Photo of computer with lock.

Create Strong Passwords

Why: Creating a strong password that is hard to guess, or "crack," makes it difficult for a malicious program or another person to take control of your computer without your knowledge. Weak passwords offer little protection.

Password Guidelines

  • Do not give your password to anyone.
  • Passwords should be at least 8 characters in length.
  • Use a strong password - one that includes a combination of upper case, lower case, alphanumeric and special characters. See UNCW Security Policy 7.100.02 (PDF)
  • Do not use easy-to-guess words or personal information (such as your name, birthday, driver's license number, etc.)
  • Change your password regularly.
    • UNCW requires you change your domain password every 90 days
  • Don't repeat passwords.
  • Never write down a password.

To change your UNCW domain password before it expires:

  • Office PCs: You may update your domain password by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete on your office PC or laptop and selecting "Change Password" from the available options.
  • Office Macs or from Off Campus: Use Outlook Web Access (OWA). From within OWA, click Options (upper right of screen) then click on Change Password (on left panel). When asked, use UNCW for Domain.

To change your UNCW domain password after it expires:

  1. Go to the UNCW Home Page
  2. Click your current role ("Faculty & Staff" or "Current Students")
  3. Click Change Password

To change the local password on a personally-owned computer:

  • Windows XP: Go to the Start menu, select Settings, and then Control Panel; open Administrative Tools; select Computer Management and then User Accounts.
  • Windows Vista and Windows 7: Click on the Windows button, select Control Panel; open User Accounts.
  • Macintosh OS X: Go to the Apple Menu, select System Prefs, then Accounts.

Remember to change your password on all your devices and special UNCW computer applications.

If you enter the wrong password several times, you may be locked out of your account. If you do experience this, contact the TAC for assistance.