Cornell University Cornell University CISER

CISER Computing

Frequently Asked Questions about the CISER Research Computing System

Getting an account and starting to use the research computing system:

System password and account lockout:

Connection issues:

Managing research computing sessions:


Q:   How can I get an account on CISER's computers?

Go to: New account application.

Q:   I have applied for a CISER computing account, when will I hear whether or not the account has been set up?

Usually in 1-2 business days.  If you don't hear within 2 days contact

Q:   I have forgotten my password, what should I do?

You will have to reset your password.  See instructions at Computing Guide Passwords and Account Lockout Policies.


Q:   Why am I locked out of my CISER computing account?  Can you unlock it for me?

Account lockouts usually clear in half an hour. To prevent lockouts, be sure you are familiar with our password policy.  

See also Common causes of account lockouts.

Q:   I cannot connect to remote desktop.  I get an error that says " To log on to this remote computer, you must be granted the Allow log on through Terminal Services right ..."

When I try to connect to a node after entering my user name and password, I get an error message which says: "To log on to this remote computer, you must be granted the Allow log on through Terminal Services right. By default, members of the Remote Desktop Users group have this right.  If you are not a member of the Remote Desktop Users group or another group that has this right, or if the Remote Desktop Users group does not have this right, you must be granted this right manually."

This message usually appears when you are accessing a node in which you do not have access rights because of your account type.  Note that if your account is other than class, you have access to nodes rsch101 to rsch104, and rsch106.  If you are a class account holder, you only have access to node rsch108.

Q:  I cannot connect to the system with ftp. What is wrong?

FTP service to the CISER research computing nodes is not allowed. For instructions on moving your files to or from the CISER nodes please see the How to Move Files Between Your Local PC and Your CISER Home Directory section of CISER Computing Guide.

Q:  I have successfully connected to the VPN and mapped my drive, however, I cannot open my mapped drive or my User folder.

Try to disconnect and then re-connect the VPN as well as disconnect and then re-map the networked drive (ciserdfs1).  After re-mapping the drive, wait about a minute or two before opening your mapped drive. Use "ciserrsch\your netid]" as your user name for both the VPN and the mapped drive.

Q:   The link I've created on my desktop to the CISER system no longer works. What is wrong?

It could be that you've recently changed your password without first disconnecting the drive.  Or, the could be that the CISER file server has been re-booted since you mapped the drive.  In any case, disconnect the current mapped drive and then re-map it.  It's not hard.  See Mapping Your CISER Home Directory to your Local PC.

Q:   What causes account lockouts?

Account lockouts usually occur for one of the following reasons.

1) You have mistyped your password 3 times in a row while attempting to log on to a computing node.  Wait 1/2 hour and then try again (or contact us at and we'll clear it sooner if we are available).

2) You've changed your password on one node while having a disconnected session one or more other nodes.  

3) You've changed your password while still having the ciser fileserver mapped to your desktop under your old password. 

4) You've attempted to connect to the file sever via the CISER VPN and a locally mapped drive with an expired password. 

5) If you log in during our regularly scheduled downtime, you will not be able to connect to any of our servers because they are down for maintenance.  Be sure to check the schedule here.


For problems #2 - #4 follow these steps:

  • You'll need to wait 1/2 hour for the lockout to clear (or write to and we'll clear it sooner if we are available).  
  • If you have the CISER fileserver mapped to your desktop, disconnect that.
  • Log on to any node and use Terminal Services Manager to locate and log yourself off any disconnected sessions on other nodes.  If you have jobs running in the disconnected sessions that you do not want to interrupt, you may have to endure periodic lockouts until those jobs have completely finished and you are able to log yourself off completely off of those nodes
  • Change your password if necessary before attempting to reconnect the VPN or map the file server.

To avoid account lockouts in the future remember to log completely off the nodes when you are not working (see Logging off versus Disconnecting) and to disconnect a locally mapped drive to the file server (if you have one), before changing your password.


Q:    I was able to log in, but all I see is a BLACK screen.  I cannot see my account desktop.

This usually happens when you open the same session at different times at multiple locations.  For example, you opened a session on research node 106 at home, then disconnected your session (i.e., you did not log off), then you went to your office and tried to reconnect to the same session on node 106.   Most of the time you are able to connect to your disconnected session from a different location successfully (i.e., you will see your previous session), however, for reasons still unknown to us, some users get a blank screen instead.    When this happens the only solution so that you can log back in to research node 106 is to log off your session in node 106 from a different node, say node 104.  Note that because you are logging off a session, all programs you have running on node 106 will be aborted.  

To log off your session from another node (say you want to log off your session on node106 from node 104):

  • From the current node (e.g., 104): Start/All Programs/Remote Desktop Services Manager
  • From the Remote Desktop Services Manager window:
  • Right-click on "Mygroup", and select "Add Computer"
  • Select "Another computer", then type the name of the computer e.g., rsch106. Note: There is no need to write the whole name such as rsch106 will do.
  • Then click OK.
  • Click the "Users" tab on the right (which is usually the default).
  • On the right-hand column of the users window, right-click on the session id with your user name and choose "log off".
  • Then connect to the node (106) to test it.  You should be able to log back in sucessfully and see your desktop.

Q:   On the CISER computing node's internet explorer, I CANNOT open my cmail or dropbox, download files from my blackboad account, or download files in general.  What should I do?

On the CISER computing node, go to Start>All Programs>Accessories>Command Prompt, then type:

gpupdate /force

Press enter, then  press Y when prompted to logoff, then Relog back on
Then try Internet Explorer again.  
If this doesn not resolve the issue, e-mail

Q:   Why does the system seem so slow today?

When a server is very busy (i.e. close to 100% capacity for all processors on the node) it will seem "slow" since your job or commands are competing with those of many other users.   The quickest solution is usually to log off and try another the computing node. You can compare the current usage of all the the CISER Research Nodes to determine which node is the least busy.    

Q:   Why do my sessions time-out when I am trying to log on to the system? 

Are you using a modem?  A high-speed cable or ethernet connection is by far the best way to connect to the CISER Research Computing System.

Q:   I am trying to log on but the "CONNECT" button on the Remote Desktop Web Connection page is grayed out.  What am I doing wrong?

Chances are that ActiveX is not running.  The first time you try to connect to the system from any computer, you generally receive a prompt asking if you wish to download and install ActiveX.   Normally you just say "OK" and after a few seconds everything works fine.  However if you are working in a lab or on a public computer it is possible that the network administrator has restricted access so that users cannot install applications.  In that case you should contact the network administrator and ask for help. 

Feel free to contact if you would like for us to talk to your network administrator about why you need ActiveX.  If you forgot to say "OK" when prompted to download ActiveX you can sometimes get the prompt to re-appear by re-starting your local PC and then attempting the connection once again.   Otherwise you'll need to find and download ActiveX.  

Q:   I keep "losing my sessions" when connected to the system.  It seems as though the system has disconnected me. 

It's possible that your Internet Explorer is set to re-use the browser window when opening new URL's.   You can re-claim your session by using the "back" button on your web browser.  If you don't do this and close your browser window instead you will end up with a "disconnected" session.  To understand more about the difference between "disconnecting" and "logging off" see Ending Sessions.  

TIP: You can change your default Internet Explorer settings to help prevent this:  Open Internet Explorer.  Go to Tools/Internet Options/Advanced and un-check "Reuse Windows for Launching Shortcuts."  

Q:   Why does it matter whether I disconnect or log off?  What is the difference?

If you are working on the system, and then close your connection window without logging off, you will have a "disconnected" session on that node. If you have a job in-process your job will keep running.  If you only "disconnect" from a sesssion (by using the Windows X to close the window or by choosing "disconnect" from the Log Off menu) then you're likely to run into problems the next time you change your password, and you will artificially inflate user statistics for your department or school.

For a review of the difference between "disconnecting" and "logging off" and to see a tip about how to create a shortcut for logging off see the Ending Sessions section.