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BioHPC Lab:
User Guide


Frequently asked questions (FAQ)


  1. How do I access the BioHPC lab workstations remotely?
    Remote access documentation. See also a description of a VNC connection on "Access" page.

  2. How do I transfer files between the lab workstations and my own computer?
    Use the free FileZilla or WinSCP software if you use a Windows PC (FileZilla documentation, FileZilla Wiki, WinSCP documentation). Use FileZilla if you are a Mac user (FileZilla documentation, FileZilla Wiki). Use scp or sftp if you are using Linux.
    There is a dedicated machine for login or file transfer only (only ssh/sftp, no VNC logins are accepted), , this machine can be used for file transfer to and from your home directory and it does not require reservation. This machine is also available from outside of Cornell. Backup file transfer machine is
    You can also use Globus Online to transfer files, please see Globus at BioHPC Lab and Using Globus to Share Data for details.

  3. How can I share files with other BioHPC Lab users?
    If you don't mind all other users seeing your files, you can add read permission for all users on selected files and directories. If you need to share with only a group of users please contact us, and we can create an appropriate user group. For more information about Linux file  system permissions please refer to our "Linux for Biologists" workshops.

  4. How can I share files with external (non-BioHPC Lab) users?
    The best way is to use Globus. Please consult Using Globus to Share Data for details.
  5. My external collaborator (sequencing facility, etc) needs to transfer files to Cornell, how can I do it?
    For inbound data transfers you can request a temporary account for your external collaborator, you can grant access to your directory for this temporary account or we can move the data to appropriate user home directory. We have a standing agreement with Weill Cornell Genomics Resources Core Facility, you can ask them to transfer data to BioHPC Lab storage and they will know how to proceed. Data from Cornell Genomics Facility can be transferred directly as it is an internal Cornell unit.

  6. How do I download files from the internet to the workstations?
    An easy way is to use the Firefox software. From the command line window, type the command "Firefox" then press "return". Make sure that your X-windows must be turned on before you can use Firefox (documentation). Another way is to use the wget tool. The command is
    wget http://foo

    wget -O SavedFileName "http://foo"

  7. How do I open PDF, Word, Excel, Powerpoint files on the Linux workstations?
    There are two options. You can either use FileZilla, WinSCP to transfer files to your own computer, or open the files directly using the GUI software on the Linux workstations. Check here for a list of Office software (documentation). In order to use these software, you need to start X-windows on your local computer (documentation).

  8. How do I install Perl modules without asking the system administrator?
    Documentation for installing PERL modules locally.

  9. How do I connect my own SATA drive to the interactive workstations?
    You can use drives formatted under Linux (with file systems such as ext2 or ext3), and Windows (NTFS or FAT32). Follow these instructions. If unsure, ask us for help.

  10. I have started a command line program. How can I disconnect and still have the program running?
    Press CNTRL+Z to freeze the program, then type bg<ENTER> to put it in background mode. You can disconnect now and your program will continue running in the background, if you have a valid reservation on the workstation.
  11. I need to install a program that requires administrator ("root") access. What can I do?
    You can ask us to install this program, we usually do it if the softare may be of general interest. You can use Docker to run install software in a container as an administrator, you can even use different Linux distribution (like Ubuntu). For details please refer to BioHPC Lab Docker documentation.



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