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Networking & Information Technology in the Facility FAQ

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Brief instructions (slashes opposite directions for different operating systems):

  • Windows: Use File Explorer and enter “\\\” into the its address bar (omit the quotation marks).
  • Macs: Use Finder, and select Go>Connect to Server (or Cmd-K).  Enter “smb://” (omit quotation marks) into the prompt window.

Detailed instructions:

Windows: From Windows Explorer, type “\\\” (omit the quotations; note the back-slashes are different than the more common forward-slash used to denote ratios and fractions) into the Address bar, press "Enter" on your keyboard (or click the "Go" button) and then you'll get a window prompting you for login and password (see ). Normal Windows navigation should move you across the server directory structure. For convenience, you can right-click the directory folder that you commonly use, and create a shortcut on your desktop that automatically navigates to that directory.

If you don't know how to open Windows Explorer directly, here are some quick methods. (a) double-click the "My Computer" icon on your desktop, if it's there. (b) from the "start" menu in the lower-left corner, navigate the submenus: Programs>Accessories>Windows Explorer (if you have "Personalized Menus" active, wait a few seconds with each menu, and it ought to expand to show all the choices in the menu, rather than the items you used last). (c) from the "start" menu in the lower-left corner, select "Run...", type "explorer" (without the quotations), and press "Enter" on your keyboard (or click "OK" button).

Macintosh: From the Finder menu, select "Go>Connect to server" (keyboard equivalent is Command-K). Enter the IP address "smb://" (omit the quotations, the slash is a forward slash and different from Windows). You'll be prompted for login and password (see ). Normal navigation should move you across the server directory structure to your lab's folder.

For security, none of the microscope computer systems are externally accessible, so users should transfer images to the Microscope Facility's Server (currently 8 Tb capacity). With the appropriate (Not to be divulged here! See .), you can get your image data from any computer on the School of Medicine network. The server has limited space, so old data (>3 months) will be purged and you should transfer to more permanent media. Remember that the Hopkins network is generally 1 Gbits/s (~1s to transfer a 100 Mb image file).

However, if you are not on campus or not part of the School of Medicine network (apparently School of Public Health is on a separate network!), you must activate Virtual Private Network (VPN) temporarily for your session. As a three-step process, the first activation is extremely tedious and allow ~10 minutes to set it up. Once activated, VPN is really straightforward.

  1. Installing an Authenticator:  Multi-factor Authenticators are available for many devices (WinAuth for Windows; Google Authenticator for iPhone & Android; GAuth for Google Chrome; OTP Manager for Mac). Full instructions for installing an Authenticator are at (MFA_Instructions).
        Installing an Authenticator is complicated and tedious because activation requires two keys that have to be exchanged manually each way between your Authenticator programs and the JHU myIT website (different from myJH portal: Entry to the myIT website is more complicated than JHED because it also needs either a coded text message to your phone or for you to answer a challenge/security question.
        Allow ~10 min just to install an Authenticator.  After this installation/activation process, using the Authenticator is really easy: clicking or starting the Authenticator will cause it to provide a ‘myIT Login Code’, but the code only has a 60-second lifetime. Hence, request a fresh code just before you need it (see both steps below).
  2. Installing VPN:  From the myJH portal, select VPN>Install VPN along the left side. To get to the next page, you will have to enter ‘myIT Login Code’ from the multi-factor Authenticator (see above). Click/install the appropriate installer for your operating system of ‘Pulse Secure VPN’.
  3. Using VPN:  From the myJH portal (, select VPN>Web VPN from the left side.  You will need to enter a fresh myIT Login Code (see above) if your prior session has timed out.  Click on the tab “Client Apps” (next to the “Home” tab in upper right of screen).  Click “Start” that is associated with the “Pulse Secure” app listed in the window.  At this point, VPN is activated and you can follow the instructions above for SoM campus computers using File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac).  When you are done with your VPN session, return to theWeb VPN page of your browser and click the “Sign Out” button at the upper far-right edge of the screen.

With VPN active, you'll not only get access to the Microscope Facility Server, you'll also have access to all School of Medicine services as if you were physically on campus. It's very, very handy! Such services include access to Welch Medical Library holdings so that articles can be downloaded (not available off-campus otherwise).

Because of finite capacity, we can only guarantee that data created in a rolling window of the last 3 months won't get deleted from the Microscope Facility Server during cleanups. This window should be sufficient time for users to transfer their data onto their own storage devices elsewhere, while allowing enough space for storing new data. Operationally, you'll see data files older than this window of time; Don't get used to it: if things get crowded, we'd be deleting those files.

All computers and servers in the Microscope Facility are protected by requiring users to enter login names and passwords. For obvious reasons, we will not put the information as plain text on the web. Until more sophisticated methods can be implemented, I'm using JHBox (JHU file sharing) to distribute the information in a secure manner. Please go to my JHBox site to go to the login/password file ( You will be prompted for your JHED login and password (JHED is how you get to your JHU email and to your paychecks/W-2 form/benefits elections). Eventually, parts of this website will be operating with JHED authentication, but, until then, JHBox will provide the interim solution.

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