Nexus Accounts and Data Access

Authenticating to NEXUS Domain

Many on-campus computers require authentication to the NEXUS Windows domain. Most on-campus computers and systems just require users' user IDs (trucated to 8-characters) and passwords as set in WatIAM, the campus ID management system. An example of the form of the user ID is "aperson", for on-campus computers where Nexus domain log-in is indicated on the log-in panel.

When on-campus computers and services are accessed remotely, or from computers not managed in NEXUS domain, authentication to NEXUS domain must be done explicitly, by specifying the user ID in one of these two equivalent forms: e.g., or nexus\aperson. The WatIAM/NEXUS password is used.

Many UW services now in the cloud also provide "single sign-on" (SSO) authentication, passing authentication back to UW campus and the NEXUS domain. For cloud services, including Microsoft 365, Eduroam wireless network, Overleaf, Mathworks, and many others, user IDs are specified as, e.g., along with the WatIAM/NEXUS password.

Two-Factor Authentication

To protect passwords and identities, everyone at UW must enroll in the DUO Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) system. Many campus systems, both local and in the cloud, now require 2FA, and more are being added over time. The simplest way to manage 2FA is through the DUO app on your smartphone. It is wise to configure more than one 2FA method so that you have a backup.

Campus Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Except for web-based services, remote access to most on-campus services requires a VPN connection through the Cisco AnyConnect client software on your computer or mobile device. The VPN provides a secure network connection to the campus and makes your computer appear to be on the campus network. Connecting to the campus VPN requires a 2FA challenge. Examples of when the VPN is required:

  • Using Remote Desktop to connect to on-campus Windows workstation.
  • Connecting to on-campus network storage
  • Downloading software purchased from the UW Webstore

A VPN connection is not required for:

  • Access to any cloud services, such as Microsoft 365, Workday, Overleaf, etc.

Information regarding NEXUS credentials, user ID and account creation, forgotten passwordsNEXUS file server (N drive), NEXUS profile server, remote file access, personal web pages, and profile resetting can be found below.

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User ID / account creation

New students and employees should just be able to log in to Nexus PC workstations using their WatIAM user ID and password (same as used for the Quest student information system). If you need to change your password, log in to WatIAM and do it there.

Nexus accounts are created automatically when your information is entered into the WatIAM identity management system. This process is controlled by the Registrar's Office, Grad Studies Office, Human Resources, etc. Once you are able to log in to the WatIAM web page, you should also be able to log in to a PC in the Nexus domain.

Email accounts are provided to all faculty, staff, and students in the Microsoft 365 (M365) cloud. M365 provides access to the Office suite, Teams, and a lot of other software that can be used from a web browser at, or downloaded from there.

Some unpaid visiting scholars will need guest accounts to be created manually. Please see your own academic department's computer technician to get your account.

Forgotten passwords

Your Nexus password can be changed at the WatIAM site. Otherwise, contact IST support.

Nexus file server (ecfile1)

In Engineering, your personal data files are stored on a faculty file server called ecfile1, which is mounted as drive N on your Nexus account. There is a disk quota (currently 10 GB per user) on ecfile1. If you reach this quota limit you will be prevented from writing to the N drive, resulting in possible data loss. Please do not store files on the computer desktop. These will end up in your profile space (see below), not on your N drive. Files stored on the desktop may be lost, if the log-off process is interrupted for some reason and are not stored in a safe place until you log off. It is much better to store your files directly on your N drive.

Note that your M365 cloud account provides 5 TB of personal storage on your OneDrive.

File recovery

Files stored on ecfile1, the faculty file server(N:), are backed up daily, but backups are not user-accessible. If you need files restored from scheduled backups, please inquire at the IT Service Desk.

Remote file access to

On campus, or remotely through a VPN connection, it is possible to map your Nexus N drive space on ecfile1 via the followin network location: \\\your_userID. On a Mac or Linux computer, use forward slashes instead of backslashes. Authenticate as nexus\your_userID if your computer is not joined to the Nexus domain.

If you need to transfer multiple files, you can do so by connecting to using a ''secure file transfer'' application such as PuTTY or FileZilla (freeware applications).

Nexus profile server (

What is my Nexus profile?

Your Nexus profile is where your Nexus desktop and other Nexus customizations are stored. It is stored on a separate server from your home directory (N drive), with a separate (smaller) disk quota of 110 MB. Your data files should not be stored on the desktop. There may not be enough space to properly store data files. If the log-out process should have an error, you will lose your files, since they will not be permanently stored on our server. They will remain on the C drive of the workstation you were last on, but only until the nightly clean-up process runs to clean private files from the workstation.

Why is my Nexus profile over quota?

Some application programs store information in the profile. There may be cases where some users need additional profile space. However, in most cases, it is caused when users store files on their Desktop. This causes poor login performance because the entire profile is copied to the local hard disk upon every login. Also, any files stored on the desktop are vulnerable to permanent loss until you've logged off successfully.

If you have stored files on your Desktop, remove them and store them on your home directory. To access your profile from Nexus, map a drive letter to the following network path:


Move the files from the Desktop folder to a folder on your N drive. You must also remove them from the desktop on your workstation by deleting them, or they will be stored in your profile again.

Personal Web Pages

The www.eng server provides general-purpose web space for students, clubs and course web pages. You get a home page on the web on Engineering's Web server,, when you create your Waterloo Nexus account. Just place your Web pages in N:\public_html\ folder on your N drive. If the public_html folder does not exist in the root of your N drive, create one with that exact name. To see how to access your N drive from non-Nexus machines, see remote file access above. Your publicly accessible Web address (URL) is: 

Editing Web Pages: To edit your web pages you can use the NVU HTML editor (or any of the word processors) to edit your default Web page. Your default home page must be called index.html or index.php. Access to subdirectories of public_html is permitted by default (for example

Setting Up Scripts: You can run Common Gateway Interface (CGI) scripts on your Web account. These may be written in Perl or any other language. Place your script in a directory called "cgi-bin". Make sure your script works by running it by itself (on, and make sure it has public read and execute permissions. From your Web page access your script with the following URL: This makes the script run as your user ID. PHP is also available on www.eng for server-side scripting purposes.

Reset your profile

Your Waterloo Nexus account stores user modifications to Windows on a special profile server (ecfile2). Most account problems occur when the user profile becomes corrupted, perhaps because you've run out of your allotted space on the server. If you need assistance, please go to the Engineering Computing Help Desk (E7-2466) to have your account fixed.

If you are having trouble logging in to your Nexus account, you can try resetting your Nexus profile by going to the Nexus profile reset page. Do not use this reset script while logged in to a Nexus workstation. After the profile reset, log in to a workstation that you have not logged into that day. If the problem remains, please go to the Engineering Computing Help Desk (E7-2466) to have your account fixed.