Frequently Asked Questions about Computing Accounts

Below you will find answers to common questions about your computing (UNIX) computing account. Information about related accounts can be found in the Google Apps at USC Support documentation and on the Email Overview page.

General Questions

Disabled/Expired Account Questions

New Account Request Questions

I’m a new student. When will I get an account?

Your account will be created two days after your enrollment at USC is certified. If your department does not require enrollment certification, your account will be created once you are registered for classes. To find your account, please go to the account activation web page, www.usc.edu/firstlogin.


What should I do if the First Login page tells me my account cannot be found?

Students: If you recently registered for classes for the current semester, you will need to wait 2 business days before you try to activate your account at www.usc.edu/firstlogin. If you have been registered for classes for more than 3 days, and you still cannot activate your account, please contact the ITS Customer Support Center at 213-740-5555.

Employees: If you were recently hired, you will need to wait 3 days after your paperwork has been added to the payroll system before you should try to activate your account at www.usc.edu/firstlogin. If you still unable to activate your account after a week from when you were added to the payroll system, please contact the ITS Customer Support Center at 213-740-5555.

I’ve forgotten my password, can you look it up for me?

No, all the passwords on our system are encrypted. If you’ve forgotten your password, the best thing to do is to call the ITS Customer Support Center at 213-740-5555 and have them reset it for you. Once it’s been reset, you can change it at ITS’s password website, https://mypassword.usc.edu.

Why do I have to change my password every year?

We require frequent password changes in order to improve system security. For more information, see the About Your USC Password page.

Where are policies regarding accounts posted?

All ITS policies are posted at cio.usc.edu/policies.

What do I do if I receive notification about copyright infringement activity?

Information about the different types of notification related to copyright infringement, as well as their legal significance, can be found on the Types of Copyright Infringement Notifications page.

Can I have my username changed?

In most cases, no. There are only a few circumstances where you can request to have your username changed. They are:

  • You’ve had your name legally changed, and you can provide documentation (driver’s license, passport, USCard) as evidence.
  • Your first or last name was misspelled at the time we created your account, and that misspelling has been reflected in your username.
  • If you have accounts on multiple hosts administrated by ITS, you can request to have a username changed to match one of your other usernames. Please note that the system cannot share password files for this type of change to be possible.

How do I know how much space I have available in my account? How do I know how much I’ve used?

Your email account quota on email.usc.edu currently has a quota of 75 megabytes if you are a student and 4 gigabytes if you are faculty and staff. The amount of space being used in your email account can be checked by logging in to your account using the USC WebMail client and scrolling to the bottom of the screen, where usage statistics are displayed. Students may increase their email storage by signing up for a Google Apps at USC account. For more information, please visit http://www.usc.edu/its/google.

You can also check how much UNIX disk space you have allotted to you, and how much you’ve used by logging into your UNIX account. At the prompt, type the command “quota -v”. For more information on quotas, please see the UNIX server quotas page.

What do I do when I go over the disk quota for my account?

Generally, it is recommended that when you go over disk quota that you remove or compress files in your account. For more information on your options, please see the UNIX server quotas page. If you are doing research or academic work, you can speak to your authorized signer to request a quota increase.

How do I have my quota increased?

For SCF, BCF and HSC accounts, you can have your home quota increased by contacting your department’s authorized signer. All SCF quota increases need to be for academic purposes and are only valid for one semester. For accounts on departmental hosts, you will need to speak with the host’s technical contact or owner.

Can I have more than one account?

You can only have one personal username per host. It is possible to have accounts on multiple hosts, but in most cases the username will be the same.

I have two accounts with the same username, where will my mail go?

If you are using a central email account, all of your email messages and attachments will be stored on the Message Store, USC’s dedicated email server. The Message Store is accessible via the Web at http://email.usc.edu.

The username for the Message Store will be the same as your UNIX account, and the password will be whichever password that was last changed or created.

How do I set up a personal web page?

To set up a personal web page, log in to your UNIX account, and type the command “requestwww” when prompted. This will create a basic web page and ,if you wish, add you to the online directory of personal web pages. For detailed instructions on how to create a personal web page at USC, please see Publishing Personal Web Pages.

I received a message that said my account was moving. What do I need to do?

Occasionally, it is necessary for us to move an account from one host to another. This is generally prompted by a change of status (for instance, from student to staff). Also, you may receive an email notification that your account has been moved from one file system to another on the same host. This is to achieve more efficient disk balancing, as necessary. If you need additional information on an account that has been moved, please contact the ITS Customer Support Center.

Why would my account be disabled?

There are a number of reasons that your account can be disabled. Your account privileges may have expired if you are not a currently registered student or not currently paid faculty or staff of the university. Your account can also be disabled for various computing security or policy violations. The specific reason may be obtained by calling the ITS Customer Support Center for more information at 213-740-5555.

What happens to my account when I graduate?

Your account is disabled approximately 6 months from the date of graduation. If you’ve graduated in May, you can expect your account to be disabled in mid November. If you’ve graduated in December, you can expect your account to be disabled in mid June. ITS normally makes an attempt to notify the owners of accounts prior to expiration however due to external factors messages can be delayed thus limiting the time you have to prepare.

“Disabled” means that the account still exists on our system, but you no longer have access to log in or check your mail, and your web page will no longer be viewable. If you have set up your mail to be forwarded, this will remain in effect temporarily. Once the account has been in the disabled state for two full semesters, the account is deleted from our system. At this point, if you’ve had your mail forwarded, it will no longer do so.

Do you have accounts available for alumni?

No, we do not provide accounts to USC Alumni, not even for a fee. We have contractual obligations and copyright restrictions that require us to limit our resources to current students, faculty and staff only. The Alumni Association is providing an email forwarding service that will allow alumni to maintain a USC address such as Your.Name@alumni.usc.edu. For more information, you will need to contact the Alumni Association at 213-740-2300, or visit their web site at http://alumni.usc.edu.

Will I be notified that my account is going to be disabled?

We send out an email advising all affected users of the expiration date account as the deadline approaches. For those accounts that are disabled outside a normal schedule, we cannot guarantee that the owners will be notified beforehand. In all cases, if a student finishes class work, or if a member of our faculty of staff leaves employment with the University, you should not expect your account to remain active past a reasonable period of time.

I’m on a leave of absence. Can I get my account re-enabled?

If you are on an official University leave of absence, approved by your department, then you can have your account renewed for the semester (or semesters) you are on leave. You will need to contact your academic advisor have him/her make the account extension request to ITS.

I’m going abroad for a semester. Will my account remain active?

If you are going abroad with an official USC program, your account will be renewed automatically (you are actually registered in USC registration system with a “placeholder” course).

If you are going abroad, but not with an official USC program, we will not be able to renew your account until you register for classes again at USC.

I am a Ph.D. student and won’t be enrolled next semester for any classes while I am defending my dissertation. Will my account still be disabled?

If you are not enrolled for classes, your account won’t be automatically renewed. However, if you are working on your thesis, defense, or dissertation and are not enrolled for courses, you should speak with your academic advisor and have them request renewal of your account.

Can I get my account re-enabled for a few days to transfer files?

No, you are no longer affiliated with the University and your account has been disabled, it cannot be re-enabled. You can request to have your files transferred to media for a fee. You can read our policies about media transfers at http://cio.usc.edu/policies/procedures.

Can I download my files or mail from my disabled account?

You can request to have your files transferred to media for a fee. Our policies regarding media transfers are posted at http://www.usc.edu/its/policies/procedures.

I am registered for classes but my account got disabled.

There are a number of reasons that your account may have been disabled. If you previously registered under a different ID number, it is possible that your information was not properly cross-referenced. This happens mostly in the case of those students who originally register under a 10-digit university-assigned ID number, and later register under a social security number.

Your account can also be disabled if you have violated one of our account policies or the account has been compromised in some way.

For all cases, you will need to contact the Customer Support Center at 213-740-5555 to determine why the account has been disabled.

What will happen to my Marshall email account (firstname.lastname.gradyear@marshall.usc.edu) when I graduate?

ITS neither maintains nor controls the Exchange email accounts provided by the Marshall Business School to its students. If you have a question regarding these accounts, you should contact Marshall’s technical support staff at 213-740-3000.

Who is my authorized signer?

The authorized signers are listed by department at our authorized signer webpage.

Why do have to go through an authorized signer?

The authorized signer is our liaison to your department. This person has been assigned these duties by the Dean, Chair or SBO of your department to deal with all account-related issues.

I need to run programs that require more CPU time or memory or work with large data sets. What is available?

For people who are doing high-level computing, such as working with large data sets, or running CPU-intensive programs, we have a group of hosts called the Research Computing Facility.

Almaak is a Sun Fire T2000 running Solaris 10 using 32GB of memory. This host is best for general purpose computing.

HPC includes a 768-node, 10-gigabit backbone cluster. This machine is available to those people who are running large parallel processing jobs. As this machine is part of the Center for High Performance Computing (HPC), access to it is restricted and needs to be approved by the Supercomputing Allocations Committee.

To request an RCF account, you will need to speak to the authorized signer of your department. Once you have an RCF account, to apply for an HPC account, please see the HPC account application.

How do I get an email address for my student organization?

All recognized student organizations can get an email account for the organization by filling out the form located at http://www.usc.edu/its/accounts/studentorg/. You will then need to have this form signed by your faculty advisor, and Student Activities office. If your organization is academic in nature, you will also need to have the form signed by the appropriate departmental authorized signer.

How do I change the owner of a student organization account?

You will need to contact the Student Activities office to have the ownership of the account changed.

How do I set up a general email account for my department?

You can request a departmental or organizational account through your department’s authorized signer. Please note that we prefer to limit the number of these accounts to one per organization/department. We may consider more than that if it is clear to us that the purpose of the account is completely different from an existing account for that department.

How do I change the owner of a departmental account?

The authorized signer will need to send mail to to let us know who the new owner of the account should be. Once we receive that request, will we change the ownership of the account, and reset the password to the new owner’s ID number.

What do I need to do to set up a web page for my department on USC’s primary webserver, cwis.usc.edu?

You will need to speak to the authorized signer of your department, who will need to approve the request. We will need to know what the name of the department/organization is, what you want the directory called, and who should be maintainers of the web site.

How do I get access to change an existing departmental page?

The request to add another maintainer to a departmental page needs to go through the authorized signer. We will need to know the URL or directory path and the user’s information. If the new maintainer is taking over the website from another person in your department, we will also need to know the information of the previous person so that we can disable their cwis account and transfer any files they own to the new maintainer.