If you don't need much explanation about what, why and where, you can jump directly to the how-to-change-your-password.

A good Password

A password should contain at least 8 characters with a mix of upper and lower case letters, digits, and other characters.
The easiest way to come up with a good password, is to construct a sentence and take the first letter of each word and make sure there are some digits and special characters in it as well as in :

Damned, I hate to change my Password

Changing the to into 2, this gives: D,Ih2cmP

Or you can use a passphrase with at least 3 words, 20 to 256 characters long and containing characters from several character classes (the longer the passphrase, the fewer classes are required ;-)

Our password changing routines use the above and some additional checks to determine whether your new password meets some minimum requirements. These requirements are described in more detail on the password change web page.

Checking your existing Password

If you are not sure what your existing password is, there are a number of ways you can try some alternatives you have in mind:

  • Members of the department of Computer Science:
    • the departmental news letter can be accessed with both your departmental account and your KU Leuven-wide Intranet Account so that is a place to check both of them.
    • the departmental ssh servers can be used to check your departmental password ... you might have to enforce password authentication to refrain ssh from using key authentication:
      • ssh -o PreferredAuthentications=password ssh.cs.kuleuven.be
  • KU Leuven Personnel can use KULoket (or any other KU Leuven web site that is protected with password) to check their KU Leuven-wide Intranet Account even if you are not a member of this department.
  • KU Leuven Students can use Toledo to check their KU Leuven-wide Intranet Account.

Testing a potential new Password

There is a web interface with which you can check whether the password you are thinking about would indeed be accepted as a good/valid password

  • with this web interface you can try and test potential passwords in an easy and fast way.
  • you need to login to that web interface using your current login name and password because the login name is part of the checks the (new) password is submitted to.
  • this web interface is only accessible from within departmental networks or via VPN

The KU Leuven-wide Intranet Account and Password

Besides your departmental account(s) and password(s) that are described on this web page, you most probably also have a KU Leuven-wide account (intranet userid = [msru]-number):

  • What exactly the KU Leuven-wide Intranet account and password is used for, is described on a separate page.
  • You can/must change the password for that account on https://account.kuleuven.be/.
  • The exact quality rules that password has to satisfy most probably differ from the ones described above, but the general idea is the same.
  • This change is effective (almost) immediately.

The Departmental Account(s) and Password(s)

What exactly the LDAP and other departmental account(s) and password(s) are used for, is described on a separate page.

1. Change the password of/for your departmental account:

  • either login to one of the Intranet machines (ssh.cs.kuleuven.be or a home directory server of your research group) using ssh and use the passwd command to change your departmental password.
    • you can use the command line to change your password only with your current/old password ... if you don't know your current/old password, contact helpdesk to get an activation code for the web interface
  • or if you don't like the command line or you don't know your current/old password, you can use this web interface
    • you can use the web interface to change your password with either your current/old password or with an activation code
    • do notice that less special characters can be used via the web interface than via the passwd command ... for this reason we advise to use the command line!
  • the web interface uses the same criteria as the command line version to determine if your new password is good enough ... consult the web interface for a more detailed description of these criteria.
  • this password change is effective immediately.

With both the command line and the web interface you have to give your old password and enter your new password twice.

$ passwd
Enter login(LDAP) password: 

You can now choose the new password or passphrase.

A valid password should be a mix of upper and lower case letters,
digits, and other characters.  You can use a 10 character long
password with characters from at least 3 of these 4 classes, or
an 8 character long password containing characters from all the
classes.  An upper case letter that begins the password and a
digit that ends it do not count towards the number of character
classes used.

A passphrase should be of at least 3 words, 20 to 256 characters
long, and contain enough different characters.

Alternatively, if no one else can see your terminal now, you can
pick this as your password: "during=pace$former".

Enter new password: 
Re-type new password: 

2. Change the password on/for your departmental Samba account:

This of course only applies if you really use Samba / have a Samba account.

  • either login to samba.cs.kuleuven.be using ssh and use the smbpasswd command to change your SMB/Samba password
    • to change your Samba password using the command line, you need your current/old Samba password.
  • or if you don't like the command line or you don't know your current/old Samba password, you can use this web interface.
    • to change your Samba password using the web interface, you need your current departmental login password or an activation code.
  • this password change is effective immediately.

3. Change the password on/for your departmental SCM repository account:

This of course only applies if you really use the departmental SCM repository service / have a departmental SCM repository account.

  • you can use the SCM repository web interface.
    • to change your SCM repository password using the web interface, you need your current SCM repository password.
  • if you don't know your SCM repository password and if you have a departmental LDAP/login account, you can use this web interface.
    • to change your SCM repository password using this web interface, you need your current departmental login password.
  • this password change is effective immediately.

4. Change your password on/for the machine you use for you day-to-day work:

  • if you use a system-group-administered desktop, you don't need to change your password on that system because system-group-administered desktops use the departmental login accounts for which you changed the password in the first step.

  • if you use a system-group-administered laptop, you must/can also change the password of your account on the laptop itself. Accounts on laptops use their own password on the machine itself. You must use the command passwd otherwise you risk loosing access to all your files because they are usually located in an encrypted home directory.

  • if you administer your own machine (desktop or laptop), you can change your password(s) on that machine as well, as described here