Unity Accounts

Unity accounts provide users with access to the NC State computing network and its many resources.

University Account Resources

Storage Resources

Every individual that holds a University Computing Account is allocated a block of storage space on University provided servers. This storage space is known as the NCSU File System, or NFS.

The NFS space is your primary file space when you are using a UNIX system; it is your home directory on a Linux workstation and may be available as the K: drive on a Windows workstation.

Users have 20 GB of space allocated to them, and OIT has more information about quotas.

Additional Resources

Other resources available to students include:

  • Nightly backup of user storage spaces
  • E-mail services and delivery of personal web pages
  • Wired and wireless Internet access
  • Use of workstation labs with high-speed Internet in the library, residence halls, and academic buildings
  • Use of application software in labs, classrooms, and via remote access
  • Free access to subscription academic resources
  • Networked printing, see http://print.ncsu.edu (you must be on ncsu Wi-Fi, or connect to it via VPN, to use this link)
  • Help desks and e-mail (help@ncsu.edu) for remote access and support services
  • If pre-registered for fall, students have access to all resources over the summer without paying a fee
  • New graduates will also have access to University e-mail, Google Apps suite, and MyPack Portal Self-Service for as long as the university offers these services and the student continues to use these accounts
  • Access to AFS space and other services will remain active for four months after graduation
  • For more information on Student Account Procedures, please visit the Office of Information Technology

Unity ID

NC State computing systems users are issued a unique Unity ID and password to use for access to secure university webpages, lab workstations, and other computer resources. Your unity ID is also used to create a unique email account through the NC State system that the university faculty and staff will use to contact you. This email address will be unityid@ncsu.edu.

The Unity ID consists of eight lowercase characters – determined by the user’s first and middle initials, and the first six characters of the user’s last name. In cases where the Unity ID following this format is already in use, numerals will be placed starting in the 8th spot to create a unique ID. Users must have unique IDs because file storage, e-mail, academic records and personal information are all stored by Unity ID account names. Unity IDs are assigned in the chronological order of entry into the University’s system.


  • A user with the name John Q. Public would have the Unity ID of jqpublic
  • If John Quincy Public and James Quinn Public both require Unity IDs, the first to gain access to the University’s system would be assigned jqpublic, and the second would be assigned jqpubli2.

Other exceptions to the standard eight character format are middle names and short names. If a user does not have a middle name, the middle initial will be skipped, and the remainder of the rule is followed. If the user’s last name is shorter than six characters, the entire last name is used and the Unity ID is allowed to be shorter than eight characters.


  • John Public’s Unity ID would be jpublic
  • John Q. Pub’s Unity ID would be jqpub

Across the University, the Unity ID may be referred to by other names, such as: username, login ID, user ID, etc. For the purposes of this course, it will be referred to properly as the Unity ID.

Users who do not know their Unity IDs should contact help@ncsu.edu or call 919-515-HELP (4357).


The password is a lock on the account, keeping the user’s resources and information secure. To prevent unauthorized access to their files, users must change the initially assigned Unity passwords to one of their own choosing. Password change requests are usually processed every 5 minutes, so new password should be valid almost immediately, but sometimes may take up to one hour.

Users may visit http://sysnews.ncsu.edu/password to change their password. You should copy/paste the URL provided, it is specifically not clickable. Students may visit the sysnews.ncsu.edu site to see current computer issues and adjust other items relating to their account.

The University assigned default password is:

  • The last four digits of your Student ID number
  • The four digits of your birth month and day


Student ID Card

If Ms. Card was born on March 31, and her ID # is 123123123 as given above, then her initial password is 31230331.

Follow the password guidelines below in choosing a password and maintaining account security. For an in-depth discussion of password protection, see C.L.E.A.R. Security at NC State.

Your password must:

  • be at least 8 characters
  • be no more than 100 characters
  • not contain ‘ (for Google logins)
  • not contain your Unity ID
  • not contain your Unity ID backwards
  • contain at least one digit (number)
  • contain at least one letter
  • not contain a word found in the dictionary with three or more letters
  • not have 5 or more consecutive digits (ex.35127) 
  • be more than a simple case change of your old password

It is recommended that your password:

  • have at least one special character (not a number or letter)
  • contain at least one capital letter
  • contain at least one lowercase letter

OIT has more in depth and up-to-date information on passwords.

Please note that it is a violation of NC State policy to share your private account information with ANYONE.  It should also be noted that you will never be asked for account information over email.

Student ID Number

Your Student ID number IS NOT your Unity ID. The Student ID number is a unique nine digit number that is assigned to each user and is another identifier used for record-keeping across the University.

Older Student ID numbers begin with 2 to 3 leading “0’s”, while newer Student ID Numbers begin with a “2”, and some numerical sequence. Your Student ID is used for some courses, not E 115, and when you are registering for courses with your academic advisor. It is important that you understand the difference between these two items.

In the image below, Ms. Card’s Student ID number is 123123123.

Student ID Number on ID Card