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New Student Technology Help

New Student Technology Help

The Northwest Technology guide is designed to help new students understand campus technology services and resources.

New Student Overview | Account/Services | NW Laptops | Personal Devices | Help

As a new student, what should I know first about Northwest Technology?


Once you are accepted as a student at Northwest, you will be issued a:

Northwest Network Account

Once you are enrolled in classes at Northwest, you will also be issued a:

  • Northwest Network Account (Username and Password).
    • You manage this account from Northwest's self-service password web portal or your Northwest-issued (NW) laptop.
    • Login credentials for all campus online account services except CatPAWS.
Northwest Technology Policies

Anytime you use your Northwest-issued login credentials or Northwest hardware, software and networks you are agreeing to abide by Northwest's Technology Policies.



              Beware of Phishing      

What Northwest online account services do I have access to?

  • The myNorthwest web portal is a central location for you to access, among other things:
    • Student Announcements.
    • Student Events and Important Dates.
    • Advisement scheduling through Northwest Success 360. 
  • You will use your Northwest Network Account to login to myNorthwest.
  • CatPAWS is a web-based program that allows you to, among other things:
    • Enroll in classes
    • Add/Drop classes
    • View your Northwest Network Account information (username and initial password)
    • View housing assignment
    • View student employment electronic time sheet and tax information
    • View financial assistance
    • View your course schedule and unofficial transcript.
  • You will use your User ID & PIN (also known as Bearcat ID) to login to CatPAWS.
Northwest Email
  • All Northwest students, faculty and staff are issued a Northwest Email account via Microsoft's Office 365. 
    • Account size/storage space is determined by Microsoft and therefore, subject to change.
  • You will use your Northwest Network Account to login to Northwest Email.
Be Aware!

The Northwest Technology Service Center and the University will never ask you to submit your personal information like login credentials in an email!  Even if it looks legitimate, it's a scam!  Watch our Phishing Video to learn how to protect yourself!

Northwest Online
  • Northwest Online (also known as Canvas) allows online access to, among other things:
    • Class syllabuses
    • Class assignments
    • Class exams
    • Class Announcements
  • You will use your Northwest Network Account to login to Northwest Online.
  • All University online services, including CatPAWS, can be accessed from:



              Beware of Phishing      

What do I need to know about my Northwest-issued Laptop?

Note:  FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions

Northwest Laptops
  • All students enrolled in Northwest classes are provided with a University-owned, wireless-ready laptop computer.
    • Campus laptop models may vary between students depending on availability and  enrollment status.
  • When using Northwest equipment, network(s), online accounts and services you are required to abide by Northwest Technology Policies.
Microsoft Logo - Bearcat Green Version
  • Northwest-issued laptops have standardized University-licensed software to set students up for academic success.
    • Microsoft Widows
    • Microsoft Office Professional
Laptop Home
  • The Northwest-issued laptop and its accessories can be picked up and returned to the Northwest Technology Service Center (NTSC), which is located in the Jon T. Rickman Electronic Campus Support Center (ECSC).
  • You must initial the Northwest Laptop Agreement prior to laptop pickup.
    • The laptop agreement is located in Personal Information within CatPAWS.
  • You have your Bearcat ID card with you to pickup your laptop.
  • Ethernet cables are only issued if requested and then only if supplies are available.
Laptop Repairs
  • All repairs of Northwest-issued laptops for normal day wear-and-tear or software failure are free-of-charge.
  • All repairs of Northwest-issued laptops must be done at the Northwest Technology Service Center.
  • You may not remove the exterior casing or upgrade the internal components of your Northwest-issued laptop.
  • Adding hardware (peripherals/dongles) like mass storage devices, docking stations, monitors, etc., are allowed.
Personal File Storage
  • The Northwest Technology Service Center is not responsible for backing up personal files.
  • The NTSC does not provide file storage hardware.
  • The NTSC strongly recommends that you back-up (makes copies) of all important files on your campus-provided laptop (as well as other personally-owned computing devices)
    • Suggestions for back-up storage:
      • Microsoft OneDrive (Office 365) 
        • Personal file storage provided with your Northwest Email Account. Allows you to store personal files such as music, video, graphics/images and other data including Word documents, PowerPoint Presentations and Excel spreadsheets.
      • Legitimate file storage services like and Google Drive.
      • Portable external hard drive.
      • USB Flash drives. Like the 8-gigabyte USB flash drive provided to new students attending SOAR as of summer 2018.

IT USB Flash Drive

Be Aware!

View with suspicion all unknown online services, advertisements or unsolicited emails or phone calls claiming that they can back-up your files for a fee or requesting to put a credit card on file.  Usually it is a scam!

Administrative Privilege
  • You have administrative privilege on your Northwest-issued laptop.
  • You can install personally-purchased software for course work and personal entertainment.
  • You can not change the Northwest-approved operating system (OS).
Northwest Technology Security
  • You should consider insuring your Northwest laptop (along with other personal devices that you bring to campus) in case of major damage or loss due to such things as fire, flood, theft or vandalism.
    • Northwest does not provide laptop insurance or endorse any insurance provider.  


Beware of Phishing

What do I need to know about bringing personal devices to campus?

Personal Computers
  • Personally-purchased desktops, laptops, tablets and e-readers are allowed on both the wired and wireless Northwest networks.
  • Must have an operating system (OS) that is compatible with Northwest's wired and wireless networks
    • Recommended OS:
      • Microsoft Windows
    • Others that work on the Northwest network:
      • Mac iOS
      • Linux
  • Must be wireless and/or wired ready.
  • Must have current anti-virus and operating system updates or you will be in violation of Northwest Technology Policies.
    • Safeguards your personal identity and important data.
    • Safeguards the data and personal identities of other campus network users.
    • Safeguards the stability of the campus wired and wireless networks.
    • Safeguards campus online resources.

By using the Northwest wired or wireless network (even with a personal computer) you are agreeing to abide by Northwest Technology Policies.

Smart Phone
  • Personal smartphones are allowed on Northwest's guest and secure wireless networks.
    • For those with Northwest Network Account login credentials you are encouraged to use the secure wireless network at all times.
  • You can easily set-up your Northwest Email to work successfully on your smartphone either through Settings or with the Outlook app.
  • By using the Northwest secure and guest networks you are agreeing to abide by Northwest Technology Policies.
  • Gaming consoles are allowed only on Northwest's wired network with registration.
    • Examples of gaming consoles:  Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Wii.
  • You can get onto Northwest's wired network with an Ethernet cable via an Ethernet port.
    • Ethernet ports are located in every residence hall room and faculty/staff office.
    • Ethernet port are located in most academic and public buildings such as the Station, Student Union and B.D. Owens Library.
    • Ethernet cables are not provided by Northwest for personal devices.
  • You must register your gaming console with the Northwest Technology Service Center to be able to successfully use Northwest's wired network.
    • Registration requires you to submit your console's wired Mac address.
    • Registration must be renewed each semester.
  • You should set-up and use your gaming console successfully at least one time off-campus on your home network before bringing it to campus.
  • You must register your gaming console on campus not off campus.
Firewall Port Requests
  • Firewall port requests for both recreational and educational computing purposes are granted  or declined depending on security factors.
  • To request a port be opened to allow for game playing or other educational and/or professional activities, you must fill out and submit a port request for review and approval.
  • Smart entertainment devices like TVs and Tivo, as well as, Google TV, Apple TV and Roku are only allowed on the Northwest wired network.
    • Google TV, Apple TV and Roku may not work consistently on the Northwest wired network and will not work successfully on the Northwest wireless network.
    • Alexa, Chromecast and other streaming media devices do not work successfully on either the wired or wireless Northwest networks.
  • Unlike gaming consoles, you are currently not required to register SMART TVs and devices like Tivo with the Northwest Technology Service Center.
Wired Printer
  • Personal printers are allowed but not necessary at Northwest.
    • The vast majority of assignments and exams are submitted electronically and thus, are paperless
  • University networked printers are available most everywhere on campus such as the front desks of each residence hall and in public spaces like B.D. Owens Library and the Station.
      • Printing to a University networked printer does not require payment at time of printing.  In short, there are no up-front costs associated with printing.
      • Users who print to a campus networked printer are auto-billed by their login credentials for the size of their print job.
        • Black and white printing is 10 cents per page.
        • You will typically see your specific printing charges appear on your University bill within 10 business days of printing or by the end of each month.
  • Personal printers are allowed only on the Northwest wired network.
No Wireless Personal Printers
  • Wireless must be disabled and your printer should be connected directly via its printer cables or you will ve in violation of Northwest Technology Policies.
    • You will be in violation of Northwest Technology Policies if you are using your personal printer on Northwest WiFi.
Wired Switch or Hub
  • Wired switches and hubs are allowed on the wired Northwest network.
No Personal Wireless Routers
  • Routers that are not owned and operated by Northwest are not allowed to connect to either the wired or wireless Northwest networks.
    • You will be in violation of Northwest Technology Policies if you use a router in your residence hall with one exception.
      • See DSL Service for the one router rule exception.
Video Cams
  • Web-cams are allowed on the Northwest wired and wireless network.
  • Skype and Duo are allowed and typically work well.
  • Video instant messaging (VIM) is allowed on the campus wired and wireless network.
    • Due to bandwidth issues, speed and stability for video instant messaging is not assured.
    • Northwest may also limit/restrict VIM if it adversely impacts the campus wired and wireless networks.
No NTSC Repair
  • The Northwest Technology Service Center (NTSC) does not maintain, repair or provide software or software licenses for personally-purchased, non-University-provided computing equipment or other communication and entertainment devices.
Northwest Technology Service Center
  • The Northwest Technology Service Center (NTSC) is responsible for maintaining a stable wireless and wired network in all campus buildings (where warranted) and in all residence halls.
  • The NTSC is also responsible for the following in campus buildings where warranted and in all residence halls:
    • Ethernet ports that connect successfully to the Northwest wired network.
    • A working cable outlet and cable television services.
    • A working telephone land line connection (just the outlet in residence halls, not the service).
  • The NTSC will assist with helping you to successfully do the following with your personally-owned computing and communication devices if you have active Northwest Network Account login credentials:
      • Connect to Northwest WiFi
      • Connect to the Northwest wired network
      • Print to a networked printer
NTSC Not Responsible

Northwest is not responsible or liable for the loss or damage to personally-owned devices brought to campus and does not provide insurance for such devices.  If you are interested in obtaining insurance, the NTSC has (as a courtesy) provided a list of known and legitimate vendors who have previously provided Northwest students with personal equipment protection.  See more information on these vendors* on the Northwest Laptops web page.

*Northwest is not affiliated with insurance vendors and does not endorse any insurance vendor or plan.

DSL Service

What is DSL?

DSL (digital subscriber line) allows you to connect to the Internet over a telephone network.

You Don't Need DSL Service at Northwest!

Northwest provides provides Internet and cable TV access so you do not need to purchase DSL service unless you want to engage in activities that are either not allowed or work inconsistently on the Northwest wired network. 

Still interested in DSL?  Here are the details:

  • DSL service can be purchased through the local telephone company.
  • You can only use the  un-used  telephone jack in your Northwest residence hall room as the access port for DSL.
  • You may not use your Ethernet port or your cable TV connection for DSL.
  • Do not connect to the DSL service and the Northwest network simultaneously.
  • Northwest provides only maintenance of the telephone jack and its wiring, not for the DSL service or its equipment.
  • Contract, billing and maintenance is strictly between the DSL service provider and you.
  • The NTSC is only responsible for the repair and maintenance of the telephone jack that allows access to the DSL service.

Router Rule Exception:  Students who have independently purchased DSL from the local telephone company may use a wired router connected to the telephone jack in their residence hall room for DSL service. 





Any Questions?

  • See our technology how-to-guides
    • OR
  • Contact the Northwest Technology Service Call Center for any questions about your Northwest-issued laptop.



              Beware of Phishing