Technology Troubleshooting: Tips & Suggestions

Computer Requirements

Minimum computer requirements for accessing Library resources:

  • Operating system: Windows 8.1 and newer OR Macintosh: OS 10.13 and newer;
  • Web browser: FireFox OR Microsoft Edge - current versions

Upgrading your operating system and web browser to the newest major release is recommended.

Select resources are available via mobile devices: iOS 13 and newer OR Android 7.0 and newer.


Library Resources

  • Currently enrolled credit students and current faculty and staff can access Library resources from off-campus. Student information is added just prior to the beginning of each semester, if you register late, you may have to wait a day or two to access the databases.
  • Use the correct username and password to access Library resources from off-campus:
    • Use your HCC email address
    • Use your HCC password
    • You may need to set/reset your information using Password Services or call the Technology Service Center at 443-518-4444

Personalized Accounts (available within select Library Resources)

Some Library resources allow you to create personalized accounts to save searches & access additional features. These personalized accounts require you to create an additional login and password.

  • Use your HCC email address to create your personalized account.
  • Use the password recovery tool within the specific Library resource to recover a username/password.

Library staff can not recover lost usernames/passwords for personalized accounts.

Browser Choice/Version/Settings

Try a different browser and/or update your browser version. Some web based content seems to function more smoothly in certain browsers. Downloading, installing & using a different browser may allow you to access the content you need. You also need to keep your browser updated.

The preferred browsers to access library resources are:

Browsers that may experience technical issues accessing library resources from off-campus:

Switch your Internet browser to private or incognito mode to potentially get around issues with blocked access or security warnings.

Cookies, Cache, History

Your web browser must be set to accept cookies - many Library resource vendors require their cookies to be placed on your computer. A cookie is a small file that stores information about your browser session, logins, encrypted passwords or any of a variety of pieces of information.

If you are being prompted at databases for User Names and/or passwords, you may have cookies disabled in your Web browser and/or the cookies may have become corrupt.

Cleaning out the cookies, cache, and browser history in your browser will remove corrupt cookies and outdated information, and may also improve browser performance.


JavaScript must be enabled in your browser - without JavaScript pages may appear blank and/options may be unavilable in some Library resources.

Please make sure you have not disabled JavaScript in your browser.


Depending upon the type of content, you may need to download a plug-in if you don't already have the required software (listed below) installed on your computer.

All of these viewers are free, and available, with detailed instructions for downloading and using them, at the links below:

If you are not comfortable downloading a viewer onto your own computer, all of these programs are available in the HCC Computer Labs.

Firewall/Virus Security Software

Firewall/virus protection software may have security options that interfere with access to Library resources.

  • From work:
    You will need to work with your organization's IT staff. Most places of employment have firewalls or other security features, which prevent access to Library resources.
  • From home:
    You will need to modify your firewall/virus protection software (for example, Norton or Symantec Desktop) on your computer? Such software can prevent access to Library resources.
    • Consult your software manual and/or contact their technical support for help in changing settings or disabling your software to allow your computer to access the Library's proxy server.
    • Set restrictions to low and/or disable this software during your access to Library resources.

If you are connecting via a virtual private network (VPN), this will likely interfere with access to Library resources. You will need to turn off the VPN to access library resources.

404 Error Message

Try to access the database later. A 404 "Not Found" error most likely indicates that the database server is down.

Session Time-Outs/Concurrent Users

Session time-outs may occur if you have been logged in to a Library resource for an extended period of time - inactive time periods vary from vendor to vendor. If your session has timed out, you will need to clear your cache and cookies, then close your browser and restart a new browser session.

Concurrent user restrictions may occur in select databases if there are too many simultaneous users. If this should occur, you will see a message on the screen stating as such - clear your cache and cookies, then close your browser, and re-try access after at least a fifteen minute wait.