Windows Computing

Windows computing at the Institute is designed to provide a full suite of scientific applications, and a productive environment.

Windows is available in two ways:

Because SNS Computing strives to maintain the most current scientific software on our Windows computers, the computers are subject to frequent software updates. Software updates ensure a uniform and secure environment for Windows computing. So, if there is a software or a feature that you cannot find on the Windows computer in your office, then please contact us.


In your welcome letter, you will find your assigned user name and password. The same password is also used for email.

About Passwords

You may change your password at any time. 

How to Change Your Windows Password

  1. Press the CTRL+ALT+DELETE keys at the same time.
  2. Click Change Password...
  3. Type your current password, and your desired new password in the specified places, then click OK

How to Change Your Linux/Email Password

It is usually convenient to change your Linux/Email password when you change the Windows password.

  1. Start by logging onto a secure shell session.
  2. Once you have logged onto a shell session, type sns_passwd and follow the instructions. You may make your Linux password the same as your Windows password.

Accessing Linux Servers from Windows

Secure Shell Access (SSH)

Our Linux servers are accessible via secure shell (SSH). Use the SSH Secure Shell Client for this. A shortcut to the SSH Secure Shell Client is on your Windows desktop. Click File, then click Connect to start a session. The host name and your user name should be filled in for you. Click the Connect button to start and enter your password when prompted. You can copy and paste text from a Windows application to a Unix application using the SSH Secure Shell Client, but you should press CTRL+Y to paste to an emacs window.

Running X Applications

Use the xterm desktop icon.

Running Mathematica Faster on a Linux Server

It is possible to use a fast Linux server for calculations on the Mathematica Kernel, while continuing to use Mathematica on the Windows desktop. To do this:

  1. Start Mathematica.
  2. Click Evaluation the click Kernel Configuration Options...
  3. Click Add.
  4. Choose Remote Machine.
  5. In the space for Machine Name, type the host name of one of the compute servers.
  6. Type in your username in the space for Remote Login.
  7. Type a name for this kernel setting in Kernel Name, then click OK to save this kernel.
  8. Now, the kernel you added is available on the Evaluation menu, either to choose as your Default Kernel or the Notebook's Kernel. When you evaluate a notebook with the remote kernel, you will be required to log on with your Linux password.

File Storage

Data Storage in Windows is arranged as follows:

  • The Home Directory
    Save your files in your home folder, an sns_home network file location, which is also known as the H:\ drive. Files you save in this mapped directory will appear in your Linux home folder. Your home folder is backed up regularly.
  • The Data Directory
    On request, we will make a Data directory, which is also known as the Y: drive. Files you save in your Windows data directory will appear in your Linux data folder. The data folder has no storage limits, but it is never backed up. The Data Directory is best used as a temporary storage space for large data sets generated by you or downloaded from the Internet.

Note: Never save anything to the C: drive. The C: drive is never backed up, and we frequently erase the C: drive during upgrades.

Restoring Files

You can restore changes to files and folders in your home folder for up to two weeks. To restore a file or folder:

  1. Right-click on the file or folder containing the item you need to restore, then click Properties.
  2. Click the Previous Versions tab.
  3. In the next window, you can view, copy, or restore the older versions.

For changes to files and folders older than two weeks, you must contact the computing staff for assistance.


The nearest printer to your office will be automatically configured and set as your default printer. Normally, you can simply click File then click Print from any Windows application.

Adding Other Printers

You can add other printers if you want. You can see a list of printers on the printing page.

  1. Click Start, then click Settings (the gear icon), then click Devices, then Printers & Scanners on the left pane.
  2. Click Add a printer. This will scan the network for network printers.
  3. Once the desired printer is found, select the it and click Add printer.

Setting Default Printer Options

You can change a printer's default options. For example, you may want to enable or disable duplex (two-sided) printing for all documents.

  1. Click Start, then click Settings (the gear icon), then click Devices, then Printers & Scanners on the left pane.
  2. Click the printer you wish to change and choose Manage.
  3. Select Printing preferences.
  4. Make any desired changes and click OK.

Printing Transparencies

Transparency printing is on color printers only.

To print a transparency:

  1. In the program from which you wish to print transparencies click File, then click Print.
  2. Select the color printer you wish to use and click Properties. Select the Paper/Quality tab.
  3. Change Paper Source to transparency and click OK.

Portable Document Format (PDF)

Creating PDF Files

To generate PDF files from any Windows application, click File, then click Print. Choose the Microsoft Print to PDF printer. You will be prompted for a filename to save. Enter the location and filename of your choice, and this will create a PDF file.

Editing PDF Files

It is sometimes possible to edit PDF files. Adobe Acrobat Professional is available for editing PDF files.

Tex and LaTeX

Writing TeX and LaTeX

Use WinEdt for writing and compiling TeX and LaTeX. In basic terms, you use WinEdt as follows:

  1. Start WinEdt from its desktop icon.
  2. Click File then New to create a new document.
  3. Write your TEX or LATEX document.
  4. To compile your document, click the TEX or LATEX button as appropriate.
  5. To view the resulting DVI file in YAP, click the DVI Magnifying Glass button.
  6. To create a postscript file, click the dvi2ps button.
  7. To create a pdf file, click the dvi2pdf button or the pstopdf button.