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ECN: Getting Started Guide

About ECN

ECN supports faculty, staff, and students (both undergraduate and graduate) in the College of Engineering, the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, and the office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships (EVPRP). 

This document summarizes obtaining ECN access, storing and preserving your data, your choices for e-mail, our network infrastructure, free and discounted software for home use, and how to contact us when you have questions or problems.

Please note that using ECN resources means that you have read and accepted our Policy on Access and Usage.

Obtaining ECN access

Instructions on obtaining an ECN account can be found here:

In order to obtain an ECN account, there must first be an Purdue Career Account.  Generally, this requires active enrollment in a class or paperwork submitted through the business office to add someone to payroll.  There are special cases, but they usually involve getting approval at a director or department head level.


Email and Password Options

Every person with a Purdue Career Account has the ability to send and receive e-mail with an address.  You may choose what happens to messages sent to your own address. We'll tell you how, below, in "Setting your 'Service' field;" first, here are the options:

Office365: ITaP provides Office 365 mail to students. Undergrads are the primary users of this server, but it is also available to grad students. This option is not available for Faculty or Staff.

Purdue Exchange Server: Most faculty and staff prefer to have a mailbox on ITaP's Microsoft Exchange server for use with Microsoft Outlook, especially when they need a way to share calendars. Please contact ECN for assistance with requesting the account and with configuring Microsoft Outlook. (Exchange mailboxes are not available to undergraduate students except under special circumstances.  If you are staff but do not see this option, please contact ECN

Forward: It is possible to program your incoming messages to be delivered to an off-campus mail server (e.g. Gmail, HotMail, Yahoo, etc.).
Some ECN users may choose to have incoming messages forwarded to their ECN home server, which results in the creation of your ECN mailbox. This option is often used by people not using Windows Operating systems. See "Setting up your e-mail software," below, to learn how to use programs like Thunderbird or Apple Mail for an ECN mailbox. You may also access your ECN mailbox on the web at  Please contact ECN if you have not used your ECN home server for mail and are interested in doing so. We can discuss it and help you configure it.

Reject: If you prefer not to receive any incoming messages sent to your address, your Purdue Career Account can be programmed accordingly;  in fact, "reject" is the default option. At minimum, though, we recommend that you set your career account to forward to an off-campus mailbox that you check regularly. Many Purdue departments send important messages to your address.


Selecting your email option

You can log in at using the username and the password that ITaP has provided, or that ECN can provide to your supervisor or to you in person (with verification of your identity).

Selecting your password and password reset options

Logging into the above page might trigger a request to change your password - if not, and if someone else told you what your password is, then you should change your password at

We recommend creating passwords that are 8 to 15 characters long- sometimes having 16 characters can cause problems. If you click the "Account" breadcrumb above this page, there are other options and information for your account, including setting up password reset questions.

Setting up your e-mail software

Step-by-step instructions for setting up e-mail client programs like Thunderbird, Outlook, and Apple Mail is available. Please see "Setting Up Your E-Mail Program."

On-campus wireless Internet access

ITaP provides and maintains Purdue AirLink (PAL), a wireless network available inside buildings throughout most of the West Lafayette campus. For more information, please see

Connecting to ECN resources from off-campus

You may access most of ECN's services from off-campus.

If a particular service doesn't seem to work, try connecting first to Purdue's Virtual Private Network (VPN), a service provided and maintained by ITaP. For more information, please see

Faculty and staff who have an ECN-maintained Windows PC in their campus offices may use Remote Desktop Connection software to remotely control the Windows-based desktop computer in their offices.

Free anti-virus software, other free downloads, on-campus software discounts for personally-owned computers, and new computer discounts

Purdue has purchased site licenses which allow for free download and installation by faculty, staff, and students even on personally-owned computers. McAfee anti-virus software, SecureCRT (secure shell terminal connections), and SecureFX (secure file transfers) are available at the Purdue Community Hub web site. 

Other software for both Windows and Macintosh, including Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, and EndNote, is available at much lower cost on campus than anywhere else.  Information about discounts available to Purdue faculty, staff, and students for personal use (when you're using your own money) is available at ITaP Shopping webpage.

(For software installations, purchases, and/or new computer information when you're using Purdue's money, please use the Contact Us / Trouble Report page to describe your needs.  ECN will be glad to provide assistance.)

Other Assorted Thoughts In No Particular Order:

Your C:\ drive is locked down: use the Contact Us / Trouble Report page to request software installation.
Save all documents to your ECN (U:\) or your ITaP (W:\) network drives.  Documents saved on these drives are backed up each night. Do NOT store important data on non-backed up space.
Reboot your PC at the end of the day.
If you must reboot your computer in the middle of the day, due to a minor problem with your computer or something else, you want to leave your computer at the "Press Ctrl-Alt-Del to log in" screen for 60 seconds in order for some things to be cleaned out in the background.  If you forget, then you might find that the computer won't log you in and will just bring you back to the log-in screen; if this happens, just wait 60 seconds and try again.
Report ANY automated system messages that you may see, or any Profile copy errors you may see using the Trouble Report page.
Do not store student grades anywhere except Blackboard.
Purdue IT Staff will NEVER ask for your password. If in doubt, check with us FIRST.

Getting help, asking questions, and/or reporting problems

The ECN Knowledge Base is an on-line library of documentation covering ECN-specific systems and other topics of potential interest to faculty, staff, and students throughout the areas we support. It's a great place to start.

To request our assistance, to report a specific problem, or to request installation of specific site licensed software on an ECN-maintained computer, please use the Contact Us / Trouble Report page at Using this form helps to efficiently route your question to the appropriate site specialist and/or ECN group.

Yes, the Contact Us / Trouble Report page is the correct way to contact ECN even when you "just have a question!" We're here as your first point of contact for all computing-related inquiries. We'll be glad to help. This form helps us get background information about your question, and helps us identify questions multiple people are having that might be worth an ECN-wide KB article or an announcement.

Thank you!


Last Modified: Aug 25, 2022 8:33 am GMT-4
Created: Oct 24, 2007 1:27 pm GMT-4 by admin