New Student Overview

Welcome to the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science! Here’s some basic information about your new computing services at MCECS.

Your Accounts

As an MCECS student, you now have two computing accounts at PSU: an Odin account, and an MCECS account.

Your Odin account is run by the Office of Information Technology (OIT). You’ve probably already used it to register for classes on Banweb, log into D2L, or check your PSU email. To change or retrieve your Odin credentials, use the Odin Account Manager.

Your MCECS account is run by the Computer Action Team (CAT). It allows you to log into lab computers in the Fourth Avenue Building and the Engineering Building, as well as use other services which are listed below. You can change or reset your MCECS account credentials, using your Odin credentials, with the CAT Remote Account Manager.

Before you use your MCECS account for the first time, you’ll need to have it validated (and receive a password). You can do that by bringing an ID to the CAT front desk, or validate your account from the comfort of your own home by clicking on the CRAM link above. You’ll need your Odin login and password.


Just like your Odin account, your MCECS account comes with an email address. It takes the form, where username is your MCECS login. This is a forwarding address only; it does not have an inbox attached to it. By default, your MCECS mail will be forwarded to your associated email address, but you can change where it points to on the Maseeh College Intranet.

File Storage

A key feature of your MCECS account is file storage on our servers. You have a home directory with a 10 GB quota for storing files in Windows, and another home directory with a 15 GB for storing files in Unix and Linux.

To get to your personal file storage from a Windows lab machine, click on Start and then Computer. Your N: drive is your Windows quota; anything you put there, you can retrieve from any CAT-supported Windows computer. Your U: drive is your Unix/Linux quota; anything you put there, you can retrieve from any CAT-supported Windows, Unix, or Linux computer.

On Unix and Linux computers, your Unix/Linux quota is your home directory. You can access it from an Ubuntu Linux machine by clicking on Files in the left sidebar. You will also be in this directory when you first open a terminal. To access your Windows quota from Linux, you can either access it through the graphical user interface or through the command line.

To access it through the graphical user interface in Ubuntu click on the files icon, in the location bar, type s, and then click on HomeXX (example Home02).

To access it through the command line, you can use the command:



Please note that your MCECS file storage is separate from your H: drive file storage on OIT-supported computers. You cannot easily get to your CAT storage space from an OIT computer or vice versa.

Windows Profile

Settings like your Windows desktop background and your bookmarks are shared between computers in our Windows environment, but these are not stored in your N: drive. They’re in a separate area called your Windows Profile, which has its own separate 750 MB quota. Normally you can ignore your Windows Profile, but if it starts to get full, you might receive an automated email from the CAT warning you about it. If you get that email and aren’t sure what to do, you can email us or come down to the help desk and we’ll be happy to assist you.


As an MCECS student, you have a printing credit every quarter which is covered by your student fees and usable on the printers in CAT-supported computer labs. This is in addition to the printing credit every PSU student gets which is usable in OIT-supported labs.

OIT counts in pages and gives you 500 black and white pages per term. The CAT counts in dollars and gives you $30 per term, at $0.08 for a black and white page or $0.50 for color. Make sure to select the correct printer for your job! Print jobs are charged based on the printer type, not the contents of the document, so a black and white page sent to a color printer would be charged for color.

If you need to add to your CAT printing quota, you can do so at the MCECS Self Service Portal. Funds added through the Self Service Portal will be billed to your PSU student account. The automatic quota resets to $30 every term, regardless of how much was used, but any funds you add manually will roll over from term to term.

To print from a Windows computer, you will need to first add at least one printer to your account. You can learn how to do so by following these instructions.

To print from a Linux computer, use the normal print interface and simply select the printer you wish to use.

All CAT-supported printers are labeled and named after the room they’re in.

Labs and Access

While you’re enrolled in MCECS classes, you are eligible for 24/7 access to the Engineering Building, Fourth Avenue Building, and some of the labs inside them. All MCECS students have access to the Windows lab in EB 325 and the mixed Windows and Linux lab in FAB 55-17. You may have additional access depending on your departmental affiliation.

To get access to these spaces, you’ll need a white access badge, sometimes called a proximity card or proxy card. You can get one at the ID Services in Fariborz Maseeh Hall 1st floor. Your first access card is free (but you’ll be charged $15 if you need to replace it).

After picking up your access badge, take it to the Student Services in EB 100 to have it activated. Computer Science students can also have their badges activated by the CS tutors in FAB 88. You must wait at least a day after you first register for MCECS classes before your access badge can be activated.

When using our computer lab, please keep a few basic rules in mind:

  • Don’t eat or drink at the computers. Water bottles or other containers which seal completely are okay; everything else should be left at the food and drink tables near the doors of every lab.

  • Leave backpacks and large bags on the floor, not the desks. Their straps can catch on monitors and other peripherals, drag them over, and cause them to break.

  • Don’t bitmine or download any illegal or copyrighted material on our computers, using bittorrent or any other protocol. It’s very easy to catch, and university policy requires us to suspend your account while the matter is dealt with.

For more information about acceptable computer use and other policies, see our guidelines page.

Finally, when you’re done using a lab computer, please make sure to log out completely. This ensures that another person can’t spend your print quota or otherwise get you in trouble. If you’re just stepping away briefly, it’s okay to lock the screen, but make sure to return within fifteen minutes to avoid having your session logged out for you. If you need to stay logged into a computer for a longer period in order to complete some work, see Long Running Processes.

What Is theCAT?

TheCAT is the IT department of MCECS. We deploy and maintain its computing resources, from office and lab computers to the servers in our datacenter, as well as the networking between them. We’re also a unique training program where PSU students can get hands-on experience in a large-scale production environment while still completing their education. Every fall, theCAT welcomes students from all departments who choose to volunteer their time in exchange for teaching and experience. Those students become the support technicians, system administrators, and network engineers who keep MCECS’s computer services running; many go on to related jobs in industry. If you’re interested, excited, or even just curious, you can read more about the CAT Braindump.