CS Accounts

Account Creation

If you are registered in a COMP class and you intend to use our computing infrastructure, opening a CS account will provide you with a backed-up-everyday home directory which is accessible from every CS machine.

If you are not registed in any COMP class but still want an account, you will need to send us an email asking for an exception to be made for you.

To create the account, visit https://newuser.cs.mcgill.ca from any McGill IP. You will be prompted for your McGill student number, your first and your last name (as they appear in McGill's database!). Once your record is found and that you agreed to the terms, you will be given your CS username and a temporary password.

You are advised to change the randomly generated password to something you will easily remember. To do so, login to any CS machine and from either a console or terminal, type

$ passwd

to change your password. Keep in mind that the password must contain symbols from 3 of the 4 following categories:

  • Lowercase letters
  • Uppercase letters
  • Numbers
  • Symbols

If you lack inspiration to create your password, you may find some here.

CS Email

You can request a CS email of the form USERNAME@cs.mcgill.ca if you so desire. This can be useful if you want to setup multiple aliases (e.g. ALIAS@cs.mcgill.ca) that all send email to the same inbox. We can also request to have your @mail.mcgill.ca and @mcgill.ca emails be sent to your CS email.

Outgoing Configuration - SMTP
  • Server: mail.cs.mcgill.ca
  • Port: 465 (SSL) or 587 (TLS)
Incoming Configuration - IMAP
  • Server: mail.cs.mcgill.ca
  • Security: SSL
  • Authentication: Normal Password
Incoming Configuration - POP (Not Recommanded)
  • Server: mail.cs.mcgill.ca
  • Security: SSL
  • Authentication: Normal Password

Forgotten Password or Username

You can query your username and reset your CS password by visiting https://newpassword.cs.mcgill.ca from any McGill IP and entering your McGill (not CS) credentials.

Account Expiry

To allow us to archive unused accounts, every account is set to expires after a certain time. Once your account is 30 days away from expiration, you will receive an email warning you to take action if you wish to continue using your account. As long as you follow up on the expiration email, your account will not be archived.

File Recovery

Every day, around 1:00 AM, every home directory is backed up. This means you can email us for us to recover any file or directory you might have lost or corrupted the day before or prior.

Space Quota

Because the home directories are backed up every night, a strict quota (typically 3G) is imposed to keep the datasets manageable. For that reason will also ask students to avoid storing the following:

  • Videos and pictures; unless they are needed for academic reasons
  • Softwares and librairies as we install them globally on request
  • Anything redundant that can be redownloaded / recreated easily

You can inspect the current status of your space usage with the

$ quota

command. Note that the output of this command is updated every 30 minutes only. Also note that if you are out of quota, the default Ubuntu environment (Unity / Gnome) is not going to be able to launch (as it will try to write to your home directory on login). If this happens, you can use a console (CTRL+ALT+F2 to F6) to login and clear some space. Alternatively you can login using SSH or the Openbox windows manager. The following directories are good candidates to be removed, if present, to free space:

  • ~/.wine
  • ~/.cache

or the following if you do not care about customizations:

  • ~/.local
  • ~/.config

You could even remove them automatically every logout by writing

#!/bin/sh
rm -rf ~/.wine ~/.cache

in your ~/.bash_logout file.

Local Space

Note that most of our workstations have unused hard drives that are left accessible to everyone under /mnt/local that you can use for data not fit for your home directory. The suggested way to use this space is to create a directory under it which matches your username, e.g.

$ mkdir -p /mnt/local/USERNAME
$ chmod 700 /mnt/local/USERNAME # setting permissions to "private"

It should be noted that this space will be significantly faster than I/O in your home directory as it is using the local hard disk instead of the network (NFS storage).