Agriculture Computer Support


Need Help?

Please contact the NDSU Help Desk @ 701.231.8685 Option 1

Computer Equipment Requests

Please use our equipment request form to submit any computer equipment requests that are NOT a part of the annual Extension equipment orders or the county cost-share program.

Current Events & News

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Windows 7 Support Ending January 2020

In January of 2020, Microsoft will be ending all support for Windows 7.  This means that Microsoft will no longer provide patches, fixes or security updates for the operating system.  In order to ensure the systems we support continue to receive the latest fixes, patches and protection from malicious threats, Ag Comm Computer Services will be dropping all support for Windows 7 computers after January 1, 2020. 

If you currently have a computer running Windows 7

For those still running Windows 7, the first thing you'll need to do is assess your current computer's age.  If you are running a computer purchased through Ag Comm, you can use our Replacement Status tool to help identify the age of your computer.  Most computer manufacturers also provide a webpage where you can enter your computer's serial number and receive both current warranty information as well as the original ship (purchase) date.  The warranty page for HP computers and the warranty page for Dell computers are the two most commonly used.

Does it meet the Windows 10 eligibility requirements?  If so, you can request to have your computer re-imaged (not upgraded) with Windows 10. 

If it is not Windows 10 eligible, we strongly encourage you to consider purchasing a new baseline computer within the next year. For those with an Extension appointment, the Replacement Status tool will also help to determine if you are eligible for either the Extension Equipment Order Process or the County Cost-Share available next summer.

If you are unsure of the status of your computer or have questions about the upcoming support changes, please feel free to contact Ag Comm Computer Services for assistance at


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Compromised Passwords Discovered

During a recent security check of NDSU passwords (not NDUS / Email), a number of them were determined to be compromised and unsafe to use.  In order to get the message out as quickly as possible, we will be notifying each person affected directly via email.  All email messages will be sent from our Ag Comm Computer Services ( account. You will only receive an email if your password has been affected.

The message they will receive will be similar to this (content may differ slightly).


We've recently been notified that your NDSU account password (NOT your email password) has been identified as compromised and is unsafe to use.  We strongly recommend changing it as soon as possible.

What does this mean?

Passwords that are considered compromised have been discovered in one or more online malicious lists containing all manner of account information.  Any password found in these lists is completely UNSAFE to use.  If you have multiple online accounts using the same password, your risk of having one or more of your online accounts compromised increases greatly..

If you receive one of these messages, please be aware it is ONLY a notification your password is not safe to use.  We are not suggesting your computer or NDSU account has been compromised.

How did this happen?

Passwords (and account logins, email addresses, etc..) can become compromised when criminals gain access to them through various means such as computer theft, online hacking, or even phishing emails.  If you have multiple online accounts using the same credentials, your risk of this happening greatly increases.  Once they have this information, they place it into lists and databases that can be used to break into your online accounts.  Often, these lists are bought and sold on the internet to other criminals with similar motivations.

What do I do now?

The first step is to change your NDSU account password. 

  1. Visit the NDSU Account Management System
  2. Once at the page, click on the Login button in the upper right-hand corner and log in using your current NDSU (not NDUS / email) login and password.
  3. Authenticate with DUO either via your smartphone, phone number or landline
  4. On into the management page, you will need to click on Change Passphrase in the upper left-hand corner.
  5. Follow directions to change your password.  Please pay special attention to the password requirements (length, upper case, lower case, numbers, special characters, etc...).

Once finished, we strongly encourage you to also change the passwords of any other accounts you may have used it with to prevent any malicious activity there.  It is also a good idea to run an anti-virus scan on your computer as a precautionary measure.

What about my email and NDUS password?

At this time, the University System (NDUS) is currently looking into performing a similar password evaluation.  Once they are finished and we are aware of any compromised passwords, we will contact the owners directly so they can take action.

 What if I have additional questions?

For additional questions on this, we strongly encourage you to contact the NDSU Help Desk @ 231-8685 or  You can also contact the Ag Comm technicians by contacting us at 

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Ag Comm Computer Request Form Now Available

Now that the new fiscal year has started, ACCS is once again accepting departmental computer orders online.

If you need to order a computer for your department that is NOT part of the yearly Extension equipment process or the county cost-share, please use our equipment request form.

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Backup Comparison

Last Updated May 7, 3:52 PM


Here are the most common backup options used at NDSU along with some pros and cons for each:


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Upcoming Changes to Office, O365 and the OWA Mobile App

 Last Updated April 10, 10:34 AM

Changes To The Office 365 (Web) Login Screen

Starting Wednesday, April 18th, the appearance of the Office 365 web access login screen will change.  Instead of displaying a Microsoft logo at the top followed by your email address, it will display a North Dakota University System logo and ask you to enter your NDUS Account ID.

The NDUS Account ID is the same address you've used to log into the online web version previously (  The password is also the same as before (email password).


OWA Mobile App Retirement (Android & iOS)

Starting in May, Microsoft is retiring the OWA mobile email app for Android and iOS devices.  The recommended replacement is the Outlook app available in both Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Outlook for Android via Google Play
Outlook for iOS via Apple App Store


Office Mix Retiring May 1st

Office Mix was a free extension for PowerPoint that helped people incorporate items such as audio & video narration, screen recordings, quizzes, etc. into presentations that could be shared with others.

Due to an effort to roll these options directly into PowerPoint 2016, Microsoft will be retiring the Mix extension on May 1.

If you are/were a Mix user, detailed information on the Mix retirement, including information on migrating your current Mix content and the new PowerPoint features, is available from Microsoft.


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Windows 7 Share Drive Changes

Last Updated March 8, 2:34 PM

What's Happening  |  How Does This Affect Me  |  How To Tell If You're Running Windows 7
How To Connect To The Shared Drives  |  Resources Needed To Connect  |  Common Issues and Concerns

What's Happening

Beginning March 6, the NDSU IT Division (ITS) will begin implementing a new security plan that involves encrypting the X:, S: and U: drives. This change is intended to help improve overall data security at NDSU.


How Does This Affect Me?

Once the change is made on March 6, people running Windows 7 will lose access to their departmental shared drives.  The drive letters (S:, X:, & U:) will also disappear from the drive list in File Explorer.

For those people running Windows 10, nothing will change.  Your drives will continue to show up and work as usual.

Other operating systems such as OS X are not supported by ACCS.  However, it is our understanding that OS X 10.13 (High Sierra) will work.

How Do I Know If I'm Running Windows 7

Windows 7 has a start button in the lower left corner of the computer screen that looks like this:

Windows 7 Start Button


I'm Running Windows 7, How Do I Re-Connect To The Shared Drives?

If you are running Windows 7 and need to continue to use the X: S: and U: drives, the easiest way to connect to them is by downloading and running our Windows 7 share drive connection tool. 

This tool will remove old references to the drives and re-connect to them using a different method that works with Windows 7.  Please note that the tool requires you to enter your NDSU password and  will need to be run every time you log into Windows to re-connect the drives.  If you use the drives often, ACCS can assist you in setting up your computer to auto-run the tool on login.

Resources Needed To Re-Connect To The Shared Drives


Common Issues And Concerns

  1. When I run the Win7 Shared Drives.exe file, type in my password and click OK, the window disappears but the drives do not show up.

    While the program runs on most computers without issue, in some cases you may need to elevate your privileges to get it to run correctly.  Instead of double clicking on the file, right-click on it and select "Run as Administrator".  This should help the program run correctly.  If you try this and continue to experience problems, please contact Ag Comm Computer Services or the NDSU Help Desk for assistance.

  2. When I run the program, I keep getting a warning that the publisher could not be verified:
    Publisher Warning

    When running tools downloaded from the Ag Comm Computer Services website you can safely ignore this warning.  To ensure it doesn't continue to appear each time you run the tool, be sure to uncheck the box labeled "Always ask before opening this file" (circled in red) before clicking the "Run" button.

  3. Once you have run the connection tool, your drive letters will remain the same but the drive descriptions will change.  Here are screenshots of the drives before the switch (1) and after you run the new connection tool (2):

    1)               2)  

  4. If you are experiencing long delays in accessing the drives or are experiencing errors while copying and pasting files, your computer may need a couple of settings adjusted.   For example, if you see an error similar to this:

    You can download our Windows 7 share drive patch which will make changes that should help eliminate some of  those issues.  Run the file and restart Windows for it to take effect.  This patch only needs to be run once.

  5. If you are attempting to open a Microsoft Office file (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc...), you may  be prompted for your login and password. 

    If this happens, your login will be:    Your password will be your NDSU password (not your email password).  Be sure to check the box to save your credentials. While it will most likely prompt you to log in again the next time, it should retain your credentials so you only have to click "OK".  (Please note we are receiving reports that some computers will not save the credentials even after checking the box.)

    For those who often work with MS Office and Adobe files in the shared drive; if you leave one instance of each type of file (must be a file on the shared drive) open, you can open additional files without having to re-type your password.  For example, you open document A in Excel and enter your credentials. While document A remains open, you can open Excel documents B, C and D without having to re-enter your credentials.  This is specific to each program so leaving an Excel document open will not prevent you from having to enter credentials on a Word or PowerPoint document.

  6. Several programs, including Microsoft Office and Adobe products, tend to have a difficult time opening files through the share connection and can take some time.

    Unfortunately, due to the method used to connect Windows 7 to the share drives, it can take extra time for these programs to open and edit a file within the drives.  It is often much faster to manually move the file to your desktop, modify and save it, and then move it back to your shared drive again when finished.

  7. My files were copying quickly but have almost slowed to a stop during the last 10-20% of the progress bar.

    The appearance your copying has stalled/stopped is due to a poor design choice on Microsoft's part.  The first 80-90% of the transfer that seemed to be going so quickly was only your computer preparing (caching) files to send.  The file transfer has not actually started at this point.  The last 10-20% remaining on the progress bar is the actual copy time from your computer to the shared drive which is why it seems to be taking so long.  It's unfortunate that it doesn't just reset the progress bar values to reflect the correct percentages once the actual copying begins.


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ACCS County IT Survey

Last Updated January 16, 2018 at 11:37 AM

Ag Comm Computer Services is currently conducting an IT environment survey of each of our County Extension Offices to better understand the unique and individual situations and needs of each office.

Completing The Survey

We are asking each office to perform the following:

  1. Have each county office complete ONE copy of our short Qualtrics survey.  The information provided will help us better understand what other people or groups (if any) are involved in your IT support.  This helps us determine the appropriate group to provide support depending on the issue.

  2. Download and run our IT Hardware Scan tool on every computer in each office.  This tool will collect information such as hardware specifications, network information, Office and Windows versions as well as printers and shared drives.  All of this data is extremely useful for us when either setting up a new computer or helping repair one currently in use.  The information gathered will be sent back to the ACCS techs and also stored on your local computer in the c:\aginfo folder.  This way you can see the exact same information being sent to us. At no point is any confidential information gathered or transmitted.

Common Problems

While we have worked hard to eliminate as many problems as possible from the survey process, here some issues people have been recently experiencing:

  • Scan Tool Reporting It Cannot Connect To Server

    Due to the differences in the networks in each county office, we anticipated that some would not allow an outbound connection to our server.  In those cases, we created a backup system in which an email with the same information is sent to our account.  When this happens, you may see a notice letting you know the network connection failed.  Rest assured, if you see this error, we did receive your scan information.

  • Warning the App is Unrecognized / Not Verified

    On some computers, when attempting to run the scan software, you may receive an error stating something to the effect that the publisher couldn't be verified or the app was unrecognized. 

    All this means is that Windows doesn't recognize the program and is advising you to be cautious if you aren't sure who wrote it.  In this particular case, the scan tool was created by Ag Comm Computer Services and is perfectly safe.

    In the case of Windows 10, you may need to take an extra step to allow the program to run:

    When this screen shows up, click on the area in the green circle.  Once done, a Run button should appear.  Click on Run to continue.


We appreciate your participation in our survey and hardware scans.  The information gathered will help us to continue to improve on our services and planning.

If you have any questions about the survey or the hardware scan, please feel free to email us at

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Winmail.dat and Email Attachment Issues

Updated August 9, 2017 at 4:19 PM CST


Over the last couple of months we have had an increasing number of people reporting issues with sending email attachments to non-NDSU email accounts.  In most of these cases, instead of receiving the expected attachment, the recipient received a winmail.dat file.

What is winmail.dat?

The winmail.dat file is sometimes used by Microsoft Outlook to store additional information such as text formatting for the message being sent and, under certain conditions, can also contain any files that may have been attached to the email. Unfortunately, winmail.dat stores the attachments in a format that is unreadable on most computers.

Why are some people receiving the winmail.dat file instead of the file I attached?

The problem appears to be linked to contacts we used prior to the email migration last March.  From what we can tell, some contacts that were carried over had additional document formatting added to them by Outlook.  While we're not sure why this happens, we do know that sending mail to the affected contacts will result in an email where the original attachment has been replaced by a winmail.dat file.

What can be done to fix the issue?

In Office 2013 / 2016, the only sure way to fix the issue is to have the sender go into their Outlook contacts and delete and re-create any contacts that are currently receiving the winmail.dat file.

  1. Open Outlook and click on your People tab in the lower left corner.  It can either look like this: Contacts_compact  or this:
  2. Locate the contact for the person receiving the winmail.dat file, right click on it and select delete.
  3. Now click on the New Contact button in the upper left corner of the Outlook window and create a new contact to replace the one you just deleted. 

Once finished, the next email and attachment you send to this person should arrive as expected.


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