Hey there, student Cyclone! 

Information Technology Services is here to power your journey with fast, reliable internet, modern software and apps and professional technical support. The Getting Started section is filled with tasks new students should complete at the same time as Orientation. Items in the Preparing for the New Semester section will help you get ready for a new semester or make your transition to campus easier and less stressful. Lastly, the On-Campus Technology section contains instructions and tasks best completed when you're on campus.

Students: Get Started with Technology



Your Network Identification, or Net-ID, is the group of characters before the "@" sign of your Iowa State email address. It is different than your University ID, which is the nine-digit number listed on the front of your ISUCard. 

Your Net-ID is important because it serves as your unique identifier during your adventure at Iowa State. In fact, many Iowa State accounts to which students have free access automatically recognize Iowa State Net-IDs as login credentials. You may have already created your Net-ID through your Iowa State admissions account, but if not you can set it up now.

  1. Go to asw.iastate.edu.
  2. Click on "Need to register for a Net-ID?" under the box labeled Register.
  3. Enter the required information and click Next.
  4. You can keep the suggested Net-ID or change it here if you'd prefer.
  5. Set your password. Be sure to follow the password standards described on the page.
  6. Click Accept and then click Register.
    • NOTE: the Net-ID registration may take a few minutes to process. For help, contact the IT Solution Center.

    Iowa State uses a cybersecurity tool called multifactor authentication (MFA) to protect your login information. With MFA, you are required to complete a second login step after inputting your Net-ID (username) and password - like typing in a code received via text message. You will be automatically prompted to enable MFA when first signing into your Iowa State accounts.


    There are five different verification options available for MFA: the Okta Verify app, the Google Authenticator app, SMS text message, voice call and Yubikeys (a USB-type physical device). Okta Verify is recommended for ease of use. You can learn more about the verification options in the ISU Service Portal. Most verification options will require a cell phone. If you don't have a cell phone and can't acquire a Yubikey, please contact the IT Solution Center before attempting to activate MFA.


    We recommend you set up an alternate form of MFA other than SMS text message or voice calls

    Okta is the name of your Iowa State Sign On Dashboard and the easiest way to log into your most-used and favorite applications. In fact, you've already visited the Sign On Dashboard to enable password reset.

    Your Sign On Dashboard is a “single sign-on, or SSO” solution. Once you log in, you can access Iowa State applications (like your email or online coursework) with just one click - like using a master key. Logging into accounts this way is quick and secure. Plus, you only have to remember one password rather than typing in your login credentials for each website. 

    Iowa State’s email platform is Microsoft Outlook. Your Outlook account was automatically created after you received your Net-ID, and your Iowa State email address is: [Your Net-ID]@iastate.edu. Your Outlook account can be accessed through your Sign On Dashboard at login.iastate.edu. It can also be added as an app to your phone, tablet or computer.

    As a student Cyclone, all communication from Iowa State offices will go to your Iowa State Outlook (not a previously-used email account). This can include correspondence from Admissions, Financial Aid, the Registrar’s Office, your academic advisor, your instructors and others. In other words, you are responsible for the information that is sent to you. Learn more about using Outlook.

    Microsoft Outlook also offers a calendar. It's great for keeping track of classes, marking exams and scheduling study time or other events. Since faculty and staff also use Outlook, it's possible to request appointments through Outlook. However, be sure to confirm Outlook is the preferred scheduling method, either by referring to your syllabus or reaching out to the individual you're meeting with. Many offices use their own scheduling software, particularly academic advisors, in order to ensure a high-quality experience for everyone.

    Your ISUCard is your physical, permanent university identification card, which includes your picture and 9-digit university identification number. You will use your card for most campus services, including door access, meals on campus, testing centers, recreation center, riding CyRide, the library and many more. To request your ISUCard, be sure to carefully read through the guidelines on taking an ID photo and how to submit your photo.


    The IT Solution Center, located on the first floor of Parks Library, is your on-campus resource for technology assistance with a technician. It is open seven days a week, except for university holidays, see hours of operation. You can easily request help from the IT Solution Center though the Get Help option in the ISU Service Portal.  You can also contact the IT Solution Center by calling 515-294-4000 or emailing solution@iastate.edu, even if you experience issues before you arrive on campus.


    ITS offers a central StatusHub with information about various campus technologies, like the internet networks and email. You can subscribe to email notifications when there are outages or planned maintenance so you're always in the loop. Learn how to subscribe to notifications. You can access the StatusHub from the ITS website menu and by going directly to status.it.iastate.edu.


    In the ISU Service Portal, you can browse a database of how-to technology articles. Easily search the issue you are having to find possible solutions. For example, you can find instructions for how add apps to your Sign On Dashboard, print to a campus printer and more. Access the ISU Service Portal by visiting it.iastate.edu/Portal or by clicking the ISU Service Portal tile on your Okta dashboard.


    TechCyte in the ISU Book Store has licensed and trained technicians that can service both Dell and Apple computers in their Service Center in the Memorial Union. View their contact information, service rates and schedule an appointment here.

    Secure your Devices

    Follow these steps to ensure private data is secure on your personal device:

    Install software updates 


    Set a screen lock

    • For macOS devices
    1. Select the menu icon (Apple icon in upper left hand corner of your screen).
    2. Select System Preferences.
    3. Click the Security & Privacy application.
    4. In the General tab ensure the check box next to "Require password after sleep or screen saver begins" is checked
      Image of Security & Privacy menu on macOS

    • For Windows devices
    1. Go to Settings menu.
    2. Select Personalization, then Lock Screen.
    3. In Screen Saver Settings, select a screen saver other than "none."
    4. Ensure the box next to On resume, display logon screen is checked
      image of lock screen menu on Windows devices


    Create a good login password

    • At least 8 characters and complex OR a phrase that’s at least 20 characters long.
    • Don’t write it down.
    • Don’t use the same password on more than one site.
    • Use a password manager to help you remember all your passwords. LastPass, 1Password, Dashlane, Bitwarden, KeyPass, Apple iCloud keychain, and Google Password Manager are all good apps to consider for this.
      Image of laptop with sticky note with password on it

    Enable full disk encryption

    • For macOS devices
    1. Select the menu icon (Apple icon in upper left hand corner of your screen)
    2. Select System Preferences
    3. Click the Security & Privacy application
    4. In the FileVault tab, select Turn On FileVault
      Image of security and privacy menu in macOS

    • For Windows devices:
    1. In system settings, select System and Security.
    2. Then select Bitlocker Drive Encryption.
    3. Click Turn on Bitlocker.
      Image of system and security menu in Window

    • For a mobile phone or tablet:
    • Storage encryption is automatic if you enable a screen lock.


    Lock your computer when away

    • For MacOS devices:
    • Press Control + shift + eject on your keyboard. For newer Macs, select the lock icon in the touch bar. If your device does not have the screen lock option in the touch bar, follow the instructions below.
    1. Select Customize Touch Bar.
      keyboard menu on macOS
    2. Select Screen Lock.
      Window for customizing your touchbar with options like Dictation, Brightness Slider, Mute and more.

    • For Windows devices:
    1. Press and hold the Windows key on your keyboard and press "L".


    Physically secure your laptop and keep it safe

    • Carry it with you.
    • Do not leave it unattended in public locations, like the library or coffee shop.
    • If you must leave it in your car, keep it in the trunk, out of sight.

    Keep your personal firewall enabled

    • For MacOS devices
    1. Select the menu icon (Apple icon in upper left-hand corner of your screen).
    2. Select System Preferences.
    3. Click the Security & Privacy application.
    4. In the Firewall tab, select Turn On Firewall.
      firewall menu on MacOS
    • For Windows devices
    1. In the Cortana search box, enter Firewall.
    2. Click Windows Firewall in the search results.
    3. In the Windows Firewall window that appears, make sure that Windows Firewall is On.
    4. If it is not on, click the Turn Windows Firewall On or Off link in the left pane of the window.

    • For a mobile phone or tablet: 
      • There is nothing you need to do on a mobile phone or tablet.

    Keep your antivirus, antispyware and anti-malware software enabled

    • Ensure antivirus updates and scans of your computer are occurring regularly.
    • For Windows devices: 
      • Defender automatically checks files for viruses and performs updates by default.

    • For macOS: 
      • XProtect provides macOS users with virus and malware protection.
        As an extra precaution, you are encouraged to configure macOS Gatekeeper to only allow you to download apps from the App Store or those created by identified developers.
    1. Select the menu icon (apple icon in upper left-hand corner of your screen).
    2. Select System Preferences.
    3. Click the Security & Privacy application.
    4. In the General tab under Allow apps downloaded from:, select the Mac App Store or Mac App Store and identified developers radio button. 
    • For a mobile phone or tablet: 
      • We don't recommend installing any antivirus software on your mobile device.


    Connect to Wi-Fi networks with care

    • Modern apps and websites use encryption so your privacy is still protected, even if you use an open Wi-Fi network that doesn't have a password.

    • Make sure the sites you are visiting use HTTPS and show the padlock icon.
      A padlock next to a website URL shows that the site is secure
    • If you see a privacy error like the one below, someone on the same wireless network might be trying to invade your privacy. Do not click through it; instead, disconnect from that wireless network and connect to your phone or a hotspot instead.
      A privacy error pop-up

    Delete ISU private data you don't need 

    • If you need to download university data, delete it as soon as you are done.
    • Try to use Cybox and Microsoft OneDrive to keep documents in the cloud and off your personal device.

    Preparing for the New Semester

    As a student, you’re required to have a laptop computer or other device appropriate for your major/program. Visit the Computer Requirement web page to learn more.

    AccessPlus is a secure and confidential campus information system used for conducting official university business. You can log into AccessPlus through your Sign On Dashboard.

    1. Go to login.iastate.edu.
    2. Sign in with your Net-ID and password.
    3. Select the AccessPlus app.

    Once logged in, you may want to set up Third Party Access. Third party access allows students to give another person access to account information. For example, you could set up a special account for a parent or family member to view your grades and/or pay your university bill. You can also use AccessPlus to update and verify your in-session address, register for classes, view or print your class schedule, view and pay your university bill (U-bill), view residence hall information, select a meal plan, search for jobs and more.

    While you will register for classes in AccessPlus, you can browse the ISU Course Catalog at catalog.iastate.edu. Please note that experimental courses designated with an "X" in the course name are not currently listed in the course catalog. They are listed on a separate webpage on the Office of the Registrar website.

    All Iowa State students have access to Office 365 (Microsoft 365 apps). You do not have to buy this software separately. The software includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook and Teams. The software will work on Windows, Mac and mobile devices. Requires an active Net-ID.

    The apps can be downloaded to your device or accessed online. The downloadable apps run on your computer (no internet connection necessary), while the web apps run in the cloud and use a web browser. 

    • Download the desktop applications to your laptop or computer.
    • Explore the web applications (log in with your Net-ID and password, if prompted).

    Canvas is the app where your instructors will keep important class information. As a student, you'll interact with Canvas regularly to view course resources, complete assignments or take exams. Your Canvas account was automatically created when you received your Net-ID.

    To access your Canvas account, log into your Sign On Dashboard and select the Canvas app tile. If you have issues accessing Canvas, please contact the IT Solution CenterNote: If you don't see your course on the Canvas Dashboard in the week prior to the start of the semester, contact the course instructor.

    Browse this list of how-to articles to learn how to use Canvas. Videos about various topics - how to submit assignments, complete quizzes, view grades and more - are also available.

    The MyState app, created by student engineers and maintained by student developers, has many features useful for all students on campus. Download the app for free on your Android or iOS device. You can use the app to:

    • Check CyRide bus routes, schedules and current bus locations.
    • View dining center, café and C-store hours and menus.
    • View the campus map with the ability to pin things such as buildings, dining centers, outdoor Wi-Fi and more.
    • Browse the library catalog and view outstanding loans, fees and requests.
    • And more.

    Storing and Sharing Documents

    As a student, you’ll accumulate a lot of files and data from your coursework and extracurricular activities. Be sure you are saving your files to the cloud. This ensures you can safely backup your computer and make sure that nothing gets lost. 

    Iowa State offers two cloud primary storage applications: CyBox and Microsoft OneDrive. Each app has its own pros and cons, so feel free to use the option that’s best for you. Both CyBox and OneDrive are accessed online through your Sign On Dashboard. To make working on files even easier, you can download the desktop apps and sync files between your computer and the cloud. 

    Student Design Software 

    Adobe Spark

    Spark is a media creation application available to every Iowa State student. Spark allows you to easily create graphic design content, edit video content and design web pages. Every department provides different software for students; check with your college or major to see if the entire Adobe Creative Cloud suite is supported. 


    Canva is a graphic design platform used to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents and other visual content. The platform is free to use but paid versions are available.

    Top Hat  

    Top Hat is an interactive, cloud-based teaching platform that encourages in-class engagement and gives real-time feedback. Instructors often use Top Hat for in-class questions as well as attendance tracking. Top Hat is supported by the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching and Information Technology Services.  

    Top Hat is available to students at no additional cost. You do not have to buy this app separately. 


    Grammarly is a writing tool that provides grammar, spelling, and plagiarism checking. It integrates with web browsers (so it can be used in Outlook and Canvas) as well as office productivity software and mobile devices.  All students and faculty have free access to the premium version of Grammarly.   

    View this article for more information on creating your account and downloading the app.

    Follow these steps to ensure private data is secure on your personal device.


    • Delete ISU private data you don’t need
    • Install software updates
    • Set a screen lock
    • Create a good login password
    • Enable full disk encryption
    • Lock your computer when away
    • Physically secure your laptop
    • Keep your personal firewall enabled
    • Keep your antivirus, antispyware and anti-malware software enabled
    • Connect to Wi-Fi networks with care

    Delete ISU private data you don't need 

    • If you need to download university data, delete it as soon as you are done
    • Try to use Cybox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive to keep documents in the cloud and off your personal device

    Install software updates 

    • Your operating system and app store will tell you when you need to install updates
    • If you disabled updates, turn them back on now
    • Install them quickly! 
    • Some apps may also use native MacOS and Windows notifications to inform you about updates

    On Campus Technology


    Iowa State University has two primary internet networks: eduroam (pronounced ed-u-roam) and IASTATE. When using Wi-Fi, you should always attempt to connect to eduroam first, regardless of your device. Just sign on with your full Iowa State email address (Net-ID@iastate.edu) and password.

    Some devices need to be registered in order to connect to the network properly. This process is called NetReg. Below is a handy chart showing when NetReg is required. 

    NetReg Your Devices Now


    When To NetReg
    Network Name & Type Phones & Tablets Laptops Desktops Game Consoles Smart TVs & Speakers Printers
    Eduroam (wireless) Preferred, no NetReg. Preferred, no NetReg. Preferred, no NetReg. Attempt to connect first. Attempt to connect first. Not allowed on the network.
    IASTATE (wireless) NetReg through ASW. NetReg through ASW. NetReg through ASW. NetReg through ISU Service Portal. NetReg through ISU Service Portal. Not allowed on the network.
    Ethernet (wired) N/A NetReg through ASW. NetReg through ASW. NetReg through ISU Service Portal. NetReg through ISU Service Portal. Not allowed on the network.


      You can print to campus printers - like those in Parks Library - using a system called PaperCut. Every student is allotted 1000 print credits at the beginning of the semester to use with PaperCut. If you need more print credits than your semester allotment, you can request more credits in the IT Portal. Print credit usage varies by printer and ink type. Learn more about printing.

      Students can borrow technology equipment for free from the Tech Lending Program managed by University Library. This equipment is helpful for completing media-based class assignments, for student organization purposes and more. Some available equipment includes iPads, DSLR cameras and lenses, microphones, various chargers and adapters, sound systems and more. Visit the Tech Lending website to learn more about available equipment and how to borrow items.

      In addition to the computer stations available in Parks Library, additional computer labs are located across campus for student use. Some computer labs are open for general student use and others are reserved for students within a particular discipline or college. Computer labs are managed by individual colleges and departments, so be sure to contact your college's IT team for more information.

      Here are just a few web pages with more information about select computer labs: 

      Testing centers at Iowa State are computer labs dedicated to facilitating exams for certain classes. These labs are monitored by staff at all times and are only used to take exams. There are four open locations on campus: 2552 Gilman Hall0060 Carver Hall0250 Carver Hall and 139 Durham Center. You can view more information about location and hours in the MyState app. Be sure to check your class syllabi to see if any of your exams will be at the testing centers.

      Check out more information about testing centers, including rules and guidelines.

      Many Iowa State students experience daily barriers to their educational goals. Creating barrier-free access to hardware and software falls under the broad area of digital accessibility. In addition to helping make course materials and websites digitally accessible, there is digital accessibility technology available on campus. The equipment and assistive technologies include screen readers and speech and language software. Learn more about digital accessibility equipment in tech lending.

      Need help? Contact the IT Solution Center.

      Please note that our technicians can only assist students, not family members.