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Frequently Asked Questions


UW staff, faculty, and students will fill out one online request form, and those who are outside of UW and are (or are working with) CSDE affiliates will fill out a separate one.

Request Computing Account

If you have an old CSDE account but no longer can log on our server, please send a renewal request by via email to

A Virtual Private Networking (VPN) connection allows an off-campus computer to connect to CSDE and University resources as if it were temporarily part of the CSDE Windows network. UW uses Husky OnNet for VPN services. As of January 1st, 2021, CSDE requires a Husky OnNet VPN connection to campus before allowing folks to connect to the CSDE Terminal Servers and SIM cluster via Remote Desktop. This adds an extra step to the connection process to get on CSDE Terminal servers and Sim nodes. It removes direct-from-the-internet access to the Remote Desktop servers and is recommended by the UW CISO’s office.

VPN also encrypts all data and network traffic between users computers and the CSDE servers, a feature that offers a degree of protection when working with sensitive or important data. Although one cannot control how network traffic flows from a home computer to the UW campus (that’s up to the ISP and various other mysterious internet forces), VPN uses encryption to shield that traffic from outsiders.

How do I connect to the UW VPN?
Updated instructions on how to connect to CSDE’s Terminal Servers and Sim nodes are linked on our resources page.

Here are some important things to remember while using Husky OnNet VPN:

    • Previously opened network connections may be closed upon logging into Husky OnNet.
    • Log off VPN when not using CSDE resources.
    • Only connect to the server “UW Campus Network Traffic Only”. Allowing all internet traffic to flow through the VPN slows the connection. Otherwise, all of your network traffic will continue to be funneled through the VPN server, including web browsing, etc. This is unnecessary and may cause delays for all users.

Additionally, a VPN connection can allow users to map network drives and copy files to and from our servers just as they can on the terminal servers or in their offices. However, this is not suggested as a long-term solution — the drives will give an error message anytime they are unable to make a connection. The preferred off-campus method of reaching files is through Remote Desktop and Windows Terminal Server.

The Husky On-Net service is widely available across the planet although there may be some areas of the world where its use is not recommended due to local laws and restrictions. Be sure to check local laws in your region and reach out to for assistance with Husky-On-Net connection from your location. More details can be found on the Husky On-Net service page.

Because the terminal servers and sim cluster nodes are running in the NetID domain, your password is your NetID password.

CSDE cannot change your NetID password, but you can reset it yourself at UWNetID Account Recovery. More information available at About UWNetIDs as well.

A complete walk-through can be found at the tutorials.

If you’re receiving an error message after following the walk-through, read these suggestions on our Tutorials page about how to troubleshoot the problem.

As of July 1, 2021, CSDE student computer account users will be logging on to servers or to run any programs previously only available on the sim nodes.

You may also want to review the suggestions on our Tutorials page about how to troubleshoot logon problems.

CSDE needs every computing user to add us to their UW support organization so that:

  1. UW-IT knows that you are trusting us with some of your user data
  2. CSDE may modify specific user settings to make your windows and/or unix login seamless
  3. CSDE can query to see how long since your last password change (note that we cant see your actual password!)

The support organization also allows the central computing group at UW to measure the size of CSDE and may add weight to our concerns and future requests. Please note that you may be a member of as many support organizations as you like—this is not an exclusive setting.

Files and Folders

We suggest that you save your documents in your H: drive, which is your personal directory on the CSDE Windows file server. It’s automatically connected whenever you log on to a CSDE server or workstation, so it’s always available in “My Computer” and when saving. Your H: drive is inaccessible to anyone else, and it’s also backed up to tape on a daily basis to guard against data loss.

We recommend that users move any saved files to their personal directory, as we regularly clear out Downloads folders.

The Project Drive (R:) is a network storage space for collaborative project work. We recommend setting up a project folder in the R: drive for any ongoing collaborative work with other CSDE users. For more information, see “How do I set up a project folder for group work or shared datasets?” below.

The Transfer Drive (T:) is a shared storage space that anyone with a CSDE Windows account may use. Think of it as a large, temporary, public storage location. The T: area is a great way to share nonsensitive and nonessential data. To do this, simply create a new folder and copy your file into it. This is often easier than emailing a file. Just keep in mind that T: is meant for temporary storage only, so it is not backed up and can be viewed by anybody with a CSDE account.

We strongly discourage users to store files on the local server drives. All CSDE servers have a system drive, C:, that holds the operating system and all program files. We regularly clear out each user’s Downloads folder on the terminal servers, as well as files that take up space on the local drives.

Any files you’ve downloaded should be moved to your H: drive for longer-term storage, or the T: drive for longer temporary storage.

CSDE computer users may request a CSDE project folder in the R: drive to share data with other users by filling out our Project Folder Request form. We do our best to set up the folder that same day but sometimes it may take longer or we may need to get more information from the requesting user.

This project folder will reside on a CSDE network file server and will therefore be backed up daily. In addition, we’ll configure it in such a way that only the members of your group have access to the folder.

Please note that users must request a folder inside of the R: drive in order to begin storing files. Any unauthorized files that are stored inside of the R: drive may be deleted without advanced notice. Also, project folders must be requested with at least 2 members. We do not allow a project folder to be created for just a single user.

Users may not change permissions to their project folders; this includes granting access to another user. Such changes led to much confusion in the past and restricted troubleshooting capacity.

If you would like to grant access to someone, email csde_help, including the project folder name and the usernames you would like to add. In the event that the requested user lacks a CSDE account, we will ask that they first apply for an account online.

This may due to special permissions imposed by the project folder owner. This is dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Please notify us if you experience it.

If you are a student, your home directory should be your UW UDrive. This is managed by UW-IT (not CSDE), and have their own methods of snapshot backups.

Otherwise, on the Windows file servers, we back up your data daily. Therefore, anything you store on the file servers (CSDE-FS1 and CSDE-FS2) is safe. UW UDrive is also backed up regularly by UW-IT. Our file servers and UW UDrive servers provide storage services to our user home directories (H:) and the Projects area (R:). We do a full backup of our file systems at the beginning of each quarter. After that, incremental backups are done nightly between 11:00 pm and 7:00 am.

If you have lost an essential file due to corruption, accidental deletion, etc., please contact csde_help—we’ll do what we can to retrieve your data. Due to the nature of incremental backups, however, it can take up to 24 hours or longer to locate and restore a particular file.

If you have a CSDE Unix account, it is possible to access your Unix home directory from the Windows terminal servers via a mapped network drive. To enable this service, please contact

Our terminal servers support the use of Dropbox/OneDrive/Skydrive/Google Drive, but only via our Expandrive software. To use the software, simply do a search for “Expandrive” from a “Win + s” or Start menu search and login to connect to your designated drive.

Please notice that some versions of ExpanDrive may not work well with Dropbox/Google Drive/UW OneDrive. Please email if you encounter problems

We do not allow the installation of Dropbox/OneDrive/Skydrive/Google Drive sync client. The reason for this is described in “Why did CSDE change its policy regarding Dropbox and downloads?”

All files in the Downloads folders on the C: drive of users are deleted every Friday or on demand if the local C: drive capacity if low on the server. Any file that you downloaded and want to keep should be moved to your H: drive or to folders in the R: drive. The reason for this practice is described in “Why did CSDE Computing change its policy regarding dropbox, onedrive and downloads?”

In the past, our Windows terminal servers servers consistently had their C: drives running low (<15%). The C: drive is used primarily for Windows system/application files and for storing temporary files during user-submitted jobs, but it is not intended for permanent storage. When the C: drive’s disk space gets too low, programs cannot be run, and users cannot log on to the system.

We learned that the primary reason for C: drive storage shortages on the terminal servers was files stored in Downloads folders and Dropbox. We understand that Dropbox synchronization is a convenient way to back up and restore files. However, since we have hundreds of users using our terminal servers, we simply do not have enough disk capacity to accommodate every user’s Dropbox files.

If you wish to use Dropbox or other clients, please see our Expandrive alternative under “How can I use Dropbox/OneDrive/Skydrive/Google Drive on the terminal servers?”

Any file that is saved to the desktop or downloads folder will need to be moved to one of the mapped drives (H:, U:, R:) in order to be accessed from another computer. For one-0ff transfers of files we suggest using a Secure File Transfer program; tutorial here. This has the advantage of working the same way from off and on campus. For longer term access we suggest mapping the drive; tutorial here. This works very well off campus but will require additional software to work off campus.


The list is updated as software is added and can be found here.

No. In order to keep the system clean and consistent for everyone, users may not install their own software on CSDE workstations and servers. However, we will make every effort to obtain and install any software you need for your projects or research. If you have software requests, just ask us!

No. In order to keep the system clean and consistent for everyone, users may not update or upgrade any software on CSDE workstations and servers. If you see a program in need of an update, please email us about it.

This page outlines when and how you should acknowledge use of CSDE services, including software, in your research.

Terminal Servers

Logging off closes your current terminal server session and terminates all your running programs. Disconnecting only closes your Remote Desktop window but your programs will still be running.

This also allows you to connect to that session again later.

To log off the terminal server, navigate to the Desktop and double-click on the “logoff” icon. If you have jobs running or files open, they will be closed.

To disconnect from the terminal server, click the X (Close button) to close the main terminal server window. You’ll see a message stating, “This will disconnect your Windows session.” The terminal server window will close, but your programs will continue to run in the background on the server. Next time you log in, you’ll be instantly reconnected, and your files and programs will still be up. It’s a convenient way to start a long-running job at school and check on it again later from home.

It is always a good practice to log off from the terminal server if you do not have any more jobs running. Doing this will allow the system to allocate resources that you no longer need to other users and jobs. In addition to this, the H:, R:, and T: drives may be disconnected if your remote desktop session has been idle for a while, and the only way to reconnect the drives is to log off from the terminal server.

The drives may sometimes get disconnected when your remote desktop session is disconnected without logging off. The usual way to get around this is to log out of the terminal server completely and then log back on. To log out, navigate to the Desktop, then double-click on the “logoff” icon. Notice that clicking the X button on the title bar of the remote desktop session will not log you off.

Please contact if problems persist.

If you see the application that you want to use on the desktop, you can double-click its icon and use the program as usual. If you must access the Windows Start Menu or the search field, log out of your current terminal server session by double-clicking the ‘Logout’ icon on the desktop screen, and then log back on. Usually logging out and logging back on solves the issue; however, if it does not, logout and try using a different terminal server.


Normally, if you have disconnected from your remote desktop session, you should be able to reconnect to it. However, all remote desktop sessions that were disconnected before our scheduled server reboot time will be logged off during the reboot. This means that you will not be able to reconnect to your previously disconnected remote desktop session the first time you log on after 5:30 AM on Tuesdays & Fridays.

If a network error has disconnected you from a session, try waiting for a few minutes before you reconnect. If you still experience problems connecting to the terminal server, email CSDE will also notify you of outages via email if there is a persistent networking problem affecting our server connectivity.

Though it’s rare, a terminal server crash can also keep you from reconnecting to your old remote desktop session. When a terminal server crashes, all remote desktop connection sessions are terminated, and users will not be able to reconnect to them. CSDE will notify you via email of a terminal server crash.

On Tuesdays and Fridays from around 3:00 AM – 5:30 AM PST, CSDE performs scheduled maintenance for all Windows Terminal servers. During this time, Windows servers (including terminal servers and file servers) may be rebooted to install security patches, operating system updates, or new software. If you happen to be logged into a terminal server at the start of the maintenance window, you will see a message notifying you of a reboot pending in 10 minutes.

If you have files open on the file server during the maintenance window, you may experience data loss. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you save your work and log out of all CSDE Windows systems before 3:00 AM on Tuesdays and Fridays and that you refrain from logging in again until 5:30 AM.

NOTE: The Sim Cluster is rebooted and offline for system maintenance between 3:00 AM – 10:00 AM on the last Friday of every month.

Few of the programs we have available will produce an error if opened across multiple servers at one time. However, those that do depend on the fact that the instance of the program has exclusive access to the user’s data files from only one machine, or server, at any given time. Opening another instance of the program on another server results not only in a new instance, but makes it seem as if it’s an entirely different program accessing the same set of files (not allowed).

At the moment, the following software can only be run on one CSDE terminal server: Eclipse, Firefox, SAS, and Thunderbird.

Windows TS Manager is no longer supported on our Terminal servers. Please use Task Manager to manage your program instances.

System resources for the terminal servers are shared among users who are currently logged on. At certain times, you may notice that the CSDE terminal servers slow down considerably. This is because of high resource utilization—for example, a couple of users running extremely CPU-intensive jobs decrease the server’s responsiveness for everyone else. Our experience shows that the #1 factor affecting the response time of the terminal servers is the usage of system memory. When system memory is consumed up to 95% and beyond, the system response time is very slow. In some severe cases, users might not be able to log on to the system.

We constantly monitor our systems to make sure users who log on have a fair chance of completing their computing jobs. For this reason, we may need to terminate programs that use a significant amount of system memory without advance notice.

R packages are installed in C:\Program Files\R\Rxxxx.yyyy\library and shared among all users. Any user can download and install packages in said folder on our terminal servers and Sim Cluster nodes. However, if the package is installed on only one terminal server (e.g, Ts2), you may need to log on to that server to use it.

Sometimes the installation may fail if the installer tries to install other packages that your package depends upon. We advise users to check if the dependencies packages are present before the installation and choose not to install dependencies of the package. If you are using RStudio to install R packages, uncheck “Install dependencies” before installing the package or use the command install.packages("package_name", dependencies = FALSE).

Sometimes when EndNote and Microsoft Word are concurrently open in terminal servers, Microsoft Word may freeze and jeopardize work. This can be avoided by disabling instant formatting on EndNote.

Open EndNote and Microsoft Word in terminal servers (TS1/2/3). Click on Tools on the menu bar. Select Cite While You Write (CWYW), then select Format Bibliography.

When this alert below shows up, click Turn Off. This should disable automatic synchronization of previous bibliographic information and prohibit freezing while using both programs.

This problem may happen if your computer is running Windows 8 (Windows 7 and Mac OS don’t seem to have this issue).

The error message looks like this when you try to log on to the terminal servers through Remote Desktop Connection with your correct NetID username and password:

The solution is to edit your computer’s registry using the method described in the bottom half of this page.

Notice that the author from the link did not post any specific explanation to the solution, and editing the computer registry is not straightforward. If you are not sure how to edit the registry by yourself, feel free to ask CSDE for help.

Laptop Recommendations

CSDE recommends Lenovo, Dell, and Apple Laptops. Below, please find additional recommendations for the best experience with your endpoint device

For any Laptop, please follow the hardening guidance from the UW CISO’s office. In the event of a conflict between CISO’s advice and what you find here, follow the CISO’s page.
UW CISO: Securing laptops

For Windows Laptops:

– Turn on Windows Defender Antivirus
– Turn on automatic updates & reboot regularly
– Use the manufacturer-provided Firmware and Driver update tools listed below:
— For Dell: Download and install “Dell Command Update”
— For Lenovo: Download and install “Lenovo System Update”

For Mac Laptops:

– Check Mac Buyers Guide before purchasing a machine
– Install sw updates regularly
– Approach major OS updates very cautiously – dont be an early adopter
– When possible, install software from the Apple store – this ensures automatic updates
– For software that is not from the Apple store, run that software’s internal “Update Check” regularly