New Students


Note: This page has content for the above groups.

Computing Orientation

See also the Nine Things to Know handout!

General instructions

You may complete the steps of this orientation at any time. During orientation, there will be introductory sessions available for assistance. At other times, contact the help desk for aid.

Informational items are marked by ! Tasks are marked by . Optional tasks are marked by .

Before you begin

  • You must have your NetID and have set a permanent password in order to follow all the steps. We strongly recommend setting your Challenge/Response questions at the same time.
  • If you are completing the orientation on campus, you must register your laptop on the network before you can continue. Do not use the VISITOR network, because it imposes a number of limitations on what you can do. On campus, start a Web browser to go to and complete the simple registration.
  • If you are on campus and need to set your permanent password, feel free to use the Visitor network to set the password, then move to the Duke network.

! Security Info

You should be conscious of the following security concerns:
  • Never leave your valuable devices unattended. Theft can and does occur, and easy targets invite more risk for everyone.
  • You must have current and updated anti-virus software. You will have an opportunity to download such software in this process.
  • Be sure that your laptop is set to receive updates to its installed software. On Windows this can be controlled through the Windows Update control panel.
  • You should always have a password on your computer. Again, we will provide instructions to do so.
  • Do not download or share illegal content such as pirated music, video, etc. Be wary of "peer-to-peer" sharing software since it can be a security risk for your computer and a monetary risk for you.
  • Back up your valuable data! Duke makes network storage available, and there are many other ways to create back-ups. Save copies and drafts frequently. Bytes are cheap - your labor is not!

Set a Password on Your Computer

  • Follow the instructions for Windows laptops. Mac users should already have passwords set.
  • Advanced user security tip: In addition to using a strong password, we recommend creating an administrative account for use with installing software and changing configurations, and then making your everyday account user-level.

Install antivirus software

Windows users: Your Windows computer may already have an antivirus program. The two best known virus protection programs are Symantec's Norton Endpoint Protection, and McAfee Antivirus. If you have either one of these programs on your computer and it is up-to-date, you do not need to do anything else here.

Windows users should check the icons in the system tray, at the bottom right of your computer. If you have an antivirus program, there should be an icon for its real-time protection function. It should warn you if the virus definitions or anti-virus engine are out-of-date (through a pop-up when you roll over it, or through a symbol on its icons). Alternatively, you can select Start | All Programs and look for a listing such as Norton, Kaspersky, or McAfee.

Mac users: Look on the dock, and if you do not see an icon there, open up the applications folder on your hard drive and look. Although there are relatively few Mac viruses, all Mac users should have an up-to-date anti-virus application.

If you need to install antivirus software, click here to go to OIT's software download site: Windows Antivirus | Mac antivirus.

Install printing software for student printers

Access your network storage

You have 5 Gigabytes of network storage available to you from the university. Please use this storage to keep your important documents and work files safe! Click here for instructions about how to connect to your storage. Look for the textbox titled "Connecting to your home directory." You may alternatively use a back-up service, as we describe below. Never have just one copy of your personal data files! - Always create copies and have at least one available in a commercially maintained service such as Duke's network storage, a back-up service or a service such as Dropbox.

Check your email account

All new students have ONE emailbox (and several email addresses that deliver to the one box). Your email account is on Microsoft's Office 365 Exchange service (NOT Duke Exchange or Webmail). You can access your email via: Outlook software on Mac or Windows (see the option to install Microsoft Office below); Outlook Web App (OWA) through any browser; any email client capable of IMAP; and Exchange settings on most mobile devices. Check your email through OWA now. You can find information about configuring your email client or mobile device for Exchange here.

Verify your LAWnet address and your Duke email alias

You should verify your LAWnet address, because it is your primary address while you are at Duke. You can change the address if you wish. It will be used in the central directory and enterprise applications such as Sakai and Exchange. Once on campus (or when using the Duke VPN), go to the LAWnet site. In addition to LAWnet, Duke provides you with a netid-based address ([netid] and one or two Duke email aliases. You can verify your Duke alias (and make any desired changes) by going to OIT's self-service site. You can also find more detailed information at the OIT email alias FAQ page.

Check your other directory information in ACES

If you have not already done so, update your university directory information on ACES. Be sure to enter your current postal mailing address.

Log into Sakai

If you have been registered for classes, you should be able to log into Sakai; however, don't worry if you can't yet because your course sites may not yet be available. Go here to log into Sakai.

A few other recommended (but optional) steps

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