CS Accounts- Frequently Asked Questions
If you are new to CS accounts and would like to find out more about some of the benefits of having a CS account, please read: Brief Introduction to CS accounts If you have any specific questions regarding CS accounts, please read through this FAQ first. If your question isn't answered here or you have other comments, please send e-mail to crf@cs.columbia.edu
New Application questions: Renewal questions: After you've received account creation/extension confirmation e-mail..: Miscellaneous
  • "Do I need a CS account and how much is it?"

    If you are a CS major and you need to use the CLIC lab for your course work, you need to have a CS account. Some courses may not require you to have a CS account (an AcIS computer account is sufficient), but courses like Operating Systems require that you have a CS account.

    CS accounts are $50 per semester. That is.. it's $50 for Fall semester, $50 for Spring semester, $50 for Summer semester. For most students, you'll only need CS accounts for the Fall and Spring semesters, and you can let your CS account expire over the summer. For returning students, you can renew your CS account in the coming fall. (On a side note, before your CS account expires, please make sure you backup all your files onto your personal computer or onto a CD-R/DVD media. Once your CS account expires, all your files will be deleted to make room for other student accounts. New disk space is allocated when you renew your CS account.)

  • "How long do CS accounts remain active?"

    For Undergraduates and MS students, CS accounts typically expire at the end of the semester. Just to clarify (since we are asked this question fairly often):
    If you sign up for the account in the fall semester, it'll expire on Jan 31st of the next year.
    If you sign up for the account in the spring semester, it'll expire on June 30th of the same year.
    If you sign up for the account during the summer semester, it'll expire on September 30th of the same year.
    For PhD students, accounts are active typically for 1 year, and their advisors extend the accounts once a year.

    You can check to see when your account expires by typing: "account" at the unix prompt.

  • "What are CS accounts, CRF accounts, CLIC accounts? What's the difference?"

    When people say "CLIC accounts" or "CRF accounts", they usually mean CS accounts. Having a CS account gives you access to CLIC machines in the CLIC lab.
    If you need access to the Windows machines in Clic lab, apply for a CS account and use the CS account.

  • "Some people don't have to pay for CS accounts. Do I need to pay for a CS account?"

    If someone is sponsoring your CS account, then you don't have to pay for your CS account. Students who are working on CS projects get sponsored by CS faculty members. Students who are TA'ing courses get sponsored by TA Coordinator. PhD students get sponsored by their Faculty Advisors. Researchers who are collaborating with a CS Faculty member get sponsored by the CS faculty.

  • "How do I apply for a CS account?"

    If you are new to the Computer Science Department, and you are not familiar with CS computer acccounts, please read this first: Brief Intro to CS accounts
    You should also read this: Applying for CS accounts
    Please apply for CS accounts on the web: www.cs.columbia.edu/~crf/accounts.cs.html.

  • "There is a problem with applying for a CS account, what do I do?"

    Can you be a little more specific? Are you getting any error messages? Please e-mail us a detailed description to: crf@cs.columbia.edu

  • "My CS account is expiring, and I would like to renew. What do I do?"

    Please re-apply for CS accounts on the web: https://www.cs.columbia.edu/~crf/accounts.cs.html.
    CS accounts are $50 per semester so you'll need to pay for the account again, unless one of the professors sponsor your account by doing a research project or TA'ing. Also PhD students get the account fee waived. Sponsorships, along with all other account applications, are processed through the automated account system.

    Notes on CS account extensions:
    Be sure to specify the same login name! For security reasons, regardless of whichever new password you enter on the application form, it won't change your login password. Yes, so the password fields on the application form for account extensions are useless.. So just type in something.

    If you are extending your account, and you don't remember your old password, please follow the password change policy. (One of the questions in the FAQ)

  • "I paid for my CS account in the past, but now I am doing a project with a CS professor (or I am TA'ing a CS course), how should I renew my account so that I don't have to pay for the CS account this semester?"

    Please follow the instructions given in the previous FAQ answer for renewing your CS account.
    On the application, check "Yes" for "Is a faculty member, TA Coordinator, or an administrator sponsoring your CS account?"
    Select your sponsor from the pull-down menu.
    Select payment method as "Other".

    Once your sponsor confirms through the Accounts System that he/she is indeed sponsoring you, we'll extend your account.

  • "How long does it take for (new applications/renewals) to be processed?"

    Usually it'll take 1 business day for the CS application to be processed, but it can take as long as 2-4 business days. Sometimes it takes some time for faculty members or TA coordinator to respond to us for confirming sponsorships. If you don't receive an email from CRF after 4 business days, please send us an e-mail to crf@cs.columbia.edu inquiring about your CS account application status. We'll check on it and make sure we get it resolved.

  • "Something went wrong, and I tried to resubmit the application, and it says: There is already an account application with the username:xxxxxx. If you made a mistake in the account application and you need to re-apply, please contact CRF so that we can delete the current account application."

    Just like it says, please send us an e-mail to crf@cs.columbia.edu requesting for us to delete the account application. Once we delete the existing application, you can re-apply.

  • "How/where do I use my CS account?"

    On campus, you can try to logging into a workstation in the CLIC lab. Directions to the lab can be found on the link.
    If you want to remotely connect to one of the CS Department servers, try to ssh'ing to: clic.cs.columbia.edu
    If you don't have a ssh client on your PC, go to: http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html and download putty.exe

  • "I can't log in, what do I do?"

    If you received a confirmation e-mail, then your CS account is already created. You should be able to log in using the login given in the confirmation e-mail. Password is the same passord that you chose when you were applying for the account. However, if you were renewing an already existing account, for security reasons, you will need to enter your old password to log in. After logging in, if you want, you can then change your password using the following command: passwd.

  • "I don't remember my password and I can't log in, how do I change it? Can CRF reset my password?"

    You cannot reset your own password if you can't log in. After logging in, you can change your password using the following command: passwd.

    If it's a new account, the password is the initial password you chose when you applied for the account. If it's an existing account, the password is unchanged for security reasons.

    If you cannot remember your password, either:

    For security reasons, we do not e-mail your password.

  • "Looks like I don't need a CS account afterall, can I get a refund?"

    Only within the first 3 weeks of the semester, refunds are allowed. You can get a refund by emailing: refund@kagi.com with a reason for the refund. Kagi will then contact us to approve the refund. If it's early enough in the semester, we'll approve the refund and you'll get your money back.