Computer Accounts & How to Obtain Help

Computer Accounts

This page summarizes ECF’s policy on computer accounts — how they are provided and how they are to be used by students and staff.


Every undergraduate is entitled to an ECF Linux/Windows computer account. Students may keep these accounts until they leave the Faculty. All undergraduate accounts are created using information from the Office of the Registrar.

Graduate Students

All graduate students are entitled to a resource-limited Linux account for web browsing and internet access. The account will not have access to Windows-based ECF machines and will be limited in cpu time and disk space.

Course or TA Accounts

Graduate students taking or tutoring courses that require the use of ECF will have access to full resource accounts for the period of the course. Instructors must apply for “course” accounts on behalf of the students enrolled in their course. Instructors may do this by emailing Phil Poulos at with the following information:

  • Course name and number
  • Resources required (Linux or Windows, software, etc.)
  • Full name and student number of every student requiring a “course” account

Grad course/TA accounts are terminated when the course ends, usually at end of term.

Grad students can determine their login name and set their password by logging in as “account” on any ECF Linux lab workstation.

Research Accounts

A graduate student requiring the use of ECF for their research may obtain a research account. These accounts cost $1,200 per year, payable when the account is created at the beginning of each year (e.g. September 1), or $100 per month for accounts required for less than one year.

Accounts closed before year-end will receive a refund for unused months at the rate of $100 per month. Research accounts will be allotted a reasonable amount of disk space and cpu time, access to available software, tape backups, etc.

Users must accept that there may be times when resources are unavailable for service, upgrading, or in use for course testing. Refunds will not be given for these periods of unavailability.

ECF-Windows research accounts are separate from ECF Linux research accounts and cost $1200 per year. Applications for research accounts may be obtained from the ECF office.

Application form (PDF). Submit completed form to

Faculty Members

Every instructor is entitled to an ECF account for teaching purposes. To set up an ECF account, instructors are asked to visit the ECF Office (EA212).

This teaching account may be used for testing software for a course, etc. ECF also supplies a shared disk space area for each course. An instructor can use this space to hold files that their students need for assignments and projects. ECF can also supply disk space for student submissions of assignments, etc.

How to Obtain Help

Please note that ECF does not provide advising services. Should you have a question regarding your studies, please contact your Academic Advisor. Issues with assignments should be directed to the appropriate course instructor.

Issues in Department Labs

Some departments have their own computing facilities. While some of these facilities have their own servers, others use ECF services to provide students with an environment identical to those of the ECF labs.
Issues with department labs should be directed to the department. ECF is not responsible for the equipment in these labs.

Hardware Issues

Anyone experiencing problems with ECF equipment (SF1012, SF1013, SF1106, GB144, GB150, WB255) should notify ECF staff: or in person at EA212. Please note which room and station is affected. A typical email for assistance might state:

  • “SF1012. The DVD drive in p36 does not work.”
  • “The printer in WB255 is jammed.”
  • “My home directory disk is full.”
  • “The license for MATLAB has expired.”

Problems with Your Account

Incorrect password

Do not use the numeric keys at the side of the keyboard. If you cannot remember your password, try resetting it on the ECF Student Services Website.

Servers are Unavailable

If you and a number of others are experiencing login issues at the same time, a server may be down. Try to log in to another station. If that does not work, please wait five minutes and try again.

Try another station to login to. If that doesn’t work wait 5 minutes and try again. Inform relevant ECF staff of your problem if it persists.

Account Locked by ECF Staff

See the Chair of your department. If you are a first-year student, consult the First Year Office.

If you are unsure where to go, follow the instructions that you are given when you try to log into an ECF workstation.

Account Does Not Exist

Visit the ECF Office (EA212).

Missing Files

If you accidentally deleted files, and the files were on the Linux system, look in the daily backup for your files. If the files are not in the daily backup, visit the ECF office (EA212) and fill out the form for obtaining files from a backup tape.

To recover files from ECF Windows, please send an email to in order to make arrangements to have the files restored from tape backup.

Printing Issues

Visit ECF Printing for detailed information.

USB Flash Drive

Instructions for using USB flash drives on the Linux workstations can be found online.