This section deals with the general ESRF and ID13 computing environment. There is no information here regarding beamline computers or control. Only standard computing issues such as data networks and experimental data storage are dealt with within this section. The information on the ID13 computing environment covers the following aspects (please click on a link to go straight to that section):


File transfer

Saving experimental data

Installing private computers

Rules and regulations



Before arriving at the ESRF for an experiment, you will be advised of your username and password for accessing your UNIX account on the NICE system. Please note that this account is only valid for 4 weeks and any data stored within the account will be deleted after this time. This account can be accessed from any computer within the ESRF. Direct access is possible from the UNIX workstation computers in the adjacent computing laboratory or on the beamline itself. It is also possible to access this account using any Windows PC connected to the ESRF network using a telnet or FTP connection. Connection to the NICE system has also now been made simple for external (off-site) connections.

Experimental data generated on ID13 is automatically stored to the micro07 computer hardisk. It is the users responsibility to ensure that this data is transferred to their personal account as it is often necessary to remove data from this computer in order to free up space.


File transfer

Transfering files on-site

The transfer of files on-site is necessary for the moving of data from the micro07 computer to the NICE system. Before transferring files it may be advisable to either log the file creation dates and times or supress any changes to them. Doing this will make it easier to cross-reference SPEC log files at a later date. The transfering of files can be done in several ways:

Desktop Transfer

The UNIX workstations on ID13 can both be used to transfer files. This is done using the standard navigation tools. A similar method can be used from Windows using a remote desktop program such as Exceed.

Command Line Transfer

Command line transfer provides the most convenient method of moving large numbers of files between computers. Below is a brief example of one method of transferring files in this way. There are numerous alternatives which would also work equally well.

step 1: Navigate to the location of the data files you want to copy. This can either be done directly (from the host PC), or across the network (using telnet for example)

step 2: Generate a list of the current file names and dates for future reference. The commands for this vary depending upon the method used. Here are some examples:

dir *.* >list.txt              this works in MSDOS

dir * list.txt                   this works for ftp and lists current and first level sub dirs

step 3: Connect to your NICE account using ftp (e.g. ftp NICE)

step 4: Navigate to where you want the data stored, this will most likely be in an ID13 directory (which is automatically created). It is good practice to also make a directory for the data being transferred (e.g. mkdir dirname).

step 5: Set the command propmt to off and ensure that the transfer mode is in binary (these are the prompt and bin commands respectively).

step 6: Use the mget and mput commands to copy multiple files between systems. The mdel command can also be used for deleting multiple files.

For reference, here is a brief summary of useful ftp commands:

quit - exits ftp

dir - lists full directory listing and files in current remote directory

ls - lists filenames in current remote directory

cd - change directory on remote host (use cd .. to move to parent directory)

lcd - change local directory

prompt - toggle interactive prompt mode on and off

bin - sets transfer type to binary (alternative is ascii)

get/mget - transfer single/multiple files from remote to current directory

put/mput - transfer single/multiple files from current to remote directory

del/mdel - deletes a single or multiple file from remote host

Transferring files off-site

Off-site access to the NICE system is now possible using the SSH protocol. This is an encrpted protocol and will allow external access through the firewall using an existing NICE account username and password. Several Windows based applications can be used for desktop file transfer (Putty & SSH). For details of how to do this please consult the main ESRF computing services webpage (or follow this link)


Saving experimental data

Following an experiment it is advisable to transfer all useful data from the NICE system before leaving the site. This will prevent accidental data loss (although an SSH transfer is still possible whilst the NICE account remains active). There are several mediums on which to do this and the choice will depend upon the most convenient extraction method at the target institute. Here is a brief summary of the choices available:

Personal computer storage

It is possible to connect a personal computer to the ESRF network and transfer the files directly to the computer hardisk. The only limitation of this method is the storage space required. Alternateive, removable hardisks may be used although it should be noted that the attachment of such devices is not supported by computing services at the ESRF.

FTP and SSH transfer

It may be possible to transfer data directly off-site using either FTP or SSH transfer. This method is not advised due to the use of firewalls which often prohibits such transfers.

DAT tape

Experimental data may also be recorded onto DAT tapes. This is only of use if the target institute has facilites to read such tapes.

CD and DVD data storage

This method is now by far the most popular and convenient method of storing experimental data. The UNIX computer laboratory which is adjacent to ID13 has facilities for copying data directly from the NICE system to CD or DVD. This is done through the Xroast application.


Installing private computers

Within the experimental hall (and therefore the ID13 beamline) it is possible to access the internet from a personal computer using the ESRF wireless network. However, this only provides access to the internet for WiFi-enabled laptops and cannot provide access to the internal network (e.g. amber).

To connect a personal/private computer to the internal ESRF network a spare network cable is located at the beamline. A comprehensive guide for this installation is available for both the Windows (95/98/ME/NT4/2000/XP) and Linux operating systems on the internal ESRF website. Before connecting a PC to the network, ensure that the rules and regulations have been read and fully understood. In particular, it is the responsibility of the visiting scientist to ensure their computer is virus free and cannot damage the ESRF computing environment in any way.

The computer will need to be configured using the temporary ID13 settings as follows (please check this with your local contact BEFORE installing your computer to verify which of the temporary IP addresses are free at that time):

subnet mask:
default gateway:
DNS server:


Proxy config:


Rules and regulations

Below is a brief summary of the rules and regulations for computer use on ID13. These are ID13 specific and do not replace the existing ESRF computing rules. For more information on the general rules governing computing use at the ESRF, please follow the site access policy link at the end of this section. A more detailed guide to the use of ESRF computing facilities is availble on the on-site only intranet.

ID13 rules and regulations

Do not reboot the beamline control computers under any circumstances

Do not modify any settings on any computer within the control cabin

Do not install ANY software without prior authorisation from ID13 staff

Do not use the beamline printer within the control cabin for non-beamline related use

ESRF rules and regulations - Site access policy