Start button, then select Control Panel.
  2. Double-click on Administrative Tools. If you don't see the Administrative Tools icon, click on Switch to Classic View at the left of the window to see all Control Panel options.
  3. Double-click on the Services icon
  4. Scroll down and find Sophos Anti-Virus service and double-click on it.
  5. Click the Log On tab.
  6. Select the Local System account.
  7. Click Apply and then click OK.
  8. Restart the computer.
FAQ 18. How do I update the Sophos anti-virus software?
  • Sophos updates automatically via the internet. A failed update attempt is indicated by a red cross on the Sophos icon on the task bar. The usual reason for a failed update is the absence of a network connection when the update was requested - this sometimes happens on machines that are slow in initiating their network link at start-up or which have not been connected to the network for a while. In this situation, right-click on the Sophos shield and choose [Update Now].
FAQ 19. I got emailed by someone saying I sent them a message with a virus in it - what should I do?
This is usually caused by a malware infection, most often on someone else's machine. The malware trawls the infected machine for email addresses which are then used to send out infected messages to random recipients and which appear to come from randomly chosen senders. The apparent sender (e.g. you) may then get replies from the targeted recipients, or failure messages if the emails could not be delivered for some reason. There is little you can do about this other than always keeping your own machine with up-to-date with anti-virus software and system updates.
FAQ 20. How do I get rid of adware and spyware?
See our guide to adware and spyware.

Connecting to the Network and Network Resources

FAQ 21. How do I access the University network from University buildings?
  • Supported computer systems (e.g. running Windows XP / Mac OS X 10.6 or later) with an ethernet network adapter fitted are usually ready to be plugged in (via an appropriate cable) to an ethernet wall socket.
  • Many colleges/departments now require users to register their machine's ethernet hardware MAC address before using the network. To find out this information see, for example, http://www.wikihow.com/Find-the-MAC-Address-of-Your-Computer. Contact your department/college local IT support staff for more information.
  • When connecting to the network, any security weaknesses in your machine will immediately be exposed to hostile attention from outside. It is vital that you have up-to-date anti-virus software installed and also any applicable operating system updates, e.g. via Windows Update for PC or Software Update for Mac.
FAQ 22. How do I connect to Eduroam?
If you have a computer with Windows Vista or newer, OS X 10.7 or newer, or Linux, or an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch), then you can download an automatic Configuration Assistant Tool. Otherwise, we have manual setup instructions for a wide range of devices.
FAQ 23. How do I connect to Oxford Wireless LAN (OWL)?
OWL is an unsecured network which you can connect to without a password. However, you have to then connect a VPN client to be able to access the internet.
FAQ 24. My University network connection doesn't work.
This could be caused by a variety of factors. Some things to check:
  • Do other people near you have similar problems? If so, it may be a problem on your local network, so contact your local IT support staff for advice or, if possible, consult the IT Services Status Page
  • Does the problem apply to all applications (e.g. email, web access, etc.)? If all activities are affected, it's likely to be a general connectivity problem rather than a specific problem relating to email or a password, for example.
  • Has the connection ever worked? If not, see the previous question on accessing the university network.
  • Has the connection suddenly stopped working? If so, check all your cables and connectors and restart your device.
  • One occasional cause of disconnection is that your machine has been detected as having been infected with malware and has been blocked from using the network - contact your local IT support staff for advice on this.
FAQ 25. I get error messages about "cookies" on certain web pages.
  • Check your web browser's cookie settings.
  • Check that your system's time and date are set correctly.
FAQ 26. How do I access online journals, past exam papers etc. from outside the University network?
  • Most online journals and electronic library resources can be accessed from any internet connection via SOLO. If you are working outside the University network, you should use OxLIP+ which will require your Oxford University Single Sign-On account for access. Please see http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/finding-resources/remote_access for further details. A very small and decreasing number of titles may still require that you use the VPN service. The Library Service can advise on what titles this relates to.
  • To access WebLearn from outside the University network you only need your Oxford University Single Sign-On account details.
FAQ 27. I can't get the VPN client to work.
See our Frequently Asked Questions about VPN.
FAQ 28. The Cisco Secure Mobility Client will not install on my Mac. It says the package is damaged.
This is caused by functionality called 'Gatekeeper', which is meant to stop malicious programs from running on your computer. There is a VPN client built into OS X which you can use instead.

Changing Forgotten/Expired Passwords

FAQ 29. How do I change or reset my SSO/email/Weblearn password?
The username and password you use to access email/Weblearn is increasingly being used for other IT services and is now referred to as your Oxford Single Sign-on username and password. It is NOT the same as your Remote Access password (used for VPN and OWL) which you need to reset separately
  • To change your Oxford password, go to the web page at https://webauth.ox.ac.uk/password.
  • If you have forgotten your Oxford password, or it has expired, then:
    • If you have set up a secret security question and answer (and can remember the answer) go to https://webauth.ox.ac.uk/reset_password.
    • If you've never set up a security question, or can't remember the answer, you need a Rescue Code. We can give you this code in person, or send it via the internal University post to your registered college or department. If you can still access your University email account (e.g. your system has your old password stored), or if you have a registered alternative email address, we can also send Rescue Codes by email. If you're outside Oxford, you can ask your college or department to forward or intercept your mail. Alternatively, ask one of your local IT support staff create a rescue code for you. The Rescue Code, which has a lifetime of seven days, is used to set a new security question and answer via the web page at https://webauth.ox.ac.uk/security_question. You will then be able to reset your password using the guidance given above. If your rescue code has expired, you will need to request a new one.

If you can't come to the Help Centre in personor contact us by phone (01865 2 73200)

FAQ 30. Why do I need to change my password periodically?
The University's IT Policy requires that you change your Oxford password (used for email/Weblearn/library resources etc.) at least once a year. Password expiry is one of several methods used to reduce the likelihood of the password for an account becoming known to anyone other than the account owner. You will receive an email reminder a few weeks before your password expires. User passwords are now one of the most common forms of attack by hackers.
  • The longer you keep using the same password, the more likely it is to become known to someone else, e.g. by network 'sniffing, by looking over your shoulder, or by 'brute-force' guesswork.
  • A significant number of password hacking attempts are detected on the University network every month. Each attempt may try many thousands of different passwords from a large 'dictionary' of words, abbreviations etc.
  • A compromised account not only allows a hacker access to your own confidential information, but is a highly valuable foothold into the system from which to initiate further attacks. The most subtle hacks don't do any immediate damage but stay quietly harvesting information for months on end.
FAQ 31. The Webauth web pages don't work for me
Webauth is the web-based authentication system used by IT Services. The Webauth pages allow you to manage your account.
  • If you can't get past a Webauth Verify Personal Details screen, this may be because:
    • Your account does not yet exist - new account holders need to have received their account details from IT Services before they can use Webauth
    • You are entering invalid information e.g. you are using an outdated card, or your name or date of birth do not match the data held by IT Services - contact the IT Services Help Centre to check this.
  • If Webauth won't accept an Activation or Rescue Code:
    • It may have expired - Activation Codes have a lifetime of 30 days, and Rescue Codes 14 days. Activation codes can be unexpired or reissued by your local IT support staff, or by contacting the IT Services Help Centre
FAQ 32. How do I change my Remote Access password?
FAQ 33. How do I change my HFS/TSM backup password?
You can reset your TSM password by going to the Self Registration Page. On identifying yourself with your Oxford username you can choose the option to reset your TSM password(s). The change will take effect immediately. The TSM password has a maximum length of 63 characters and is case-insensitive. Valid characters are [[a-zA-Z0-9+.-_&]] i.e. any letter a-z upper or lower case, any number 0-9, plus, period, underscore, hyphen, ampersand.

Registering for New Accounts

FAQ 34. What am I entitled to?
Your entitlement to IT services depends on the type of University card you carry. A full list of entitlements is available.
FAQ 35. Email/Nexus accounts
New university members are automatically issued with an account which gives them access to many services, including email (part of the Nexus service).
  • For New Students: the university card is issued as soon as the signed student contract has been returned and processed. Once the new account is ready to activate we will email the details, including the activation code, to your registered contact address. You can generally expect to have your account details within 4-5 days of receipt of your signed contract. Please check your junk email if our message does not arrive as expected.
  • For all other University Members: account details, including an activation code are sent in a letter via the University internal post and should arrive within two working days of the card being issued.

If your activation code has expired by the time you receive it, it can be unexpired by your local IT staff. Alternatively, contact the Help Centre. If you can't come to the Help Centre in person or contact us by telephone (01865 2 73200)

FAQ 36. I haven't received a username and password for my new email address after switching departments/colleges.
If you were previously a member of the University, you will retain your previous username and password. Your email addresses will be updated to reflect your new position.
FAQ 37. Remote Access accounts
Remote Access accounts are used to access IT Services remote access services which currently comprise:
  • The VPN service (used to access OWL wireless service and some restricted resources when outside the University network)
  • The Eduroam wireless network
  • The Graduate Accommodation Residential Network (ResNet)

To register for a Remote Access account, or change a Remote Access password, visit Self-Regitration.

FAQ 38. Weblearn accounts
Accounts on Weblearn, the University's Virtual Learning Environment, are automatically created for all new University card-holders. To access Weblearn use your Single Sign-on Username and password. These are the same as you use to access the email service.
FAQ 39. HFS/TSM Backup accounts
The HFS (Hierarchical File Server), which uses software known as TSM (Tivoli Storage Manager), is the University's online backup and archiving service - for more information see Data Backup and Archiving on the HFS. To register a computer for backup, visit the TSM self-registration page at https://register.it.ox.ac.uk/tsm The HFS Service is not available to undergraduate or retired members of the University.
FAQ 40. Oxford Single Sign-On accounts
Access to many web-based services at Oxford (e.g. Webmail, WebLearn, Self-Registration, Mailing-list administration, IT Services Course booking, OxCort etc.) is through a Single Sign-On (SSO) system. Once you login via Single Sign-on, any associated service that you are entitled to use will then allow access without you having to re-enter your username and password. All members of Oxford University holding a current University Card automatically have an Oxford SSO Account (Bodleian Reader cards are not valid for this purpose). The Single Sign-on account is administered by IT Services and is separate from any other local college or departmental accounts you may have. For full details about the SSO account please see: The Oxford username and Single Sign-on (Webauth)

Obtaining Software/Licence Codes

FAQ 41. What software can I get from IT Services?
The IT Services Online Shop distributes a wide variety of software. Please note:
  • In many cases, licences and installation media are charged separately
  • Many "site-licensed" programs are only available for purchase by colleges/departments for use on University-owned machines. Contact your local IT Support Staff for more details.

A full list of software and how it can be obtained is available.

FAQ 42. Where do I get the new SPSS licence codes from?
Current licence codes for the SPSS statistical packages are available to registered users through Self-Registration. Registration for these packages in done through the IT Services Online Shop, normally at the time of initial purchase of the software. To enter the new licence codes, run the [SPSS License Authorisation Wizard] (via [Start/Programs/IBM/SPSS]. Select the option [Use Authorization via Internet to get License] and enter the authorisation code obtained from the IT Services Self-Registration pages (see above).

System and Hardware Problems

FAQ 43. My computer has serious problems - what should I do?
For some basic advice - see our web page on Help for Sick Computers. If you suspect it's a hardware problem, see our Breakdown service. If you suspect it's a software problem, get in touch with your local IT Support Staff, or come into the IT Services Help Centre. If you can't come to the Help Centre in person, contact us by telephone (01865 2 73200) or visit the service desk.
FAQ 44. I've spilled liquid on my computer - what should I do?
Switch the computer off and leave the computer to dry out for a day or two in a warm, dry place such as an airing cupboard. Do not surround your computer with a dessicant (e.g. rice), as this can often enter the computer and become trapped, potentially doing as much damage as the initial water spillage.
FAQ 45. My computer has died - can I retrieve files from the disk?
  • If the computer will power on, bring the computer and external storage (a memory stick or external hard drive) to the IT Services Help Centre and we will do our best to access your files.
  • If the computer will not start, but the hard drive itself has not been damaged, this may be possible via our Data Backup / System Reinstall Service. Please note that there is a charge for this service.
  • If the disk drive is damaged, files may still be recoverable by a specialist data recovery company, although such services tend to be expensive.

Courses

FAQ 46. What courses do IT Services offer?
Our courses cover all aspects of computing from beginners to advanced computing. Our wide range of topics include general office software applications, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, internet use and email, as well as more specialised applications, including digital and web design and publishing, numerical data management, databases, computer operating systems and programming.
FAQ 47. When do courses run?
Our IT courses run throughout the academic year. We run three hour modules in the mornings, afternoons and evenings. At lunchtimes we run one-hour byte size modules.
FAQ 48. How do I find out this term's schedule?
You can find our courses schedule online. Courses can be found in either an alphabetic list, or in a list of courses being offered in the current term. Alternatively, you can pick up a printed A-Z listing or Term Planner from IT Services at 13 Banbury Road.
FAQ 49. The online course timetable seems to be empty at present.
At times when no courses are listed online, e.g. during vacations, you can get information about what courses are planned for the following term from the Course Bookings Office (telephone 01865 2 73200 or courses@it.ox.ac.uk).
FAQ 50. How do I book a place on a course?
The preferred and quickest way to book a place on a course is via our online booking system. You must have an Single sign-on username and password in order to book a course through the online course booking system. Alternatively, you can make a booking by telephone (01865 2 73200) - please have your University card to hand when you call.
FAQ 51. How do I cancel my course booking?
You can cancel a course booking by visiting your online My Account web page. Alternatively, you can cancel a booking by email (courses@it.ox.ac.uk) or telephone (01865 2 73200) - please have your University card to hand when you call.
FAQ 52. I can't make the course dates, can I get the handouts?
The majority of the course handouts are available on the ITLP Portfolio. If you cannot locate documentation for the course you are interested in, please contact Course Administration by telephone (01865 2 73200) or email (courses@it.ox.ac.uk).

HFS/TSM Backup Service

FAQ 53. How do I register my machine for the Backup Service?
The HFS (Hierarchical File Server), which uses software known as TSM (Tivoli Storage Manager), is the University's online backup and archiving service - for more information see Data Backup and Archiving on the HFS. To register a computer for backup, visit the TSM self-registration page at https://register.it.ox.ac.uk/self/tsm. The HFS Service is not available to undergraduate or retired users.
FAQ 54. How do I change my HFS/TSM backup password?
  • To change a TSM password:
    • If you are using the graphical interface choose the [Utilities/Set Password] menu option.
    • If you are using the command line, start the dsmc program then at the prompt enter: set password oldpassword newpassword
    • If your backup account is for a Windows machine, you will also need to reset your scheduler's password

    Note that TSM passwords have a maximum length of 63 characters and are case insensitive. Valid characters are alphanumeric, +, ., -, &.

FAQ 55. I'm having problems installing TSM
If you are having problems downloading and installing the TSM software, please see Downloading the TSM software for the HFS backup service (particularly the FAQs section).
FAQ 56. My scheduled backup has failed
You can troubleshoot a scheduled backup failure at our Troubleshooting Scheduled Backups page.
FAQ 57. Other TSM/HFS problems
Many more common TSM/HFS problems are dealt with on the HFS help page, which is the main support website for this service. There is also an FAQ, and a list of common errors.

EndNote Problems

FAQ 58. When I run Word, I don't get an EndNote toolbar or Tools menu link.
See the suggestions for CWYW 1 on the Endnote website.
FAQ 59. I get lots of weird symbols where my citations should be.
See the suggestions for CWYW 12 on the Endnote website.
FAQ 60. EndNote won't let me update my library, output or style files.
See the suggestions for Styles 6 on the Endnote website.
FAQ 61. I have a different Endnote problem.
Search the Endnote Knowledgebase.

SPSS Problems

FAQ 62. Where do I get new SPSS licence codes from?
Current licence codes for the SPSS statistical packages are available to registered users through Self-Registration. Registration for these packages in done through the IT Services Online Shop, normally at the time of initial purchase of the software. To enter the new licence codes, run the [SPSS License Authorisation Wizard] (via [Start/Programs/IBM/SPSS]. Select the option [Use Authorization via Internet to get License] and enter the authorisation code obtained from the IT Services Self-Registration pages (see above).
FAQ 63. I have some other SPSS problem.
Visit the SPSS support website. The page offers documentation, trouble-shooting guides and fixes.

Problems Accessing Websites

FAQ 64. When I try to access a website I get the error Identity Provider failure at (/shibboleth-idp/SSO).
If the error continues org.opensaml.SAMLException: Invalid data from Service Provider: no target URL received, this means the website has asked Oxford's Shibboleth service to authenticate you but has omitted some crucial information. Try to log in to the service again, starting at its recommended starting page (for example, http://oxlip-plus.ouls.ox.ac.uk for Oxford Libraries electronic resources) and following the links to the service you want. If that doesn't solve the problem, please e-mail sysdev@it.ox.ac.uk, including:
  • a copy of the entire error message
  • the full URL displayed in your browser (e.g. https://idp.shibboleth.ox.ac.uk/shibboleth-idp/SSO?target=)
  • which website you were trying to access
  • which website you started from
  • which link(s) you were following
  • whether you were on the Oxford network (e.g. by running VPN)

2. Web Search

Answers to many problems can be found by doing a web search, either locally or on the whole internet. Try and make the search as specific as possible e.g. Toshiba satellite a60 UK power adapter. Other good things to try are some of the exact wording of cryptic error messages - put phrases in quotes to narrow down the number of results e.g. "The VPN client agent was unable to create the interprocess communication depot.".

3. Local IT staff

Your own local IT support staff are an important source of on-the-spot help - links to local IT support pages are available for most colleges and departments.

4. Still need help or want to contact us?

Still need help or want to contact us? If you can't solve your problem using the FAQs above, you can contact IT Services using our Help Request web form . Please give us as much information as possible about your computer and system version (e.g. Windows 7 or OS X 10.x) and the exact wording of any error messages etc.

 

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Written by IT Services. Latest revision 28 November 2016