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Before You Arrive

You will be issued with a University card and a letter detailing your UCAS number. You will need both to collect your unique User ID (sometimes called a CRSID) and passwords.

In the basement of the Cockerell Building, across from the Computer Office, you will see a computer room of the Managed Cluster Service (MCS). These rooms are equipped predominantly with PCs (Windows and Linux Operating System available) but there are some Macintoshes too. When you login, it will create a roaming profile, which allows you to access your data in any MCS computer in the university.

The very first time you login to the MCS, you should use the username "signup" with a blank password. If you then follow the on-screen instructions, you will be able to retrieve your User ID and passwords. These passwords will include:

  • Raven (Authentication to Cambridge University services)
  • Hermes (Email)
  • MCS

You should have a pen and paper with you to note these passwords down as you will not be able to print the page out until you have purchased printer credit. (Please see the section on Printing Facilities for further information.)

What to bring

    • You may find useful to have a laptop or PC in your own room however the students can use the Managed Cluster Service (MCS) which provides networked PCs or Macintosh computers running a wide range of software, together with printers and scanners.
    • Operating system software that came with your computer, for re-installation.
    • A hard drive or USB for back up of important documents.

    What you do not need to bring

    • Ethernet cable – The Computer Office will provide it.
    • Printer – the MCS rooms have printing facilities.
    • Antivirus software - The university provide it free of charge.
    • You need to make sure you uninstall any antivirus software from your computer before you connect to the network.
    • Intermediary devices (routers, access points and modems)
    • We expect students to bring only "end devices" such as laptop/desktop computers, smart phones, tablet computers and other mobile devices. Intermediary devices are not supported.


      The IT matters publication contains important information about the computing facilities that are provided by the University Computing Service (UCS).