Guide for New Students

OSU Accounts and Technologies Guide for Faculty and Staff

Get set up with OSU accounts, discover student services and technology resources

Who Should Use This Guide?

This OSU Account & Technologies guide is for new OSU students who need to get connected to OSU systems such as email and Canvas. Even if you are already connected to one or more OSU systems, we recommend you go through this guide, anyway, just to be sure you've covered the bases and know where to get computing help.

What Does This Guide Cover?

  • Security issues
  • How to get computer help
  • ONID account setup
  • Mobile device and wireless settings
  • Computer labs, printing services, and equipment checkout
This is a guide for OSU accounts and technologies only. Please visit the New Student Programs website for a broader introduction to OSU. If you need academic assistance or emergency help, please see the I Need Help! page.


Never give anyone your passwords, whether via email, phone, or in person. Even OSU support staff will not ask you for your password. Each year, roughly 40 OSU user accounts are hacked because a person gave someone else their password.

Never show login information to anyone and keep any passwords you write down in a safe place. Do not slap a sticky note onto your computer monitor with your password, as that is manifestly unsafe.

Use a secure wireless connection, even if you're just connecting to Facebook. Later in this guide, we'll show you how to connect to OSU_Secure when on campus.

It is your responsibility to read and understand OSU IT policies, including those related to security and the acceptable use of the university's computing resources.


Getting Computing Help

Information Services' helpdesks support you and your computer, your mobile device, and many of the software applications you need for your classes — and their services are provided at no cost! (A student fee that's part of your tuition helps cover these services, but at no point will we charge you out-of-pocket.)

OSU Computer Helpdesk - Phone & Email Support

The student consultants at the OSU Computer Helpdesk provide "quick help" computer support to OSU employees and students at no charge. They are a good first point of contact for account or technology problems and questions. Visit them at or call them at 541-737-3474.

Walkup Helpdesk for Students

The Walkup Helpdesk at the Valley Library is available for students only, and they can help you eliminate a virus from your computer, or configure your mobile phone to get OSU email, or help you install antivirus software. For a full list of services, please visit the Walkup Helpdesk webpage. Again, these services are provided at no charge.


Yet another good help resource is the OSU Helpdocs website. There you will find hundreds of FAQs, setup guides, and technology tips. It's particularly handy for quick help, how-tos, and late night queries.

OSU Computer Helpdesk. They're here for us. See how in this two minute video.
video platform video management video solutionsvideo player

What is an ONID Account?

OSU Network Identification (ONID) is a universal computer account for all OSU students and employees.

Your ONID gives you access to Canvas, computer labs, InterLibrary Loan, and many other online services and networks. You also get an ONID email account, and instructors typically communicate with students via ONID email.

Have you already created an ONID account?

Creating an ONID Account

Here's how you create an ONID account.

  1. Go to (link opens in new window).
  2. Click on the "Sign Up For ONID" link in the top left corner of the screen.
  3. Enter your OSU ID number (the 9 digit number you were assigned by OSU), your birthdate, and your first and last name.
  4. Click Submit.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions.
  6. Be sure to write down your new ONID username and password, and do not share it with anyone!

At the end of this process, you will have your final ONID account login information. Remember that your ONID login gives you access to a large number of campus systems, so keep your login info secure. Don't give your password to anyone!

Need more help?

Should you run into problems or if you need more detailed instructions, please visit the ONID Sign-Up Instructions web page. If you continue to experience issues after reviewing those instructions, you may call the OSU Computer Helpdesk for assistance at 541-737-3474.

Connecting to Canvas

One of the things you can do with your ONID account is connect to Canvas, which is used for most (but not all) classes offered at OSU.

Canvas is OSU's Learning Management System (LMS). It can be a virtual classroom, or it can augment the in-person classroom experience. Canvas allows instructors to administer tests and quizzes, post grades and lecture notes, and host discussion boards. Through Canvas, students are able to contact their instructors and classmates, keep a calendar, and maintain an address book.

You will login to Canvas at with your ONID username and password. Remember that a username is not the same thing as an email address. So if your ONID email address is, then your ONID username is just doej.

If you have questions about using Canvas, or specific problems, please see our Canvas helpdoc.


ONID Email

Most instructors require that you communicate via your ONID email rather than through a non-OSU messaging system.

ONID Email Using Google Apps for OSU

Students' ONID mailboxes are hosted at Google Apps for OSU, and all email sent to your ONID email addresses ( and is delivered to Google Mail.

Use the Google Apps for OSU login portal to access your ONID email.

Using an Email Client

If you would prefer to use an email client such as Outlook, Thunderbird or Mac Mail (instead of either web-based access described above), please access the ONID email client configuration helpdoc for guidance.

Wireless Access on Campus

OSU has a variety of wireless networks depending on the audience and their need. Generally, we recommend that students use the OSU_Secure network when on campus.

Hardware Information

Information Services advises students purchasing laptops and tablets to purchase a device with a dual-band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) wireless adapter so that they are able to access the network at the higher speed 5 GHz band.

  • All Macintosh computers and iPads ship with a 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz dual-band adapter for high-speed access.

  • Although many Windows laptops ship with dual-band adapters, not all do, and it is often not obvious what kind of adapter is included. Look for adapters that might be described as:

    • 802.11abgn

    • 802.11a/n (2.4 GHz / 5 GHz)

    • 802.11n (5 GHz)

    • Dual-band

  • Many smartphones are only capable of accessing the 2.4 GHz band.

Please consult the OSU Computer Helpdesk if you have questions about purchasing or upgrading equipment that lets you access the high-speed network.

OSU_Secure - the recommended network

OSU_Secure is the best option for those on campus who require data encryption while accessing the Internet via a wireless connection. The network uses a 48-bit initialization vector and a 128-bit encryption key and utilizes Temporary Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) to achieve security.

We strongly recommend that you connect to the Internet using a secure connection, even if you just plan to hang out on Facebook for a bit.

OSU_Access - the alternative

To connect to the OSU_Access wireless network, we recommend that you register your device with Maintain (link opens in new window). Maintain is a network management software that registers users onto the wireless network on campus. Then you'll be ready to connect, and you won't need to enter your username and password every time you wish to connect to OSU_Access.

If you live in a dorm on campus, you'll be able to use the ResNet wireless network (in addition to the wired ResNet network). And all persons who have an ONID account may access the OSU_Secure wireless network throughout campus.

Wireless Connection Setup

For complete instructions, please see the OSU_Secure helpdoc (scroll down the page for the list of supported operating systems and links to specific setup instructions).


Student Computer/Laptop Recommendations

Oregon State University urges students to have a laptop powerful enough for the computational requirements necessary for coursework and a successful learning experience. These are not requirements. These recommendations are a baseline and do not replace recommendations (or requirements) made by specific colleges.

Please consult the IS Service Desk if you have questions about purchasing equipment or upgrading an existing laptop.

  • Processor: 4th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 / AMD A8 or AMD A10 APU or better
  • RAM: 4 GB minimum but 8 GB highly recommended
  • Hard drive: 240 GB or more; 7200 RPM or Solid State
  • Wireless adapter: 5 Ghz-capable, often labeled as 802.11a/n, 802.11abgn, or dual-band
  • Battery: 9 cell battery for 8-12 hours of battery life
  • Display: 1366 x 768 minimum; design-heavy coursework can require 1920 x 1080
  • Webcam: Required for E-Campus students
  • Warranty: Three year warranty is recommended

In addition, you may want to refer to the following recommendation lists:

Thoughts on Mobile Devices

While tablets and smartphones are not currently integral in most learning environments, their use in learning is increasing daily. They are also integral to student life. They are not, however, typically a suitable replacement for a traditional computer or laptop. If you do purchase a mobile device, a device with good battery life and support for 5 GHz wireless will enhance your experience at OSU.

Mobile Device Settings

The following guides will help you set up and use your mobile device at OSU.

Configure Email

Wireless Access at OSU

  • Use OSU_Secure to connect to the Internet when on campus
  • If you live in a dorm on campus, you may also use the ResNet wireless network

General Guidelines

Computing Resources at OSU

Outside of the classroom, Information Services provides many computing and multimedia resources for students. Most of these resources can be accessed at no charge, as they are funded in part or in whole by the Technology Resource Fund (TRF).

Computer Help Resources

Don't forget that the OSU Computer Helpdesk is here to help you throughout your time at Oregon State, and the Helpdocs site is available 24/7 with hundreds of tech tips and setup guides.

student in computer lab

Computing Labs

RemoteApps allows students and faculty to run OSU software virtually. It replaces the Umbrella server. RemoteApps can be accessed on and off campus with client software called Microsoft Remote Desktop and mobile apps are available for tablets and smartphones.

Four large, general use computing labs are spread around the Corvallis campus. These labs are available for all students. Various colleges and departments have their own computing labs, so be sure to check with them to discover all your options.

Equipment Checkout

Laptops, video cameras, still cameras, and other multimedia equipment can be checked out from Student Multimedia Services. Equipment is checked out on a first-come, first-served basis and is only available to currently enrolled students for course- or research-related work. The SMS checkout desk is located in the Valley Library. Check out the SMS website for details.

Printing Services

Professional and large-format printing is available from Student Multimedia Services, located in the Valley Library. Services include thesis printing and poster printing with lamination. Some printing services are free, while others are provided at low cost.

Standard printing is available from a variety of locations on campus. Charges cover ink, paper and printer maintenance costs. Printing charges on campus are not the same in all locations, so be sure to consult our ONID printing chart for details.

We encourage everyone to keep paper consumption to a minimum. As a part of its Greening IT initiative, Information Services has published tips on how to reduce paper consumption.