Can I access the HMS network and the internet in Vanderbilt Hall?

Network access in Vanderbilt Hall is primarily wireless and is offered through these networks:

  • Harvard Secure – the preferred wireless network across Harvard
  • eduroam – for secure access when visiting other institutions
  • HMS Guest – replaces HMS Public to provide connectivity for visitors

Note – The wireless networks in Vanderbilt has the same level of security as the rest of the campus. Our HMS Public and HMS Private wireless networks use business/enterprise security. Most electronic devices designed for use at home, such as an Xbox, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Chrome Stick, Roku, Play Station, etc, are not capable of business-level authentication. You will not be able to connect an Xbox, Apple TV, etc to either of the HMS wireless networks. You will be able to connect laptops, tablets, or smartphones to the HMS wireless networks.

Every room in Vanderbilt Hall has a network jack with one active data port. Roughly half of the rooms have a wireless access point mounted on the wall above the network jack. In those rooms, the one active data port is configured to work only with the access point. Do not disconnect the cable between the network jack and the wireless access point. Doing so will degrade the wireless network service to you and your neighbors in that part of the building. Those jacks will not provide a network to a computer or other devices, such as an Xbox or Apple TV.

If you live in a room that doesn't have a wireless access point, you can use an Ethernet cable to connect a computer or other device, such as an Apple TV, Roku, etc., to the one active data port on the network jack. The active port is usually the lower-left opening on the jack.

Note – P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing applications are not allowed to be used on the HMS networks.

Can I connect to the HMS network from off-campus? Is there a VPN?

HMS IT provides SSL VPN access to HMS students on an as-needed basis to gain access to HMS resources from home (or when traveling) and when there is no acceptable access method. Whenever possible, students should use web clients such as OWA and MyCourses to access resources. We will, however, grant VPN access to HMS students upon request. To request VPN access, email

To connect after you have a VPN account, navigate to

If you use Windows, connect with either Firefox or Internet Explorer. If you use a Mac, connect with Safari and check to ensure that the menu item Safari > Block Pop-Up Windows is unchecked.

Sign in using your MyCourses username and case-sensitive password.

Under Client Application Sessions, select the Start button to the right of Network Connect. If you do not see this, you might not have access to the VPN. Get in touch with to request VPN access.

After you are connected via Network Connect, you can access the IT file server and software applications such as Lasergene, MATLAB, and so on.

Can I forward my email to a Gmail account?

Yes, you can forward an email by creating a rule in Outlook to forward to another email account.

Can I send mail from Gmail as my HMS email address?

No. Harvard University requires Two-step verification which prevents configuring Gmail to work this way.

Do I have aliases for my student HMS email account?

Yes, sign in to your MyCourses account. Select My Account and then the Email Settings tab. Under Email Forwarding, you can see the section titled Email Forwarding, where you can find any email aliases already set up for your account.

Does HMS give me online storage space?

Students can transfer and copy files to and from their HMS student online storage over the World Wide Web using secure File Transfer Protocol (sFTP) clients. Students have been allocated 150GB of storage space for their student online storage folder.

NOTE: Students can also access their student online storage via MyCourses' Online Storage under Applications if there is no sFTP client on the computer that is in use.

How can I connect to HMS wireless network with my laptop or mobile device?
  1. Open the network, wireless, or Wi-Fi utility or preferences on your laptop or mobile device.
  2. Select HMS Private and when prompted, enter your HMS account ID and password. If asked to accept a certificate, choose to Allow or Always Allow.

Alternatively, suppose you cannot connect to HMS Private. In that case, you may join HMS Public, which does not require credentials but is limited in network bandwidth and cannot connect to any internal HMS resources (such as servers, printers, and so on).

Suppose you are having difficulty connecting to the HMS Wireless network. In that case, you can email the Service Desk at or drop by Tosteson Medical Education Center (TMEC) 225 with your laptop, Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM. We will need the following information from you. When contacting us by email, provide the following information:

  • Computer manufacturer and current operating system (namely, Windows 7, macOS 10.8, and so on).
  • Your room number in Vanderbilt Hall and the Jack Plate number.
  • A phone number or email address where we can reach you.
How can I protect my non-HMS accounts?

Several websites are popular for students (and faculty and staff) to use on their own time that can be potentially hazardous to your personal computers, the School computers, the security of your HMS accounts, and your identity. Many major websites have implemented new security procedures that can help to:

  • Alert you when an unauthorized person has accessed your account
  • Tell you when and where your account has been logged on.
  • Only sign in when given a unique code retrieved from a secondary device such as a mobile phone.

You can find information here:

Google+, Gmail, all other Google Account ServicesFacebook

How can I set up my iPhone or iPad to receive HMS email?

You can find instructions for configuring your iPhone or iPad at the Microsoft 365 for Harvard site.

Note – Use of the HMS email service requires the use of a 4-digit passcode to access your device. This passcode will be set during the configuration.

How do I check to see if I have the latest critical patches for my computer?
For a Windows-based computer:
  1. Select the Tools menu and highlight Windows Update. A window dialog may prompt you to install a download. Select Yes if so.
  2. Select the link, Scan for Updates which will analyze your computer and its operating version. It will show you if you need critical updates or recommendations.
  3. Follow the directions on installing the latest critical patches for your operating system.
For a Macintosh-based computer:
  1. Go under the Apple icon located on your macOS computer and highlight Software Update...
  2. Check the boxes in the Software Update dialog box and select the Install <# of items> button to download security patches and other selected items onto your Mac.
How do I access HMS email on the web?

Launch a web browser and navigate to

How do I get a Harvard alumni email address when I graduate?

As a graduating student, you have the option to register for a Harvard alumni email forwarding address ( which will allow you to forward the email to a non-HMS/HSDM email account. To register:

  1. Go to
  2. Obtain a new non-Harvard email account (for example, @gmail).
  3. Update your forwarding address to point to the email account from step 2.

Before your student address is deactivated (for most 2018 grads, that will be August 1), inform your friends, family, and other contacts of your new Harvard alumni email address.

Enabling automatic replies (also known as out-of-office replies) on your student email account ahead of time will automatically notify anyone who emails your student address until it's deactivated, after which senders will receive a delivery error.

You can submit questions regarding your Harvard alumni forwarding address online.

I am being prompted that my password is going to expire. Must I change it?

Yes, you must change your MyCourses case-sensitive password if you are prompted to change it. You must change your case-sensitive password to one that is entirely different from your previous one, does not have your name or MyCourses username in it, and must follow the syntax rules. After signing in, you can do this in MyCourses; select My Account in the upper right, then the Account Security tab.

I locked myself out of my OWA account. What do I do?

If you're locked out of OWA, you're locked out of MyCourses. Go to, enter your username and password, and follow the lockout procedure. If you run into issues, contact or 617-432-2000

What if my attachment is larger than the allowed size. Is there a way for me to send it?

Yes. The HMS IT Department has a web-based app, Secure Remote File Transfer, that allows you to send large files over the internet for a recipient to access. Go to and sign in with your email address and MyCourses password.

What is the maximum file size for an attachment?

Around 18MB. A message can be no larger than 25 MB, so the attachment can be no larger than 25MB minus the size of the message itself.

What is my official student email address?

Predoctoral students will use the following official student email address: for HMS, DMS, HSTpredoctorall students, and for HSDMpredoctorall students. You can also find this on MyCourses under My Account in the Email Settings tab.

Where can I find information about (email) mailing lists?

You can visit the HMS LISTSERV help page.

Who can use the student computer facilities?

The Student computing facilities are reserved for currently registered, matriculated Harvard Medical School (HMS), Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM), and Division of Medical Sciences (DMS) predoctoral students.

Post-doctoral students of HSDM do not have access to these facilities. There are a group of computers located in the basement of HSDM for post-doctoral student use.

Exchange or visiting students (or anyone that does not have an active HMS account) may use one of the kiosk computers in the Tosteson Medical Education Center (TMEC) Atrium. Otherwise, exchange or visiting students can inquire about their eligibility to use the Countway Library computers. Call the Countway Library for more information at 617-432-2134.

Why am I receiving email notices that I am approaching the maximum quota for my email account?

Students will receive an email notification when their email accounts reach 1900MB. This notice alerts them that they are approaching the 2GB limit and that deletion of unwanted emails should take place. You can check the total size of each sub-folder and folder to see if you are over the 2GB quota by checking your account's mailbox folder and inbox size. If a student email account goes over the 2Gb limit, your account will be locked down. If your account is locked down, request for your email account to be open by emailing

How can I keep my computer safe and up to date?

No matter what type of computer you are using, we recommend you install anti-virus software on it. You can find information on our recommendations here. If you have anti-virus software installed on your computer, the next step is keeping your system up to date.

Mac users can use the App Store in Mountain Lion and later to keep their computers up to date. You can find more information on that on the Apple website.

You can check to see if you have the latest critical patches for your Windows-based computer.