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CISER Secure Data Services:  CRADC

Getting Started on the Cornell Restricted Access Data Center (CRADC)

1. Introduction

The CRADC operates completely behind its own firewall with its own private domain. The firewall permits you to open a connection (via the Remote Desktop Client) on CRADC but you can't place new files on the system or remove files from the system. These operations are handled through the CRADC custodian, as explained below. We have placed additional software on the system so that you can write papers and prepare presentations without migrating files from the system.

2. Setup

You must sign a CRADC Data Users agreement for each project on which you are a researcher. Your access to the CRADC servers will be granted/continued when you have signed and returned your agreement.

Your account and the initial password will be sent to you in a separate communication. You will be required to change the password the first time you log in. CRADC requires a complex password using the following rules:

  • Passwords must be at least 14 characters long.
  • Passwords may not contain your user name or any part of your full name.
  • Passwords must contain characters from at least three of the following four classes:
    • English upper case letters A, B, C, ... Z
    • English lower case letters a, b, c, ... z
    • Westernized Arabic numerals 0, 1, 2, ... 9
    • Non-alphanumeric ("special characters") Punctuation marks and other symbols

Upon receiving your account information, sign on (any server) and change your password immediately. This action will reset your domain password for all servers. Contact the CRADC data custodian if you have problems with your password.

All CRADC computing system users must change their password periodically. The system is automated to inform users when their account is due for a password change. Caution for users who use multiple CRADC sessions: If you change your password from one server while you have multiple sessions running (disconnected or active) on other servers, you must logoff those sessions within 10 days. Failure to do so will result in an account lockout. To check if you have sessions running on multiple CRADC servers, from a CRADC server go to Start -> Programs -> Administrative Tools -> Terminal Services Manager.

There is no access to the Internet from CRADC.


In the instructions below [authorized_data] refers to the name of the folder on R:\ and S:\ that you have been authorized to use and [user_name] refers to your CRADC domain user name.

3. System Access

The CRADC domain has 2 compute servers referred to as cradc201 and cradc202. (There is a separate server to use NLSY geocode data products, but that is is not illustrated below.) To access a CRADC server from outside the firewall, use the Windows Terminal Services Client or Remote Desktop Client to connect to [server_name] Insert the correct name of the server for [server_name].

4. System Requirements to Access the CRADC Servers
  • Operating System Requirements:
    • Windows 7 or Windows 8 is required to have fully supported access.
5. Data Security

Your data use privileges apply to the data on CRADC file server under R:\[authorized_data] as indicated in your data user agreement. Your home folder and a shared project folder to work on that authorized_data are located on drive S:\. Your home folder is S:\[authorized_data]\[user_name]\. You create folders under S:\[authorized_data]\programs\projects\ to contain files that you want to share with other researchers with whom you are collaborating and who also have permission to access that data.

To request that a file be moved off the system and sent to you, complete the online CRADC file transfer request form available at (from outside the firewall). Your file movement permissions are governed by the master data use agreement covering the confidential data to which you have been given access. A summary of your data access privileges for each project is included in your personal data use agreement. The same procedure applies to files that you want to put on CRADC; however, in this case you will have to state that the file contains only programming and non-confidential data before it will be placed on the system. For data files that you wish to place on the system, you will be required to provide a citation that confirms that the data are public use.

6. Using R:\ and S:\

The R:\ and S:\ are the primary data storage area for the CRADC system.

R:\ houses data with only Read & Execute user permissions. S:\ houses user and shared project folders.

You have been granted access to folders on R:\ and S:\ in accordance with your data user agreement.

7. Using C:\Documents and Settings\[user_name]\

Do not use your folder C:\Documents and Settings\[user_name]\ to save files. Any data that you store outside of S:\[authorized_data] may be erased automatically by the system.

8. Using Application Software

The following software are available on the system: SAS, STATA, MATLAB, GAUSS, R, Spotfire S+ (formerly S-PLUS), SPSS, Amos, MPlus, Python, ATLAS-ti, StatTransfer, EditPlus and Microsoft Office Suite 2007. These statistical and document preparation software allows you to write papers and collaborate with other authorized users without having to move files off of the system as frequently. If you encounter problems, contact the CRADC data custodian for assistance.

To use SAS, you have to point your SAS WORK library to your authorized folder under S:\. You can do this by adding the following line in your shortcut to SAS:

–work S:\[authorized_data]\[user_name]

See the links to SAS help from the CRADC statistical software page for more information on how to customize SAS.

9. How to Logon to CRADC Servers (for new users)

To connect to a CRADC server from your PC, you can use the Windows Terminal Services Client, Terminal Services Client Software or Remote Desktop Client, as described below in step I. You will see a warning message, as shown in step II. In step III you type in your CRADC user name and password to logon to your CRADC desktop.

Note:  Connection via Internet Explorer is no longer available.

I.   Connect via Remote Desktop Client on your PC

  • Remote Desktop is pre-installed on all Windows 7 and Windows 8 systems.
    Note: Access with older versions of Windows (Windows 95,98,XP,Vista,2000,2003, and ME) is not supported by CRADC.
  • To Connect via RDC go to Start --> Programs --> Accessories --> Communications --> Remote Desktop Connection.
  • Type in the name of the server to which you wish to connect as shown, and choose "Connect".
Remote Desktop Connection image

II.   The system then displays a warning message informing that the system houses restricted-access data, as shown below. Click on “OK” at the bottom of the message.

Warning message image

III.   The system will then provide you with a logon window. Enter your CRADC user name password (note: the “Log on to:” should be automatically set to “CRADC”), and click on OK. A sample logon window is shown below.

Logon window image

10. How to Close a CRADC Session: Logoff vs Disconnect
  • DISCONNECT: To exit your CRADC session while your applications are still running.
    • Do this only when you have programs that you wish to continue to run after you close your connection.
    • To disconnect:
      • go to "Start" --> "Shutdown" --> and choose "disconnect ".
      • OR simply close the window by clicking the X box in the upper right corner of the window.
    • You will remain logged on, but disconnected. When you next attempt to connect to that server you will automatically be returned to that session.
    • Note: Disconnected sessions let CRADC users run their programs uninterrupted for days, and also give them the flexibility of preserving their work environments. However, we strongly recommend logging off your CRADC sessions, whenever possible. These forgotten disconnected sessions can result in account lockout problems when the user changes her/his password as required by the system.

    • Go to " Start" --> "Shutdown" --> and choose "Log off <your username>"
    • TIP! To add a "Log off" option to your Start menu on a CRADC server:
      • Go to "Start" --> "Settings" --> "Taskbar & Start Menu". Select the "Advanced " tab. Check the box beside " Display Logoff". Choose "OK".
      • After that you can log off simply by going to "Start" --> "Log off <your username>".
    If you encounter problems, contact the CRADC data custodian to help you resolve them.