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Computing: FAQ

Computing Basics

How do I do citations and can I use software like Endnote?

The UW Libraries has a number of pages dedicated to citations. Click here for the overview, or here for UW-restricted citation tools available for free now. The latter includes the web version of Endnote (creatively called Endnote Web).

What is the difference between and addresses?

Email sent to both [your NetID] AND [your NetID] will come to your inbox without distinction.

Your email is configured to be sent through only one address, either the OR the address. If you have recently changed the program through which you email, and people are now not receiving your email, have them add your new address to their SPAM filters.

I currently use Pine (or WebPine or Alpine) but don't like it. Do I have other options?

Faculty and staff have three free options to choose from for using their (and/or email. The most user-friendly options depend on your preferences.  UW Google Apps includes GMail with calendaring and Google Drive.   UW Exchange Online is the Microsoft Office365 programs that include Email, Calendar and Tasks.   The remaining option is UW Deskmail, which is typically viewed through Alpine, but can be added to third-party software such as Thunderbird or Outlook.

Transferring email from Deskmail to Google is now relatively easy through a wizard provided by UW IT.

More information can be found here.

I am having trouble with my email. What do I do?

Email is supported by UW IT. If you have issues or questions, please contact them.

My personal computer is having issues. Are there local recommended vendors for repair?

The list below includes UW-IT staff responses, with their comments. 

  • The Microsoft Store - "For a fee, they took an old laptop that was slow as a dog and got it back up to running as well as it did when I first go it."
  • Uptime Technology - "I haven't used these folks but a lot of faculty and staff in the College seem to like them."
  • Seattle Laptop - "I've not heard a bad thing back, and have heard multiple good things, from people I've sent over there."
  • Sam - "He's very affordable, and my friends, colleagues and I have been very happy with the services he provides."

If you need Apple service, the first two that come to mind are:

There is no sound coming from my computer. What is wrong?

Many computers have a "sound bar" (speakers attached to the bottom of the monitor screen); others have separate speakers which typically are placed on the desk. If your computer has neither, contact Drama IT Staff

Most sound bars have an on/off switch, a volume control, and a light indicating that power is on. Often the power and volume are integrated, so turning the knob first turns power on then continued turning increases the volume. First look to see if the speaker/speaker bar has lights that are lit. If yours shows no light, turn the power on. If the light is on, turn volume up. Then try listening to the audio.

If you have no lights, look at the back of the speakers/speaker bar to see what cords are there. In general, there are two cords - one running sound to the computer, the other to power. Make sure both are connected.

My monitor displays "Check Video Cable". What is wrong?

It is likely that your monitor is on but your computer is not. Please first check that the power is on for your computer. If power is on and the same message remains, find the cable running from the monitor to the computer; unattach it and reattach it at both ends to make sure it is snugly attached. If this does not solve the situation, or if there is no cable running from the monitor to the computer, contact Drama IT Staff.

How do I leave the computer when I am done for the day?

When you are leaving for the night or a long period of time, please log out of your account (do not shut down) and turn the monitor off. This allows the computer to receive updates to software and anti-virus programs, as well as running various scheduled tasks, yet other users cannot gain access to your account or files.

If a computer is to remain unused for a long period of time, please alert Drama IT Staff and we may chose to recommend another way to leave the computer.


I think I may have a virus. What do I do?

  • Assuming you are using Sophos Antivirus (provided by the University for free), update the virus definitions (right-click on the shield icon in your taskbar and choose "Update Now"). Then open the program and choose "Scan Now." Let the scan run, and if all the items are quarantined, delete or "clean" them, then re-run the scan until it no longer finds items to quarantine.
  • If you are not running Sophos, run a scan using your anti-virus software and follow instructions if it finds a virus.
  • If you are not running anti-virus software, you should not be running a computer.

A warning just appeared saying I have a virus - what do I do?

There are a few possibilities:

  1. You may have a virus.
  2. You have a program that is trying to pretend you have a virus so that you do something that you should not, like install their software to take care of the problem.

Check to see if the warning window specifically lists your anti-virus; as in, if you are using Sophos Antivirus, does it say "Sophos Antivirus Alert"? Or does it say something else that is trying to sound legitimate, like "Windows Virus Protection"? Be very wary of anything that does not name your virus protection specifically.

In any case, close any windows using the "x" in the corner (not a button in the warning window), update your antivirus protection, then run a full scan of your computer using your own anti-virus software.

What Anti-Virus should I have on my home computer?

There are many different anti-virus software packages available today. If you are currently a faculty, staff, or student at the University of Washington, you can download Sophos anti-virus for free for use on your personal computers.

Remote Desktop

Can I access files on my computer from home?

You can only access files from home if you have previously had Drama IT Staff configure Remote Desktop. If you have not requested this and you would like it to be done, please contact Drama IT Staff.

If Remote Desktop has been turned on, you will need a computer with Remote Desktop, a current connection to the internet, your IP address, and your UW computer needs to be turned on.

Remote Desktop comes with all Windows operating systems since Windows XP.   Users with Intel-based Macs can download Remote Desktop at In addition, there can be additional issues:

  • The computer you are using needs to be powered on (seems obvious, but sometimes...)
  • Some networks have firewalls which prevent Remote Desktop connections. UW allows RD connections, but the network you are using to connect with may not. Check with your Network Administrator or Internet Service Provider if you have issues.
  • Some public-access computers do not allow standard users to run Remote Desktop. Check before use and don't count on availability when travelling.
  • You need to know your IP Address (that's the unique identifier of your computer). This can be found by googling "My IP Address" or going to Start/Run, typing "CMD" in the only field, then entering "ipconfig" at the prompt. The number you are looking for is labeled IPv4, and consists of 4 sets of numbers with periods between each set. (For example, one Google IP Address is ""). You must do this from the computer your seeking the IP address for. So, if you will want to connect to your work computer, you must do ths from that computer and then save that number for use when connecting from another computer.

Printing Issues:

  • When logging in, decide if you are going to need to use either the printers or clipboard of the computer you are sitting before. If so, follow directions these directions: