Computer Science

Logging On

This page provides a quick step by step walkthrough of getting logged into your CSX account for the first time. Following through with your own information is highly recommended. At the end of the session, you should be able to log into your account from both on and off campus, as well as transfer files and use the handin program. Suggestions for further elements are always welcome.

Setting Your Password

When your CSX account was created, the password was initially set to something long, random, and unknown to anyone. This keeps unused accounts from being a security liability, but of course isn't useful for actually using the account. So you'll need to reset your password before using your account. This same procedure can be used any time, for example if you forget your password.

What you will need:

  • Your short username from the previous step
  • Your O-Key password

In whatever web browser you like (please, no really old versions of Internet Explorer, though!), open the Password Reset page. This, like other web locations mentioned in this page, can be found linked in the sidebar. You should see something that looks like this:

Type the username from the previous step into the input blank and click the Check UID button, which should expand the form to include a new blank and button.

What if my username isn't recognized? If you weren't enrolled in a Computer Science course until very recently, your account may not have been created yet. Try again tomorrow! If a few days passes and it still hasn't been created, contact the technical staff who will be happy to investigate -- use the technical request form for best results.

Next, you'll enter your O-Key password and click the Check Password button. You can actually hit the ENTER key instead of clicking these buttons if you like! Assuming your typed your password correctly, you should now see a grey box with a reminder of what's going to happen after you click the final button. Make sure and read this text, at least the first time you do this. At this point, the page should look similar to this:

When you're ready, go ahead and click the big Reset My CSX Password button and you'll receive a long, but hopefully easy enough to manage for now, randomly set password. (For trivia buffs, it's a modification of an idea from an XKCD comic panel.) Don't worry, if you don't think you'll want to use it in the long term, you can change it once you've logged into a CSX server.

Reset my CSX password and know the new one

Using The VPN

If you're only going to access the servers from the Stillwater campus, you can probably ignore this step entirely. But if you're ever going to connect from somewhere else, you'll need to use the university's Virtual Private Network. A VPN effectively makes your device part of the campus network, and thus able to "see" campus systems and not be blocked by firewalls that otherwise prevent unwanted visitors.

OSU uses the Cisco AnyConnect VPN, and if you go to it will try to download the appropriate software for you after you log in using O-Key. For Windows and Mac devices, this should work, although you may have to use the Manual link it may provide. Other devices (e.g. mobile devices) should have Cisco AnyConnect in their appropriate app stores. There's even a Chrome version that Chromebooks can use! Linux users may wish to install openconnect as it has been proven to work with the campus VPN.

Once you have the software for your device installed, start it and you should get a login screen that asks for a hostname, a username and a password. (Specifics may vary from device type to device type, but these three things will always be what you need.) The hostname will always be regardless of what server or other system you wish to connect to. Think of as the entryway to the campus network -- you have to pass through it first to get to other systems. The username will be your O-Key username and likewise the password will be your O-Key password. Make sure you read this carefully -- your CSX password will not work here! Remember, you're still going through the entryway.

Connecting to the VPN from a Windows 10 machine

Once you've given it the right information, the prompt should go away quietly and you'll be connected to the VPN. You probably won't notice any difference, except that now you can get to campus systems as if you were connected directly to the campus network. As a useful side effect, your communication is also now encrypted, so connecting to the VPN has advantages while on a public network (e.g. coffee shop) even if you don't need to connect to anything on campus!

Installed Cisco AnyConnect (if needed)
Successfully connected to the campus VPN (if needed)

Logging Into A CSX Server

All shell logins (that is, logins where you can enter commands) to CSX must be done using the SSH protocol. At this point the walkthrough has to split into two branches: one for users of Windows, and one for basically everyone else. We'll start with everyone else -- for example users of Macs or Linux:

ssh for non-Windows machines

Most, if not all, non-Windows machines come with an SSH client for the command line, simply called ssh. (Strictly speaking, it's the OpenSSH client.) On a Mac, you will need to open to type commands; for other machines you'll need to find whatever is the appropriate application for a shell prompt. Once you're there, you'll type something like the following:


You should use your own short username as discussed under password resets above, of course, and not literally myusername. Don't worry too much about the hostname -- you'll get more information below. Once you hit enter, you should get a password prompt. Use the CSX password you set above -- not your OKEY password!

ssh for Windows machines

Unfortunately, Windows does not come with an SSH client. We recommend the third-party software
PuTTY, but there are other options; just be aware that if you use something else that the screenshot below won't do you much good and we may not be able to help you with other software. Once you have PuTTY and run it, you'll see a configuration window that may look intimidating. Fear not, there's really only a small part that's important to you for now:

Excerpt from PuTTY config window

As you can see only the hostname is entered here. When you click the Open button (not shown), the server will prompt you for both username and password. As above, remember to use your CSX password, not your OKEY password.

CSX hostnames

CSX actually consists of 10 servers available for user login as of this writing, and they have numbered hostnames. There are no rules on which of these hosts you may use and you are welcome to change your mind each time or settle on a preference (bearing in mind that sometimes one might be down and you'll need to use another; this is rare but happens.) They are roughly identical so it should make no substantial difference. The hosts are named, as you may have now guessed:

Installed PuTTY (if on Windows machine)
Logged into CSX successfully

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