Office of Technology
What are phishing, smishing, and vishing?
How do I tell if WSU Wireless is down or if it’s just me?
Can I request event support or rent technology for a special event, meeting, or class?
Is it true that the latest version of Office 365 is available for free to WSU students?
Is there a free antivirus software you recommend for general use?
Curious about whether you’re approaching inbox capacity? Options if you are close to your quota.
Managing your calendar in MS Office 2013.
How do I make a strong password?
Overwhelmed by emails? How to make your mailbox manageable.
How do I print Blackboard discussions?
Why is connecting to public Wi-Fi risky, and how can I connect safely on the go?
How can I tell if an email is malicious?
What do you recommend I do if my computer is running slowly?
What is the “Clean Up Conversation” tool in Microsoft Outlook, and how do I use it?
How can I maximize my laptop’s battery life?
Is there any way for me to stay updated on possible software issues as they arise?
Other than using a VPN, what are some ways I can protect my info on public Wi-Fi?
I frequently write emails answering the same questions—is there any way to streamline the process?
How can I customize my LinkedIn URL?
I’m ready to change my Network ID password—where do I go to change it?
I keep receiving emails I think are spam, but they contain no links. What are those and what do they do?
Is there a simpler way to screenshot a page or a portion of a page to save as an image?
I know a little about the benefits of an ergonomic workspace, but how do I know if my workspace is the most effective for my needs?
How can I password-protect documents?
Can I permanently delete all the emails in my Outlook Deleted Items folder at once, instead of manually deleting messages one by one?
What is two-factor authentication, and why should I use it?
Is it advisable to save work-related documents to Google Docs, Dropbox, and other cloud-based systems?
Q: What are phishing, smishing, and vishing?
A: These words might sound like something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book, but they’re anything but whimsical—phishing is the most well-known of these three, an email attempt at gleaning personal identifying info by posing as a legitimate company (usually a well-known bank). Vishing is phishing over the phone, and smishing is phishing over text. The best way to avoid getting scammed by phishers, vishers, and smishers is to never respond or give out info in a communication you didn’t initiate, no matter how convincing it seems.
Q: How do I tell if WSU Wireless is down or if it’s just me?
A: You can check to see if WSU Wireless is encountering a problem on the Network Status Page: https://infotech.wsu.edu/NetOps/NetStatus/. If everything looks normal, contact one of our tech specialists at the Help Desk by calling 509-335-9517 or emailing us at email@example.com.
Q: Can I request event support or rent technology for a special event, meeting, or class?
A: If you are a Carson College of Business faculty or staff member, you have access to professional, custom technology and event support for special events, classes, and meetings. Fill out the form that best suits your needs, and our technology and event support staff will assist you to make sure everything is in order for your event to be a success.
Q: Is the latest version of Office 365 is available for free to WSU students?
A: Current WSU students can download Office 365 for free here using their MyWSU login info: https://office365.wsu.edu.
Q: Is there a free antivirus software you recommend for general use?
A: If you’re looking for a good, free antivirus software, our Office of Technology specialists typically recommend BitDefender or MalwareBytes, both of which offer free versions. Other strong choices include SpyBot Search and Destroy and SpywareBlaster, which seek out vulnerabilities within Windows and block suspicious websites to prevent malware from becoming a problem in the first place.
Q: Curious about whether you’re approaching inbox capacity?
A: Check by right-clicking your email address on the left sidebar. Select “Account Properties.” You can check how much space you have left under “Mailbox Cleanup.” If you find that you’re approaching your inbox limit of 4.8 GB, there are several ways to free up some space to ensure you don’t miss any important messages.
Option 1: Archiving. To archive your emails, open Outlook, right-click your email address (above “Inbox”) on the left sidebar. Under “Cleanup Tools,” select “Archive.” Select the folders and subfolders you would like to archive, the date you would like the archive to start, and the location you would like the archive saved under. Click “OK.”
You also have the option to set up automatic archiving by right-clicking the folder you’d like to auto-archive. Select “Properties.” Under “AutoArchive,” select the frequency you’d like your emails archived and the location to which you’d like your emails saved. Adjust your archiving frequency according to the volume of emails you receive.
Option 2: Mailbox Cleanup. Open Outlook and right-click your email address (above “Inbox”) on the left sidebar. Select “Account Properties.” Click the box marked “Cleanup Tools,” and from the options displayed select “Mailbox Cleanup.” From here, you can set your desired settings for deletion, archiving, and moving email items. You can also find just the largest files in your email by using the “Find items larger than” option and deleting or archiving them to free up space.
Option 3: Empty Deleted Items folder. Open Outlook and right-click your email address (above “Inbox”) on the left sidebar. Select “Account Properties.” Click the box marked “Cleanup Tools,” and from the options displayed select “Empty Deleted Items Folder.” You’ll be prompted with an “Are you sure?” message. If you are sure you want to permanently delete these items, select “Yes.”
Q: Microsoft Outlook offers extensive calendar features to help you stay organized. Below are a few mini-tutorials to help get you started.
A: Make a calendar entry by signing on to your Outlook account and clicking “Calendar” on the bar across the bottom of the screen. This will take you to your personal calendar, as well as any others you have access to (all viewable along the left side of the screen). To make an entry, double-click the column under the day and across from the time the event or task is to take place. Enter any information you would like, and hit “Save & Close” to save.
Change your calendar view by selecting an option from the bar across the top of your screen—for example, if you wish to only see what’s coming up in the work week, click “Work Week.” You can easily switch back and forth depending on how far out you’d like to see or schedule calendar events.
Share your calendar by selecting the “E-mail Calendar” option and inputting the email you’d like to send it to. To give someone permissions to make changes to your calendar, select “Calendar Permissions.” You can also choose to share your calendar by selecting “Share Calendar,” entering the email of the person you would like to share it with, selecting your preferred share settings (Availability Only, Limited Details, or Full Details), and clicking send.
Q: How can I create a strong, secure password?
A: According to research firm SplashData, the most common password in the U.S. for 2014 was “123456.” While a sequential password certainly is easy to remember (“qwerty” is another popular choice), it also makes hacking your accounts much easier for cybercriminals. Stay a step ahead by crafting the most secure password you can using these tips.
- Aim for a password between 8 and 12 characters in length.
- Avoid using words that could be found in a dictionary, pets’ names, your children’s names, your name, or your company name.
- Instead, try an acronym for a phrase that you are likely to remember, then add the following: uppercase and lowercase letters, numerals, symbols, and spaces. For example, if your phrase was a line from your favorite song, you could craft a password like the following, inspired by the Beatles’ 1969 hit “Here Comes the Sun”:
1969 hCtS *ld*
(The breakdown of this password is: year of the song’s release, space, acronym for the refrain, space, and the lead into the verse (“little darling”) enclosed by star symbols)
- Test your password using Microsoft’s password checker here.
- If you’re worried about remembering your passwords, there are several good password manager apps available for smartphones. Avoid storing your passwords in an electronic list on your computer, as that option is not very secure. Alternatively, you can write your passwords down, but if you do, try not to connect them with certain accounts (for example, avoid writing “Outlook password,” and just write down the password itself), and be sure to store them in a safe place.
Q: Overwhelmed by emails? Follow these steps to make your inbox manageable.
A: It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the volume of email coming through to you, especially at the busiest times of the academic year. Try these solutions to keep email stress at a minimum.
- As much as possible, take action on emails each time you check your inbox. Set aside a designated time or times each day to check email and respond to or discard messages. Try not to save messages for later unless necessary.
- Delete spam immediately, and be sure to never open links from spam emails.
- Unsubscribe from newsletters you no longer read or promotional lists you don’t use.
- Create folders to organize emails by project, class, or event. Right-click “Inbox,” select “New Folder,” and name the folder. Folders you create will appear underneath the “Inbox” column.
- Set up “rules” to classify emails and sort them into specific folders. For instance, you could create a folder for a high-priority project, right-click any email from the person or people you are collaborating with on the project, select
- Rules,” select “Create Rule,” and select the folder you created to route all emails from your collaborators to the project folder.
- Schedule regular cleanouts or archives. See our tips on archiving and cleanup for more information.
Q: How do I print Blacboard discussions?
A: If you are a faculty member who conducts online discussions and want to learn how to print student responses, follow the steps below.
- Log in to your Blackboard Learn site and click the “Discussion Board” button.
- Select the forum from which you wish to print responses.
- You’ll see checkmarks next to student responses. Select the ones you wish to print.
- Press the “Collect” button. At this point, you may wish to sort student responses based on date, student name, or another piece of data.
- Once you’ve selected and sorted the responses you need, click “File,” then “Print
Q: Why is connecting to public Wi-Fi risky, and how can I connect safely on the go?
A: Almost everyone works in public spaces like airports, coffee shops, and hotels, but it’s important to remember that connecting to public Wi-Fi leaves users open to security risks due to the fact that Wi-Fi operates using radio waves, making the connection and the activity conducted on that connection much more open to would-be hackers.
In order to keep your information as safe as possible, you can sign up to use WSU ITS’s Secure Sockets Layer Virtual Private Network (SSL VPN). A VPN allows users to connect to a secure network—in this case, WSU’s—via remote connection that encrypts your online activity. If you are a WSU employee, you can read more about SSL VPN and sign up to use this service here.
Q: How can I tell if an email is malicious?
A: Oftentimes, email attempts to glean personal info are fairly convincing, but there are some subtle ways to tell a legitimate email from a scam.
- Read carefully for typos and grammar errors. These are often present in scam emails.
- Legitimate emails will usually use your name, while scammers will usually use something generic they can use for a mass email, like “Dear Valued Employee.”
- Check the sender’s email address domain. No legitimate company will use a private email like Hotmail or Gmail.
- Be wary of urgent calls to action. “You must enter your password immediately or lose access to your account” is one example of claims scammers make in order to take advantage of the panic one might feel at losing all their emails or access to their account.
If you’d like help determining if an email is legitimate or a scam, you are welcome to ask us. When in doubt, never click on a link inside a questionable email. The best thing to do with a scam email is simply delete it.
Q: What do you recommend I do if my computer is running slowly?
A: If you’ve had your computer for more than a couple years, you’ve probably noticed a difference in its speed since the time you first pulled it out of the box. Some slowing is natural since program updates to improve efficiency and security take up more hard drive space than the original programs do. However, you can still take some steps to ensure your machine keeps running at top efficiency.
- Empty your trash can regularly to free up space.
- Uninstall programs you don’t use.
- Download the free program CCleaner. You can customize the settings to clear any of the following on a regular basis to keep your computer running at maximum performance: temporary files, internet browsing history, and cookies. There is also a version of CCleaner for your phone if you have an Android.
In addition, consider investing in an external hard drive to store large files you don’t work on frequently. You can also back up your hard drive using cloud storage so the files you need are saved in two places.
Q: What is the “Clean Up Conversation” tool in Microsoft Outlook, and how do I use it?
A: If you’re trying to keep a clean inbox, the “Clean Up Conversation” tool in Outlook is a great way to avoid clutter. Simply select the message you want to clean up, click the drop-down arrow next to “Clean Up” under the Home tab and select “Clean Up Conversation.” This tool delete old emails that are already attached to the latest email in the thread, leaving you with one current thread rather than multiples missing the latest messages. The only older messages it won’t delete are those with attachments.
Q: How can I maximize my laptop’s battery life?
A: It’s important to keep the batteries in your most-used electronic devices running at maximum efficiency—but what habits can help? Try these tips from our tech professionals.
For your laptop:
- Try to avoid using your laptop in places where it will overheat easily—in the sun, on fabric-covered surfaces, etc. When the machine itself is overheating, the battery has to work twice as hard.
- Turn down the brightness on your screen.
- Make sure your laptop’s power settings are customized to save power when the device is not plugged in. For example, if your device has an “eco” mode, make it your default when running on battery-only.
- Hit Ctrl+Alt+Delete to open Task Manager and click “More Details.” Stop any programs that you don’t need to have running, such as apps or background processes.
For your phone:
- Check to see what is using the most battery life on your phone. To do this, Android users will want to go to Settings, then Battery, while Apple users will want to go to General, then Usage, and finally Battery Usage.
- Once you’ve found out what’s using a lot of battery life, you can take steps like choosing not to receive push notifications or disabling automatic updates to save some power.
- Some other ways to conserve battery on your phone include turning down screen brightness, changing wallpaper to a dark color, using a power save mode if your phone offers it, getting rid of unused apps, and updating the apps you do use.
Q: Is there any way for me to stay updated on possible software issues as they arise?
A: Yes. WSU ITS offers comprehensive software-alert email lists you can join. Go to lists.wsu.edu and select “Join a List.” Choose the lists you’d like to join from the ITS lists here, and enter your full name, email address, and the name of the list you’d like to be added to.
Q: Other than using a VPN, what are some ways I can protect my info on public Wi-Fi?
A: Although they are not as secure as using a VPN, there are other methods to help boost your security when you need to use public Wi-Fi.
- First, make sure your computer has been updated before venturing out. Browser and software updates help protect against security vulnerabilities, but you want to do this on a secure home or work network. Make sure your antivirus is also up-to-date at this time.
- Install a browser extension such as HTTPS Everywhere to force encrypted browsing whenever it’s available and an ad-blocking extension like AdBlock Plus to block harmful popup ads and scripts. You can find these for free on the Chrome Web Store or Mozilla Add-Ons.
- Be wary of the hotspot you’re connecting to, especially if it has an unusual name, and ask someone who works there if you have any doubt the connection might not be legitimate.
- Limit the amount of sites you visit that require a username and password, especially sensitive sites such as your bank, even if the connection is encrypted. Usernames and passwords are easy for hackers to steal over the openness of Wi-Fi radio waves.
Lastly, remember that none of these solutions are perfect, and that a VPN is still the best way to go if you want to maximize your online security.
Q: I frequently write emails answering the same questions—is there any way to streamline the process?
A: If you’re frequently writing emails with the same content, we recommend Outlook’s convenient Template tool to save some time. Create a template following these simple steps:
- Compose the message you would like to save.
- In the upper left-hand corner, click “File,” then “Save As.”
- From the drop-down menu labeled “Save As Type,” choose “Outlook Template.”
When you’re ready to send the message, navigate to the “Developer” tab. If you don’t see it, right-click anywhere on the ribbon, choose “Customize the Ribbon,” and select “Developer” from the list that comes up.
- Under the “Developer” tab, select “Choose Form.”
- Select “User Templates in File System.”
- The list with your templates will come up—just click the one you need and select “Open.”
- Customize the message as much as you need to and send.
- Note that if you choose to save the message, changes will not be saved to the template. If you wish to save changes to the template for future messages, you’ll need to follow the steps above to save it as a new template.
Q: How can I customize my LinkedIn URL?
A: You can customize your LinkedIn URL by following these steps:
- Sign in to your LinkedIn account and hover over the button across the top bar that says “Profile” and select “Edit Profile” from the drop-down menu.
- At the bottom of the box containing your picture and basic information, you’ll see a URL beginning “https://www.linkedin.com/” Click on the gray gear symbol to the right of that URL.
- You should be redirected to a page titled “Public Profile.” Along the right side of the page, there will be a sidebar which reads, “Your public profile URL.” Click the blue hyperlink that reads “+ Create your custom URL.”
- Enter the URL ending you would like to have, for example, “firstnamelastname.” If the URL is taken, you’ll be prompted to choose a suggestion from an automated list or you can try other combinations (business name, numbers added to the name, etc.).
- Once you have found the URL you wish to use, click “Save.”
Q: I’m ready to change my Network ID password—where do I go to change it?
A: For everyone’s information security at WSU, users must change their Network ID password every 180 days. To reset your password or check when it expires, visit reset.wsu.edu, and make sure to check out our earlier FAQ on how to create a strong password!
Q: I keep receiving emails I think are spam, but they contain no links. What are those and what do they do?
A: E-mails from unknown senders asking very vague questions, even if they have no link, are still spam. Sending a vague, link-less e-mail is a tactic used by scammers to determine whether an e-mail address is still active. An email without a link is less likely to be flagged as spam, and scammers determine whether the e-mail address is still active by whether their e-mails “bounce back” or the receiver responds. The best thing to do is delete the message and not respond, as a response may invite more spam by indicating to the system that you “know” the sender.
Q: Is there a simpler way to screenshot a page or a portion of a page to save as an image?
A: If you are looking for a simple way of taking a screenshot of any page (or a part of a page), the snipping tool is a valuable tool. Simply search “snipping tool” on your PC, and select “New” when the snipping tool box appears. Drag the cursor around the area you wish to screenshot and select “File,” then “Save As” to name the image and save it to your location of choice. This simple tool is great for saving any information you’d typically save using a screenshot, such as a message you’d like to keep, a portion of a webpage you’d like to include in a presentation or print, or an image of an error message to send to your IT support professional.
Q: I know a little about the benefits of an ergonomic workspace, but how do I know if my workspace is the most effective it can be for my needs?
A: Making sure your workspace is ergonomic is a great way to stay feeling your best and avoid preventable work-related injury and strain. WSU employees can request an ergonomics evaluation through the WSU Department of Environmental Health and Safety by calling 335-3041. Evaluations typically take 30-60 minutes to complete and test for a variety of risk factors. To learn more, visit the WSU Department of Environmental Health and Safety website here.
Q: How can I password-protect documents?
A: One way to increase the security of your documents is to password-protect them. Before you begin, do consider that there is no way to re-set a document’s password if it is lost, so be sure it is memorable for you or write it down and keep the password in a secure location.
To password-protect a document in Microsoft Word, go to “File,” and select “Protect Document.” From there, select “Encrypt with Password” and enter the password of your choice. To password-protect a document in Excel, click “Save As.” When the dialogue box opens, select “Tools” at the bottom of the box next to the “Save” button and select “General Options.” A dialogue box will appear with fields in which to enter your password and confirm.
Q: Can I permanently delete all the emails in my Outlook Deleted Items folder at once, instead of manually deleting messages one by one?
A: Yes! If you wish to delete all items from a certain folder, right-click the folder name along the left sidebar and select “Empty Folder” from the dialogue box that pops up. This will move all items from that folder to the “Deleted Items” folder.
If you’d like to delete just a few messages, select them individually and click the gray “X”/Delete button along the top of the screen. This will move just those items to the Deleted Items folder.
To delete items permanently, right-click the “Deleted Items” folder and select “Empty Folder.” This automatically selects and deletes everything you’ve deleted from other folders permanently.
Q: What is two-factor authentication, and why should I use it?
A: Two-factor authentication is a security measure that requires a user to provide two pieces of identifying information when logging into a platform. The benefit of doing this online, even though it adds another step to the login process and isn’t a catch-all solution, is that more sophisticated login processes deter less-sophisticated hacking attempts.
Many online platforms use two-factor authentication, and enabling it when you can is never a bad idea. If you have questions about how to enable two-factor authentication—or whether you can on any given software or online platform—contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Is it advisable to save work-related documents to Google Docs, Dropbox, and other cloud-based systems?
A: We recommend against saving non-public WSU documents to cloud-based systems because cloud-based storage is more susceptible to hacking than your work computer. According to FERPA standards, no documents with any personally-identifiable information outlined in the FERPA guidelines should be placed where they might be viewed by anyone other than authorized personnel, and it’s recommended not to take the risk.
If you need to transfer information between work and home computers, consider the use of encrypted external storage, like flash drives or external hard drives.