Computer Science
FAQ - Spring 2014
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NOTE: Make sure you are on the right course server for your course:

Course servers will have software loaded as requested by the professor, not all course servers are the same. If you are in multiple courses you will need to log into the right course server. This is just the same as making sure you are in the right classroom or bblearn course area. Separate course servers make sure courses have what they need when they need it and we do not impact other users from other courses.

other CS machines do not accept ssh sessions. Also, make sure that are connecting using your CS user id (e.g., abcd1234). It appears many failures are related to these two issues.

repeated failed password/login attempts

Make sure you are first connected with the Universities VPN client. Other VPN clients can conflict so make sure you are not already usin a privacy VPN. The VPN client when it connects lets you access UI resources like you were on campus. Course servers cannot be contacted outside of the VPN client to protect them from harmful actors that are off campus.

If you fail with your password attempts too many times withing a short time window, UI will lock your account for about 15 minutes after the last attempt. Make sure you do not have scripts trying a bad password or such. Try again within 15 minutes. This policy will lock you out of all computers on campus as well and it is usually fixed by the time you go to the ITS helpdesk.

Course Servers not responding to ssh

If course servers will not respond to an ssh connection attempt and you know that your internet connection is working and you have not had repeated login failures (see above), make sure that you are using the full name and domain for the course server as provided by your instructor.

If you are still unable to connect, please notify and let us know which course server is not responding to ssh.

This is a relatively rare occurrence although it can happen, do not wait till the last minute to start assignments!

permission denied errors with a correct password

If you using ssh to connect to a course server and seeing permission denied errors after entering your password, it may be that your ssh client is sending your local user name as your login name. This is more likely to happen if you are trying to connect from a Mac or linux machine from the command line. The easiest way to fix this is to provide your login name for the course server on the command line:


Where course-server is a valid course server name.

connection is immediately closed after login

The most likely cause of the connection closing immediately after login, is because of too many connections. Course servers allow up to four (4) simultaneous connections for each user and subsequent connections will be immediately dropped if the limit is reached. This can cause problems if the connections were accidentally dropped (see Dropped Connections, below) because it may take up to fifteen minutes for course servers to close these disconnected sessions and allow logins again.

It is important to properly log off of a course server with the logout or exit command before closing your ssh client. Terminating the ssh client without logging off may not end the session and may cause a session to remain active for a short time and contribute to the limit problem. If you are having problems send mail to the and we can free the connections. Users on intermittent connections should use caution when taking advantage of multiple ssh sessions.

The connection to a course server is getting dropped

The most common problem students experience with a course server is dropped or disconnected active sessions. Course servers will automatically logout sessions that are connected but inactive, but only after at least two (2) hours, so the problem is most likely that the local service provider has a very short inactivity timeout. It does appear to affect students living in apartment complexes more often and could be related to traffic within the complex.

If you are experiencing frequent dropped connections, the recommended ssh client PuTTy can be configured to send null packets every x seconds to keep the session alive. For PuTTy, from the Configuration window, select Connection. Set the "Seconds between keepalives" to a number greater than zero. A good start would be 300 (five minutes) but if disconnects are still occurring, a lower value will be required.

Login failures

Usually, login failures are related to incorrect user IDs or passwords or not being in one of the CS access lists. User IDs and passwords are case-sensitive and may contain special characters. Access to course servers and the computers in the CSAC requires your VandalWeb credentials and you must also be in an access group or list for CS. If you have forgotten your VandalWeb password, we cannot reset it for you. You must take a photo ID and go to the ITS Help Desk in the Commons. If you know that your VandalWeb credentials are good, write the CS Help Desk and we can make sure that you are in the access list.

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