Detaching Attachments

Ever want to save an email but get the attachment out of your Inbox? Thunderbird will let you detach an attachment while keeping the message.

Detaching is easy:
In Thunderbird, select the message you want to detach the attachment from.

From the File menu choose “Attachments→Detach All…”.

Select the location to save the attachment, and click “Save.”

Confirm that you want to detach the attachment.

Now you have a copy of the attachment saved to disk, but you aren’t using up the extra space in your Inbox for a second copy–and yet you still have the email message.

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19. November 2015 by Kate, School Support Specialist
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Back Up Your External Storage Drives

If you store files you care about on an external drive, make sure that you have a backup of that drive.

People who work with large files or small internal hard drives often end up storing some of their data on external hard drives. Doing that allows you to extend your storage space, but it also means you have to take an extra step to backup your data.

If you use Time Machine to backup your computer’s hard drive, it will not backup your external drive. Other backup solutions may backup external drives–but don’t take it for granted, find out for sure.

If your regular backup solution does not backup your external drive, you can backup your external drive manually. That means that you plug both drives into your computer and do a manual copy from one to the other. If you do this, you have to stay vigilant to make sure you are copying in the right direction so that you don’t inadvertently copy your older files over your newer ones. Note the We recommend:

  • Use a backup drive exclusively for the purpose of backing up the external drive.
  • Choose a backup drive that is at least twice the capacity of the data you intend to store on the external drive. If you think you will be using the entire external drive, get a backup drive that is twice as large.
  • Create a “Backup” folder on the backup drive in which you will place your backup data–this will help avoid confusion about which drive is your backup.
  • Each time you backup, create a dated backup folder within the general “Backup” folder.
  • Keep at least one older and one current backup on the backup drive at all times. You don’t want to end up in the situation where your external storage drive dies in the middle of a backup and your backup drive has no data on it.
  • Keep your backup drive in a secure, safe location.

12. November 2015 by Kate, School Support Specialist
Categories: TechTips | Comments Off on Back Up Your External Storage Drives URL Shortener is a Hampshire-branded URL shortener. This offers anyone (students, faculty or staff) the means to post a short URL to a Hampshire webpage without having to use a commercial service like or There are a few policies in place to use it appropriately, but if you see a news item or announcement with in the URL, you should know that this is a legitimate Hampshire domain.

Read the full policy »

10. November 2015 by Applications and Web Services
Categories: Tips, Tools & Tips | Comments Off on URL Shortener

Upgrading to Apple OS X 10.11 (El Capitan)

We have been testing Apple’s latest operating system for Mac’s, and have recommendations for upgrading. Please read through all the caveats and instructions if you are planning to upgrade.

Which Version of OS X are You Running?
To find out what version of the system you’re running, select “About this Mac” from the Apple menu.

We Recommend You Upgrade if You Have Yosemite and Wireless Problems
After several weeks of testing we have found no significant problems with El Capitan, and a big improvement in its wireless performance compared to the previous system 10.10 (Yosemite). Yosemite contains bugs that make it impossible for us to provide wireless access for it everywhere on campus; upgrading to El Capitan appears to fix those problems.

We will stop making special accommodations to support Yosemite wireless connections as of December 1, 2015. This means that any access points we have adjusted to support Yosemite will be returned to their former state.

You May Upgrade if You are Running 10.7 or Higher and…
…you meet the system requirements defined by Apple at . However, we strongly discourage anyone who has less than 4 GB of memory from upgrading–this differs from Apple’s recommendation but our experience has shown us that it is frustratingly slow to use on a 2GB computer. You can find out how much memory you have by checking Apple Menu/About this Mac.

OS X 10.6 Users Should Probably not Upgrade
If you are running OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or earlier you should probably not upgrade even if you meet the minimum requirements; the likelihood is that your computer is old enough and slow enough that it would be a painful experience.


  • Fully backup your system (Time Machine is a great option) before upgrading your computer. If you need help with this, set up an appointment by contacting the IT Help Desk.
  • The installation takes time–an hour or more on wireless is not unusual–and cannot be interrupted without potentially damaging your file system. Please plan accordingly.
  • If you have a Bootcamp partition on your computer, we recommend that you contact us to do the upgrade to avoid potential problems.
  • El Capitan will be much slower to start up for most 10.7/10.8/10.9 users. Starting with Yosemite the startup time got really slow, unless you have a high-end Mac with an SSD. If this sort of thing annoys you, please take it into account.

You may need to upgrade software to run with the new system.

  • Adobe CC 2015 will work without any changes, but CS 6 and CS 5 may require installing Java SE 8.
  • Microsoft Office should work without changes.
  • Parallels requires version 10 or later.
  • EndNote may require an update to version X7.

How to Upgrade
The upgrade can be accessed by opening the App Store (from the Apple menu or your Applications folder). Before upgrading you must be logged into the App Store with an Apple ID–the same ID you use for iTunes or purchasing apps; if you don’t have an Apple ID you can create a new one. If your computer is set up with the Apple ID, log out from that and log in with your own. Full installation information and instructions are at .

Let Us Know if You Have Questions or Problems
If you run into problems you can contact the IT Help Desk at or 413-559-5418.

05. November 2015 by Kate, School Support Specialist
Categories: TechTips | Comments Off on Upgrading to Apple OS X 10.11 (El Capitan)

Connecting to the Eduroam Network

Eduroam is a network used at many educational institutions, including each of the Five Colleges, and is available at Hampshire. If you set up your computer to use it here on campus, you will be automatically joined to it when you visit a participating campus.

Setting up Eduroam on supported platforms is easy, but you have to set it up at your home institution before you can use it at another campus. Set it up now and the next time you’re at a participating campus you’ll be able to use their network with no hassle.

More information and instructions »

30. October 2015 by Kate, School Support Specialist
Categories: TechTips | Comments Off on Connecting to the Eduroam Network

Firefox and Thunderbird FAQs

Here are a few quick tips to optimize Firefox and Thunderbird, based on questions we’ve been asked recently.


Firefox is using Yahoo instead of Google to search.

Recent Firefox updates force a change of the default search engine from Google to Yahoo, which a lot of people find annoying. To switch the default back to Google (or your favorite):

  1. Click on the magnifying glass in the search box on the upper right of your Firefox browser window.
  2. Select “Change Search Settings” at the bottom of the list.
  3. Select your Default Search Engine as desired.
  4. Close the preferences page and you’re all set.

Firefox gets hung up when I use Web UI.

The most recent version of Firefox (41.x) is incompatible with Web UI. We suggest rolling back to a previous version of Firefox, version 38. We particularly like the Extended Support Release (ESR) version because it doesn’t get updated as frequently as the general release. Go to and download and install the appropriate version of it.

Firefox tells me there’s an update but it doesn’t successfully install it.
You can always update Firefox manually. Follow the instructions above for downloading the latest ESR version. (If you prefer to have the latest version, which may have incompatibilities with various web programs, you can get it at .)

When I try to drag Firefox into my Applications folder on my Mac it tells me I don’t have the right privileges.

  1. Download the new version of Firefox.
  2. Quit Firefox.
  3. Open up your Applications folder, and drag Firefox to the trash. Don’t worry, it will still have your settings, history, and bookmarks.
  4. Drag the new Firefox icon into your Applications folder.

Firefox doesn’t display PDF’s correctly.

Firefox has a built-in PDF viewer, and there are also add-on PDF viewers for Firefox. The add-ons tend to get out of date as Firefox is updated, which can cause problems. We recommend that you disable any add-ons, and then either use Firefox’s built-in viewer or choose to open PDF’s in a separate application, like Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Reader, or the Mac’s Preview.

To disable add-ons:

  1. From the Menu button (three horizontal lines over on the top right side of the window), select “Add-ons.”
  2. With “Extensions” selected on the left, scan for any “PDF” or “Adobe Acrobat” or “NPAPI” listings, and disable any you find.
  3. Select “Plug-ins” on the left, and again look for anything labeled with “PDF” or “Adobe Acrobat,” and if you find any set them to “Never Activate.”
  4. Close up the Add-on tab.

To choose whether Firefox uses its built-in PDF viewer or another application:

  1. From the Menu button (three horizontal lines over on the top right side of the window), select “Preferences.”
  2. Select “Applications” from the panel on the left.
  3. Scroll down to find “Portable Document Format” or “PDF” in the “Content Type” column, and select it.
  4. In the “Action” column choose “Preview in Firefox” or select another application to open PDF’s.
  5. Look for any other instances of “Portable Document Format” or “PDF” in the “Content Type” column, and change as desired.
  6. Once you’ve changed all instances close up the Preferences tab and you’re all set.


Thunderbird tells me there’s an update but it doesn’t successfully install it.

You can always update Thunderbird manually by going to and downloading and installing the latest version.

When I try to drag Thunderbird into my Applications folder on my Mac it tells me I don’t have the right privileges.

  1. Download the new version of Thunderbird.
  2. Quit Thunderbird.
  3. Open up your Applications folder, and drag Thunderbird to the trash. Don’t worry, it will still have your email and settings.
  4. Drag the new Thunderbird icon into your Applications folder.

While I’m typing, every once in a while Thunderbird pauses and doesn’t keep up with my typing.

A recent update to Thunderbird includes the Lightning Calendar add-on. If you set this up to sync with an online calendar you may notice these symptoms. In that case we recommend turning off the Lightning calendar functionality (or you could just disable the online calendar). To turn off Lightning:

  1. From the Menu button (three horizontal lines over on the top right side of the window), select “Add-ons.”
  2. Find “Lightning” and click “Disable” or “Remove.”
  3. Close the Add-ons Manager tab. You may have to quit Thunderbird and start it again to actually get rid of Lightning.

To remove a synced calendar without removing or disabling Lightning:

Lightning requires at least one calendar, so if you only currently have one calendar you must add another before you can sync it. To do this:

  1. Select “Calendar” from the “Events & Tasks” menu.
  2. Right-click (or Control-click on a Mac) on the calendar pane and select “New Calendar.”
  3. Choose “On my Computer” and click “Next.”
  4. Give the calendar a name and create it.
  5. Now that you’ve got at least one calendar besides the one you’re deleting, you can right-click click (or Control-click on a Mac) on the calendar you want to delete and choose “Delete.”

15. October 2015 by Kate, School Support Specialist
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It’s the Little Things that Count

When we talk to our clients they are often apologetic about bothering us with “little” issues. The truth is, “little” issues can be caused by big problems–and even if a little issue really is a little issue, we want to help you with it.

  • Sometimes an issue that looks like one thing is actually caused by something seemingly unrelated. We saw this with some older MacBook trackpad clickers that would stop working on one side–people could find a way to live with the limitation, and it doesn’t really seem like a big deal. Unfortunately, that problem is usually caused by an expanding battery–a potentially extremely dangerous situation, as the battery can catch fire or explode.
  • Problems that are just an annoyance at first may continually get worse, sometimes disastrously so. A failing hard drive, for instance, might first just start to get a bit slower, or to make a little more noise than usual; ignore it, though, and you might end up losing all of the data on it.
  • Truly little problems can still be annoying, and we’d like to spare you that if we can. We wouldn’t be in this business if we didn’t enjoy helping people and figuring out problems, so don’t ever feel that you’re bothering us with things that are bothering you.
  • Little or big, computer problems can often be fixed under warranty if we see them in time. If your computer has a problem we’d prefer that you bring it to our attention sooner rather than later, so that we are more likely to be able to have it fixed under warranty. We do try to reach out to Hampshire computer users before the warranty on their computer runs out (our warranties generally run for 3 years), but feel free to contact us on your own.

If you have a problem with your computer that you’ve just been ignoring, make an appointment with us to check it out. You can put in an IT Ticket on TheHub, email the help desk at, or call at 413.559.5418.

08. October 2015 by Kate, School Support Specialist
Categories: TechTips | Comments Off on It’s the Little Things that Count

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