Tech Guide

This page has information on E-Mail setup, the BCT listservs and purchasing your own computer.

E-Mail Setup

It is important to have your email set up correct as it is used for all important announcements and communication between the university and you.

If you don’t know about your UMass email address, please find out more here.

Forwarding Your Email

If you don’t use your UMail as your primary email address (for example, if you have a personal GMail or Yahoo account), you can set up the forwarding function on your UMail account to forward all incoming mail to your personal account. Follow these steps to set it up:

  1. Go to, select UMail Post Office and log in.
    There is a lot of important information you can access about your UMail account in the Post Office area of the site. One that you may want to look at is Account Information to see the current space you have left on your account. You can also Change Password if you still login using OIT’s default designated password. Everything is self-explanatory on the site.
  2. Choose Forward Email, select the circle stating “Forward all my incoming email to this address” and enter your primary email address in the text box.
  3. Click Submit and you’re done.

Deleting Your Email on UMail

Some of you may have noticed that when you use your browser for email on UMail, and use the delete function, a cross on the message only appears but it isn’t actually deleted. Note that this happens on most popular email clients due to the IMAP (type of network protocol for your email) nature used by OIT. The message will still take up your email space if it’s crossed out!

For UMail through your browser:
If you delete your messages and don’t see the crossed out messages (your messages is deleted), please check the right hand side to see if it looks like this:

If it looks exactly like the image above, click Show Deleted to have the crossed out messages show up. And to permanently delete your messages, click on Purge Deleted.

Why do they make this extra complicated you ask?
Sometimes you may delete a message didn’t mean to delete. You can always check the crossed out message you accidentally deleted and click Undelete on the top left of the website.

It is a good idea to leave your deleted messages in there and purge deleted message every week or until your email quota (how much space you have left on your account) is close to full.

For Outlook Express:
You must have your specific account selected, i.e.: In other words you must have your inbox showing. The top bar may look like this:

And just hit Purge to delete all deleted (crossed out) messages. If the Purge button doesn’t appear, right click on the top panel (where the Print, Send/Receive buttons are):

And you’ll notice a menu like the above will show. Select customize, look on the right hand area of the new window and you’ll notice a list of options that you can use for your buttons on Outlook Express.

Select the buttons you want to see on the tool bar by just clicking Add. You might have to scroll to find the Purge option.


Unfortunately there is no easy way to control this. What you can do is trust in the OIT system of handling spam (but it isn’t always accurate and you may see your friend’s message in the SPAM folder!) But you’ll have to check to make sure the email in the SPAM folder is indeed spam!

To allow OIT to handle your spam:

  1. Go to, select UMail Post Office and login
  2. Choose Spam Filtering and hit the radio button (the selection circle) for “Enable spam filtering.” Note you can choose the number of days before the account automatically deletes the spam messages. All spam messages are kept in your SPAM folder (it’s on the dropdown box that says Inbox when you’re accessing UMail through your browser)
  3. Click Submit and you’re done.

E-Mail Listservs

The listservs are an important tool for informing students of career opportunities, both full-time and summer work, academic, advising and other news of interest to the BCT community. Subscribe to the BCT Listservs here:
You can also like us on Facebook now!

Getting Your Own Computer/Laptop

While not absolutely necessary, getting your own computer (usually a laptop) is often a good idea for your time at UMass (and possibly beyond). Most software needed for classes and research in BCT is typically either available in an OIT computer classroom or in one of the computer classrooms in Holdsworth Hall (room 302 or 110). You typically don’t even need to budget any money for software purchases. However, having your own computer allows you to keep your files in a secure location and makes you less dependent on computer room availability.

Graduate students in BCT are strongly encouraged to have their own computer when they begin their studies.

The following sections give you some tips if you decide to purchase your own computer.


Even entry-level hardware specs are typically sufficient for common Office-type software uses (word-processing, spreadsheets and presentations). Better hardware only pays off for CAD- and 3D modeling as well as image- and video-editing applications. Here are some tips when selecting hardware:

  • You can nowadays choose either a Mac-, Windows- or even Linux-based (e.g. Ubuntu) system. While some software is only available for Windows (e.g. some CAD software), you can run it on a Mac or Ubuntu using what is called a “virtual machine”.
  • If you purchase a Mac, consider installing Bootcamp immediately so that you can install a Windows partition. This allows you to install Windows-only software on a Mac. For more on Bootcamp, go here. Set up at least 30 GB for the Windows partition. Once Bootcamp is up and running, go to the OIT website to get a free or low-cost copy of Windows. An alternative approach is installing virtual-machine software like Parallels.
  • Since RAM and Harddisks are cheap these days, go with a system with as high specs as you can afford. Minimum RAM is 4 GB and HD’s should not be smaller than 300 GB.
  • Choose a CPU with as many cores as you can afford. Dual-core is the minimum these days.
  • The graphics card is only crucial for CAD and some video applications (or for gaming, of course). A good rule of thumb is that a gaming-optimized computer typically works well for CAD applications.
  • Umass has contracts for some discounted hardware, check here first:¬†


You can often get operating system software, office applications, anti-virus and more for free from the OIT website. UMass has a variety of contracts that you should check before you purchase any software. For what is not listed there, check the U-Store or online academic retailers like Studica.

Autodesk software is available for free to students and instructors as a 3-year watermarked license. Sign up at to download your copy.

For online data storage, don’t forget that you have access to the UMass U-Drive system.


Some tips to keep your computers running:

  • If you have any software- or hardware-related question, check OIT’s support site or call 545-9400 on campus. OIT also has software and hardware walk-in support in the Lederle LGRC Lowrise.
  • Back up your computer and your data regularly. Immediately after purchasing your new computer, think about setting up a backup system. You will thank yourself once your data gets lost or stolen. Common approaches are external hard-disks or online backup services.
  • Get a lock! Buy a laptop lock so that you can easily lock your computer to a solid object if you are in a computer lab or even in your dorm room. Most computer thieves “swipe” computers and will be deterred by a cable lock.

Last updated: August 24, 2012