Computer Laboratory

Leaving the Computer Laboratory

This page contains a miscellaneous collection of items of which people leaving the Computer Lab, or moving into the hot-desk area, should be aware.

It is intended for people who will be leaving the lab permanently — if there are already plans for you to come back then alternative arrangements can be made, so please contact sys-admin.

Leaving your office

When your desk is de-allocated, you are expected to remove your personal belongings and leave any office furniture keys in the locks.

Any Lab machines you have been using will be removed to make room for the machine to be used by the next occupant. Your machine is likely to be reloaded and may be off the network, so if there are any local files you want, save them before you move or liaise with sys-admin.

The writing-up/hot-desk area

If you still have associations with the department (e.g. if you are a Research Student who has over-run your time, submitted, etc but have not yet had your viva and the PhD accepted) you may remain on the Departmental List, but without an assigned office or phone number. You are free to use the public machines in the alcoves. These are shared resources, so please log off when you leave the room.

If you have a laptop registered for the WiFi network this should continue to work, but if it is connected only by UTP you will have to arrange for a connection to be made available in the hot-desk area.

Accounts and other filespaces

User accounts are not removed the moment the System Administrators are informed that a person has left. It is not uncommon for leaving dates to be quite vague — Research Students will often have to return briefly (e.g. for vivas), so System Administrators can seldom be certain that someone has definitely left. Furthermore, people often want to retrieve files from their account here once they are at a new location, so there is a period when access may still be needed — if this is the case, you should make suitable arrangements to ensure that you can access your filespace from outside (ie take a fresh OTPW with you).

The System Administrators are automatically notified when someone is removed from the Office List. If you are a Research Student, your status will be periodically reviewed until it is confirmed that you have completed. Non-research students and research students who have completed (or are otherwise no longer registered) will usually be contacted by a System Administrator, unless you were only here short-term, or if you have already tidied up to our satisfaction. The message will ask if it is safe to remove your account, and ask about your requirements for email and WWW forwarding. Review dates are set based on the replies received (or not), and status may be periodically reviewed.

Eventually, your account will be put into an inaccessible "disabled" state — the files are untouched but the password entry is removed from all our machines so that they can no longer be accessed. Your account will remain in this state typically for about 6 to 12 months, again subject to review. After this the account directory will be moved into an archive area, from which it will be relatively easy for a System Administrator to retrieve it, if necessary.

It is important to note that System Administrators are much less careful with other filespaces that you may have used. It is very likely that the workstation you were using will be reallocated on the day that you leave. It will almost certainly have its scratch space cleared, so any files you have in a /local/scratch directory will be lost. Likewise, if you have a directory in bigdisc it should be regarded as scratch and may be tidied up at any point after you have left.

If files in your account filespace are used by other people, in your Research group for example, then they should be moved to a suitable part of the Research group filespace so that they remain accessible. If you are responsible for any part of a group filespace, you should make sure that another member of the group takes responsibility for it, and has sufficient access permissions.

Filespace cleanup: Once you no longer routinely use your CL filer home directory, please try to delete obviously redundant files, to not waste space on our long-term archive system. Please consider:

  • emptying/deleting the caches of web browsers and IMAP mail clients
  • running “make clean” in your build directories
  • deleting downloaded open-source packages that remain easily available elsewhere
  • emptying Download(s) folders
  • deleting ~/.cache
  • deleting large GUI application directories such as ~/.mozilla* (perhaps export bookmarks first)


When you leave the University, your @hermes mailbox will be deleted, and your @cam address will become a tombstone (autoreply service). You can use Raven for Life to keep the tombstone pointing at your current email address. You should not point the tombstone at your @cl address.

In order to allow people who have your @cl address to contact you, we can forward your incoming Lab e-mail to a different address.

Our current policy is that you can have a simple email forwarding for as long as you want, provided that it causes us no trouble (e.g. with bounces). You can set a forwarding address using the user mail administration page.

Please arrange to remove your CL address from any mailing lists it may be on, otherwise we may cancel the forwarding.

Personal webpages

You can also set up a HTTP redirect for your personal web pages, such that any web browser trying to access your old URLs will automatically be redirected to a new URL of your choice. This can be implemented using Apache's Redirect or RedirectMatch directive. You can try out such redirects yourself in your "~/public_html/.htaccess" file.

There are several ways to set up such an HTTP redirect:

  1. Redirect to a new URL space that preserves your entire existing Computer Laboratory web namespace:
      Redirect permanent /~crsid

    This directive removes from the requested URL the prefix http[s]:// and replaces it with By redirecting to a subdirectory cl of your new site, you can then decide there with further redirects where each of your old documents is going to live in future.

  2. Redirect to your new URL prefix:
      Redirect permanent /~crsid

    This directive assumes that your new home page will have the same subpage structure as the old one. Simpler, but slightly less flexible than the previous option.

  3. Redirect each of your old URLs to a single new page:
      RedirectMatch seeother ^/~crsid($|/)

    This still allows people to find your new home page, but will not automatically direct them to any other documents. This may be appropriate for new home pages that do not attempt to preserve anything from your old world.

For the redirect directive to survive the removal of your home directory, contact webmaster to copy your directive into their global configuation file (/anfs/www/admin/shared.conf/cl.VH-redirects).

Please contact webmaster for more information.


Please make sure that the department retains access to electronic copies and metadata of all your publications, independent of your personal home page.

For any conference paper or journal article that you have published during your time here, check once more that you have deposited a copy with the University's Apollo open-access repository. If not then upload your manuscript. (This really should already have happened within three months of your paper being accepted, otherwise the department may not be allowed to include your paper in the REF.)

If you have a Symplectic Elements account, please also check whether the list of your publications there is up to date. Also check whether you have connected your Symplectic and ORCiD profiles.

If you got your PhD here, make sure you left a PDF of the final accepted version of your thesis in the departmental thesis upload system. (Delete there first any earlier version that still required corrections.) Note that this upload just preserves an in-house copy on the departmental filer and is not a publication.

You may also want to publish your PhD thesis. You can do so by

Also remember to ...

Go to reception or one of the secretaries to

  • hand in your access card (unless it is your University card and you are going to still require it elsewhere in the University);
  • hand in your office keys;
  • leave a forwarding address for (paper) mail.

Note: If you can't reach one of the secretaries or if Reception is closed, please put everything in an envelope with your name on and leave it in the Reception pigeonhole (located to the right of room GC03).

See also