Starting applications

Many applications are available from the Applications Menu in the top left corner of the screen.

  • File Manager: Button bar, filing folder with cursor
  • Eclipse: Click Applications Menu > Development > Eclipse
  • BeeperBot, PET, Logisim 2.7.1: Click on Applications Menu > Education > (what you want to select)
  • Web browser: Button bar, globe icon

Note: You can also right-click on the Desktop and choose the 'Applications' menu option to bring up the Xfce menu.

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Using LibreOffice Writer (.doc & .txt files)

LibreOffice Writer is a word processing program that is similar to Microsoft Word. You may open/edit/save files in .doc, .txt, .rtf (and other available formats).

The first time you do this, you will likely have to follow some instructions to set up LibreOffice. Follow these instructions, and be sure that you do not registerLibreOffice.

  • LibreOffice Writer: Click on Application Menu > Office > LibreOffice Writer
  • Email attachment (.doc): In webmail, click on the attachment as if you were going to download it. Choose to open the document - choose Open with office (default) - and click OK. From in LibreOffice, you can then save it to an appropriate place.
  • Email attachment (.txt): In webmail, click on the attachment to download it - the attached file will now be saved on your Desktop. To view it, you may need to refresh your Desktop by pressing the F5 key. Open that file in LibreOffice Writer.

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Navigating the file system

You will use the File Manager (button bar, folder icon with cursor in it) to manipulate files.

  • Home directory: Starting the File Manager for the first time you will be asked to specify which file manage, Thunar is the only default selection. Once you have selected this on your first selection this icon will take you directly to your home directory (~). In the left column of the File Manager you can click your login id to go back to your home directory
  • Home directory Folder on menu bar: On the menu bar the file folder without the cursor will display the contents of your home directory without having to pull up a file manager
  • Workspace (Eclipse .java): File Manager > Workspace (~/workspace)


This works similarly to Windows.

  • Move: Select file, Ctrl+X (cut), navigate to destination, Ctrl+V (paste)
  • Copy: Select file, Ctrl+C (copy), navigate to destination, Ctrl+V (paste)
  • Rename: Select file, F2, choose a new name and click Rename
  • Delete: Select file, press the Delete key (this moves the file into your Trash directory). To permanently delete the file, press Shift+Delete. Be sure to empty your Trash folder periodically so you don't exceed your quota.


  • Other methods also work, like using the Edit menu or drag & drop.
  • You can rename, move, copy and delete directories (folders) as you do files.
  • You can select multiple files or directories at once, and copy, move or delete them.


  • Create a new directory: Press Ctrl+Shift+N, choose a directory name and click Create
  • Moving through directories
    • Go to the View menu > Location Selector > Toolbar Style to make navigation easier
    • Move down into a child directory by double-clicking it
    • Move up to the parent directory by clicking the up arrow (under the menus - if there is no up arrow, you have not chosen Toolbar Style)

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Copying and pasting text

This is different than Windows.

  • Copy: Just highlight the text
  • Paste: Click the middle mouse button

Note: At times, Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V work in Linux like in Windows, but they often mean very different things and can cause problems if used to copy and paste text.

Downloading files

  1. Right-click on the link to the file.
  2. Choose 'Save Link As...'
  3. Navigate to the folder that you would like to save the file to. (This is similar toMoving through directories in the File Manager)
  4. Click Save


  • Terminal: Button bar, terminal window icon (when you hover over the button you should see 'Terminal Emulator')
    • An xterm window will appear
    • You will see a command prompt similar to your_login_id@ug01:~>
    • Type a command and press Enter

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Your quota

To check your quota

  1. Open a Terminal Window
  2. At the command prompt, type quota
  3. If blocks is getting close to quota, delete unnecessary files, perhaps by emptying your Trash
  4. Exit the command prompt by pressing Ctrl+D

When you delete files in the File Manager, the files are usually copied to your Trash folder. This takes up space, which may cause you to exceed your quota.

To avoid exceeding your quota, periodically empty your Trash

  1. Open the File Manager
  2. In the left column, right-click on Trash
  3. Choose Empty Trash

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Locking your computer and logging off

  • Lock screen: Button bar, monitor with padlock icon
  • Log off: Click Applications Menu > Log Out

Moving files between home and CS labs

Moving your files (such as .java files) back and forth between the lab machines and your computer at home can be done in a variety of ways.

  • Email: Use your CCID email (via U of A Gmail) to attach your files and email them to yourself.
  • USB Flash Drive: Copy your files on to your USB drive and take them back and forth.
  • WinSCP (Windows): Download this free, open source client used to transfer files remotely.


USB drives in the Linux labs work very much like that on a Windows machine.

  1. Insert the drive into a USB slot.
  2. Open the File Manager.
    • Your USB drive will appear at the bottom, in the left window, with the name of your USB drive.
    • For many, it will be the default name, which could be a seemingly random series of characters like 9SBUK75WE4K.
  3. Copy the files you want to move to the desired location.
  4. Once done, unmount your drive by right clicking on it (in the File Manager) and choosing Unmount volume.
    • Just like on Windows, this will ensure your flash drive's data does not become corrupted (except you normally choose eject or stop on Windows).


Download WinSCP:

  1. Go to the WinSCP Download page
  2. Under the top-most non-beta version, click the Portable executables link
  3. Unzip the downloaded .zip file
    • You can use 7-zip, if you do not have a compression tool
  4. You will now have a WinSCP executable, ending in .exe

Connect to the CS server ( using WinSCP:

  1. Double-click on the WinSCP executable, which likely has a name similar to winscp439.exe (439 represents the version 4.3.9, your version may be different).
  2. Host name:
    • The first time you do this, it will pop up a Warning saying the server's host key is not found
    • Ensure you typed correctly, and click Yes
    • You should never get this warning again. If you do, it's possible a hacker is trying to get your password by connecting you to an untrusted server.
  3. Log in with your CCID username and password
  4. You should now be able to copy files back and forth using WinSCP


  • Practice using WinSCP well before a due date to ensure it works.
  • Make backups of your code. It's possible when initially practicing that you accidentally delete files.
  • If you have questions, please contact the Help Desk. Help Desk staff will help if they can, but problems at home, such as with WinSCP, are ultimately your responsibility.

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