Tech Tip of the Week: 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’re 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 quota enough under the limit 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.

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 and 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.”
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24. April 2014 by Kate, School Support Specialist
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Welcoming (Back) Our New Telecommunication Technician

Please join us in welcoming our new telecommunication technician, Dan Cottle 05F, to the Hampshire IT team. We’re happy to have Dan, an alum who worked in the student diagnostic center when he was a Hampshire student, back on campus and working with us once again.

The telecommunication technician assists the network engineer in the design, construction and maintenance of the College’s campus network and phone infrastructure. The technician oversees physical network implementation; works closely with the campus electricians in planning the low voltage portion of new construction and renovations; and provides support and troubleshooting for VoIP ,POTS , CATV, and network infrastructure.

In plain and simple words, if you need a phone set up or some cable wired then Dan is your man. He’ll be assisting Josiah with network and phone related tasks around campus. Dan’s office is on the third floor of the library.

22. April 2014 by Applications and Web Services
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Tech Tip of the Week: Security Certificate Updates

As part of our continuous efforts to maintain secure IT services, we’ve updated our security certificate for Hampshire websites. Confirm the security exception if you’re prompted. Read on for details.

About Security Certificates
If you’ve been following the Heartbleed exploit then you’ve been reading about SSL (Secure Socket Layer). SSL is the secure protocol that browsers use to communicate with web services.

In order to prove that they are secure and truly who they purport to be, web services will provide a browser with a certificate. In order for the certificate to be trusted by the browser, it has to be from an authority that the browser knows and trusts. There are a limited number of Certificate Authorities (CA’s), and they are regulated and audited for compliance; every browser has a list of CA’s that it knows about and trusts (“Trusted Root Certificate Authorities”).

When a browser receives a certificate, it checks that it knows the issuing authority, and looks at other information such as the dates the certificate is valid. If it’s all good, you proceed on to the website without being aware of any of this happening. You can view the certificate for a secure site in your browser by clicking on the padlock icon in the address bar.

Confirming Security Exceptions
If a browser doesn’t recognize a certificate that it is given for a secure site, you may be asked to confirm that you want to allow a security exception. Often this will happen because your browser doesn’t have a root certificate for the Certificate Authority that was issued the certificate.

You should always be cautious when choosing to confirm a security exception. Double-check that you’re visiting the correct site, with no typos. You can look at the certificate and check the Certificate Authority; Hampshire is currently using Starfield as a CA. If you trust that the site is legitimate, confirm the exception.

Why You May be Asked to Confirm an Exception for a Hampshire Site
We have updated our certificates for “” sites in order to provide a more secure environment. This was not in response to any specific threat or breach, but part of our regular security maintenance process.

If your browser does not have a root certificate for Starfield, you may be asked to confirm a security exception when you next visit a secure Hampshire site. Once you confirm that exception you should be all set.

17. April 2014 by Kate, School Support Specialist
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Tech Tip of the Week: The Demise of Windows XP

On Tuesday, April 8, Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP, meaning no more updates to plug security holes. As time goes on computers running XP will become more and more insecure.

About Windows Operating Systems
Windows XP is a Microsoft operating system for PC’s that was released in 2001. In 2007 Microsoft released Windows Vista, which was intended to take over as the standard PC operating system. Vista was not generally well received, and many users continued to use XP; here at Hampshire we decided to skip deploying Vista and held out for its successor, Windows 7, released in 2009. The most current operating syste from Microsoft is Windows 8, but that is seeing a slow adoption rate because of its significant changes to the user interface.

Why XP is Still Out There after 13 Years
Windows 7 is generally well regarded, and was adopted by many PC users. Despite this enthusiasm, it did have some barriers to adoption: the system requirements–it runs best with at least 2 GB of RAM–and its cost–often more than $100. It’s also not a simple upgrade–you have to re-install any programs you have on the computer, which means it takes several hours to complete.

What’s Changing…
…or not changing, to be precise. Up until now, Microsoft has kept sending out updates to plug security holes in XP as they’ve been discovered; on April 8 of this year the last update was released. From now on Microsoft will release no security updates for Windows XP to the general public.

There is an exception to this–Microsoft is providing a paid update service to some critical use customers (did you know that 95% of ATM’s were running XP just before April 8?)–but for regular old users there will be no more updates.

How to Tell if your Computer is Running Windows XP
To check whether your PC has Windows XP, right-click on the Computer icon on your desktop or in the Start Menu, and choose “Properties.” A window will come up that will tell you what operating system you’re running.

What this Means for You
If you’re still running Windows XP on a computer, it will become less and less secure as time goes on. If it’s at all possible, it’s time to upgrade your computer to Windows 7 or Windows 8. If that’s impossible or impractical for you, take steps to make sure that you keep it as secure as possible:

  • Don’t use it for any transactions that you need to keep secure. It will become vulnerable to attacks that can steal passwords and other personal information.
  • Keep your antivirus software up to date and always running. This isn’t going to solve every problem, but it will definitely help.
  • Don’t use Internet Explorer as your browser. Choose Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.
  • When you don’t need to be connected to the internet, disconnect. That means turn off your wireless access (often there’s a switch on the side of a laptop as well as the option to turn off wireless through software), and unplug any Ethernet cable that’s connected. You can be sure there will be malware bots trolling the internet looking for XP computers to infect.

What IT is Doing About the Remaining XP Computers
We’ve been migrating users to Windows 7 over the past several years. There are still a few computers out there running XP that we’re actively scheduling for upgrades. We will be contacting everyone we’re aware of who has a Hampshire computer running Windows XP; if you don’t hear from us in the next week and are running XP, please let us know by emailing

10. April 2014 by Applications and Web Services
Categories: Security, Software, TechTips | Leave a comment

Tech Tip Extra: The Heartbleed Bug and You

A major new web security flaw was discovered this week, so it’s time to change your banking passwords again. Read on for more information.

About SSL
You’ve probably noticed the padlock icon when you browse to “secure” websites, or the “s” at the end of “https”. Those clues indicate that the site you’re visiting uses a security protocol known as SSL (Secure Socket Layer) or its follow-on TLS (Transport Layer Security). The SSL/TLS protocol is designed to encrypt data transported to and from sites so that only the intended receiver can decrypt it.

What the Exploit Does
This week it was discovered that there is an error in a widely used implementation of SSL/TLS known as “OpenSSL.” The bug is related to the “heartbeat” function of the SSL protocol. The “heartbeat” function allows someone to send a message essentially saying, “Hey, SSL server, are you there?” The server should then respond “Yep,” and that’s that. In OpenSSL, though, it’s possible (easy, even) to trick the server into responding with the equivalent of “Yep. Oh, and by the way, here is some random information. Not sure what it is exactly, but check it out because maybe it’s my secret key that will let you pretend to be me and intercept passwords and other supposedly secure information. If that didn’t get you what you want, just ask again, maybe you’ll get lucky. And don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone about this little conversation of ours.”

What’s Being Done About It
A patch that fixes the bug has been released, and vulnerable sites are quickly installing it. You can check if sites you visit are vulnerable by visiting .

What You Should Do
Because there is no way to tell if a site has been hacked using this bug (you can only tell if it is vulnerable), the best practice available is to check to make sure a site is currently safe, and then change your password. Do this for every site you use for any financial or other sensitive information.

For more information check out

09. April 2014 by Kate, School Support Specialist
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Tech Tip of the Week: Tips on the New Webmail

The new Webmail roll-out has gone pretty smoothly, but there are a few common questions we hear. Read on, maybe we’ve answered something you’ve been wondering.

Our new webmail program, RoundCube, comes closer to looking like Thunderbird or other desktop clients, which is generally a good thing. A few things are different enough from the old webmail that they merit mention.

Why aren’t all my folders listed?
In RoundCube you may have to explicitly subscribe to folders in order to see them. If you don’t see your mail folders, try this:

  1. Up along the top right, click on “Settings.”
  2. Click on the “Folders” tab.
  3. Check each folder that you would like visible.
  4. When you’re done, click on the “Mail” icon on the top right of the window. You should now see all of the folders you’ve checked listed at the left.

I’m confused between the messages I’ve opened to read and messages I’m composing.
We can set RoundCube to display messages you’re reading on a panel in the inbox, instead of giving them their own window.

  1. Up on the top right, click on “Settings.”
  2. With the Preferences tab select, click on “Displaying Messages”.
  3. Uncheck “Open message in a new Window” and then click “Save” at the bottom.
  4. Select “Composing Messages” and check “Compose in a new window.” Click “Save”.
  5. Select “Mailbox View” and check the box to show the preview pane. Click “Save” at the bottom.
  6. Click on the Mail button on the top right to return to your mailbox.

Search doesn’t seem to find everything I’m looking for.
Roundcube only searches in the folder you have selected. You can change some search options by clicking on the small arrow next to the magnifying glass icon, but there’s no way to search through all of your folders.

How do I empty the trash?
It’s a good idea to empty the trash periodically so it doesn’t take up your quota space. Just right-click (control-click on a Mac trackpad or one-button mouse) on the trash can and click “Empty.”

We’ll be working on more tips in the weeks to come. If you have a specific question please contact

27. March 2014 by Kate, School Support Specialist
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Tech Tip of the Week: Managing Firefox Add-ons

To keep videos playing and PDF’s displaying, add-ons in Firefox occasionally have to be updated or ousted.

FirefoxFirefox has add-ons that allow you to view content beyond simple web pages. There are two kinds of add-ons: plug-ins and extensions. Plug-ins are modules that run inside a frame on a web page, like embedded video content. Extensions go beyond just displaying content and add-on to the base functionality of Firefox. It gets a little blurry because some functionality can be implemented as either a plug-in or an extension, depending on the supported functionality and the preferences of the developer; PDF display add-ons in particular seem to show up in both formats.

Firefox has a great little tool for checking if your installed plug-ins are up to date:

  1. From Firefox, select “Add-ons” from the Tools menu (or just select the “Add-ons” menu if that’s all you see).
  2. On the list on the left, select “Plugins.”
  3. Click on the blue “Check to see if your plugins are up to date” link at the top of the list.
  4. Update everything that has been flagged as being out of date by clicking on the provided link. If there is more than one link, you will have to repeat the steps above after each update to get back to the links.
  5. There are almost always some plug-ins that Firefox won’t know about and will have a “Research” option. If it seems like these plug-ins might be handling content that you’re having trouble viewing, you should see if you can find newer versions by using the link or going to the developer’s website.

If you’re still having trouble viewing videos, try the suggestions at

There’s no tool for checking extensions, which may be where the problem is if you’re having trouble displaying PDF’s. There are often multiple PDF add-ons that may either all be out of date, or interfering with each other. In this case we suggest a little trial and error.

  1. As in step 1 above, bring up the “Add-ons” window.
  2. Select “Extensions” from the list at the left. Scan for anything mentioning PDF’s or Adobe and disable it.
  3. Select “Plugins” from the panel on the left, and look for anything mentioning PDF’s or Adobe, and select “Never Activate.”
  4. Now try to view a PDF. It should bring you to Adobe Reader or Preview. If this is acceptable to you, you’re all set.
  5. If you want to try to find a PDF viewer that will work inside Firefox, try enabling one PDF viewer at a time, testing with a PDF, and then disabling and trying another if it’s not satisfactory.
  6. If you can’t find a PDF viewer that works for you, go to and download Adobe Reader–this will install a Firefox add-in that should be up to date. Be careful, though, with the install–it may try to sneak in some extra software; read carefully and uncheck any optional install choices.

13. March 2014 by Kate, School Support Specialist
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