Information Technology Services Articles

Accessing the Lite Office Web App

For a lot of people, the modern Outlook Web App is either too slow, too bloated, or it just simply has too much going on at one time, with far too many unasked for features. Thankfully, Microsoft still has the older version of OWA available.

Accessing it is as simple as using replacing "" with your company's mail domain, or for the cloud version. From there, you can set this version as your default, by going to Options > Outlook version, checking the box for Use the light version and clicking save.

If your organization uses Outlook, encourage your co-workers to make use of the better and far less distracting interface provided by this version.

Fixing the Security Warning When Trying to View/Order Textbooks

There is a good chance that you will see an error message saying something along the lines of your connection not being secure, and that "your information will be visible to others."

These are the steps that will need done to work around and eventually fix the issue. Until fixed on the server, users are able to make the fix manually on their web browsers with the Inspect Element tool.

  1. Right-click on a page element such as the "View/Order your Textbooks" link.
  2. Select the Inspect button.
  3. Find the line that looks like <form name="Sapient" id="Sapient" action="" method="POST" target="_blank">
  4. Change the http:// to https://. Clicking the link after this change is made should not display any security-related errors since the connection will be encrypted.
After this fix is implemented on the web server, users will no longer need to make the change manually.

Installing the Adobe Creative Cloud Software

Disclaimer: I personally would not recommend using Adobe's subscription-based nonfree software.

University of Akron staff and faculty have access to the Adobe Creative Cloud software. Here is how to install the Creative Cloud applications on a computer that does not have it installed yet.

  1. Log in at and select the install button for the application that you want to install.
  2. When the file(s) download, open the installer. You may need to sign in again on the installer window.
  3. Once the installation is done, it will be ready to use. Future applications may be installed on the Creative Cloud desktop app.

Keeping the Digital Signage PC Up to Date

The walk in room's digital signage is powered by a Microsoft Windows laptop. Windows will automatically update itself in the background, so commands do not need to be run here.

Generally, you do not need to reboot the computer unless there is an update that would modify system files. Services should automatically restart without rebooting the computer.

Since this computer runs the livestream, it is strongly recommended that the computer does not get touched unless absolutely necessary.

Keeping the Repair Linux PC Up to Date

The repair room's Linux machine is powered by the Ubuntu Linux distro. The following steps should be taken to ensure that this computer is running up-to-date software.

Update repository cache:  apt update
Install updates (if any):  apt upgrade

Generally, you do not need to reboot the computer unless there is a Linux Kernel update. If programs for running services are updated, those may be restarted with the command systemctl restart <service-name(s)> command, to avoid running outdated binaries on the system. The computer is already configured to notify you of outdated binaries and old kernels during upgrades.

For more information, you may use the man apt and man systemctl to read the manual pages on the commands.

Making Labels with the ZDesigner Printers

Multi-Factor Authentication on Microsoft Accounts

The University of Akron, starting with 2021, has used Microsoft-based accounts as opposed to Google accounts for students, alumni, and retirees. This also enabled us to have security features such as multi-factor authentication.

This article assumes you have at least a basic understanding of what multi-factor authentication does, and does not go into basic details, but rather the choices you get with Microsoft accounts: calls/texts and the Microsoft Authenticator App.

Verification Using Phone Calls/Texts

This is the simplest way to verify yourself if you have a cellphone that can receive either phone calls or text messages, and enables those without smartphones (or cellphones at all) to be able to verify who they are. It does have the drawback of being vulnerable to SIM swap scams.

Verification Using the Microsoft Authenticator App

This is the more secure way to verify yourself, and it can work on any devices that can run Android or iOS app, including tablets and some laptops. Despite being immune to SIM swaps, you will need to make regular backups of your authenticator app data, since replacing or losing access to your old authentication device for any reason (such as damage or theft) will make it impossible to log into your account without a support staff member resetting the multi-factor authentication on your account.

If you do not have a computer that you can use for the MFA setup, you will want to select the "Sign in" option rather than the scan QR code option. You will also want to make sure you could use your phone's web browser (assuming there is one) in order to finish the setup.

Using Wi-Fi at the University of Akron: Eduroam vs Roo-Guest

The difference between the Roo-Guest and Eduroam networks remains a very frequent question from students, faculty, and staff. There are also many people who connect to Roo-Guest, and then wonder why things are not working correctly. This document aims to explain that both of these networks are, and which one you should use in different scenarios, and give a quick guide on how to connect to either network.


The roo-guest network is a public Wi-Fi network, hence you do not need to enter a username or password to use it. While it may feel convenient, this network is slow, and is a security risk. It is intended for people who are visiting any of Akron's campuses, and are not from a Eduroam-connected university.

Suffering from the same problem as many other public Wi-Fi networks you may find in stores and restaurants, Roo-Guest is not encrypted, which makes it possible for third-parties to snoop through the data being sent and received over that connection -- which may include your usernames and passwords if you are connecting to servers or services that are not secured properly.

Unlike Eduroam, Roo-Guest is separate from the University of Akron's network-based services, so all Intranet-based services (for example, things on 10.X.X.X) will not work for you on this network.


The Eduroam network is an international Wi-Fi network that replaced both Roo-Secure, and the even older Rootown.

This network is faster and safer to use, being that it is actually an encrypted connection. The encrypted connection still would not make encrypted or non-encrypted connections to servers or services any safer, but it still eliminates a large risk point for many people.

Since it requires a username to log in, it also has the drawback of requiring the user to identify perself before having network access.

When to use either network at the University of Akron:

Roo-Guest: Eduroam:

Connecting to either network, when appropriate

  1. Select Roo-Guest from the Wi-Fi list, and click Connect.
  2. Your web browser will open with a page on Click the Log In button.
  3. It will then redirect you to, and will notify you that you are authenticated, and it will automatically take you to in 10 seconds. Your computer should now be connected to the Internet.
  1. Select eduroam from the Wi-Fi list, and click Connect.
  2. When prompted, enter your institution-provided username and password. At the University of Akron, this will be the same as your e-mail address.
    If prompted for settings, ensure the following are set:
  3. You will not see any web browser windows connecting to this network. Your computer should now be connected to the Internet.


Use Eduroam if you are a University of Akron faculty, staff, or student, or a part of an Eduroam-connected institution. Use Roo-Guest if you are none of those.

University-owned Mac users: the Wi-Fi certificate expires every year. You should use the UA Self Service utility to "check in" (using the setting found under "Maintenance") every year while either connected to the local Ethernet/Wi-Fi or the VPN if you are either not going to be on campus with you University mac frequently, or if you are not going to have the computer on when the certificate would get updated. Either solution should reduce the chance of certificate-based connectivity issues from happening.

Windows vs. Windows S Mode

Microsoft's decision for Windows S Mode has lead to some confusion with people unsure what exactly they had bought.

It looks just like the normal Windows desktop, and as far as many people are concerned, it is just normal Windows, except it doesn't work exactly like they hoped it would.

Two Versions of Windows?

Designed for small devices, Microsoft released a version of Windows called Windows S Mode: which is a special secure mode of Windows that is frequently used in companies/corporations and educational institutions.

Windows S Mode is very similar to Microsoft's former Windows RT, since both operating systems limited what the user is able to run to things on the app store. This can be helpful for some people and companies looking to prevent software downloaded from random web sites from getting installed on their computer(s), but it comes at the cost of some user computing freedoms.

Unlike Windows RT, which took a jailbreak, Windows S mode has a way to opt out of the restrictions. The process is one-way, and can come with issues.

This document will look at several common questions:

Reasons for Windows S Mode

There are multiple reasons people may want to consider Windows S Mode. These include faster boot times on account of the OS not including the many potentially unnecessary (and more than likely unused) features, DLL files, and so on. It also has longer battery life due to not running as many background programs.

Additionally, there are security benefits that can be very helpful to users that are not tech savvy on Windows since software cannot get installed from just anywhere, whether you know about that program being installed or not.

Reasons Not to Use Windows S Mode

Despite the benefits, as with everything, there are still drawbacks.

Not being able to install software from outside of the Windows Store may affect you if your university, workplace, or school requires software that is only available from 3rd party sources. For example, if you use Google Chrome instead of Microsoft Edge (even though Edge is practically Chrome nowadays), you will be unable to install the other browser. If you use Firefox or any browser other than Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, or Google Chrome, consider GNU/Linux as well.

If you have old printers or other hardware, it may not work on your device since Windows S Mode is as small as it is due to older drivers and firmware not being bundled with the OS, causing incompatibilities with those devices.

It is also not possible to customize a ton of aspects of the computer as some people love to do, since it is designed for those who want a system that just works for what they need it to do.

Things to Consider...

Windows S Mode can get converted to a normal version of Windows, but Microsoft has warned that the switch cannot be undone. Technically, you can put it back, but the computer will need a full re-image, which deletes everything on it.

You also cannot buy a copy of Windows S mode to install on the device, since it is only sold pre-installed by manufacturers, much like how Windows RT worked.

Windows S Mode is also more secure, but that does not mean that it is immune to viruses and malware. Like the rest of Windows 10 and 11, Windows S Mode comes with the Windows Defender Security Center utility, a quality security suite, which should help keep your computer safe.

Windows S Mode at the University of Akron

At the University of Akron, there are thousands of software applications to do an extremely wide variety of tasks -- many of which will not work with Windows S Mode.

A lot of classes are still requiring the Respondus LockDown Browser for online tests, which will not work on Windows S Mode, among many other common software applications at universities still.

If you do not want to modify your computer (or have technicians modify it), you have a few options, such as borrowing a laptop from Bierce Library that you can use. This option lets your computer stay as it is, you can get your work done, and there is no reason to install software yourself, since the laptops have common software installed already. However, you will need to remember to carry the computer with you, and you will be financially liable for any damages to the computer.

There is also the option of using a virtual lab, which runs remotely on the University of Akron's computing infrastructure. Like borrowing, your computer stays as-is and your work gets done, but you can access the virtual machine from anywhere, anytime, without needing to carry separate physical devices, so long as you can access the Internet. However, the labs are programmed to fully wipe themselves shortly after you log out from them, so you should NOT save anything to the labs unless you're using Microsoft OneDrive for storage.

The Takeaway

Windows S Mode is meant to be a more secure, streamlined, and restricted version of Microsoft Windows for an improved user experience, but some course or work required programs may not work on it. If you need software that won't run on S Mode, consider borrowing a laptop or using a virtual machine, unless you are sure you want to make the one-way move away from S Mode.
Anton McClure /
Last modified: Wed Nov 15 13:00:06 EST 2023