Support Staff

Support staff are available in staffed Open Access Labs (OALs). Staffed OALs are located in the Student Computing Center (SCC), Blocker Building, and West Campus Library (WCL). To view hours of operation, please see the Daily Lab Hours.

IT Self Service

If support staff are not available, please visit IT Self Service to request help, search supporting documentation and reach other services. Their online IT Chat is available every day from 8 AM-12 Midnight.

Help Desk Central

Help Desk Central (HDC) answers computing questions any time, day or night, 365 days a year. HDC is open from 8 AM-12 Midnight and is located in the DPC/Computing Services Annex, Room 104. If you need help please call 979.845.8300, email, or visit If you need help outside these hours, please call 979.845.3211.

Frequently Asked Questions


When do graduate students have Open Access Lab (OAL) access?

Graduate students are automatically authorized if they're enrolled in the previous, current or a future semester.

When do instructors have OAL access?

Instructors are automatically authorized if shown as the "Instructor of Record" for a class in the previous, current or a future semester.

When do undergraduate students have OAL access?

OAL access for a semester in which a student is enrolled will begin the Monday after the graduation weekend of the previous semester. Access for a semester ends the Monday after graduation for that semester if the student is not enrolled in the upcoming semester.

What can I do if I am having problems with my account?

Persons entitled to automatic authorization who are having access problems should ask an OAL employee for help or call Help Desk Central at 979.845.8300


Do student fees pay for printing?

Student fees pay for much more than printing! They helps pay for equipment in the Open Access Labs. The fees also fund full and part-time workers, networking and other infrastructure costs that are part of providing an up-to-date computing environment for Texas A&M University students, faculty and staff. A small portion is allocated for student printing allocations. Each student gets $30 in printing per full semester and $15 for the summer.

How do I keep track of printing charges and print allocation?

All registered students can easily see their print account status from

How much does printing cost?

See the Print Rates page.

Does my printing allocation include the cover page that shows my login ID?

No, cover pages are not deducted from your printing allocation.

Why do we have cover pages?

Cover pages protect your privacy, preventing others from seeing the content of your print jobs. They also make it easy to locate your print job among all the other printouts at the print counter.

What happens if my print job fails?

If your print job becomes corrupted, or if the print quality is poor due to some malfunction of the OAL printers, you may request a refund for your print job. You will need to fill out a Print Refund Request form (, which can be obtained from the print counter staff or online. Attach the printout to the refund request and turn it in to the print counter staff. If you are requesting a refund because your print job did not print, you can use to determine the information needed on the refund request.

What happens if I accidentally print?

Accidentally sending a job to the printer is not a valid printing excuse for receiving credit for the print job. For all print jobs less than 100 pages, the print job will be charged to your account. Print jobs exceeding 100 pages will be paused in the print queue and can be cancelled by you or OAL print operators.

What about the printing I do between semesters?

If you are registered for the next semester, your printing will be counted as part of your next semester's allocation. If you do not have enough allocation, you can add to your print allocation with a credit card via

What about double-sided printing (duplexing)?

The charge for duplex black-and-white pages will be slightly lower than that for single-sided pages. Duplexing conserves paper, but uses as much toner as single-sided printing. Additionally, their impact on printer maintenance fees is about the same as single-sided pages because duplex sheets must pass through the same printer path as single-sided pages.

What is my printing allocation for the summer? Is it split out per summer session?

The summer printing allocation is $15, one-half of the normal semester allocation. Everyone taking a class during at least one summer semester will get the $15 allocation. Those taking a class in both summer sessions will still get $15, not double the allocation.

What happens if I don't pick up what I've printed?

All black-and-white printouts will be retained in the lab in which they were printed for three days. Color printouts will be retained until the end of semester. You will be charged for printouts whether you pick them up or not.

What happens if I exceed my allocated funds for printing?

If you do not have enough allocation, you can add to your print allocation with a credit card via


How can I make sure my plot will print correctly?

Using the Print Preview option is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that your plot will print properly. You can send a test print to the normal printers. Never plot your file until you are completely satisfied with the way it looks.

What type of paper should I specify to plot my file?

There are two types of paper used by the plotter: Glossy or plain. The paper you choose is a personal preference.

How do I get my file to plot after I send it?

After you send your file, it will pause in the queue of the plotter you chose. You will need to ask the print operator at the Resource Desk to have your file released. Be sure to specify the paper you want to use.

Where can I print large (over 100 pages), color, or large format (11" x 17") print jobs?

Large print jobs are not allowed in the Libraries. All labs can print color and 11" x 17". The Student Computing Center is the only lab to print plots.

How do I map additional printers?

Start Button > All Programs > Utilities > Map Printers or Map Color Printers

Where can I provide feedback about the OALs?

You may send an email to If you would like to speak with someone in person, see the lab supervisor in any Open Access Lab.

Login Accounts

How does a patron activate their NetID?

You must have your UIN and birthdate to activate a new NetID. Visit and click "Claim Your NetID."

What if a patron has a NetID but cannot log in to an OAL Computer?

If they are a staff member, they might need to activate their account. They should visit Manage OAL Account and log in with their NetID and password. Then, they should choose Activate Account in the upper left and then again in the middle of the next screen. Once the account is enabled (it will state Account is enabled), have them log off and wait up to 15 minutes then try to log in again. If there is a problem, call Help Desk Central to report.

How do I help someone who forgot their password?

If the patron has set up "Self Service Password Reset, they should visit and click Forgot your password under the Log In button. If Self Service Password Reset has not been set up, they should call Help Desk Central at 979.845.8300.


What do I do when a computer doesn't work properly?

Try another computer to see if the problem is isolated to that computer. If the problem persists, reboot the computer. If the problem persists, call Help Desk Central at 979.845.8300 to report the problem.

What if a computer is locked so that nobody can log in?

Check for the patron that locked it. You would hate to log someone off if they were just getting a book or printout. If the patron cannot be located, reboot.

What if someone cannot log off?

Reboot the computer by holding the Power button until the screen turns off.

What do I do if someone wants their laptop set up for TAMULink wireless?

Refer them to the closest Open Access Lab or call Helpdesk Central at (979) 845-8300.

How do I help a patron who has lost work or a file?

If the loss is due to a power outage, most installed programs have an auto recovery system. Have the patron log back into the same computer. You can also have them restore their home drive by choosing Start Button > Utilities > Home Drive Restore. If all else fails, refer them to a lab or call Help Desk Central at 979.845.8300 to open a trouble ticket. Backups, or Snapshots, are taken frequently.

Where do I check to see if a software title is installed on an OAL computer?

You can check on the Software List.

How does a patron save their work?

If a patron has an OAL account, they have a Home Drive. All work saved to their Desktop or My Documents saves to the patron's Home Drive. Anything saved to the C: drive will be lost when logging off the computer. Thumb or key drives, CDs, DVDs, etc. may also be used. If a patron does not have an OAL account (guest, unallocated staff) they will not have a Home Drive and must save to some type of removable media such as an external hard drive, thumb/key drive, CD, DVD, etc.

Who prints to which printers?

Users are mapped to the the OAL-Main queue which is accessible by the kiosk printers in the libraries.

How do I map additional printers?

Start > All Programs > Utilities > Map Printers

How can a student check their printing allocation?

Start > All Programs > My Print Charges

How does a patron print large (over 100 pages), color or large format ( 11x17, plots) print jobs ?

Map to the closest OAL Labs printer. Large print jobs are not printed in the Libraries. All labs can print color and 11x17. SCC is the only locations with a plotter and it must be mapped via the Map Color Printers utility.

How do I report missing, unreadable, unwanted printouts?

The Print Credit Form can be found at It must be turned in to an OAL staff member.