Google Email Problems

Yesterday morning individuals began reporting that they were not able to access their MCS gmail account. They had received an error stating that their account was deactivated or that their password needed to be changed. The cause of this problem was a synchronization process that we run on a regular basis to keep your MCS network login ID/password in sync with your Google Apps account login information.

If you have been effected by this problem, (which is why you are probably reading this), please read through to the end before doing anything. There is important information you need to know before you go through this short exercise

The root cause of the problem has been identified and a fix has been put in place. The solution at this time, for those individuals not being able to access their Google Apps account is simply to change their password on their Macbook and wait 15 minutes. The sync process is currently running every 15 minutes to expedite the account sync process and fix those account logins that have been corrupted.

System Prefs Menu

System Prefs Menu

In order to change your Macbook password , first select the “System Preferences” menu item from the Apple menu.

The System preferences application wil run and you will be present with a host of icons to choose from. Click on the  Users & Groups icon, and you will see your computer account. Make sure that under your account name it says “Mobile User”, in the spot where my account says “Admin”. If it does not say “Mobile User”, you can stop right here and bring your laptop to your BTL, As this fix is not going to help your problem.

Now select your account, then click on the change password button and follow the instructions in the change password pop-up dialog.

Apple User Account

Apple User Account

Changing your password in this way will change any service accounts associated with your network login. The following accounts are affected by the password change:

  • Schoolwires
  • Google Apps
  • Apple Wiki
  • WordPress Blogs
  • Helpdesk
  • Destiny

This now means that all your logins for those services have now been changed. Please note that the Google Apps sync usually runs once per day, in the evening, so future password changes will only be applied at that time. As of the time I am writing this, the sync is running every 15 minutes until we get everyone’s account working properly that has had a problem. All of the other accounts are changed immediately.

This issue has not effected any student accounts that we know of, but that does not mean that they are all good. If you know of a student having this problem, having them change their password on a Windows computer in a lab will accomplish the same thing.

Important: change your password ON YOUR OWN LAPTOP!! If you change your password using someone else’s laptop, when you go to log into your laptop you will receive a message about your keychain password being wrong. Handled correctly this is easy to fix, but beyond the scope of this post.





New Directory Services

MCS is currently in the process of migrating it’s directory services from Apple’s Open Directory to Microsoft Active Directory.

First it is important for you to know that this transition was not able to be finished until everyone had returned to school. The reason it had to wait is because it requires each of you to actively participate in this process. (There are some things that just can not be automated – aren’t you glad for that?)

Without going into great detail, everyone has an account right now in both the old directory service (Open Directory) and the NEW (Active Directory). Many of the network services we provide have already been transitioned and are being controlled by the new directory service but as of the date of this post most of you are logged in using the old directory service. The Directory Service is like a customs agent. It checks your passport and credentials before allowing you in. You visit this border crossing every time you log into the network here at school.

In order for you to prepare to use the new directory service, there is one thing you must do. Below outlines the procedure for enabling your directory account so that when we transition your computer to the new domain everything will move smoothly, including the data that you have currently stored on your laptop.

Change your account password in the new domain (Directory Service)

Right now website filtering and using copy machine access are controller by the new directory service. This means that everyone needs to update/enable their new accounts so that they are working properly. This is not as scary as it sounds. To update your account in the new service you simply need to go to any DELL computer and log in:

XP Logon Window

XP Logon Window

  1. In the user name box type in your normal account name (i.e.: ppoggione)
  2. In the password box type the word “change me!” (all lower case and no quotes please and don’t forget the exclamation point)
  3. From the Log on to drop down box, make sure that mattawanschools is selected.
  4. Click OK, and the system will automatically prompt you to change your password.
 XP change password dialog

XP change password dialog

be aware that when you change your password, in the “old password” field put in your old password, which for this is “change me!” For your new password enter what you are currently using for your Macbook. After you change the password you can log off the Dell. We don’t need to use the Dell anymore.  Incidentally, this is a “one-time” thing that needs to be done during the service migration. This is NOT how you will manage your account passwords in the future.

**IMPORTANT NOTE** Your new password MUST be 5 characters long at a minimum. if the password you use on your Macbook is not at least 5 characters long, you will need to create a new one. Then simply go back and change your Macbook password to match it. You do not have to have the passwords the same, but doing this will make the rest of the migration easier. (more on that in a later post)

Tell the web filtering server who you are

in order for Web filtering to work properly you will need to authenticate (from your macbook) to a different server (Alexander is no longer the directory server). You need to connect to  To do that, when you are in the Finder (click anywhere on your laptop’s desktop and you will be in the “Finder“) Select “Connect To Server” from the “Go” menu (or press Command-K)

Apple Finder: Connect to Server

Apple Finder: Connect to Server

Note that you are connecting via the smb protocol, so it is important that you enter the information as shown in the image. When you are prompted for a username and password, enter your information and be sure to check the box that says “store this information in my keychain”, then you won’t be prompted for username and password again)

After this you will be able to access Facebook, YouTube and webmail services.

Accessing/Using Copiers

Now that you have enabled your new domain account, you can use your username and password at the copy machines to make copies as well.

Going Forward

Later this week, we will be pushing out an automated script that will transition your laptop to the new domain as well. Once this is done you should not have to manually connect to AD1 (for web filtering) unless your network logon has been disconnected (i.e. taking your laptop home).

This inconvenience was not avoidable and I appreciate your efforts in trying to get this done as soon as possible.


“Always remember that a workaround is not a solution!”


Goodbye Novell!

About this time last year we were finalizing the migration from the old Novell file servers to the new Apple X-Servs as well as in the middle of preparing an email migration from Groupwise to Google Apps.  I don’t really expect anyone to remember, but at that time it was explained to everyone that we were going to be keeping both the old Novell data as well as the old Groupwise email server (and it’s email) up and running for another year.  Let’s talk about each of these individually for a second.


We have been keeping the old email server alive for the past year and it has been accessible via the Groupwise Web Interface.  (Remember that the webmail server is only accessible from campus. You can no longer access it from home). We have kept it going so that you can log into the web email and forward anything that you want to keep to you Gmail Account.  If you want more details on this, look at the old post from back in June of last year.  Now that our Novell licensing has expired we are required to turn this server off and remove all Novell owned software.  This will happen on June 17.  If you still have things on the old mail server that you need please take the time to take care of that prior to the 17th.

Old Novell Data

Last year we archived all of the data form our Novell file servers to our Apple X-Serv environment.  It has been living on Lobo in the Staff->NovellData folder.  If you connect to Lobo (Select Go->Connect To Server from the Finder menu on your Mac

Connect to server

then simply type in “lobo” into the connect to server dialog and click connect.)

Connecting to Lobo

Once connected you will be prompted for the file share to open, choose “Staff”.  Double click on the “NovellData” folder, and you will see folders that represent the old H:, I:, P: and S: drives. You will find your old H: drive in a folder with your name on it in the H-Drive folder. The other drives are exactly what you think they are.










Please do not try to copy the entire contents (except perhaps your H: drive if you haven’t already) to your laptop! This folders contain the entire contents of the old Novell network file servers!

If you are reading this and are confused, asking yourself, “but, I’ve been working in the NovellData folder all year?” STOP! You should not be doing that.  The building secretaries have been working all year moving selected files from the old novell data area to the new Building and Department folders in the Staff area.

Makeup of the "New" Staff network share

Like the Groupwise email server, the “NovellData” folder will be removed from Lobo on June 17th at noon.  This single folder takes up the lion’s share of all the file storage space on our server. We will be archiving this old data when we remove it form the server and storing it off-site for the requisite 7 years required by law.

Hopefully this helps demystify some of these issues.  As usual if you have questions feel free to email me. ~P