Account names

Account Names at CSE

The acceptable username policy is our official definition of acceptable account names at CSE.

This page is a less formal explanation of the policy, and covers some of the practical effects of account name changes.

Can I change my username?

Generally: no, unless you are CSE staff.

Your CSE username is your zID, and your CSE email address is your

Although your username can't be changed, System Support can setup an account alias to give you a more human-friendly CSE email address.

The policy document listed above explains whether you qualify for an alias.


Starting in 2016 it should be easy for students to find their tutor's UNSW Email address in WebCMS3. Therefore we encourage most tutors to use their UNSW public email address for interaction with their students.

If you are a tutor and you think you still need a named CSE account, please ask your teaching supervisor to request one on your behalf.


A named-account means a chosen account name (generally without any numbers in the name). Staff and Visiting academics are eligible for a "named" CSE account. The policy on allowed account names is available at the Acceptable Username Policy. Please read it before asking for a name. We recommend a username that is "initial of first name, plus full surname", or "full first name, plus initial of surname". For your convenience, there is a script which generates valid account names, run: /usr/local/lib/ -u $USER If you are given a named-account your zID will stay as the primary account name. The extra username will be added as an alias. This alias will work as a CSE email address (, home path (/home/alias/) and URL ( Your can login to CSE computers with the alias as the login name, however this might cause problems accessing UNSW services that use your zID.

When a primary account name is changed

Changing a the primary account name also changes the account home directory name. Some files inside the account are also changed so they refer to the new home directory path. If someone is logged in or reading email when the account is moved it can have several inconvenient side effects. Most of these won't involve serious file corruption but will cause programs to give odd errors or data to disappear until the next login. You may also lose your most recent mail items. We recommend that an account owner be logged out during an account name change. When you have selected a new account name and a time to change to it, email that information to System Support and they will make the change. When your account name is changed, your old account name is usually retained as an alias. Thus, mail delivered to the old address will be automatically forwarded to the new one. Similarly, the path /home/oldusername will continue to work, as will relevant web URLs (you should try to change the links to them over time though). If you had any mail aliases based on your old username (e.g. oldname.something), you will not be able to edit this with a normal mlalias command. To access the old aliases, you must also give the -u old_username argument to mlalias. For example, to delete an old alias called "": mlalias -u fblg123 -R
Last edited by mgao 05/07/2017

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account, username