Computer Laboratory

Information for new arrivals

Information for visitors to the Computer Laboratory

Welcome to the Computer Lab

If you are a visitor you will need help getting things set up so that you can get to work quickly – we hope this page will tell you what you need to do.

Within these pages you will find a series of links to pages within our Computer Laboratory website. Do take the time to look through these pages during your stay with us, as you will find much of what you need to know about the Lab in here.

You may find the following pages of use, which cover pretty much everything a visitor to the Computer Lab should need to know:

An office and a desk

The William Gates Building is quite crowded (mainly because we have so many visitors!), and so it is very unlikely that you would be allocated your own office. It is probable that you will be sharing an office, often with your host. Most longer-term visitors will be allocated a desk. This should have been arranged for you in advance, and so your host should be able to show you where to go.

A Computer

Many visitors wish to bring and use their own laptop. Your host should have asked you before your arrival whether you were going to do this or not.

If not, then your host should have arranged for a machine to be made available for you, and also whether you wanted to use Windows or some version of Linux. If we are providing the machine then you will need a lab account. If you are providing your own laptop then you may not need a lab account, depending on what you wish to do. Again, a machine and/or an account can all be arranged in advance – if it has not then it may take us a day or so to get sorted out.

Your own laptop

If possible you should use the Eduroam wireless network using credentials supplied by your home institution. If you do not have such credentials we can supply visitor tickets which enable you to connect to the UniOfCam network. Your host can provide a ticket to access this by going to the University Wireless Service Console and issuing a colleague ticket. If they are not available you can contact the Systems Staff.

In addition there is an open access wireless network. This is mainly intended for short sessions e.g. to check email. It isn't suitable for longer-term visitors so we will need to be asked to set up a network connection.

If a wired network connection is required then:

  • a floorbox connection needs to be set up. We use Structured Wiring, so you can't do this yourself. It can be done in advance if Systems Staff are told where you are going to be sitting.
  • your laptop needs to be set up for DHCP registration. Your host can set this up in advance if they have sufficient information, see Using a private machine in the department.


Here is Information about our printers including locations and model type.

You are allowed to use our printers without an account if you have a network connection:

  • If using Windows with an account see Windows Printing. If using Windows without an account, use Add Printer and then add a network printer in the form with appropriate drivers for the actual printer model concerned.
  • If using a Macintosh see MacOS Printing.
  • If using Linux then it will depend on what variety you are using and which software you have installed. we have a CUPS server, see Computer Lab printing.

You may find the Common Printing Problems page of help should you experience any problems.

A lab account, a CRSID

The type of account you are assigned depends on:

  • If you are bringing your own laptop (see above):
    An account may not be necessary, note that you are allowed to use our printers without an account (if you are using Eduroam or a wired network connection).
  • If you are only here for a few days:
    We may issue an unnamed visitor account.
  • If you are a long stay visitor and you need a proper account:
    It can be set up in advance if your host provides the Systems Staff with sufficient information

Please note, if your account has not been created it can take a day or so to create.

You will be allocated an identifier, called a CRSID.
(If you already have one of these through previous associations with the University or a previous visit then please make sure your host knows).

Please note, many web-based services provided by the University and this department use an authentication system called Raven – this is based on the CRSID. Most of our web pages are not protected by Raven. If you do need to access services protected by Raven then you will need a CRSID.
If you just need a CRSID but do not need a lab account then contact Reception and they can obtain a CRSID for you.

We use a unified account system, so the same password will work on both Windows and Linux machines.

Most of our machines are useable by everyone with a valid account, but some machines are "owned" by specific research groups and have restricted access. If you are allocated (or wish to use) such a machine and do not appear to be able to log in then you may not have been added to the appropriate access list – ask your host to ask the Systems Staff to add you (we need to be asked by a member of staff so that we can check that it is appropriate for you to use that particular machine).


We do not set up local email accounts for visitors, short or long-term, but will set up forwarding for any email that arrives here. This forwarding can be set up in advance if we are provided with an appropriate address, have your host email it to [Javascript required].


We do not provide visitors with a telephone or a Directory entry, although if you are in a shared office there may be a shared telephone.

For a full list of staff and student telephone extensions, visit the People page.