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Table of Contents:

Access Account

Your Penn State Access Account user ID and password are the key to a host of Internet services: Help Desks, eLion, the web, Penn State email, University Libraries, ITS computer labs, and much more.

User ID + Password = Access Account

Your user ID (or username) is automatically assigned to you and usually consists of your initials and a one-to-four digit number (such as xyz5000) that follows you through your entire Penn State career. This is the public part of your digital identity, typically viewed by others when you send email or fill out information on the web. Your Penn State email address is, in general, the same as your user ID (

Your Penn State password is the private part of your digital identity. It’s very important that you protect and guard it as if it were your personal bank account information, or your social security number. Never share your password with anyone, including friends or family members, and make sure you’ve made it too difficult for someone to crack.

Remember: Penn State will never ask you for your password!

Better Safe Than Sorry

Change your password and set your security questions as soon as you activate your Access Account:

If you suspect your password has been compromised, visit to report the incident and change your password immediately.

NEVER share your password with anyone! This includes friends, family, significant others, and acquaintances.

DON’T respond to email requests for money or personal information, and be wary of links included in the body of the message. It never hurts to double check over the phone with a live person!

WATCH OUT for email hoaxes, phishing scams, virus attacks, and malware!

Hooking Up

Residence hall students will need some specific items in order to successfully connect to the Internet in their on-campus room. In addition to an Ethernet card, standard on most new machines, you’ll need to invest in an RJ45 Ethernet cable long enough to reach the jack in your room. Follow the Residential Computing (ResCom) instructions for connecting to the internet:

If you will be venturing to live off-campus, inquire if Internet or wireless service is provided. If not, contact the local phone and cable companies for information on DSL or cable Internet options.

To Buy, or Not To Buy

Below you'll find general computer recommendations to assist you during the purchasing process. Download this chart.


Good Better Best
Processor Intel Core i3
Intel Core i5 Intel Core i7
Hard Drive 250GB 250GB-500GB 500GB
Video RAM 256MB 512MB 1GB


Good Better Best
Processor Intel Core i3
Intel Core i5 Intel Core i7
Hard Drive 512GB 500GB 1TB
Media Drive CD-RW/DVD CD-RW/DVD+RW CD-RW/DVD burner
Video RAM 512MB 512MB-1GB 1GB or higher


Good Better Best
RAM 32MB Flash Storage 64MB Flash Storage 64MB Flash Storage
Hard Drive 16GB 32GB 64GB
Resolution 1024x768 1280x800 2048x1536

Before you purchase a new computer, we encourage you to check with your department or college to see if there are specific recommendations you should follow. If you are bringing a used machine, make sure it has the minimum capabilities recommended by Residential Computing (ResCom).

Visit the ResCom website at to find out more.

Have Questions?

Do a Web Search

The IT Knowledge Base is an online database of articles that cover a wide variety of help topics. Visit to do a search for your question.

The IT Service Desk has answers to hundreds of questions on their website. Visit to do a search, get a list of useful links, and to see contact information and hours of operation.

Click! for More

Since technology is always on the go, so are we. We’re also working hard to bring you stories year-round on the Click! Blog. Check it often.

All the technology resources you need to get started are listed in one convenient place—the ITS Student Site.

814-865-HELP (4357)

Available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week (except on official University holidays).

Download This

A variety of utilities, clients, and open source software for Windows, Mac, and UNIX/Linux operating systems are available for you to download for free with your Penn State Access Account user ID:

Cut the Cable

Free wireless connections for those with a Penn State Access Account are available at a growing number of public spaces on campus. You can check your email, log into the library, and cruise the web, all while relaxing with a cup of coffee in your favorite quiet spot. For more information, including what you’ll need to access the Penn State Wireless service, visit:

Penn State’s website is available in an easy-to-read format for your mobile device. You can access information about computer labs, University Libraries, and University news, all from your phone or tablet.

Using IT Every Day

1. Course Management
Your professor may post lessons, give quizzes, and collect assignments through ANGEL, Penn State’s course management system. This web tool helps keep you organized, and also helps you with group assignments, class communication, and keeping track of your grades.

2. There’s Always a Lab Around
Student Computing Labs are available for you to use all over campus. These machines come equipped with many of the software titles required for classes. Find lab locations and check computer availability at:

3. Technology Training
lyndaCampus at Penn State gives you free access to thousands of high-quality video tutorials, day or night, to learn marketable technology skills at your own pace. These tutorials are created by industry experts and cover topics ranging from beginner level to intermediate and beyond.

4. Working in Multiple Locations
Did you know you have access to up to 10GB of file storage called PASS? You can access it anytime, whether you want to temporarily store files, or backup everything you have. For more information, options, and instructions for accessing your PASS, visit:

5. Multimedia Presentations
Many classes are starting to use multimedia projects to replace traditional term papers and tests. The Media Commons is available at many Penn State campuses to help you excel in this new digital world. Take advantage of the free equipment, facilities, and experts that will help you stand out.

Intellectual property laws and guidelines can be very complex and are hotly debated. For information on copyright awareness at Penn State, visit:

What is Click!?

In addition to the Click! Technology Jumpstart, the Click! Newsletter is published each semester to keep you up-to-date with IT at Penn State. For more articles and printable .pdfs of previous issues, visit the Click! Blog.

The Click! Technology Jumpstart is given to incoming Penn State students every year, and contains the resources to get you started with IT at Penn State. The same information is available on this site.

Download Jumpstart .pdf