Computing Resources

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So Long, Farewell...

Account Expiry

Your departmental account will expire one year after you leave McMaster. Until then, you will still be able to login to, transfer files via sftp, rsync or Windows file sharing (SMB), and receive email to your address.

At the end of that one-year period, your home directory will be archived and your account deleted: you will no longer have access to the departmental computers and mail sent to your account will be returned to senders as undeliverable. Your archived home directory will be retained for a further five years and then permanently deleted.

If you require access to the systems beyond the one year after your departure, ask a faculty member to request an extension on your behalf.

Note that your university account will expire on a different schedule - almost certainly before your departmental account.  See the UTS website or contact the UTS Service Desk for more information.


You can continue to read your email via a web browser at, or by ssh'ing to and using pine, or from an IMAP mail client.  You may instead want to forward your mail to your new address.

Email Forwarding & Spam Filtering

The Email section of the FAQ gives two methods for forwarding your email: 1) using .forward, which skips spam filtering; 2) using .procmailrc, which does not skip spam filtering. I recommend using the .forward method so that all spam filtering happens on the system to which you are forwarding your email. In short, enter the following command on or any of the standard ms workstations:

echo "" >! ~/.forward

You may also want to change the frequency of your spam archiving from weekly to monthly.  To do so, edit the file .rhpcsrc in your home directory and make sure that the value for mail-cleaner-archive-frequency is "monthly":


Access to Your Files

Recall that - almost without exception for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows - your home directory and inbox reside not on your workstation but on You can connect to from off campus in order to get to your files (your workstation will not be accessible from the off-campus side of the McMaster firewall).

You can transfer your files from with rsync, sftp or Windows file sharing. Note that for Windows file sharing to work, you will need to have a current MAC ID so that you can connect to the McMaster VPN service.

For more information getting to the files in your home directory, see this FAQ entry.

Transferring Files to Your New Institution Using rsync

If you have a unix (which includes both linux and Mac OS X) account at your new institution, then I recommend using rsync to transfer your home directory (excluding browser cache files) to a subdirectory of your new account; you can then use a file browser to move the files and folders into your new home directory. For example, let us assume that you are now at Foo State University and have an account on the computer fooserv:

fooserv> cd ; mkdir ms_files
fooserv> rsync -e ssh -auvx --exclude=cache/ --exclude=Cache/ ms_files

You might first want to see how large your home directory is and check with the server administrator before moving in more than 1 gigabyte of data:

fooserv> ssh "du -sh ~/"

If you are transferring more than a few gigabytes of files, please throttle your transfer rate so that you don't bring either the servers either at McMaster or your new home to a crawl; simply add this flag to y our rsync command: