New Student FAQ

Understanding all the many computing resources at Mines can take awhile. Fortunately, help is available. The Computing, Communications, and Information Technologies Department (CCIT) provides many resources to help you with all aspects of computing at Mines.

  • Frequently asked questions about computing are answered in CCIT's online FAQfinder database (
  • The Mines Help Center Helpdesk ( is the place to submit a support request for computer help. Any computing question or problem can be addressed here.
  • CCIT also offers in-person help for common computer and account issues. Visit the Computer Commons, in the Center for Technology and Learning Media (CT156a), situated on the southeast corner of the Mines campus. Or call (303) 273-3431.
  • Learn how to activate the three computer accounts you will need to get started with computing at Mines (http:/ During this process, students will also set up a MyMail ( email account powered by Google.


  1. How and where can I find more information?

    By looking on the CCIT website or picking up quick reference guides and handouts in the Computer Commons, CT 156A.
  2. How and where can I ask questions or get help with problems?

    By submitting out a Mines Help Center Service Request.

    By calling the Computer Commons front desk at (303) 273-3431.

    By asking for assistance at the Computer Commons front desk in CT 156A.
  3. What am I expected to know about computers when, or soon after, I start school?

    You should be familiar with basic concepts of computer use -- running applications, clicking, selecting text, and so on. You will receive an overview and some basic instruction about specific software in EPICS and class-appropriate instruction as you need it.
  4. What campus computing accounts do I need?

    You need to create three accounts to get started.Your Trailhead campus portal account provides access to academic, student life, and administrative business services. It provides you with a personal calendar, access to Blackboard, webmail and other services. You must use this account to use the "Self Service" features so you can confirm your attendance, select register for classes, select or waive a health insurance plan, update your address, see your bills, financial aid, and grades, drop and add classes, and authorize use of Colorado Opportunity Fund money.

    An MultiPass account is required to use campus Unix/Linux work stations, web servers, and some other academic services, some protected web services (such as campus housing network activation, antivirus software downloads, email list management, and others) and authorizes you to use campus modem pools.

  5. An ADIT account gives you access to PCs in the Computer Center, CTLM, Library, Writing Center and general PC labs. It also creates home directory space which you can access from your personal PC.

  7. What should I familiarize myself with when I arrive on campus?

    Activate your Trailhead, ADIT, and Multipass accounts,,  if you haven't already done so.

    a) Login to Trailhead, the campus web portal, and explore it.

    b) If you are living in a residence hall or Mines Park, configure your computer according to the instructions sent with your EKey card or found in the networking section of CCIT's web site. Be sure to apply all critical or security related patches to your computers operating system and application programs and continue to do this on a regular basis to keep them updated.

    c) Familiarize yourself with the Mines Mines Exchange webmail and CSM’s web site.

    d) Login to a PC with your ADIT account in one of the general labs and familiarize yourself with the desktop layout and the types of applications that are available.

    e) Buy a print card at the Computer Commons Front Desk in CTLM 156A and learn where you can print.

    f) Read the policies and understand your responsibilities.
  8. I’m bringing my own computer, why do I need to create Mymail, Trailhead, MultiPass and ADIT accounts?

    It is important to create these accounts for several reasons including:

    a) You will be required to use lab PCs in many of your Freshman year classes.

    b) Creating Mymail account is the only way to activate your Mines email address and Blackboard account.

    c) Email is an official means of Mines communication; you are expected to check it.

    d) You must have a MulitPass account if you want to create and publish a personal web page on Mines servers.

    e) To register your computer for access to the campus wireless network requires an official Mines account.
  9. I already have a personal email address.  Why should I activate a Mines email account?

    a)  Many instructors will communicate with classes by email; CCIT will not be able to help you if you are not using a Mines email address.
    b)  The Financial Aid Office, and other Offices, will not respond to off-campus email if the reply requires personal information.
    It is a good idea to treat your Mines email address as a professional account for your academic work. Consider using a personal account through another provider for non-Mines related communication.
  10. What will my email address be? When can I start using it? How do I get started?

    Your Mines username will typically be your first initial followed by up to 7 characters of your last name. Sometimes CCIT will need to modify your username from the above formula in order to avoid duplicates. Your Mines email address will be your Mines username followed by Your username and EKey will be sent to you by mail in early to mid June, or early August if you commit to attend Mines later than mid to late May. You can create your eamil account after you receive your EKey card by following the instructions in the at . You can activate this account immediately or wait until you arrive on campus. Remember to bring your EKey card to school; there is a nominal charge to replace lost cards.
  11. Can I get a personal web page area on school servers?

    Yes, as long as you are familiar with, and comply with, all Mines personal web page policies.
  12. What mail system and/or email protocol should I use?

    We recommend that students use You can also use an email client like Outlook or Thunderbird. CCIT recommends that you use the IMAP protocol so you can access all mail from multiple locations.  For more information on this topic, read the How Email Works pages in the Services/Email section of the CCIT website.
  13. Do you provide any methods to limit or reduce spam email? is powered by Google.  Google's mail system has strong spam filtering features to help avoid spam.
  14. Do I need to have my own computer at Mines and, if so, what kind?

    It’s not required but it’s a good idea if you can do it. Having your own computer is very convenient, though you will find that you must use school computers in many classes and to access software that you probably don't own. More than 95% of Mines students own a computer. Of those, about 30% are laptops. See the table in the next section for configuration recommendations. There are plenty of computers available in computer labs so you can wait to decide whether you need to have your own computer if you don’t already. Most computer labs and classrooms have Microsoft Windows based systems though some classes and academic programs use UNIX or Linux-based systems. Most central servers and some labs are Linux or UNIX-based and a small number of Macintosh systems are available in CCIT labs. If you bring a Macintosh or other system, be advised that we have limited support, though we will do our best to help you if you need assistance. You shouldn’t have problems, however, if you are proficient in using and supporting your Mac, Linux, or other system
  15. I’m buying a new computer, what configuration do you recommend?  Are discounts available to students?

    See the current CCIT Recommended Minimum Configurations page.
  16. What are Mines Network Admittance Policies?

    CCIT reserves the right to scan all computers that connect to the campus and campus housing networks to insure that security patches and appropriate antivirus software are up-to-date before allowing a system full access to the campus network. Be sure to update your operating system, web browser, and other applications with the latest security patches.
  17. I already own a computer.  Will it be good enough?

    It depends on the configuration; if it meets or exceeds the CCIT Recommended Minimum Configurations, you should be okay.
  18. Would it be better to bring a desktop or a laptop?

    It depends on how you prefer to work. Think about how and where you like to work, how careful you are with transportable equipment, whether you want a full size keyboard and bigger screen or what features are important to you. Usually, you will pay some premium for a laptop, but the gap in cost between laptops and desktops has been narrowing. Don’t assume you can take notes on a laptop in every class – some faculty find it distracting and may not allow it. Also, you generally will not be able to substitute using your laptop for a computer you are required to use during a class or lab.
  19. Should I bring a printer with my computer?

    Yes, if you can. CCIT charges student for printing, except for in-class use, even if it is for a class assignment. See the CCIT printing pages for current print charges.
  20. Do you provide any free software?

    See the CCIT software website for listings of free and downloadable software. Academic discounted software is available from several sources.
  21. Can I use my personal PC to access files on Mines servers?

    Yes, you can connect to your ADIT folders and files from a personal computer, but you usually cannot access the software application that are licensed on those servers or installed on lab computers. For more information, read the CCIT FAQfinder entry on "mapping" network drives.
  22. What steps can I take to protect my computer in my Mines residential room?

    A computer can be replaced fairly quickly, but your assignments, papers, projects, and personal data can take a long time to reconstruct, so it is important to do a few things to protect yourself:

    a) Make sure your computer is covered for replacement under some type of insurance, whether it be your parent’s homeowner insurance or your own personal insurance.

    b) Backup your schoolwork , music, photos and personal data and store the backups in safe place.  Neither your laptop case or the glove compartment of your car is a safe place.  Consider keeping one copy at home and another copy off-site.  That way you won’t lose time and work if something happens to your computer.
    c) Physically secure your computer with some type of protective lock, like a cable and padlock,  but don’t damage furniture to do it.
    d) Bring a surge protector or UPS system to protect your computer from power surges or interruptions.
    e) Secure your computer with usernames, passwords and security software so that only you and people you authorize can use it.

    f) Do not share your account or password information with anyone else, including CCIT.  CCIT will never need your password to help you and will never email a request to reveal that information.

    g) Learn about computer security. Keep your operating system and applications patched and up to date. Run antivirus software and keep the virus signatures up to date. Install a personal firewall program if your Operating System doesn't have one.  Most modern OS's will have a firewall pre-installed.
  23. Does Mines offer a computer service facility in case something goes wrong with my personal computer?

    CCIT does not offer service on personal computers, but we may be able to help with troubleshooting or questions.  Start with the blue-vested consultants in the Computer Commons, CT 156.
  24. Are all campus housing units connected to the campus network?

    All residence halls, the Mines Park apartment complex, fraternity and sorority houses are connected to the network.
  25. I'm living in a residence hall or Mines Park. How do I connect to the network?

    The campus housing network uses 10/100 Base-T Ethernet connections. IP addresses and other configuration information are assigned automatically via DHCP. To enable your connection for full use, you need to register your computer and agree to the campus network terms of service. To connect your computer do the following:

    a) Pick up patch cables and connection information from your residence hall front desk, or the Student Life office if you live in Mines Park.

    b) You should backup your computer prior to connecting it to any network and continue to do backups on a regular basis.

    c) Configure your system network settings for DHCP. This may be referred to as "automatically determine my IP address" or similar in your system's configuration options.

    d) Connect your computer's network port to a network jack on the wall (these are red).

    e) Reboot your computer and start a web browser. Go to Follow the registration instructions on the web page.

    Your computer may be scanned for security patches and virus protection prior to it being granted full access to the campus network.
  26. Important Things to Remember about Connecting to the Campus Housing Network:

    a) The campus housing network provides access to campus resources and the Internet at speeds much higher than even those provided by Internet Service Providers via DSL or cable modem services.

    b) You are responsible for the security of your computer. You should verify that your operating system is up-to- date and that all security patches are installed. Most vendors provide updates on their websites. Systems detected to be out-of-date or compliance will be disconnected or denied admission to the network.
    c) Install antivirus software and update the definitions frequently, and install or activate personal firewall software if your Operating System does not already have one. CCIT has a site license which extends free of charge to CSM- and personally-owned machines. See the CCIT antivirus  website for information.

    d) Computers found to be spreading viruses will be disconnected from the campus network without warning. If you find your port has been deactivated, please contact the Computer Commons Front Desk in CT 156A.
    e) The unauthorized sharing of copyrighted files, including music, movies, games, and software, is illegal and a violation of CSM policy. Don't do this! Violators are subject to network service suspension or termination. Copyright holders monitor peer-to-peer networks for violations and are increasingly prosecuting students.
    f) Any wireless access points discovered attached to the campus network will be disconnected.
  27. What hardware and software do I need to use the campus housing network?

    You should have a 10/100 network interface card in your computer and the appropriate drivers, a web browser such as Mozilla Firefox, or Internet Explorer, and a secure shell terminal client like WinSCP.
  28. How secure will my computer be on the campus network?

    Computers with permanent connections to any high-speed network are susceptible to remote attack if steps aren't taken to protect them. A computer can be replaced fairly quickly, but your assignments, papers, projects, and personal data can take a long time to reconstruct so it is important to do a few things to protect yourself:

    a) Run virus protection software on your computer and keep the software and virus definitions up-to-date . You can download Symantec Antivirus software free from the CCIT website.
    b) Acquire and install anti-spyware software and keep it up-to-date.

    c) Turn off file and printer sharing and deactivate unnecessary services.
    d) Install personal firewall software, if your OS doesn't have one built-in, and keep it up-to-date to reduce the risk of intrusion via the Internet.
    e) Don’t open email attachments you aren’t expecting and be suspicious of downloading software.

    f) Pay attention to security updates and install appropriate service patches on your computer.

    g) Do frequent backups of your schoolwork and personal data and keep them in a safe place (not in your laptop case) so you don’t lose valuable time if something happens to your computer.

    Yes, CCIT has already said this, but it bears repeating that these measures are as important, if not more, than physical security.
  29. How do I access the network if I live at home, off-campus, or in housing without direct network connections?

    Depending on where you live, you may be able to subscribe to high speed cable modem or DSL services through local providers. In these cases, CSM will not be your ISP so you will need to use the Mines VPN to access CCIT secured services. If you use a third-party ISP and you use a Mines email account, be sure to check information in the email section of our web site or in FAQ finder for information on how to correctly configure your email.
  30. I’m bringing a laptop and I want to use it in different locations on campus. How do I do that?

    You must register your computer at the CCIT on-line form and use DHCP, or automatic network assignment, for connections outside of the campus housing network. You must register separately from the same form for Residence Halls use.
  31. Is wireless network access available?

    802.11b/g wireless network access is available in most locations on campus including the Library, Computing Center, CTLM, Student Center, Kafadar Commons, Residence Halls, Mines Park and most areas of academic buildings. You must register your wireless card from the form on the CCIT web-site.
  32. I have more than one computer – can I install a hub or wireless access point in my room?

    No! Do not install any device that extends the campus network without permission from the networking staff. If your roommate is not using the other network port or if you are in a single room with two ports, you can use the other port. Connecting any wireless hub or access point to the CSM network is a violation of your network use agreement and will result in having your network port turned off.
  33. Can I offer services through my computer?

    Yes, but any services you offer cannot be accessed from off-campus since inbound connections to individual computers are blocked by the campus border firewall. Also, any services that you offer to the campus through your computer must be legal and comply with all campus and CCIT policies and guidelines. You must respect reasonable use limits and you cannot run any business via your computer that depends on the services of the campus network. You cannot offer services through your computer that require validation by a username and password.
  34. What should I not do on the Mines network?

    You are expected to comply with the law and all CSM and CCIT policies. Software license agreements, copyrights and trademarks of all kinds must be respected. You cannot run a business or generate personal income through the Mines network, even if you are using your own computer. You are expected to respect the need for access and privacy of all other network users and not interfere with the operation of the network or its use. Intentionally spreading viruses, spam, worms, or attempting to compromise security, sniff network traffic, or gain access to other computers or computer accounts without permission will result in termination of network connections and disciplinary action.
  35. What computers do I have access to? Where are the computer labs? When are they open?

    There are about 320 accessible computers in labs managed by CCIT and in the ADIT domain. They are in the Library, CTLM building, and the Writing Center in Stratton Hall. Most rooms are available as open labs when a class is not in session. Fully “open” labs are available in the Computer Commons and Library. Most departments also have computer labs for class use or use by students enrolled in their options. Computer Commons labs in CT 156 are open Monday to Thursday from 7am to 11:45pm, Friday from 9am to 5:45pm, Saturday from 9am to 5:15pm, and Sunday from 9am to 11:45pm. Extended hours are usually offered the week before final exams. Open times in other buildings differ, so contact that department for current information.
  36. Can I look at my schedule and personal information on the web? Can I register for classes on the web?

    Yes. You will do this through the Trailhead campus portal by logging in and then clicking on the "Self Service" icon which is a link to the administrative and business services section of the website. Most incoming students will be issued a prearranged schedule. You will receive this information at orientation or after you arrive at school.
  37. What constitutes a good password?

    CCIT has published a thorough discussion on “Creating good passwords”. In general, passwords should consist of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.  They should not be a word or combination of words, spelled forward or backward, in any language. Minimum length should be 8 characters and will go up to as many as the computer allows and you can remember. Consider grossly misspelled words or characters drawn from a phrase that has meaning to you or you can remember so you can reconstruct it (Aunt Matilda’s birthday is February 5 and she has a 9 pound cat named Fluffy could be AMb25&9lbcnF). Although you should change your passwords periodically, a strong password you keep for a long time is better than a very weak password that you change frequently.
  38. Do you have resources to help me give presentations in class or to do special project work?

    Projectors and laptop computers are available to borrow for short-term use to give presentations and to work on special projects. Projectors can be borrowed for a few hours and laptops can be borrowed for a maximum of two or three days, based on time of year, availability, and your borrowing history. You assume financial responsibility for damage or loss of any equipment you borrow, including any components or pieces like power and connector cables, remote controls, etc. Many students depend on these resources, so if you fail to return equipment when scheduled, you will not be permitted to borrow equipment again.


Contact CCIT
CCIT facilities are primarily housed in the east end of the CTLM building (Center for Technology and Learning Media):

Campus Computing, Communications and Information Technologies:
1650 Arapahoe St.
Golden, Co. 80401

Computing Commons Front Desk:
(303) 273-3431
Office: (303) 273-3430
Fax: (303) 273-3475

Business Mailing Address:
Colorado School of Mines
1500 Illinois Street
Golden, Colorado 80401

About Campus Computing

If you have question or concerns about the content on this page, please submit a request to the Mines Help Center.