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Questions and Answers from the Computing Helpdesk

Collected by the IT/User Services Team

Nicole Crémel (Editor) , IT/User Services


This is a collection of Questions & Answers that have been treated by the Computing Helpdesk managed by the User Services group.

N.B. The number in parentheses refers to its relative numbering in the "Question-Answer" database, at URL:
where NNN is the problem identifier (number).


Windows Support  -  

(Hannes Schwarzbauer  IT/User Services)

Question (QA 542)   - Extract web page contents Word (IE Kiosk mode)

I would like to implement a few web pages that I downloaded from the Internet, into a Word document.

Now, the only 2 ways I found out how to do this, is either by choosing select - copy (which chooses the whole document), or to take a screen shot, which takes exactly the page I want, but this leaves some not very nice header lines like the URL and the tool-bars on top of the image.

Is there an easy way to just select the page itself, without web address and toolbar, i.e. exactly the selected picture/text size and really nothing else?

Answer   -   If you use Internet Explorer (IE, currently v.5) there is a smart feature which does exactly what you want.

Internet Explorer has a full-screen mode that you access by pressing F11. However, the screen still shows boxes to minimise, resize, or close the window, so this is not exactly what you want either.

The KIOSK mode, on the other hand, hides all buttons. To start IE in Kiosk mode, from the Run prompt (Start - Run) start IE with the following command:

iexplore -k [site]

where [site] is:

    - blank: this uses your default start page 

    - a URL (e.g., http://consult/xfind): 
           uses the page the URL specifies 

    - a local Web page (e.g. C:\folder\page.htm): 
           uses the specified local page 

    - a remote Web page (e.g. \\server\share\folder\page.htm): 
           uses the remote page 
Within Kiosk mode, you can use these main commands (print them out beforehand, as afterwards you will be without any toolbar help!):
 Ctrl+A: Select all (editing) 
 Ctrl+B: Organise favorites 
 Ctrl+C: Copy (editing) 
 Ctrl+F: Find (on current page) 
 Ctrl+H: View History folder 
 Ctrl+L: Open Location dialog box (same as Ctrl+O) 
 Ctrl+N: New window (this one opens in non-Kiosk mode) 
 Ctrl+O: Open Location dialog box (same as Ctrl+L) 
 Ctrl+P: Print 
 Ctrl+R: Refresh 
 Ctrl+S: Save 
 Ctrl+V: Paste (editing) 
 Ctrl+W: Close (same as Alt+F4) 
 Ctrl+X: Cut (editing) 
 Alt+F4: Close (same as Ctrl+W) 
 Alt+Left Arrow: Back 
 Alt+Right Arrow: Forward 
 Esc: Stop 
 F5: Refresh 

The rest is a piece of cake: 'printscreen' or 'ALT+printscreen',
exit the Kiosk mode (see above) and paste the beauty into Word - bingo!

Question (QA 548)   - Can I schedule a document to be printed overnight from a PC?

I have to print a huge document, but I don't want to monopolise our printer for something that might print for an hour or more, especially as it isn't urgent, nor confidential.

Is there a way to tell my PC to schedule it for overnight printing?

Answer   -   You can configure a given printer from your PC to only select your jobs between certain hours:
 - My Computer
 - Printers
 - Right-click on the printer you want and select "properties"
 - Click the "Scheduling" tab, and at the top in the "Available" section
    choose "From" and enter a 'From' and a 'To' time, e.g. 18:00 - 08:30
 - Click OK to save your changes
Jobs submitted by you to this printer from this PC will now only be printed between the hours specified, but be aware that this of course affects all your documents. However, your documents that are spooled from another PC (but the same account) will be printed normally.

Don't forget to change the settings back to "always" in the "available" field after your document has printed.

Question (QA 554)   - Hardware (MAC) address of a Windows 2000 PC

How can I find out the hardware address of my PC running under Windows 2000 ?

Answer   -   To get the MAC address of your W2k PC(MAC stands for Media Access Control):
  • right-click 'My Computer'
  • click 'Manage' and then:
     (+) System Tools 
       (+) System Information 
         (+) Components 
           (+) Network > Adapter > MAC Address 
     [the (+) sign means expand the tree] 

Question (QA 564)   - Profile conflict NT / W2000

By mistake, I have logged into an NT4 PC and afterwards into one with OS W2000. Now this computer warns me about possible profile conflicts.

Answer   -   Although in many cases not dangerous, the message is at least bothering and just tells the user there *might* be conflicts.

To get rid of it, please really follow the procedure like described, including a scaring statement saying 'just power off your PC'. The reason for this is that with a normal, proper rundown the file NTUSER.DAT gets endlessly re-written back to the server, which in that case is obviously not desirable.

And bear in mind: Never use the same NICE account on NT and W2000 in parallel, but get 2 different accounts, one for each OS. This is recommended in the documentation part of:, and the related QA:

Question (QA 582)   - Access rights to a single NICE file (not folder)

I use the trustee manager (http://winservices) to assign rights to some of my folders, but haven't found a way to assign rights to a single file within a folder.

Answer   -   It was officially decided at CERN that the NICE trustee manager only lets users modify rights for folders, but not files.

The only workaround is therefore to create a new folder, put the file into it and then give rights to this folder.

Question (QA 590)   - NICE group manager structure

I am registered as the owner of a divisional sub-group (say IT-XX) but don't seem to have any rights on it, e.g. adding another user via the NICE group manager accessible from http://winservices .

Answer   -   Being registered as the owner of a group doesn't necessarily mean you have full rights.

The structure of the NICE group manager is:

 Group manager 
   --contains--> Classes 
              --contain--> Groups 
                      --contain--> Members 
So, in order to have full rights of IT-XX you should have been registered on the next higher level, in this case in the class IT, which you aren't. More, you don't even want to be, as this would empower you to have rights over other groups in there which you don't need.

A general solution is therefore (same example taken again):

 - Create a class IT-XX Admins. 
 - and create an associated group IT-XX Users 

Question (QA 592)   - Install applications from dfs

I am trying to install an application I found on dfs (\\\dfs) for my Windows 2000 PC, but need further advice.

Answer   -   Applications you only find on dfs are not supported by the NICE 2000 team, they are just there "as-is". Applications you need support for must only be installed from 'add/remove programs - add new programs' (via the control panel).

Question (QA 603)   - Audit of hardware and software features of a W2000 PC

Full audit on my W2000 hardware and software functions, features, limitations, etc....

Answer   -   W2000 allows you to run a full or partial audit of practically all hardware and software 'bells and whistles' your PC is capable of.

The command msinfo32 /? gives you a brief overview over the command syntax. Thus, for instance, you could run a total audit of your PC configuration using the command

msinfo32 /report C:\report.txt

which would output this report onto the file report.txt of your C\ drive.

Note that during this procedure (which takes a few minutes) the above file can not be viewed. Also, as all hard- and software features are queried on a full report, your local disk(s) might make some strange vibrating noise for a few seconds.

Question (QA 636)   - Office 2000 detect and repair feature

I keep having constant problems with a W2000 Office application.

Answer   -   Although Office 2000 applications are very stable, you may (apart from the 'usual' recipes) also try to repair a particular W2000 Office installation.

End-users can remove, change Office components only if they have sufficient privileges to perform these tasks. In practice, only the member of the local Administrators group can do this. However, any user can repair any office 2000 installation.

To repair Office, just select "Detect and Repair" from the "help" menu within any office application.

Question (QA 672)   - EURO symbol with Office

Is the Euro symbol available on Office 97 and 2000 ?

Answer   -   Yes. There are, in fact, different possibilities to use the Euro symbol inside both Office 97 and Office 2000 applications:

Word and Powerpoint have the Euro symbol in their insert - symbol collection. Excel, however, is a bit more complicated, as it doesn't have this function. To type it inside Excel, use the key combination "ALTGR+0128" (where ALTGR is the right/hand ALT key) on a US keyboard. This key sequence is also available on all other Office applications.

Users who have a French keyboard must use the combination "ALTGR+E" instead.

To apply the Euro currency format to values in your Excel worksheet, first select the values you want to format. On the Format menu, click Cells, and then click the Number tab. In the Category list, click Currency, and then click the Euro currency format you want to use in the Symbol list.

 Note that there is, of course, also the possibility to copy/paste 
 the Euro symbol from "More Applications - Accessories - CharMap" 
 on NICE 95/NT or "Programs - Accessories - Character Map" on NICE 2000.


UNIX Support (General)  -  

Question (QA 529)   - ls: No such file or directory (with AFS)

The UNIX command "ls", for a directory that does exist (I can see it if I login on another node), gives the error message:

 ls: /afs/ No such file or 
What is the problem ?

Answer   -   This generally means an AFS corrupted entry for this directory, while it is still visible on other nodes. Normally this error will timeout within the next 24 hours, otherwise the machine node (with the problem) will have to be rebooted by the service managers.

Meanwhile users should logout and login on another node.

Question (QA 544)   - Scratch area on ATLAS

1st variant:

  • I used to work on the machines, where I put my data files in the directory /scratch/zp/username/...
    As there is no access anymore to this /scratch folder on the LXPLUS machines what shall I do with my data files ?

or, 2nd variant:

  • I am a user of ATLAS and would like to get some scratch area for my analysis jobs. Who shall I contact ?

Answer   -   The ATLAS interactive nodes are being reinstalled with a more standard configuration and hostname, in preparation for a merge into the LXPLUS cluster. The major difference users will see is the removal of NFS accessible file-systems, which was used for the scratch area. This was agreed between the IT and ATLAS computing coordinators, for issues of system management and maintenance.

The functional alternative suggested is AFS scratch areas assigned under the user home directories as scratch0, scratch1, etc... These directories are personal to the account so must be managed by the owner and, being scratch, are not backed up. Users can copy existing files to these new directories by logging in to the old ATLAS nodes.

Currently we invite all users to forward directly such requests to AFS support ( to get the AFS area setup, specifying how much space (in Megabytes) they think they need.

Please give feedback on the usability of this new solution via the ATLAS mailing list, at


UNIX Support (Batch)  -  

Question (QA 547)   - batch jobs - No AFS token

It seems that when to many batch jobs try to start at the same time, it can happen that some jobs die with the error message

  No AFS token 
  @(#)CERN job starter 2.08 6/6/2000 

Answer   -   The latest version of the job_starter should try to avoid this behaviour (sleeping for a few minutes and try again later), but it does not prevent it at 100%. A general advice is, when job production managers start big production, to insert 'sleep 60' between 2 bsub commands in the script that submit the series of jobs.


Scientific Software  -  

(Nicole Crémel  IT/User Services)

Question (QA 522)   - FORTRAN 90 on LXPLUS

What is the situation with FORTRAN 90 compilers on the LXPLUS Unix central service ?

Answer   -   Following is the "official" statement, as of March 2001, made by the group leader of the IT/API group (Applications for Physic & Infrastructure).
 As you may know, CERN is decreasing the FORTRAN support significantly and 
 e.g. the CERNLIB will have its last release in 2002 and be supported in a 
 limited way for two years after that. Several years ago it was decided that 
 we would not move to FORTRAN 90 neither for CERNLIB nor for compiler support 
 in general. The experiments have agreed to this strategy and are actively 
 moving towards C++. 
 For limited and specialized use we do provide the PGF90 compiler as you 
 mentioned. The access and use is described at: 
 We have no resources to extend this service in any way - in particular not 
 by providing additional compilers from other suppliers. 
 This policy towards C++ has been agreed by the FOCUS committee: 
 which is also the place to formulate requests that are against this official  
 statement(Mailing list: 
 I regret not to be able to give you a more positive answer and remain 
 with best regards -- Jurgen Knobloch 

Question (QA 546)   - Linking f90 code with CERNLIB (e.g. graflib) on Solaris

We have to port an application using the HIGZ graphics package from CERNLIB to a Solaris platform. This code was originally developed on Digital UNIX in Fortran 90. Trying to link this application with f90 and the cernlib command we get many undefined symbols at link time:

   f90 -o zzz xxx.f90 `cernlib graflib` 
     Undefined                       first referenced 
      symbol                             in file 
     __e_wsle        /cern/pro/lib/libgrafX11.a(iopks.o) 
     __s_stop        /cern/pro/lib/libpacklib.a(zend.o) 
     __do_f_out_nv   /cern/pro/lib/libpacklib.a(mzdiv.o) 
     __s_wsle_nv     /cern/pro/lib/libgrafX11.a(iopks.o) 
     ld: fatal: Symbol referencing errors. No output written to zzz 

Answer   -   Following is the answer provided by the CERN Program Librarian. However please note that Fortran 90 is not supported at CERN, as explained at:
  This is a bit tricky. The missing externals are from the f77 runtime 
  library which is not included by default by the f90 and f95 Solaris WS6 
  compiler invocations. However, there is an option to simplify inclusion of 
  the f77 compatibility library -xlang=f77, which I found to work for simple 
  applications. So try 
   f90 -xlang=f77 -o zzz xxx.f90 `cernlib graflib` 
When the option -xlang=f77 is not recognised by the compiler, the solution can be to find and add the specific f77 runtime library for the system. E.g., on Solaris, /opt/SUNWspro/lib/, and you can try:
    f90 -o zzz xxx.f90 `cernlib graflib` \ 

Question (QA 552)   - commands xgrab / xgrabsc on LXPLUS (Linux)

I am a great friend of the commands xgrab / xgrabsc on UNIX. It seems to me that this doesn't exist on LXPLUS? Is there something equivalent ?

Answer   -   Unfortunately those commands are not available on LINUX, as you can see in the ASIS page: 
The ASIS team is inviting users to use instead either "import" (a command from X11/ImageMagick-4.1.6, see or xv, xwd/xpr that work also fine on Linux.

Question (QA 556)   - Visual C++ on a PC/Windows

I have problems/question with a C++ application developed with Visual C++ on a PC/Windows.

Answer   -   Visual Studio is supported on NICE only in the sense that they will ensure that proper installation can be made. There is no programming or debugging support provided by the NICE team.

IT policy is to support development of scientific software only on Unix, and more precisely only Linux and Solaris, so there is NO SUPPORT for software development (Visual Fortran, C++, etc.) on Windows/NICE. Only the LHCb experiment decided to build their development on Windows, but they are supporting themselves.

In practice this means that questions in this area submitted to IT services (including the Helpdesk) will be replied with this standard answer. When choosing developing on a Windows platform users must understand that are mainly on their own for software development issues.

Please note: it should also be understood that only the programming environment and infrastructure (compilers, loaders, libraries, etc.) for software development will be supported on Unix (Linux and Solaris), but we cannot afford to give general computing usage support for any of the languages. For this, users should refer to specialized books.


Mail Support  -  

Question (QA 525)   - Netscape mail password (remember or not)

I have set my Netscape mail client to always remember the mail password when I access my mail from an account other than my own. How can I revert, i.e. tell Netscape mail to always prompt me for a password?

Answer   -   From the Netscape session select:
 Edit - Preferences... 
Category: "Mail & Newsgroup", "Mail Servers",
select your mail server and click on button "Edit" to untick "Remember Password".

Question (QA 540)   - Multiple Netscape address-books and bookmarks backup on NICE

I have multiple Netscape address books on my PC and lost all of them by some bad manipulation. Who can restore them?

Answer   -   Within Netscape (currently v.4.75), it is possible to have multiple address-books (and also bookmark files). However, this is not the CERN standard configuration, and only the default one is mirrored to the user's NICE home server, whereas all others are just stored locally.

Therefore, only this default version ('userid'\w95\nscape4\pab.na2' for the address-book and 'userid'\w95\nscape4\bookmark.htm' for the bookmark file) can be restored from a backup copy in case of file loss or corruption.

For this reason, users are strongly encouraged to stick to the CERN standard Netscape setup.

Question (QA 579)   - Difference between Outlook and Outlook Express

What's the difference between Outlook and Outlook Express?

Answer   -   Outlook Express is an e-mail client and newsreader which comes for free with Internet Explorer. That's just about it.

Outlook (current version 2000) is part of the M/S Office package and is therefore not free.
Not only has it the facilities of Outlook Express, but it is also a good tool for some message networking, and contains modules for group work and a scheduler.

So, Outlook Express is a basic tool for a single PC, whereas Outlook 2000 is more sophisticated and desirable for LANs, networking functions, the like.


Text Processing  -  

Question (QA 539)   - How can I edit an Spanish document in Latex?

Is it possible to create at CERN Latex documents in Spanish? In particular I am interested in accessing Latex packages to enable proper hyphenation and spelling dictionaries.

Answer   -  

At CERN, there is a command in the ASIS repository which does most of the enabling work, namely eslatex. It is just an appropiate call to tex.

Supposing you have Spanish hyphenation patterns compiled into your LaTeX format, you can also explicitely insert Spanish-related instructions in your document. For instance:

%Specify Spanish as main language
% Allows accentued characters as input
%(This is the default on Unix)

More about Spanish typesetting with Latex can be found at the Website:


Miscellaneous  -  

Question (QA 545)   - 192.91... TCP/IP addresses at CERN

I work on a computer at CERN whose IP address is 192.91.xx.xx. Do I have standard network support for it, in case of problems?

Answer   -   TCP/IP addresses starting with 192.91... are being used at CERN, but in all cases point to a privately set up and owned network (private Cisco's and the like). The owner of this computer (see: has the responsibility and should be contacted.

Question (QA 550)   - Problem or question on CDR (Central Data Recording)

I have a problem (question) on the CERN Central Data Recording system (CDR)

Answer   -   Look at the CDR FAQs database, as provided by the CDR.Support team, at URL:

Question (QA 562)   - ftp to CMS (SUN / Solaris machines)

When I try to establish a ftp session from anywhere to CMS (e.g. from a NICE PC) I get the following message:
421 Service not available, remote server not reachable

Answer   -   For security reasons system responsible had to close the ftp daemons on SUN machines. Users should use ftp to LXPLUS instead. If the data is local to CMS, use 'scp' to copy it to LXPLUS.
If you have an account on the CMS cluster the only ftp server you can now reach from externally is

About the author(s): Nicole Crémel is working in the User Services group and, with Roger Woolnough, is responsible for the supervision of operations of the Computing Helpdesk. Editing and revising the "Question and Answers" database is a daily task of most members of the group.

For matters related to this article please contact the author.

Vol. XXXVI, issue no 3

Last Updated on Fri Dec 07 14:18:28 CET 2001.
Copyright © CERN 2001 -- European Organization for Nuclear Research