Table of Contents

Accounts and Passwords

Most Windows computers within the School use your regular university login.

Unix and linux systems in the School use a separate Physics & Astronomy Computing account.

Physics email also uses your physics account, while our websites have different tabs to accept either type of login.

New faculty, staff and graduate students should find they have accounts set up before they arrive. We don't set up Physics accounts automatically for Physics majors, but they are available simply by asking (

Visitors may also need arrangements made to access many of the facilities they need. Please check our guide on visitor accounts.


If you have not done so yet, please follow this new account checklist:

Physics Email

The best way to access your Physics Email account is to use a mail program such as Mozilla Thunderbird, or you can access your account via the Physics webmail system, at On the Unix or Linux systems, you can also use mutt. Our Physics Email page has more detailed information on accessing your email account.

By default, Physics email is forwarded to University of Minnesota Gmail.

For help with Gmail, please consult


Our main Unix server for shell access is; individual Linux workstations are available in several other locations. Windows and Linux workstations are available in several swing space locations - mainly for TA/Grading use:

Building Room Computers Access/Hours
PAN 482 2 Linux workstations Normal Building Hours
Shepard 196 1 Linux, 1 Windows workstation Varies
Williamson 2 in Cubicles 2 Windows workstations Normal Front Office Hours


To log in at one of our Windows workstations:


To log in at one of our Linux workstations, enter your username and password in the boxes.


You can remotely access your Unix account using SSH (Secure Shell). For those who are unfamiliar with ssh, see: SSH secure shell software.

Mailing Lists

All users are normally subscribed to some electronic mailing lists. By default, we subscribe your Physics account to receive list messages of departmental announcements.

If you would like departmental computing-related announcements (such as scheduled outages) sign up on our list server.

Usage Policies

By using our computing facilities, you agree to follow our Acceptable Use Policy. In brief:

The full policy is available here.

What happens when I leave?

Your Physics account is automatically kept active while you have a current appointment in Peoplesoft and in the Physics Directory. Once you leave the School, an account expiry system starts operation. The system will send you some automated emails warning you of the expiry. You can reply to this email to let us know your needs.

Your University account may get shut off shortly after leaving, for example if your contract is over. Within Physics this will affect your ability to log in to Windows computers and possibly MyPhys.

If you need continued access to either of these, there are a couple of possibilities.