Computer/IT Orientation

IT manages quite many technical systems and handles a wide variety of equipment, most of which are reserved for faculty & staff use. However, there are a number of areas that IT directly supports the student body. Among these can include assistance in setting up NMSU accounts, accessing university software resources, Wi-Fi connectivity issues, and advice for a range of electronic devices.

It is also in the interest of the IT Department to introduce NMSU students to
Cyber & Data Security practices and procedures. Students and community members should be aware of the perils and risk inherent in the technological age that we live in.

We have included a helpful FAQ on this page addressing various areas of need from the basic to the more advanced. Additionally, while we are limited in the work we may perform on your personal devices, we have done our best to provide you with the knowledge to best care for your personal computer, laptop, tablet, smart phone, or other mobile devices.

*Please note the FAQ is not all-encompassing, nor a suitable replacement for the expertise of an IT professional*

NMSU Account

  • You must create your own NMSU user account and passphrase. This user account will be your NMSU email address (Ex: and will be required whenever you login to NMSU services like Canvas.
  • To begin your NMSU journey: Create Account
  • Your passphrase must be 17 characters long and will automatically expire after 2 years
  • 10 days prior to expiration you will receive an email alerting you to change your password
  • Upon creation, you will have access to computer software such as Office 365, Sophos Anti-Virus & NMSU VPN

Public Wi-Fi Network(s)

Wireless Internet is available throughout the campus for community and student use. We now have two wireless networks available to serve the interests of those on campus.

Please visit the NMSU Wireless Internet page for questions on how to connect to the campus wifi.

  • Aggie Air - NMSU Students will sign-in using their MyNMSU credentials and register their device on our network for Wi-Fi access.
  • Aggie Guest - To the members of our community you too have to access our Wi-Fi services through Aggie Guest, though do note this is in 90 minute intervals

Devices signed onto Aggie Air for the first time will need to be registered by visiting
while connected to the network, this will work without internet, only after registration is complete will internet access become available.

The wireless network Service Set Identifiers (SSIDs) or "network addresses" continue to be displayed on our mounted digital boards around campus.

Computer Lab(s) & Public Use

Computer Access NMSU students Community Member Printing Computer Availability
Cyber Café Yes Yes No 5 Desktops
(Student & Community Use)
Math Lab Yes No Instructor Permission
7 Desktops, 24 Laptops
(Students Only)
Testing Center Yes No Instructor Permission
13 Desktop PCs, 12 Laptops
(Students Only)
Library Yes Yes PaperCut
6 Desktops, 15 Laptops
(Students Only)
5 Desktops
(Community Use)

*Please note that additional machines are available for classroom use*

*For use of any campus computers users must be at least 16 years of age or with parental supervision*


Some classrooms have printers that can be used only when completing classroom assignments. For additional printing services please visit the Business Office situated in the Front Office (Martinez Hall, 1st Floor, Room 006)  for setting up your PaperCut account.

Canvas - Learning Management System (LMS)

Canvas is the name of the Learning Management System (LMS) that you'll be using in all of your online courses and many classroom courses.
See Canvas Support for introductory information on the Canvas Management System and other resources. For further assistance, please contact
NMSU Grants' Canvas Support Representative, Megan Stoneking at (505) 287-6679 or via email.

PC Best Practices & FAQ

If you require a password reset:

Telephone: (505) 287-6666
Hours: 7:00 AM - 5:00 PM (Monday-Friday)
Location: Martinez Hall, 2nd Floor, Room 122

If IT is unreachable, it is after office hours, or you have an account related issue, please contact the ICT Help Desk.

ICT Help Desk

Telephone: (575) 646-1840

IT Support will be unavailable during administrative holidays.

If you would prefer to forward copies of your NMSU emails to your personal account, you can set that up by:

  • Logging into
  • Click on the gear icon for Settings in the upper right
  • Click on Options
  • Click on Forward your e-mail
  • Under Forwarding, add your preferred email account
  • Check the box to Keep a copy of forwarded messages in the Outlook Web App


Keeping your Operating System (OS) up to date is important for receiving the latest:

  • Security patches
  • Bug fixes
  • Feature updates

This will keep your system running safely, fix problems, and even offer new features for you to use.

Note: Windows Users, Microsoft pushes out updates the 2nd Tuesday of every month - "Patch Tuesday"


Like your Operating System (OS), you need to keep all your software up to date including:

  • Plugins (Java, Adobe Flash, etc.)
  • Programs (Microsoft Word, Photoshop, Internet browsers, etc.)
  • Anti-Virus (Sophos, Avast, Norton, Kaspersky, etc.)

Maintaining your software so its always running the latest version can mean everything from being able to play video, performing better, and crucially, keeping you safer from threats.

Note: Most web browsers no longer support Java or Adobe Flash, but some applications on websites still require them


Half of owning a computer is all about maintenance. The better you take care of your computer like you would your car, the better it will perform.

Do the following to help keep your computer fast and efficient:

  • Don't install unnecessary software programs, apps, or toolbars
  • Uninstall programs you don't or rarely use
  • Run built-in tools like disk cleanup periodically to ensure your hard drive is working at its best
  • Don't forget to delete your search history, clear your cookies, and empty your browser cache
  • Turn off your computer once in a while to give it a good rest

Clearing unwanted software from your computer, deleting browser history, running helpful tools, and just turning your computer off once in a while can make a noticeable difference. Like a person, a computer can get slow and have problems if it isn't looked after. It needs to ensure its not bulking up on bloated programs it doesn't require and to rest now and again.


Think of backing up your computer as a form of insurance, it really is that simple. You wouldn't risk going without health insurance, so why would you risk the data you have stored all these years?

  • Physical Storage (External Hard Drive, USB, etc.)
  • Cloud Storage (DropBox, Google Drive, OneDrive)

You have two main ways of backing up your data:

1) If you want the assurance of always having it on your person maybe you will want a physical backup on a USB or Hard Drive.

2) Maybe you feel safer when your data can't be lost from accidental damage and is hosted remotely, so you prefer a cloud save option.

  *No matter which option you choose its better than not having a backup at all*

Computers only live so long either due to age or they get sick with viruses and other nasty infections, so it is only a matter of time until they are gone. Therefore, you are going to want to keep all those precious documents you saved on it.

Your backup can also be used for work and school activities while keeping your personal data safe. NMSU offers 7 GBs of free Cloud Storage to students through Microsoft's OneDrive, just log into your My.NMSU and search for Office 365 to download.

Remember to routinely backup your data at "minimum" once a month. We would recommend at least every 1-2 weeks.

While surfing the web and going about your daily lives, you must exercise caution. Because everyday you are taking a risk, you need to know the kinds of threats out there.


A pretty common and devastating scamming method, it is easy to be fooled, but you have the power to prevent it by knowing these tips and tricks.

Signs of a Phishing Attempt

  • Suspicious emails (Ex: Unnecessarily urgent, unknown sender)
  • Job offers too good to be true
  • Asking for personal information
  • Pushing you to click on links or to download attachments
  • Scare tactics (Ex: The police will come to arrest you unless you do "x")
  • Pleas for aid (Ex: A friend or family member is stranded overseas and needs you to send them money)


Phishing is all about making people do something they wouldn't normally do. Identifying an attempt can be complicated as many can be rather convincing. These tips can help you sort out truth from lie.


  • Carefully scan the email for the sender and any information before opening it, this can oftentimes prevent some nasty malware from getting loose
  • Check the exact email address that sent it (Ex: @nmsu or @gmail)
  • If its someone you know, call to confirm its from them
  • Legitimate organizations won't ask for personal info in an email (Ex: Bank, the police, government, etc.)
  • Scammers may use generic and impersonal language
  • Grammar and spelling are poor
  • Go to an official source and never use one that was linked for you (Ex: Bank or Workplace website)
  • If you suspect its legitimate, (Ex: Email verification) check the url/link before complying
  • Some scammers attempt to impersonate legitimate organizations (Ex: not
  • If you don't know or are still unsure, don't reply or click on anything, it is better to be safe

What to do with a phishing email

1) If its to/from an NMSU email, please report it to and delete it immediately.

2) In all other instances, proceed to delete the email. If you were mistaken, a legitimate source will be able to contact you directly via phone call or physical mailing.

If you have any questions, please visit the IT Department in Room 122 in Martinez Hall, 2nd Floor.

Most people have heard of computer viruses, too few have heard about the category to which viruses belong. Malicious Software otherwise known as Malware comes in a variety of forms all of which you should be consciously aware of for your safety online.

Malware commonly appears in 7 forms (there are more) all seeking to do you harm, these are as follows:

  • Virus - infects, multiplies, spreads, slows
  • Worms - infects, replicates, steals, destroys, can create backdoors into your system
  • Trojans - deceives users and fools PCs so it can install other malware and steal data
  • Adware - pop-up ads, browser hijacking, and more spamming advertisements
  • Spyware - name says it all, designed to steal personal information
  • Randsomware - can lock you out of your computer and hold you ransom
  • Rootkits - possibly the most dangerous malware capable of just about everything on the list can do built into one kit


This information might be more suited for advanced users, but it is important that you realize the severity of damages you could be put at risk of if you don't take cyber security and the privacy of your data seriously.

Consequences of Malware Infections:

  • Identity theft
  • Robbed or tricked into giving up money
  • Unauthorized new accounts and credit cards running up debt
  • A computer (or mobile device) that locks you out
  • A device that will no longer start up properly
  • Loss of precious data (Ex: Work documents, family photos, music, etc.)
  • Incredibly sluggish and virtually unusable computer
  • Constant annoyance of pop-ups (Ex: porn pop-ups)
  • Inability to web browse due to browser hijacking redirecting you to an advertiser's website
  • Having your computer hacked placing family and friends at risk
  • Compromised email, work, and bank accounts
  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can deny you service (Ex: Severe infection)
  • Risk of job loss (Ex: Loss of patient records in the medical profession)
  • You could run afoul of the law or government policy
  • Strained or damaged reputation and relationships


These are just some of the serious real-life repercussions you could face from malware infections. Don't be fooled, take action now to stop malware. NMSU provides students with resources to ensure their personal information remains secure and your machines free of malware.

*Never comply with the request of a malicious actor, most will not honor their word, and why should you believe them after they launched an attack against you!?*

Sufficiently informed on the digital threats out there, now you can combat them. Just as there are many tools for infection there are many tools and habits you can get into to secure your device from nefarious actors. Every category below is an important security barrier against malware.

Password Strength & Security

  • Create strong passwords (Ex: Special characters, Numbers, 17+ characters)
  • Set a unique password for your computer and every account & device you use
  • Periodically change the passwords on your accounts
  • Place a passcode, password, or other layers of security on your mobile devices
  • Immediately change your passwords if you have had an account hacked


Strong unique passwords on every account and device prevents a malicious actor from compromising every one of them if a single one is breached. Ultimately, this helps limit their ability for theft.

Anti-Virus & Anti-Malware

  • Ensure an Anti-Virus is installed at all times
  • Make sure your mobile device has an Anti-Virus installed
  • Consider supplementing an Anti-Virus with an Anti-Malware program
  • Run anti-virus/anti-malware scans regularly (Recommended: Once a week)
  • Keep your Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware always up to date



Anti-Virus & Anti-Malware programs are designed both to serve as a preventative measure and a tool to combat and remove infections they discover. They are not infallible, however, so use good judgement and practices to prevent the spread of malware. This is all the reason you should need to run your anti-virus often and always keep it up to date. New security threats are showing up everyday, so your countermeasures must be ready and in place.

PC & Browser Settings

  • Make sure your PC's firewall is turned on
  • Have your browser running with a pop-up blocker turned on
  • Set your computer and Internet browser to ask for permission before downloading files from the Internet
  • Make sure automatic updates is enabled
  • Disable the sharing feature on Peer-to-Peer sharing applications



Your PC and browser often come with some useful settings enabled by default, but while they are convenient they can be exploited. It is safer to turn off automatic downloads, sharing applications, and verify built-in security measures are activated. Automatic system updates, however, should always be turned on in case you forget to update, security patches can fix security holes that might otherwise be open to attack.

  Tips & Best Practices

  • Avoid opening suspicious looking emails (See Beware Phishing)
  • Avoid websites that look suspicious or deceptive
  • Empty your history, cookies, and cache (See Keep your Computer running Efficiently)
  • Do not click on pop-ups, advertisements, or suspicious objects
  • Be selective with the programs you install and their source
  • Be careful about which devices you plug into your computer (i.e, USBs)
  • Be sure to lock your computer if you have to step away from your desk, on Windows machines the shortcut is (Windows Key) "Wk + L"
  • Backup your data (Recommended: Every 1-2 weeks)
  • Get into the habit of saving your work every 30 minutes
  • For work that you absolutely cannot risk losing, you may wish to invest in a device called an "Uninterruptible Power Supply" (UPS)
  • Consider installing the NMSU VPN (Virtual Private Network) for secure access of NMSU data off campus


With a little bit of common sense, everyday PC maintenance can actually help prevent you from being a victim of a cyber crime. Malware can hide in your browser's cookies, so it is always good to flush them out. Avoid websites that appear sketchy, as they generally are, and trust your instincts. Avoid clicking on advertisements which are often laden with viruses, and never install a program or application you aren't 100% sure what it is or what it does. It is also important to save frequently, so that you don't lose hours of work in the case of unforeseen circumstances (Ex: power outage). Another option is to purchase a UPS unit which will supply your computer with battery power for a limited time, enough time for you to quickly save and backup your data.

Additionally, USBs as handy tools as they are, can also spread malware infections from one device to another. To finish things up, lock your computer to avoid someone accessing data they are not authorized to see even if you are only away for 5 minutes.

Every one of these points of failure is precisely why we please ask you to backup your data since you might never be able to recover it even if the malware is removed, the damage could already be done and irreversible. For more Cyber Security information please see or visit IT in Room 122, Martinez Hall, 2nd Floor