Swarthmore College Department of Computer Science

swat cs frequently asked questions

questions...

  1. Firefox says it is already running. How can I fix this?
  2. Firefox runs but doesn't work!
  3. I'm over my quota. Why?
  4. My xfce dock is messed up. How can I fix this?
  5. My xfce panel is missing. How can I fix this?
  6. My gvim menu has disappeared. How can I fix this?
  7. Which lab machines are the fastest?
  8. The printer isn't working!
  9. I deleted an important file. Help!

answers...

  1. Firefox says it is already running

    Try running killfox on the command line.

  2. Firefox runs but doesn't work

    Try running our fixfox command (with firefox not running). This command tries to copy an old working .mozilla directory from our backup snapshots system. If it still doesn't work after this, email local-staff.

  3. I'm over my quota...why?

    Try running our dsu command in a terminal window to see why you are over your quota. It will list your largest files and directories.

    Here are our top 5 reasons why users are over their disk quotas, and how to fix them:

    • firefox has two places it may be storing cached files:

      large /home/user/.mozilla dir -- if this is the problem, try setting your preferences to limit your cache size:

      - start firefox
      - Edit --> Preferences
      - Advanced Tab
      - Network SubTab
      - Limit cache to XX MB of space (set it to 10MB)
      

      large /home/user/.cache/mozilla dir -- if this is the problem, try moving your .cache/mozilla dir to /scratch:

      - quit firefox
      - enter these commands in a terminal window
      (already done for all new accounts starting Fall 2013)
      
      $ cd
      $ mv .cache/mozilla /scratch/uname/mozilla
      $ ln -s /scratch/uname/mozilla .cache/mozilla
      

      Note: change uname to your username.

    • chromium-browser also stores cached files in your home dir. Enter these commands in a terminal window (quit chromium first) to move it's caches to /scratch:
      $ cd
      $ mkdir /scratch/uname/chromium
      $ mv .cache/chromium /scratch/uname/chromium/cache
      $ ln -s /scratch/uname/chromium/cache .cache/chromium
      
      $ mv .config/chromium /scratch/uname/chromium/config
      $ ln -s /scratch/uname/chromium/config .config/chromium
      
    • Dropbox -- if you are using dropbox on the CS machines, it will try to sync ALL of your dropbox files (even non-CS files, like Pictures and Music). Here's how to selectively exclude a folder from syncing to a CS machine. Run these commands in a terminal window on the CS machines.
      $ dropbox start
      $ dropbox exclude add Pictures
      $ dropbox exclude list
       Excluded:
        Dropbox/Pictures
      

      This would tell dropbox not to sync your Pictures folder to the CS machines.

    • the Trash folder -- many students move files to the Trash folder, but it never gets emptied. Try right-clicking on the Trash icon to empty the folder.

    • CS40/graphics -- if you took graphics, you might have lots of temporary files in your code-build directory. Try running "make clean" in your code-build directory to clean up these files.

    See also: using /scratch and /local

  4. My xfce dock is messed up

    If you don't mind wiping out your xfce configs and starting over, here's how to get a fresh set of config files:

    • if you're logged in, please log out
    • hit Control-Alt-F1 to get to a text console
    • log in on the text console
    • remove your current configs:
      rm -rf .config
    • copy new configs:
      cp -r /usr/swat/skel/skel/.config .
    • exit the text console
    • hit Control-Alt-F7 to get to the graphical login window
    • try logging in on the graphical login window to see if it worked

  5. My xfce panel is missing

    Sometimes the panel dies, and then when you log out, xfce saves your setup (without the panel running). The next time you log in, xfce thinks you don't want the panel, so it doesn't start it.

    To fix it, try running this in a terminal window:

    xfce4-panel &
  6. My gvim menu has disappeared

    Try this:

    • quit out of gvim
    • rm ~/.gnome2/Vim
    • restart gvim

  7. Which lab machines are the fastest?

    See our lab machine specs page.

  8. The printer isn't working

    See our printers page for more info. Use this link to see the printer queues. If a job is stuck in the queue, try deleting it.

  9. I deleted an important file. Help!

    We do filesystem snapshots every 4 hours, so there's a good chance we have a copy of your file in one of the snapshots. See our retrieving a lost file page for details on copying files from the snapshots.