Technology Introduction for Students


The following information is for students who have accepted an offer of admission to UCSF. It provides an introduction to technology and computing at UCSF.

Questions about this introduction? Contact your program’s administration office.

In this document


Technology Requirements for Students

Get technology help

By phone

415-514-4100, available 24x7x365

By web

In person

Kalmanovitz Library, Floor 2, Room 240; available 8 AM to 6 PM, Mon to Fri

Your technology contacts

A large information technology team central to UCSF provides many technology services such as email, wifi, and virtual private network (VPN). This team is called Information Technology (IT), frequently referred to as ITS (because it was formerly known as Information Technology Services). At orientation, your program’s administration office may also tell you what additional resources are available to you.

There are many other providers of technology support at UCSF. The IT team is your first point of contact and will resolve requests, file and track requests on your behalf, or refer you to other teams as needed.

Name issues

My name doesn’t appear in the system the way I want.

Contact your program’s administration office with the details.

The e-mail address I was given isn’t the name I usually go by. Can I change it?

Usually, yes. Contact your program’s administration office with your request.

I’m changing my legal name.

Follow the instructions at Name Change.

How do I know if I have the same name or a similar name as someone else at UCSF?

Visit the UCSF Directory and search on your name. However, this covers only faculty and staff—not students. If a student outside of your program has the same name or a similar name, there is no easy way for you or us to know. The registrar alerts you when someone else has the same name, but not when someone else has a similar name. There are different ways you might encounter this problem. For example:

  • You receive e-mail in your UCSF e-mail account that appears to be legitimate (not spam) but obviously isn’t for you.
  • You hear that others sent you e-mail messages that you never received.
  • A staffperson or administrator is unable to identify you in a system, which prevents you from, say, picking up your UCSF ID or getting into the gym.
  • You’re unable access your courses in the CLE, and you have difficulty resolving this problem.

I learned that I have the same name or a similar name as someone else at UCSF. What do I do?

The University is not yet very adept at resolving issues surrounding these situations. Contact your program’s administration office describing what you know about the problem. We have some strategies to resolve it, but it might take some time. We are working with the registrar to improve this situation, but this effort is not yet complete.

Buying computer stuff

San Francisco doesn’t have a lot of great computer stores, so here are some recommendations on where to buy computer stuff in SF:



Central Computers

837 Howard Street
San Francisco CA 94103

see hours

  • across from Moscone Center West
  • all kinds of hardware and software
  • great for components and hard-to-find items
  • lots of accessories including cables

Apple Store San Francisco

300 Post Street
San Francisco CA 94108

Mon-Sat: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Sun: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Others: Amazon, PriceGrabber, Product Chart, eBay, Costco, Best Buy, Office Depot.

7% discount on AT&T Wireless

As a member of the UCSF community, you’re eligible to receive a 7% discount on your AT&T wireless account due to the University’s business agreement with AT&T. To arrange this discount to be applied, contact AT&T Universal Account Executive Bryndon Burfine (, 650-714-4245).


Logging in

  • Use the credentials provided by the Office of the Registrar to log in to your UCSF e-mail account. If you didn’t receive this or misplaced it, contact the Office of the Registrar.
  • UCSF webmail is available at When checking webmail on a Mac, always use Safari. When checking webmail on Windows, always use Internet Explorer. In other browsers, some things will not work as you expect. You don’t have to change your preferred browser; use these browsers only when using webmail.
  • To configure e-mail applications, see the Tutorials sidebar at Email.
  • If you use Outlook 2016 or Outlook 2013, use the setup instructions for Outlook 2010 which are similar and should work. Having trouble? Get technology help.
  • After successfully logging in to your UCSF e-mail account, we strongly suggest that you also enroll at After you enroll, this website enables you to perform your own password reset in case you are accidentally locked out of your account.


  • Your account has 4 GB of space.
  • We send official communications to your UCSF e-mail account. You’re responsible for checking your e-mail regularly—at least once a day. You’re also responsible for notifying us if your e-mail account is not working properly. If we don’t know about the problem, we can’t fix it!
  • Because the UCSF directory lists names last name, then a comma, then first name, you should use semicolons to separate multiple names.


  • Don’t share your e-mail account or password with others. Similarly, don’t share other people’s e-mail addresses without permission. And don’t share our mailing list e-mail addresses with people who are not affiliated with the School.

  • Don’t use your e-mail account for unlawful activities, commercial purposes, personal financial gain, chain letters, spam (unsolicited marketing), or letter bombs (e-mails with large attachments intended to disrupt e-mail services).

  • Want to forward to Gmail, Yahoo!, or some other account? We forbid this practice. Details: Using an External E-mail Account.

  • Your use of UCSF e-mail and the UCSF computer network is further governed by the University of California Electronic Communications Policy, which we expect you to have read. A summary can be found at Using University Communications Tools; the full policy is at Electronic Communications. Contact us if you have any questions.


Resolving spam problems can sometimes be frustrating due to the complexity of how e-mail is—or isn’t—delivered. Two important points:

  1. This e-mail message is legitimate. It’s a notice from what we call our spam firewall, which is a computer that checks for spam before incoming messages reach your account. It quarantines messages that are likely to be spam. If all the messages in the list are spam, you can delete this message and the spam will be autodeleted in 30 days. If you see legitimate messages in the list, you can deliver them to your inbox and/or whitelist senders. You can control the spam firewall settings. Details: Spam Filter Settings.
  2. At any time, to check what the spam firewall has caught, visit and log in with your UCSF email address and your UCSF email account password. (Note: your login is your UCSF email address, not the SF ID.) A link to this URL also appears when you log in to VPN at; look for the link called Email - SPAM Control.


Mailing lists

Listserv = e-mail mailing list

A “listserv” is simply a fancy way of saying mailing list. The listserv system enables you to send e-mail to multiple recipients using a single e‑mail address. The School uses listservs to simplify the distribution of e-mail messages to large audiences.

Sending e-mail to your class

We maintain a mailing list for each class year. After orientation begins, you’ll receive an e-mail message with instructions on how to send a message to all the students in your entering class from your UCSF e-mail account. Contact your program’s administration office if you did not receive this message.

Listservs are for sharing academic program information and professional information

E-mail listservs are intended to foster communications in support of the academic program and professional activities and the exchange of information for members of the class and campus administrative units. In an effort to keep listservs focused on information relevant to all class members, please avoid sending jokes, chain e-mails, and other personal messages to the listservs.

Messages to listservs with attachments exceeding 4 MB will not send

For details, see LISTSERV email mailing lists.

View the archives

Some listserv archives are available on the web. Details: LISTSERV email mailing list archives.

Listservs are maintained automatically

Your name and e-mail address are automatically added to, removed from, and updated with the appropriate listservs we use to communicate information about your academic program. Typically, no action is required on your part to subscribe or unsubscribe.

Technology security

Protect confidential data

Federal and state laws and University policy indicate that confidential data must be stored, delivered, and removed securely.

You’re responsible for understanding and following these laws and policies. If you fail to keep confidential data private, you might be required to pay fines or serve jail time or be subject to disciplinary action. Details:

Regular email is not secure

Did you know that regular email is not encrypted by default? That means it is susceptible to snooping as it is being delivered. At UCSF, when we need to send confidential info in email, we use Secure Email.

Back up your data

Keeping a regular, automatic backup of your data is also a technology security best practice. As a member of the UCSF community, you’re eligible to use the online backup service called CrashPlan at a significant discount. This service is recommended by UCSF and approved for confidential data. Details: CrashPlan.


Learn how more about how to keep data and devices secure at Technology Security.


One login and one password for many systems

MyAccess is a computer system that manages credentials (logins and passwords). It is part of a set of systems that the campus has implemented to reduce the number of logins and passwords people need. You can use MyAccess to log in to the Collaborative Learning Environment (aka CLE aka Moodle), Virtual Private Network (VPN), the wireless network, and many other systems.

Questions or problems?

Call 415-514-4100.


Why do I have so many logins and passwords?

UCSF has been working so that everyone has a single login and password for as many systems as possible, but this effort is not yet complete.

Where can I see a list of all the different accounts?

See List of Accounts.

I lost or forgot my password! What do I do?

See List of Accounts.

How do I manage all these logins and passwords?

Computer industry professionals use password management software, and you can, too—it’s easy! Here’s how it works:

  • You enter all your logins and passwords into an encrypted password database. No Post-It notes or slips of paper to lose.
  • You need to memorize only one master password to get into the database. Once in, double-clicking a password copies it to the clipboard, and you can paste it into a web browser or application.
  • Your database can be copied to a USB drive and go where you go. If you lose your USB drive, rest easy—the database is encrypted—and you have a copy of it at home.

Details: Password Manager.

How do I choose a good password?

See How to Choose a Password.

If you must write down a login and password…

  • Don’t include the URL or name of the thing to which it grants access.
  • Write them on separate pieces of paper and carry them differently, e.g., one in your pants pocket, the other in your jacket pocket. (If you lose your jacket only half of the credentials are exposed.)
  • Shred as soon as possible.

Wireless on campus

How do I set up wireless?

UCSF has two primary wireless networks: UCSFwpa and UCSFGuest. UCSFwpa is the wireless network you should use nearly all the time. We also have a network called UCSF Transportation FREE WIFI which is available on some Grey shuttles.

  1. See Wireless.
  2. Follow the instructions provided to use the network called UCSFwpa.
  3. Problems connecting? Call 415-514-4100.

If you’re unable to connect to wireless and ITS is unable to resolve the problem, contact your program’s administration office.

Why not use UCSFGuest?

UCSFwpa is faster and secure. UCSFGuest is slower and insecure. (But if UCSFwpa is not working for you, it’s okay to temporarily use UCSFGuest with a secured computer.)

Where will it work?

Wireless works everywhere there is a reasonable expectation that it works. This means classrooms, meeting rooms, cafes. Currently only some Grey shuttles have wireless available.

How fast is it?

Short answer: Wireless connection speeds can range from 3 to 600 Mbit/s. For the long answer, see Wireless.

What about wired connections?

Some rooms and computer labs offer wired connections. Ask the lab manager for details.

Unlawful activities are prohibited

If you use our wired or wireless network for unlawful activities such as illegally downloading copyrighted music or films, you might be required to pay fines or serve jail time or be subject to disciplinary action.

Questions or problems?

We encourage you to report all problems you have with our network. If we don’t know about the problem, we can’t fix it! Call 415-514-4100.

Internet at home

If you’re in campus housing

Wired and wireless network should just work, but in case it doesn’t report the problem to the campus housing office.

If you’re not in campus housing

You’ll need to select an internet service provider as part of our technology requirements for students. For help with this task, see Internet Requirement for Students. To resolve any connection problems unrelated to UCSF software or services, contact your internet service provider.

We require that you use the encryption features of your wireless access point to protect your connection. Without encryption, all the information you send or receive could be intercepted by a malicious person. Or, he or she could use the connection to break into your computer or perform other illegal activities.

How do I secure my home wireless network?

  • This is not always easy. See the user guide for your wireless access point or call the manufacturer or your internet provider for assistance.
  • If your access point and devices support it, we recommend WPA2 encryption with a good password. If you can’t do WPA2, any encryption method is better than none at all.
  • Your wireless access point comes with a default password to access the admin screen. Don’t forget to change it. (Why? Search Google on “default password list.”)


  1. Your UCSF ID card also acts as a cardkey that enables you to unlock doors to rooms available to you.
  2. Replacement cards are $35. Your program’s administrative office does not cover this cost for you. The WeID team is more likely to replace your card for free if you report any failures soon after you first receive it.
  3. After about 6:00 PM the front doors to Medical Sciences are locked and there is no cardkey reader there. To enter the building, use the unmarked entrance between 505 Parnassus and 513 Parnassus. Or, use the Medical Center main entrance.
  4. Quickly report lost or stolen cards to the WeID team so that your card can be deactivated. See Lost or Stolen Cards.

Questions or problems?

Contact your program’s administration office.

VPN and EZproxy

What are VPN and EZproxy?

Virtual Private Network enables you to access UCSF-restricted data when you use your computer with an off-campus Internet connection such as DSL, cable modem, satellite, or a wired or wireless connection from an airport, hotel, or café.

EZproxy is similar to VPN, but specifically for journals, databases, and other information managed by the Library.

Why do I need them?

Some of our resources are restricted to only those affiliated with the University. If you access these resources from a computer on campus, the systems can detect that you’re connecting from within the campus network, and they grant you access. However, if you attempt to connect from any non-campus location, there’s no automatic way for the systems to know that you’re affiliated with the University. To provide that authentication, you must access these UCSF-restricted computer resources using VPN or EZproxy. These resources include:

  • Many databases, online resources, and electronic publications available through the library.

  • Antivirus and encryption software which UCSF makes available to you at no charge.

VPN can also be used to protect your communications when you’re away from UCSF. For example, using free, public wired or wireless networks is typically not secure, and you should never use such networks when working with unencrypted confidential information. Logging in to VPN and enabling its Java Secure Application Manager feature will improve the security of your connection.

File hosting

UCSF has partnered with to provide a file hosting and sharing service to students, faculty, and staff. If you’re familiar with Dropbox, it works similarly. Log in to with your MyAccess credentials to easily store and securely share files. Details: Box.

Do not use Box with legally protected data

As of June 1, 2016, this service is not yet approved for the storage or sharing of legally protected confidential information.

Computer labs

Where to use computers on campus

Several computer labs run by Kalmanovitz Library are shared amongst all students at UCSF.

  • To log in to campus computers, use the same login and password that you use to log in to UCSF e-mail. Your computer domain is campus, and your login begins with sf.
  • To print from campus computers, you must first open a printing account. Your account is debited automatically for each page you print. Opening a printing account is optional, and you can do so at any time.

E-mail address privacy

About the UCSF E-mail Address privacy setting

In the Student Portal, you have the option to change privacy settings for address, phone, and e-mail. We strongly encourage you to keep the Publicly Disclose UCSF E-mail Address setting on the default, which is Yes, but ultimately the choice is yours. When you set the Publicly Disclose UCSF E-mail Address setting to No, your name will no longer appear in what is known as the system’s Global Address List (GAL), and that makes it harder for faculty and staff to reach you because they will need to look up your address on a separately distributed list (probably paper!). If your name is the same as or similar to someone else at UCSF, a message intended for you might then accidentally be sent to the other person. The GAL is an address book for just UCSF—not the world, as its name implies. The GAL is accessible to only those who have a UCSF e-mail account. It is not a public directory.

If you have not changed this setting, we recommend no further action. Otherwise:

Check your setting

  1. Log in to the Student Portal.
  2. Your UCSF email address privacy setting is the first item in the My Profile section:

My Profile

To update the setting, select the Privacy Settings link, then for UCSF E-mail Address change the Publicly Disclose picklist from No to Yes:

Privacy Settings


For discussion and links about tools specific to mobile devices, visit:

  1. Lexi-Comp e-formulary - drug information database on your phone or tablet
  2. Mobile Tools for Medical Students (School of Medicine Medical Education) - apps for iOS and Android, digital textbooks, and setting up email, calendar, VPN, and wifi
  3. Mobile Apps and Resources - lots of links to mobile medical databases, including MICROMEDEX


Technology Requirements for Students


Contact your program’s administration office.