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April 30, 2015

Technology Corner: You have questions? We have answers.

Tech corner banner_Bryan-Strope

You may not know me, but we’ve probably talked.

In this fiscal year alone, members of the Pitt community have reached out to the Technology Help Desk staff more than 70,000 times. You can reach the Help Desk every day of the year, every hour of the day, with questions about software, firewalls, cloud storage, passwords, PeopleSoft and more.

Some questions from staff and faculty come up more frequently than others.

How can I help a visitor to my department connect to Pitt’s wireless network?

Faculty and staff members who are willing to be responsible for the visitor’s activity on the University network may create a 30-day guest-wireless account for the visitor.

If the guest needs access for a longer period of time, you’ll need to ask your responsibility center (RC) account administrator to create a sponsored account.

Can I change my password before 180 days?

Sure. You don’t need to wait for the yellow alert box in My Pitt. While changing your password every 180 days is the minimum, changing your password more frequently is encouraged.

Log into My Pitt and choose Manage Your Account > Password Change.

Can I install Pitt departmentally purchased software on my home computer?

It depends. Some (but not all) software titles installed on your work computer may be licensed to be installed on your home computer.

Check for a full list of software titles available. Each title will indicate whether it includes home use rights; those with home use rights can be installed on your computer at home.

Can I download software for free?

A number of popular software packages are available to faculty and staff at no cost or for purchase at reduced costs. See for a list.

In addition, faculty members have access to academic courseware, which provides free downloads of a range of software packages that then can be used on University and on personally owned computers.

We work in a team environment, and it would be helpful to be able to edit and see each other’s calendars and send email messages on another person’s behalf. Can I do that at Pitt?

Yes, when you’re using the My Pitt email account provided to you, which is an Exchange account, you’re able to set up delegates for calendar and email. An Exchange mailbox owner can grant a range of permissions to another individual, known as a delegate. A delegate can view, create and accept calendar appointments on behalf of the owner of the calendar, or can read and send mail on behalf of the owner of the mailbox.

You can also modify your own calendar settings so that others can see as much or as little detail on your calendar as you like.

Sometimes I need to work from home. How do I connect to the computer in my office?

Your first step is to ask your RC account administrator if he/she is willing to grant access. You can find your RC account administrator at

Then you’ll need to establish a secure remote connection to Pitt via Please test your secure remote connection several days before you require the remote desktop connection. If you run into any difficulties, contact the Help Desk and we’ll walk you through any troubleshooting required.

I am away from my desk frequently and sometimes come back to find time-sensitive voicemail messages on my office phone. How can I better manage missed phone calls?

Faculty and staff who have digital or IP phones can use Send To Mobile (EC500), a service that enables mobile personnel to receive incoming calls simultaneously on their cell phones and their office phones.

The service can be requested by contacting the Technology Help Desk or submitting the University telephone services request form available at

I’m an adjunct or part-time faculty member and typically teach just one term a year. Is it possible to keep my computer account all year?

If you’re a part-time faculty member who does not teach every term, your school’s RC account administrator may be willing to sponsor your computer account when you are not actively teaching.

See for the name of your RC administrator.

I worked for Pitt previously and now have returned. Will I have the same computer account and username?

If a faculty or staff member leaves the University and returns within one year, the person’s former computer account typically will be reinstated. Otherwise, a new, unique computer account is created.


That’s a snapshot of questions that faculty and staff often have about technology at the University. The 17 members of Pitt’s Help Desk are here to help you and to give you more detail than can be captured here.

People often prefer to contact us by phone. It’s easy to remember that our number is 412/624-HELP, but you also may want to put our number in your mobile phone’s contact list: 412/624-4357.

We also can be reached through an online form or online live-chatting: Go to or email us at

Bryan Strope is the Technology Help Desk supervisor.