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How to request IT help

First read the documentation

If you have read the documentation but could not find a solution to your problem, please let us know when you contact us so that we can improve our website.

What to include in an email to help@maths

When emailing help@maths with a problem or question, please include as much useful information as possible. Sending an email that says something like "My computer doesn't work today, it did last week", or "What's the icon in the top corner of my desktop doing, I didn't put it there", isn't going to give much information away in the hope of answering your question quickly. The sort of information that will help us help you is:

  • A good clear subject line, not left blank or vague
  • The name of the computer you have the problem with (if it's a laptop, say so)
  • The type of machine (Windows, Linux, Macintosh, printer etc.) - if possible be specific e.g. Windows 7, Ubuntu 16.04, MacOSX 10.13
  • If you are using Linux, tell us if you have changed your window manager (the default is XUbuntu)
  • The room in which the machine resides
  • What were you trying to do and why?
  • What did you expect to happen?
  • What actually did happen? [With any error messages!]
  • Has this problem been going on for weeks or has it only just started?
  • Does anyone else have the same problem? Do you have the same problem on more than one computer?

How To Report Bugs Effectively (external link)

For laptops and other machines using the laptop network, there are a couple more things we need to know:

  • The information from accessing the web page http://lapserv.maths.cam.ac.uk/authstatus/ on your laptop.
  • Which network are you connecting to (eduroam, Unencrypted.maths, UniOfCam, wired eduroam, or the "ordinary" wired network)?

One problem per ticket, one ticket per problem

Our helpdesk system (called RT) keeps track of emails sent to help@maths and stores them in a database so that the COs can access all the correspondence about a particular issue or ticket in one place via a web interface. For this to work without manual intervention from COs, a few rules must be followed.

When you email the helpdesk, you will receive an automated reply with the string "[Maths IT Helpdesk #xxxxx]" in the Subject line. All further correspondence about the same issue should be sent as a reply to this email, or to later emails with the same string in their Subject lines sent by a CO via the helpdesk system. Note: Sometimes when you contact a CO in person they will create a helpdesk ticket for you. The same rules still apply.

  • Keeping the ticket number in the Subject header makes it easy for COs to look up all the discussion about your ticket.
  • Don't touch the References headers - the RT system needs them to track the discussion.

If you have a new problem, you need to make a new ticket. To do this, send a new email to help@maths rather than replying to previous emails. If you have several unrelated problems, it's better to send help@maths one email per problem so that each problem gets its own ticket.