Skip navigation to content

Good working practices

There are some "good housekeeping" procedures that you should carry out regularly:

  • Keep your anti-virus software up to date.
  • Keep regular backups of all your important documents.
  • Make sure your "In" mailbox doesn't get too large - delete messages or transfer them to other mailboxes.
  • If you have web pages, make sure they are up to date and that the hyperlinks still work.
  • Do not allow out of date information about students to accumulate on your hard disk: get the latest version of student-related information from the Data Warehouse.

These are guidelines and advice on good working practices, some of which are practical and some legal or standards-based; most are liable to change over time. 

Support offered by IT Services

IT Services does not have the resources to support everything computer-related: you must use the hardware, software and network services supported by us whenever possible.

If you install hardware or software other than that recommended by IT Services on your own equipment you must be prepared to manage and support this yourself.

Network(ed) services

For security and efficiency, our network infrastructure and servers require central management, provided by IT Services: you must not set up unauthorised servers or connect unauthorised equipment.

Keeping your computer safe

Physical security

If you leave your computer unattended you should try to secure it from unauthorised access.  If possible lock your room when away from it. If you share a computer you should always log out of your account before your colleague uses the computer.

Electronic security

You should keep always keep your system up to date by downloading security patches from Microsoft or Apple.  IT Services holds a site licence for F-Secure anti-virus software.  If you have no anti-virus software on your PC, you should download and install a copy of F-Secure.  Virus definition databases are regularly updated and must be downloaded frequently (every one or two days).

Mac users should obtain a copy of Norton anti-virus from Symantec.

  • Never open an attachment you do not recognise.
  • Always be vigilant when downloading files.
  • Never visit disreputable web sites.
  • Set a secure password on the administrator account on your computer.


Your University username and password allow you to access your email, home directory disk space, and protected University web pages and systems. You must keep your password secret; never share it with anyone.  If you need shared access to email (for example, if you are in a research or administrative group) create a shared email account with a shared password; don't give anyone your own personal password.

If you forget your password or have problems logging in, consult the IT Service Desk.  If you think someone else has discovered your password, change it immediately using the 'password changing page'. You are responsible for the use and security of this account.

Make your passwords as difficult as possible to crack: do not use real names, car registration numbers, etc.

Never use your University account password for your personal or administrator-level computer logins and, wherever possible, do not set administrator privileges on your own computer account.

Advice on strong password creation can be found here.

Saving and backing up

While working on a document save your changes frequently.  Unless you are saving the document in your home directory you must make a backup copy at the end of each day's editing session.  Avoid overwriting the previous day's version by giving each day's version a different filename.  See the section on backups.

Quick answers

See if your question is answered in our quick answers.

Contact the IT Service Desk

Log a call using IT Self-Service
(01334 46) 3333
 Message us on Skype for Business
(Mon - Fri, 09:00 - 17:00)

Level 2
University Library
North Street
St Andrews
Fife KY16 9TR

Opening Hours
Mon - Fri
: 08:30-18:00
(front desk support
from 09:00)

Sat: 10:00-17:00
Sun: 11:00-18:00

The IT Service Desk is closed
for staff training on Fridays
between 09:30 and 10:30