Section 2: Logging in and out of your Unix account

To ensure security and organization on a system with many users, Unix machines employ a system of user accounts. Unix accounts have been created for all students enrolled in CSC classes. This section familiarizes you with logging in and out your own Unix account.

This semester we will be working on two types of Unix machines: one Sun machine named matrix and two Linux machines names felix and helix. You can connect to any of these machines remotely using the secure shell SSH. If you are a Mac user, SSH is already installed on your machine. If you are a Windows machine user, then you'll need to download SSH on your laptop from

Logging in

Logging in to a Unix system requires two pieces of information: a username, and a password. To log into matrix, follow the following sequence of steps.
  1. On any Windows machine within the domain, click on Start, then navigate the menus to locate the Socket Secure Shell Client (SSH) program. Invoke SSH. A window will pop up, which you can activate by hitting Enter (alternately, select Connect from the File menu option on top left). In the host name box, type in
    In the user name box, type in your Unix account name and hit the return key.

    On a Macbook open the "Terminal" app and type the command

    Here username is your Unix account name.

  2. You will be prompted for your password next. When you type your password, the screen will not display what you type. A terminal window running the Unix shell will open on your screen. Any command that you type in at the shell prompt will now run on matrix and the result will be displayed in your terminal window.

  3. If matrix feels slow, connect to felix by typing in
    ssh felix
    You'll need to enter your password again, then the command prompt waiting for Unix commands from you will be displayed.

Logging out

When you're ready to quit, type the command
Before you leave your terminal, make sure that the computer indicates that you have successfully logged out. If you have left any unresolved processes, the Unix system will require you to resolve them before it will let you log out. Some shells will recognize other commands to log you out, like logout.

Your username

Your username is the first letter of your first name followed by up to 7 letters of your last name (all lower case). Your username must be unique on the system where your account exists since it is the means by which you are identified on the system.

Your password

When your account has been created, a password has been assigned. If this is a new account, your password has been set to the letters 'fL' followed by the at character @ followed by the villanova student id number (e.g., fL@12345678). (Remember: the student id number is not your social security number; it is your Banner ID, as displayed in Novasis.)

If you wish to change your password, use the passwd utility. Make sure you are logged into matrix (NOT felix or helix) when you change your password. To change your password, type the command

after you have logged in. The system will ask for your old password, to prevent someone else from sneaking up, and changing your password. Then it will ask for your new password. You will be asked to confirm your new password, to make sure that you didn't mistype. It is very important that you choose a good password, so that someone else cannot guess it.