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Computing and Information Services

CIS News

Don't miss out: follow CIS on Twitter!

Make sure you know what is happening in the event of IT disruption by following CIS' Twitter feed ( If you can't access emails or University web pages, it's one of the places where we share information about what is happening about our services. In the event of major IT disruption it can sometimes be the only source of information.

As well as developing and testing new service and improvements, Computing and Information Service (CIS) work hard to make sure IT services are there when you need them. That includes the scheduling of maintenance work to keep them up-to-date and in good working order, and this helps ensure that University IT services are there when you need them. Most of the time they are, but unfortunately, occasionally things break.

When we have a major IT service outage, such as the one we experienced last week, the routes we normally use to tell you what is happening, which depend on IT network availability, email and web sites, aren’t available. When that happens we use our Twitter feed to share information about it. Make sure you’re informed in those rare occasions by following us at: 

You should also follow the University's main Twitter feed at: 

Other sources of information about IT service availability

Service Status Subscription service

This is a subscription service and you can chose to be notified based on locations you visit most frequently and specific services you use. Once you have subscribed you will be sent an email whenever maintenance work or incidents affect one or more of your services in one or more of your chosen locations. It also publishes information on our CIS Service Status page.

Subscribe at: (you’ll need to log in with your CIS username and password)

See the Service Status page at:

Weekly Dialogue mailer (staff and students)

We publish details of forthcoming planned maintenance work and any improvements or changes to University IT services here. They are included in the weekly summary email which you get in your University inbox on a Friday.

Staff Dialogue Signposts:

Student Dialogue Signposts:


Here we post pictures and snippets of information about our services and activities: we don’t use this for service availability communications. Follow us at: 

Take a look at our home page on the University’s website:

(17 Feb 2017)

Protect yourself from phishing emails: do you know what to look for?

The helpful people in the CIS security team have pulled together some top tips to help you spot phishing emails: Take a look at their article here: to make sure you know what to look for to protect your and the University's details.

(24 Feb 2017)

Staff & research postgraduates: Office 365 at home for free!

Research postgraduates and eligible staff can now get a free copy of Microsoft Office on up to 5 home PCs, Macs and 5 mobile devices. Read on to find out if you're eligible and if so, how to take advantage of this offer!

If you're a research postgraduate or a fixed term or non-fixed term member of staff who uses a computer as part of your job here at the University, you're likely to be eligible to:

  • Download the latest version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote Access and Publisher on up to 5 home PCs, Macs (e.g. your home desktop, laptop), and 5 mobile devices (e.g. mobile phone or tablet (Apple, Android or Windows)).

Downloading Office 365 at home

  • The first thing to do is check you're eligible (if you meet the criteria above, you should be): to confirm go to:
    • Microsoft's Office 365 for education web pages (or search for 'Office 365 for education' on Microsoft's web site)
    • Enter your Durham University email address and click 'Get Started'
    • If you're eligible, you'll be presented with a sign in screen.
    • Sign in with your Durham University username (e.g. and your password.
    • Once you have access, select the ‘Install Office 2016’ button.
    • Once you have downloaded it on one of your home machines, you can download it on your other devices by visiting

This is an optional extra for your personal use and is not part of your University IT provision and as a result CIS will not be offering support for home use. If you need help downloading or using any of Microsoft products, they have a wealth of information on their support pages: this is a good starting point:

Getting started with Office 365 (or search for ‘Getting started with Office 365’ on the Microsoft website).

It’s a good idea to check your machine or device meets the system requirements, you can find them here:

You are eligible for this whilst you remain in the employment of Durham University or the duration of your postgraduate studies; once you leave the University you will no longer be licensed to use it and will need to source an alternative.

You can find out more about this offer at either CIS Service Catalogue or the HR Benefits web pages.

(24 Feb 2017)