TheHub Maintenance Window Changing


With the inception of TheHub in 2002, we established two maintenance windows when TheHub was unavailable:

  • Every Tuesday evening from 7-9 p.m.
  • Every evening from 3-6 a.m.

The purpose of these windows is to perform necessary maintenance such as installing software and security updates, perform backups on servers, and occasionally upgrade servers.


With all respect to David Bowie, “I still don’t know what I was waiting for…” Over the course of the last 14 years, many things have changed.  Our servers have been replaced and are faster. Our databases are more robust and allow some maintenance operations while they are in use. Our web servers can handle loads that weren’t possible in 2002.

In short, we don’t need the same amount of downtime to maintain TheHub that we did back in 2002.

New Maintenance Windows

In April 2015 we ended the weekly Tuesday maintenance window completely. We can accomplish much of what we need to do with users logged in and using TheHub. On occasion we may need to have a short maintenance period, but we’ll announce it in advance and we don’t need it every week.

New this month (June 2016), we are shortening the evening maintenance window to 3am-5 am. We hope that this offers more support to those who like to work earlier in the morning. Likewise we will continue to re-evaluate our processes and look to further shorten or eliminate this window in the future.

Comings and Goings

Saying goodbye to a team member who is moving on to other opportunities? Welcoming a new staff member into your department? Here’s what IT needs to make things proceed smoothly.

Staff Members Leaving

When a staff member leaves there are a few things to consider:

  • Computer Equipment: Staff computer equipment at Hampshire generally stays with the position, so equipment does not follow the employee to another position. If the position will not be filled right away, consider whether it would be more secure if IT holds the computer; just put in an IT ticket if you would like equipment stored until the new employee arrives. If the position is not being filled at all, please put in a work order to that effect so that we can pick up the equipment.
  • Data Transfer: It is easiest to figure out before an employee leaves what information should be saved off of the computer for a new employee or others in the department. The simplest method is to have the employee who is leaving transfer important documents to a server share. If that doesn’t happen before the employee leaves, put in a work order to have IT assist in recovering data.
  • Email for Staff Moving to a New Position at Hampshire: When an employee transfers to a new position at Hampshire their email transfers with them. If there are messages that should be forwarded so that they can be handled by the appropriate department, the exiting employee can forward messages as appropriate. IT can help transfer folders of email messages to a different user, just put in an IT work order.
  • Email for Staff Leaving Hampshire: When staff leave Hampshire their email accounts are locked and no longer available to them, unless they are retiring. It is usually appropriate to post an automatic reply indicating that the individual is no longer at Hampshire College and providing alternate departmental contact information. Email can also be forwarded to another account at the supervisor’s request. Read details of IT’s account policy. Best practices for departments include having a general department email address (for instance, to ensure that changes in personnel do not affect communication to the department.

Faculty Members Leaving Hampshire

Faculty computers are treated slightly differently than staff computers, and faculty email accounts are generally not a concern for departments in the same way that staff email accounts are, nor are there normally any issues about transfer of data.

  • Computer Equipment: Faculty computer equipment at Hampshire is provided for the individual for the length of their tenure. Tenure track faculty receive a new computer when they arrive, and then every four years a replacement. Non-tenure track faculty receive a redeployed computer if requested, with swaps as needed over the years. When a faculty member leaves Hampshire their computer should be returned to IT by the last day on their contract; if more time is needed to complete evaluations or other requirements, arrangements should be made by contacting IT. School Administrators are requested to contact IT as much in advance as possible before the end of semester with a list of faculty who will be leaving.
  • Email Accounts: Email accounts for faculty who are retiring will be available for continued se if desired. Other faculty email accounts will generally be unavailable after 30 days. An automatic reply message may be used to provide updated contact information. Read details about the policy for email accounts.

New Faculty & Staff Members

When new faculty or staff are hired, supervisors or deans should submit the Employee Computing Request Form. This form will automatically generate appropriate tickets to arrange for accounts and equipment to be ready when the new employee starts. It is important to put in the form as soon as possible to avoid delays

Time to Get Your Inbox Back in Shape

If you tend to go over quota with your Hampshire email, or if your email feels too disorganized, now might be a good time to make some quick adjustments.

In Thunderbird, the “Local Folders” section contains folders that are stored on your computer, rather than on the server. This is a good place to archive messages that you aren’t quite ready to throw out. If you don’t regularly clean out your Inbox, a quick once a year archive might be just the ticket. If an academic year schedule makes the most sense for you, now’s the time.

  1. To create a new folder, in Thunderbird select “File–>New–>Folder”; if you prefer, you can right-click on “Local Folders” instead.”
  2. From the dropdown list, choose to make it a sub-folder of “Local Folders.”
  3. Give the folder a name, such as “Inbox 2014 – 2015”. We don’t recommend using a “/” character in the name, even if you’re allowed to.
  4. Now you can drag messages into the folder. Click on the first message in your inbox that you want to move.
  5. Now shift-click (that is, hold down the shift key while you click) on the last message that you want to move. This will select all of the messages in between.
  6. Drag the block of messages into the new folder. Or, you can right-click on the block of messages and choose “Move To>” and then select the folder you created above.

If you use Webmail you can organize in folders, but the messages will still contribute to your quota, so if you’re close to quota it doesn’t help. However, if you are interested solely in organizing and don’t care about saving space:

  1. Look to the bottom of the “Folders” pane in WebMail and click on the gear icon.
  2. Select “Manage Folders.”
  3. Use the “+” sign at the bottom of the list to create a new folder.
  4. Give the folder a name, such as “Inbox 2014 – 2015”. We don’t recommend using a “/” character in the name, even if you’re allowed to.
  5. Either leave “Parent folder” as is, or select a folder to make it a subfolder of that.
  6. Select “Save.”
  7. It’s easiest to move many messages at once in Webmail if you can see many of them at once. Click on the “Preferences” tab.
  8. Click on “Mailbox View” on the left panel.
  9. For “Rows per page” enter “200”–the maximum allowed–and click “Save.”
  10. Click on “Mail” in the upper right to go back to looking at your messages.
  11. Click on the first message in your inbox that you want to move.
  12. Now shift-click (that is, hold down the shift key while you click) on the last message that you want to move. This will select all of the messages in between.
  13. Drag the block of messages into the new folder. Or, you can right-click on the block of messages and choose “Move To>” and then select the folder you created above.

That’s all there is to it. Plan to do this once a year–if you put it on your schedule now, you won’t forget to do it next year.

If you’d like other tips on organizing email, check out some of these Tech Tips:

Thunderbird’s Extra Spacing

If you have updated to the latest version of Thunderbird and notice that it is putting in an extra line every time you press the Return or Enter key, you can change it back pretty easily.

The folks at Mozilla probably thought they were doing a good thing when they made this change, since we often hit the Return key twice to create a new paragraph, and now we only have to do it once. I don’t know about you, but this old dog is having trouble with that new trick. Here’s what you can do to go back to the simple days of yesteryear; or yesterweek, I suppose:

  1. Choose “Thunderbird–>Preferences.”
  2. Click on the “Composition” icon along the top of the window that comes up.
  3. Uncheck “When using paragraph format, the enter key creates a new paragraph”, down near the bottom of the window.
  4. Close up the window and you’re all set.

Keep Adobe Flash Updated–But Be Careful

Adobe Flash Player is installed on most computers to allow video content to be displayed in browsers. It’s critical to keep it updated, but important not to install a fake update. Please read on.

It seems like every other week we read about vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash Player that require an update. These are serious issues–they can allow malware and ransomware to be installed on your computer–so it’s important to keep Flash updated. Unfortunately we have also seen reports of fake Flash updates being used to install malware on Mac’s and PC’s.

So how do you keep Flash updated without falling for the fake updates? Flash has an option to automatically check for and install updates, which will protect you against being out of date and also from being scammed into installing malware.

If you have installed recent versions of Flash you will have a a utility in your Control Panel (PC) or System Preferences (Mac) that allows you to set update options:

  1. Open up the Control Panel from the Windows Start menu or System Preferences from your Apple Menu. If you’re on Windows make sure that your Control Panel is set to “Small Icons” display by choosing it from the little menu in the top right of the window.
  2. Select “Flash Player.” It might be called “Flash Player (32-bit)” or something like that.
  3. On the ribbon, click “Updates.”
  4. Choose the “Allow Adobe to install updates” option.
  5. Close up the window and you’re all set.

Now you no longer have to wonder if you are up to date with Flash, and security updates will be automatically installed. If you receive an alert to update Flash when you are working in your browser, always decline to install it; you can then go to the Control Panel or System Preferences and have the Flash Update panel check for you.

If you don’t have the Control Panel or System Preferences icon then you don’t have a recent version of Flash installed. If you want to install the newest Flash, go to and choose “Install Now.” But another caution: Adobe often tries to sneak in add-ons like McAfee Security or True Key, especially on Windows systems. If you do go to Adobe to download Flash, make sure to uncheck any Optional Offers you are presented with.

Keeping Mail Under Quota in Crunch Time

If you’re approaching your email quota there are some quick tips to get you under quota. You can skip right to the strategies if you want, or read a little about the quota first.

About Hampshire’s Email Quota

Your email quota is 2.5 GB (gigabytes) of storage. Included in this is everything in your Inbox, any mail folders you have, email trash and mail you’ve sent. If you receive attachments with email those also count towards your quota.

Where to Check How Much of the Quota You’ve Used

If you’re in Webmail, the percentage of quota you’ve used will show up at the bottom of the panel on the left when you’re looking at a list of messages (it disappears when you read a specific message). If you’re in Thunderbird it will show up on the bottom right if you get up to 80% usage. You can also go to to see your quota displayed graphically.

In addition to you keeping your eye on your quota, our system monitors quotas as well. As you approach the quota limit you will start receiving warning messages from Hampshire IT.

What Happens when You’re Over Quota

If you do reach quota you will no longer receive new emails until you bring it down under 100%. Note that messages that would put you over quota will never be delivered to your mailbox, so if you’re close to quota and are sent a large message and a small message, the large message could be refused but the small message might be able to be delivered.

While you are over quota, messages that are sent to you will not be able to get into your inbox, but they’ll keep trying at increasing intervals. Once you bring your storage enough under quota you will receive the messages that have been waiting to be delivered; note that this might take some time because it depends on the delivery attempt interval. If you wait too long to bring your usage down–more than a week, perhaps–the sender will give up and the mail will fail to deliver.

One side-effect of being at quota level is that you may not be able to store copies of messages that you send. Normally when you send a message a copy is stored in the Sent folder. If you send a message while you’re at quota, you get an error that the message couldn’t be saved in the Sent folder; the message has been sent but you won’ t have a copy of it.

Quick Strategies for Getting Under Quota

Try them all or pick & choose what works for you.

  • Empty your email trash. Right-click (or Control-click on a Mac) on your email trash can and select “Empty” or “Empty Trash.”
  • In Webmail, view more messages at once. Deleting messages is easier if you can see a large list at once. Go to the Settings panel and in Preferences/Mailbox View change the “Rows per page” to the maximum of 200. Make sure to click “Save” to keep the changes.
  • Delete a bunch of messages at once. To delete a group of messages at once, click the first message to delete and then Shift-click (hold down the shift key while clicking) the last message to delete. Then use the “Delete” key on your keyboard to send them in your trash. Now empty your trash to really delete them.
  • Delete messages from your sent mail folder. Email messages that you send are automatically saved in a folder called “Sent.” Select that folder and delete any sent messages you can live without.
  • Get the biggest bang for your buck. Quota issues are often related to the size of attachments in a few messages. To find the biggest files, sort your messages in order of size and tackle the biggest ones. In Webmail, simply click on the “Size” column header twice (the first time it sorts from smallest to largest, and the second click reverses that). Save any important attachments to your computer and then delete the message. In Thunderbird:
    1. If you don’t have a “Size” column header at the top, click on the little icon all the way to the right of the column headings.
    2. Check “Size.”
    3. You can now click on the “Size” column header twice to sort them with the largest messages on top.
    4. Thunderbird has the option to detach attachments from messages, so that you can keep the email message in your inbox without the attachment. Select the message with the attachment you want to detach, and use the “Message→Attachments→Detach All” menu to save the attachment(s) to disk and keep just the message in your inbox.

When you’re done, don’t forget to click on the “Date” header (twice) to get your messages sorted by date received again.

  • Use Thunderbird’s Local Folders. If you’re using Thunderbird, you can create “Local Folders”, which store email on your computer instead of the server. The advantage is that anything in a local folder doesn’t use your quota space; the disadvantage is that they exist only on your computer and if you don’t have a backup system in place you could potentially lose the messages. To move messages to local folders:
    1. Right-click (or Control-click on a Mac) the “Local Folders” heading on the left-side panel in Thunderbird, and choose “New Folder…”.
    2. Enter a name for your new folder, such as “2008 Inbox”.
    3. Go back up to your email messages and select the group of messages to transfer to this local folder (remember to use click/shift-click to select a big group of messages).
    4. Right-click (or Control-click on a Mac) somewhere on the selected group of messages, and chose “Move To…” and navigate to the Local Folder you just created.
  • Empty the trash and then compact when you’re done. Empty the trash if you’ve deleted more messages. To make sure you’ve recovered the maximum space possible, it’s also a good idea to compact the Inbox–this happens automatically a lot of the time but it doesn’t hurt to do it explicitly. Right-click (or Control-click on a Mac) on the Inbox and choose “Compact.”


A Great Use for Old Flashdrives

Do you have any old, unneeded flash drives lying around? Now you can use them to help subvert the North Korean government.

The Flashdrives for Freedom project, run jointly by Human Rights Foundation and Forum 280, is collecting working USB flashdrives of any capacity. They will be erased and sent to North Korean refugee organizations, loaded with information and culture from the outside world, and then smuggled into North Korea.

Although the drives will be erased before being sent out from Flashdrives for Freedom, we recommend that you first erase them securely if they contain any personal information. If you aren’t sure how to do that you can bring the flashdrive to the Student Diagnostic Center on the 3rd floor of the library and we will do it for you.