This page was written for new Rutgers students and their parents. However it should be useful to anyone who wants to use a computer at Rutgers. It includes information for students, faculty and staff.
You may want to look at What type of computer to buy for Rutgers first, to make sure you have everything you need.
This page will deal with
Even if you don't have your own computer, everyone on campus needs to create a NetID and make sure that you have registered a valid email address. Rutgers is now using email for essential communications, so we assume that everyone reads email regularly.
So if you do nothing else, at least go to the section on Creating an Account and NetID, and then the next two, which help you make sure that the information we make public about you is right, and that you have registered a valid email address.
Computer labs, Help desks
Rutgers has labs that are available to all students, faculty, and staff. Labs are spread throughout all Rutgers campuses. These labs have Macintoshes, PC's, and systems that can be used to access Unix servers, as well as a variety of printers and other support equipment.
You may find it helpful to visit one of the labs soon after you get on campus. The staff there can help you create a computer account and NetID, and give you information about computing at Rutgers.
There are classrooms in many of the labs, which faculty can schedule for courses that need computer facilities. There are also "smart classrooms" throught the campus.
Another good place to get information about computing is your campus help desk:
If you aren't going to have your own computer (e.g. you just intend to use computers in our student labs), you may want to skip to Creating an Account and NetID.
Getting connected to the network
If you are living in a residence hall, you should receive information in your room telling you how to connect your computer to the network. There's a web page with information about networking in the residence halls
If you are living at home, you can use
What software you need on your computerAt a minimum, most people will need
Rutgers has special pricing for a variety of software. Some pricing is only for Rutgers institutional systems. Others applies to home systems. The Microcomputer Support Services Group's Licensed software web site lists software for institutional systems (and in a few cases, home systems).
Protecting your computer
One problem with being connected to the Internet is that your system is subject to attack. This includes email with viruses, as well as attacks that exploit various bugs and security weaknesses, particular in Microsoft Windows. Student computers in the residence halls are often the victims of attacks if they aren't properly protected.
Anti-virus software: All computers at Rutgers are required to have anti-virus software. We strongly recommend using the Rutgers Antivirus Delivery Service (RADS). This service is based on Trend Micro Antivirus software. It is free for Rutgers users. If you choose to use your own AV software, make sure that you get regular updates of the virus description files ("DAT files"). Many computers come with free AV software, but with updates only for a limited time.
Other security precautions: Many of the attacks on our systems take advantage of "bugs" in software. New bugs are being found every day. Thus it is important for you to keep your software up to date. For our recommendations on doing this, please see http://netsecurity.rutgers.edu for Windows systems, and http://rusecure.rutgers.edu for other information.
Activating an Account and NetIDIn order to use any central computing facilities at Rutgers, you need to activate a username and password. The same username is used for a variety of academic and administrative services, including web pages such as course registration and checking on financial aid status. This username is called the "NetID". In most cases you will also want ta activate an email account on one of the 6 Computing Services campus systems. This will give you access to email, and web hosting. Those campus systems use your NetID as their username.
To actvate a NetID and password, and create an account on your campus system, see http://netid.rutgers.edu and Click NetID Activation. If you have not already activated an email account you will have the opertunity to do so here.
To activate an Email Account with a previously activated NeID see http://netid.rutgers.edu and click Services Activation. Your password for your email address will be the same as your NetID password.
When you create your account, you will be asked what email address you want in your directory entry. It's important to get this right. This address is used for everything from mailing lists for course discussions to library overdue notices. As we move from paper to electronic communications, more and more critical functions will start to use this address.
By default, the account creation software will set this to the account you just created. That is, if you create an account on eden.rutgers.edu (the student system in New Brunswick), the software will register your email address on eden. That's great if you read your eden email regularly. However if you have an account on AOL or Hotmail, and only read that mail, make sure you put your AOL or Hotmail address in your directory entry.
Making sure your directory information is right, and that you are happy with what people can see about youOnce you have created an account, we suggest that students review their entry in the Rutgers Online Directory. See the Student Online Directory Information Update page. This lets you add certain address and phone information, and also control what information people can see about you.
As you are looking at your entry, take another opportunity to make sure your email address is right.
Faculty and staff directory information comes from our payroll database. You can set some of this information using the Online Address Update Form.
Setting up email and email addresses
When you create an account, you will get an email address. We supply a full range of email services. You can read and send mail through a web interface, through Unix programs such as pine, or through your web browser's mail facility.
It is important for you to read email regularly, and to register an email address where you can be reached. If you read email at AOL, Hotmail, or somewhere else outside Rutgers, that's OK, as long as you register your email address. If it changes, be sure to register your new address.
Your email address is part of your directory information. So see the previous section for how to register it, and how to update the information if it changes.
The rest of this section describes options for email that are provided by Rutgers.
Web mail is the easiest to use. Go to webmail.rutgers.edu to find web mail for your campus.
Web mail is great for people who don't get a lot of email. Even for people who get a lot, web mail is great when you're in some else's office or on the road. However if you get a lot of mail, you'll probably be better off using a mail reading program. Netscape, Mozilla, and older versions of Internet Explorer have quite reasonable mail readers built into them. However Microsoft is discontinuing development of this mail program, called "Outlook Express." Thus for new users we recommend the mail component of Mozilla or the separate Mozilla mail program called Thunderbird. Many users at Rutgers also use the full Outlook product (which is part of Microsoft Office). The Mozilla software is available from www.mozilla.org.
These products require you to do a little setup. You have to tell them who you are, and what server you read mail from. For instructions on setting up Netscape or Outlook, see the NBCS Documentation for your OS. Although the menus for Outlook and Outlook Express are slightly different, it will ask for similar information to Netscape. In addition, New Brunswick users may want to look at Email for New Brunswick Faculty and staff or Email for New Brunswick Students. Camden users may want to look at the Camden help system: email.
NOTE: Email on the student servers (eden, clam, pegasus) will be decommissioned around July, 2014. These servers will still be available for file storage and web pages.
More about computingThere are many more computing services available at Rutgers. The best source of information is your campus computer services organization. Web pages are
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