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Windows at MIT Lab for Nuclear Science


What is supported

We support Windows PC's at MIT. We give very limited help for Windows PC's at people's home.

Specifically, we support. Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. We use MIT computing-help as a backup for support. Software. See below for downloads of LNS supported software. Also see the MIT software support summar.

Getting Windows

The simplest way is to purchase a computer with Windows already installed. Dell Windows computers can be purchased with a discount for MIT users. See the MIT Computer Connection for recommendations on desktops and for configuration and purchasing help.

If you wish to install Windows on a machine that you own, contact rt@lns.mit.edu for information.

Running Windows Securely

This is a very important issue. Here are some links on security.


The following are supported and recommended for use. Visit MIT's Licensed Software page to see what is available to MIT Community under contract.


The three most commonly used browsers in Windows are Internet Explorer 7 , Internet Explorer 8 and Firefox. Internet Explorer 8 is currently the recommended browser for windows, but many prefer Firefox, a freeware browser.


We support Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Outlook Express, and Thunderbird for use with the MIT mail services. MS Outlook Express comes with the Windows Operating System. The version in Windows Vista and Windows 7 is called Microsoft Windows Mail.

Of the three, Thunderbird is the fastest and easiest to use, although Windows Mail on Vista comes very close, being a great improvement over earlier Microsoft email clients. MS Outlook comes with Microsoft Office, and has extras, such as calendaring software.

See the page which Describes 'Email at LNS'. On that page you will find instructions for configuring mail clients for use with the MIT mail servers


See the page that describes the printers that are available for use at LNS. On that page you will find a link to instructions for installing a printer on a Windows machine.

Other Applications

  • Secure shell. SecureCRT is a VT terminal emulator which has support for Secure Shell (ssh) connectivity to remote machines
  • Secure copy. SecureFX is a secure ftp program
    • Available by site license from MIT Windows Software Download, free for MIT users. Certificates are required.
    • Another very good secure copy application is WinSCP. I prefer to use WinSCP, and I install it on all machines that I configure.
  • Virus protection. Members of the MIT Community have access to virus protection software for windows and Macintosh. These are covered by various site licenses and agreements.
  • Encryption/Digital signing. PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) offers public key encryption. It also offers encrypted links between computers. See the Internation PGP Home Page for information and downloads.
  • Web Certificates and Kerberos are standard tools used at MIT to allow secure connections to MIT resources. See the Web certificates page, and the download page for kerberos client for secured MIT services.
  • SAPgui is necessary if you are tasked with, for example, approving purchases on an MIT account. See SAPgui for SAP purchase authorizers.
  • BrioQuery is useful for accessing the MIT Data Warehouse, or local databases of your own. See BrioQuery for querying and reporting from the MIT Data Warehouse.
  • Find the link to the SAPweb page here. The "SAPweb page" is useful for making purchases with MIT accounts.
  • Adobe PDF Document tools
  • Currently Office 2007 is available for installation by MIT departments, faculty and staff on any MIT owned computer, provided that it will only be used by current MIT students, staff or faculty for MIT purposes only. Each faculty and staff member using the software on an MIT machine has the additional right to install the software on a personally owned machine to be used for MIT purposes only. There is no such right for students on their personal machines. For a complete description of the terms, and to request the software, see the MIT page on Office 2007 for Windows Contact rt@lns.mit.edu to borrow the installation CD, or obtain one of your own.
  • Open Office OpenOffice is a freeware alternative to MS Office. It is more than adequate for most purposes, but it is not recommended as a replacement for MS Office on Windows.
  • PostScript editing software Ghostscript is great for viewing and printing PostScript files.
  • A good utility for simple edits and the printing of graphics files is VuePrint, a useful and inexpensive image viewer and editor.
  • The TeX/LaTeX system is available for Windows. See MiKTeX, a free TeX/LaTeX distribution for Windows.
  • The best Editor for MiKTeX is WinEdt. It is a Windows editor which integrates nicely with MiKTeX.
  • 'Zipping' software
    • The standard for this software is Winzip for zipping/unzipping files. It is not free, but it has a free evaluation period.
    • Aladdin Expander is useful if you have binhex files, but it is also a 'global expander'.
    • If you don't need the power (or cost) of Winzip, you will find JustZIPit to be a fine tool. It is simple and free, and it is more than adequate for most uses.
  • For X-graphics

Some other useful links

David S. Woodruff, MIT Lab for Nuclear Science

(Last modified April 23, 2010)