CS Accounts and CS Lab Computers

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This section contains information for CS majors to help get you started with logging into the CS server and do the sorts of programming that goes on in most of the CS courses

Operating System and Class Accounts

Many of the CS courses make use of the CS server, which runs Linux. For courses that use the CS server, your programming assignments will be compiled and run on the CS server.

If your class makes use of the CS server, you will be given a "class account". These class accounts allow you to login to the CS server remotely and login to the computers in the CS lab and classroom (Root Hall, A-015, A-017, A-019). The class accounts will be given to you by your instructor. The class account login names all start with cs and then the number of course. For example, CS 151 students get class accounts that begin with cs151 (e.g., cs151000, cs151001, ...).

Note that the class accounts are deleted at the end of each semester, so you need to backup your files at the end of the semester (transfer the files to your home computer). If you are a CS major and would like a permanent account on the CS server you can ask the CS lab/server coordinator. For how to backup your files see CS Account Backup.

CS Account Policies


For any accounts that you have on the CS server (whether class accounts or permanent accounts), you should follow all ISU policies. In particular the following are prohibited -

  • using your account to store or distribute anything that is against its terms/copyright/etc. (e.g., no movies, textbooks, answers to HW problems)
  • using your account to do anything that is illegal
  • using a password that is too easy to guess (i.e., a password cracker that we run finds your password)
  • overloading the CPU or GPU of the system, or filling up any of the system drives
  • anything that is along these lines that we have not thought to state explicitly

A violation of any of these will result in your account being locked and no longer being allowed to have an account on the systems.


Permanent accounts that are not used for a period of 6 months will likely be locked as a security precaution. You can write to root@cs.indstate.edu to ask to have your account unlocked again.


For courses that want to give credit for successfully logging into the system with your class account, you should do the following.

  • Get your account information from your instructor. Some put this as a comment to a grade item for the class in canvas. Some have it emailed to your ISU email. If you are not sure then check with your instructor
  • When you login the first time, it will ask for your full name, office, etc. For the full name put in your name. For Office put your ISU email address (the @sycamores.indstate.edu one). For Office Phone and Home Phone, leave them blank.
    • If you need to update this information later on, you can do so by being logged in and running: chfn

You should also update your password to be something you will be able to remember. The first time you login it will ask you to do this. If you need to do this later on, you can do so by running this command in the terminal: passwd

Pass rating check To check if you should get a pass rating for this task, your instructor can do the following.

  • Run finger YOUR_LOGIN to verify that your name and email show up. If not, you need to run chfn to update them.
  • Run passwd -S YOUR_LOGIN to check when your password was last changed. It should show that it was changed some time after initial account creation. You can run passwd -S to see when your password was last changed.