All FAQ Content

This version of the HarvardKey FAQ is suitable for printing or using with a screen reader. For an interactive version sortable by category, click here.

Why is my HUID/password (PIN) login expiring?

The HUID/password (formerly known as PIN) login type no longer meets current Harvard IT security standards and will be retired over the spring of 2016. HUID/password users who have not yet claimed a HarvardKey are encouraged to do so as soon as possible, and will also be reminded by email in advance of their HUID/password credential expiring. Once your HUID/password credential expires, you will no longer be able to access many of your Harvard services until you claim your HarvardKey. Learn more about this here.

What if my HUID/password (PIN) login expires before I claim my HarvardKey?

You can always claim your HarvardKey, even after your HUID/password (formerly known as PIN) credential expires. However, once your HUID/password credential expires, you will no longer be able to access many of your Harvard services until you claim your HarvardKey. Learn more about this here. If you need any help claiming your HarvardKey, contact the IT Service Desk at ithelp@harvard.edu or 617-495-7777.

What additional steps can I take to improve account security?

Check out the Harvard Information Security guide to security awareness to learn more how you can keep yourself and Harvard more secure — and consider taking these two steps right away to make a big difference.

  • Use HarvardKey's two-step verification feature to set up your phone or device as way to verify your identity — making it harder for anyone but you to log in to your account. Learn how to set up two-step verification here.
  • Use a password manager — software that generates and stores passwords for you — so you can use different complex passwords for each of your accounts without having to remember them all. As a Harvard affiliate, you can get a free premium account for the LastPass password manager; visit http://security.harvard.edu/lastpass to learn more and download. (When using a password manager with HarvardKey, please remember that some members of the Harvard Community will have to type in their HarvardKey to log in to their computer, so randomly generated passwords may not be the best choice.) You can also learn more about best practices for passwords at http://security.harvard.edu/use-strong-passwords.

Why do I need to log in to access some Harvard resources?

Many online resources within the Harvard Community require verification of your identity before granting you access. By supplying a login name and matching password, you can verify, or authenticate, your identity. In order to reduce the number of credentials that you need to remember, HarvardKey acts as a unifying credential verifying your identity across Harvard without the need for multiple ID/password pairs.

Who is eligible for access to protected Harvard resources?

A variety of individuals associated with the Harvard Community can gain access to protected Harvard online resources, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Faculty
  • Staff
  • Students and Program Participants
  • Alumni
  • Library Borrowers
  • Individuals with sponsored affiliations (this broad category can include consultants/contractors, collaborators and inter-school affiliates, volunteers, tenants, non-Harvard academic advisors, overseers, and others)

The degree of access granted to an individual HarvardKey holder depends on the nature of his or her Harvard affiliation, and may vary according to specific requirements from Schools, departments, institutions, or other groups.

What is HarvardKey?

HarvardKey is Harvard University’s unified credential for accessing a wealth of University applications and services with a single, convenient login name and password. In addition to enabling access to the Harvard applications and services you use every day, HarvardKey also offers an easy-to-use self-service portal for managing your account, including changing your password and updating your recovery information in case you forget your login details. HarvardKey also provides optional two-step verification to keep you even more secure.

As of December 3, 2015, users in FAS, Central Admin, GSE, GSD, HDS, HLS, HMS, HSDM, HSPH, and SEAS are eligible to claim and use a HarvardKey.

For Harvard Alumni, HarvardKey replaces your old alumni.harvard login name and password (as of September 22, 2015) for access to a variety of online features to help you connect with the Harvard community.

If you haven't yet claimed a HarvardKey, you can continue to log in at all HarvardKey login screens using your usual credentials simply by clicking the appropriate tab at the top of the screen.

HarvardKey was released in September 2015 and supersedes the PIN System previously used at the University.

How do I get my HarvardKey?

Over the autumn and winter of 2015-16, full HarvardKey functionality will be rolled out to users across the University Community. Visit the HarvardKey news page to see the latest updates to the rollout schedule.

As of December 3, 2015, users in FAS, Central Admin, GSE, GSD, HDS, HLS, HMS, HSPH, and SEAS are eligible to claim and use a HarvardKey.

For Harvard Alumni, HarvardKey replaces your old alumni.harvard login name and password (as of September 22, 2015) for access to a variety of online features to help you connect with the Harvard community.

In the meantime, users who haven't yet claimed a HarvardKey can continue to log in at all HarvardKey login screens using their usual credentials simply by clicking the appropriate tab at the top of the screen.

Are there guides to help walk me through claiming my HarvardKey?

Yes! Choose the user type that best describes you in the boxes below.

To what address was my HarvardKey claim confirmation code sent?

For Alumni, this is your preferred email address on record with the Harvard Alumni Association. For other Harvard users, this is the email address Harvard has on file for you.

For all users receiving an email with a HarvardKey claim confirmation code, look for a message from Harvard Identity & Access Management. It will have a subject line of Time-Sensitive: Complete Your HarvardKey Account Registration.

What does HarvardKey get me in to?

You may use your HarvardKey for most applications and services at Harvard — including anywhere that you see the "gate" login screen — but some apps and services use other login types. You can see a list of what login type you should use for frequently used applications and services, itemized by School or unit, here.

Why are the other login types available on the HarvardKey login screen?

As Harvard University’s primary login credential, HarvardKey grants you access to the applications and services you use every day with a single login name and password. As more and more applications and services in the Harvard ecosystem adopt HarvardKey access, your HarvardKey will grant you access to a growing number of resources. However, you will sometimes see the option to log in using other types of credentials too. If you have a different Harvard credential type – eCommons or XID, for example - you can use those to log in to resources that offer those options.

Users who haven't yet claimed a HarvardKey can continue to log in at all HarvardKey login screens using their usual credentials simply by clicking the appropriate tab at the top of the screen.

I have another login type from Harvard (like a HUID, eCommons ID, or XID). Are these going away?

If you have an eCommons ID or XID, you can still use those credentials at the HarvardKey login screen to access the apps and services you’ve used them for in the past. Simply select the tab at the top of the HarvardKey login screen corresponding to the type of login you’d like to use. However, after you've claimed your HarvardKey, it's quick and convenient to use your HarvardKey to get into those resources — and it doesn’t mean the extra click to get to the tab!

The HUID/password (formerly PIN) login type will be retired during the spring of 2016. If you currently use your HUID and its associated password, you should claim your HarvardKey as soon as possible to avoid any disruption to your ability to access Harvard applications and services. Users will be informed on a rolling basis via email when their HUID/password credentials are set to expire.

I have a HUID, but after I claimed my HarvardKey, my HUID password doesn’t work. Why?

As part of Harvard’s “one identity for life” paradigm, your HarvardKey password automatically replaces your HUID password so you don’t have to remember extra credentials. While your HarvardKey login name and password will get you access to all the applications and resources as your HUID, if you ever need to log in to an app or service using your HUID as the login name, simply use the password associated with your HarvardKey.

If you're ever confused about which login type gets you into which application at Harvard, you may want to check this itemized list of applications' login types, organized by School. And if you ever need help, don't hesitate to contact ithelp@harvard.edu or 617.495.7777.)

I tried to log in several times, but failed and am now locked out. Now what?

Harvard's authentication system will allow you to try again in two hours. However, if you enter an incorrect password again, you will be locked out for another two hours. Depending on circumstances, it may be faster and easier for you to request a new password; follow these links to request a new password for HarvardKey users and for users who log in using HUID.

If you find that you're getting locked out frequently, it may be because you're not sure about which login type gets you into which application, and therefore entering a password for the wrong login type. You may want to check this itemized list of applications' login types, organized by School.

I forgot my login name or password and asked to have it sent to me, but never received an email.

If you request this information via the HarvardKey account management page, it is sent to the primary (and alternate, if you added one) recovery email address that you specified in your HarvardKey preferences. If you added two recovery addresses, be sure to check both addresses for this email. If you are no longer able to check your recovery email address(es), contact the HUIT Service Desk at 617.495.7777 or ithelp@harvard.edu.

What is a login name?

Your login name is the email address that you use (in conjunction with your password) to log in to HarvardKey. For most Harvard faculty, staff, and students, your login name will be your official Harvard email address. Harvard Alumni may choose a login name when claiming a HarvardKey.

Can I change my login name?

You can change your login name by calling the HUIT Service Desk at 617.495.7777 or emailing ithelp@harvard.edu. Please note that if your login name is your official Harvard email, changes can only be made when they correspond to an official change of your name or School affiliation. (Changes to login names that are not official Harvard email addresses — i.e. for Alumni — do not have this requirement, but will still require you to contact the HUIT Service Desk.)

I received a notification that my login name is being changed. Why?

Under some rare circumstances, your login name may change to match a changing role for you at the University. Situations in which this may take place include Alumni who transition to become Harvard employees, an official name (and therefore email) being changed due to marriage or divorce, or individuals who transfer from official emails on Harvard subdomains to email addresses at harvard.edu.

What is two-step verification? Why should I use it?

Two-step verification adds a second layer of security to your HarvardKey account by augmenting something you know — your HarvardKey password — with something you have: your smartphone, mobile device, cell phone, or landline. Using your phone or device as a "second factor" to verify your identity (by responding to a push notification or using a code sent to you by text or voice call) makes it harder for anyone but you to log in as you, even if they know your HarvardKey password.

When you set up and activate two-step verification for your HarvardKey account, you'll be prompted to verify your identity using your phone or device when you log in to HarvardKey-protected applications and services. This can take the form of a push notification sent to your smartphone or tablet (for which you'll need to install the Duo Mobile app), a code sent to your mobile phone via SMS text message, or even a voice call on your landline containing the code — or a combination of these if you'd like to enroll more than one device or phone.

Why should you use two-step verification to protect your HarvardKey account?
Passwords alone aren't always the best means for keeping your account safe. While using a strong password provides a significant measure of security, it doesn't protect against every type of attack. Two-step verification adds an additional layer of security to your HarvardKey login, keeping your account secure even if your password is compromised. And if you use the Duo Mobile app on your smartphone or tablet, you'll even be alerted by the app if someone is trying to log in as you.

You can set up and activate two-step verification by logging into the HarvardKey self-service portal and selecting Set Up Two-step Verification in the Manage Your HarvardKey Account section. For a step-by-step guide to setting up two-step verification, click here — and if you need any help along the way, please contact the HUIT Service Desk at ithelp@harvard.edu or 617-495-7777.

 

How do I set up two-step verification?

It's easy to set up two-step verification and add an extra layer of security to your HarvardKey account — all you need to do is register your phone, install the Duo Mobile app on your smartphone or tablet (if you have one), and activate two-step verification for your account. Please note: the Duo license does not include Harvard Alumni at this time.

These instructions depict installation of the Duo Mobile app for iOS, but the installation process for other mobile operating systems is very similar. If you're planning to use SMS or a phone call as your second factor for verification, follow the instructions below and choose the "landline" or "cell phone" options as appropriate. If you have any problems or need extra help, please contact the HUIT Service Desk at ithelp@harvard.edu or 617-495-7777.

Want a printable PDF version of these instructions, plus other frequently asked questions about two-step verification? Click here.

Supported Browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer 8 or later, and Opera.

1. Get Started

To set up two-step verification, log in to the HarvardKey self-service portal and select the option for Manage Your HarvardKey Account. Then, click the option for Manage Two-step Verification and choose Set Up Two-step Verification. You'll be taken to a welcome screen that looks like this:

Click Start setup to get started.

2. Choose Your Device

You can set up two-step verification for your HarvardKey account using a smartphone, SMS-capable mobile phone, wi-fi or cellular-enabled tablet, or a landline phone. However, using a smartphone is recommended for the best experience. Choose the device you plan to set up. When you're done, click Continue.

3. Add Your Phone Number

Next, select your country and enter your phone number. Use the number of the smartphone, cell phone, or landline that you'll have with you when you're logging in. If you chose "Landline" in the previous step, you can also enter an extension. Verify that number, check the box, and click Continue.

4. Choose Platform

Next, choose your device's operating system. Duo Mobile supports most common operating systems, but if yours isn’t listed, choose the option for “Other”. When you're done, click Continue.

5. Install Duo Mobile

If you’re using a smartphone or tablet for your second factor, you’ll need to install the Duo Mobile app. It’s fast and easy, it works in any country, and it doesn’t require a cellular or wi-fi connection. If you don’t have the app, you’ll still be able to log in using a phone call or text message, but it’s strongly recommended that you use the app to authenticate. (Duo Mobile supports as minimum versions Android 2.3.3, iOS 6.0, BlackBerry 10 and BBOS 4.5.0, and Windows Mobile 6.5.3.)

Follow the platform-specific instructions on the screen to install Duo Mobile. When you’re done, click I have Duo Mobile Installed.

6. Activate on Your Device

Activating the Duo Mobile app will link it to your HarvardKey account so you can use it to log in.

On iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry 10, activate Duo Mobile by scanning the barcode with the app's built-in barcode scanner. You'll see a window that looks like this:

After you scan the barcode, you'll be able to click the Continue button.

Can't scan the barcode? Click the prompt for the activation link and then follow the instructions.

7. Turn On Two-step Verification

Once you’ve activated the app, you’ll see the screen below. (It’s also the prompt that you’ll see when you log in to a HarvardKey-protected system and you have two-step verification turned on.) 

Now you simply need to turn on two-step verification for your HarvardKey login. To do this, go to the account management area of the HarvardKey self-service portal at https://key.harvard.edu and select Manage Two-Step Verification. From there, choose Manage Your Two-Step Verification Settings and follow the prompts to turn on two-step verification whenever you access a protected application or service. (You can turn off two-step verification here, too.)

You're all set! If you have any problems, check the other FAQs on two-step verification — or if you need one-on-one help, contact the HUIT Service Desk at ithelp@harvard.edu or 617-495-7777.


 

What devices can I use for two-step verification? What if I don't have a smartphone?

Use Duo on Smartphones, Mobile Devices, or Regular Phones

You can use two-step verification on a variety of devices, making it easy to add an extra layer of security to your HarvardKey login. The simplest method is to download and set up the Duo Mobile app for your iOS or Android smartphone — then, in order to log in, just tap on the push notification you receive when you authenticate to a protected resource.

If you don't have or prefer not to use a smartphone, you can also use two-step verification on a tablet, a mobile phone capable of receiving SMS text messages, or even a landline phone. See the table below for more information about what authentication methods are available for the device of your choice — and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact the HUIT Service Desk at ithelp@harvard.edu or 617-495-7777.

DeviceTwo-step OptionsPlatforms
Smartphone
  • Duo Mobile push notification
  • Duo Mobile passcode
  • Text message
  • Phone call
  • iOS (6.0 and greater)
  • Android (2.3.3 and greater)
Tablet
  • Duo Mobile push notification
  • Duo Mobile passcode
  • iOS (6.0 and greater)
  • Android (2.3.3 and greater)
  • Windows (Windows Mobile 6.5.3 and greater)
Mobile Phone
  • Text message
  • Phone call
  • Any mobile phone capable of receiving SMS text messages
Landline
  • Phone call
  • All phones

 

What can I expect after I set up two-step verification?

After you set up and activate two-step verification, when you go to log in to a resource protected by HarvardKey, you'll be prompted to verify your login using the secondary method of your choice — either a push notification on your smartphone, code displayed on your phone or mobile device, code sent via SMS text message, or code delivered via regular telephone call. In some of these instances, you'll see an extra page displayed after the regular HarvardKey login screen asking you to enter the code you receive. This works as follows:

  • If you use push notifications, you'll see a push notification on your device; tap "Approve" to complete your login. (You need a wi-fi or cellular data connection to use this option.)
  • If you use a Duo Mobile passcode, launch the Duo Mobile app to see your current authentication code; enter this code on the screen where you're logging in to a protected resource. (You do not need a wi-fi or cellular data connection for this option, because the app runs on your device.) 
  • If you use a text message, you'll receive a text containing the authentication code; enter this code on the screen where you're logging in to a protected resource.
  • If you use a phone call, you'll receive an automated phone call asking you to press any key on your phone to authenticate.

Keep in mind that the frequency with which you're asked to log in using two-step verification varies depending on factors such as the sites or resources you try to use (some resources always require two-step verification), your individual browser and cookie settings, and others. To learn more about how "single sign-on" works in HarvardKey, see this FAQ item.

 

I frequently travel internationally. How does this affect two-step verification?

If you travel internationally and need access to resources protected by HarvardKey, you may wish to set your two-step verification method (under "Manage Two-step Verification" in the HarvardKey self-service portal) to Duo Mobile Passcode. Using Duo Mobile Passcode (available for smartphone or tablet), you can generate authentication codes even if you don't have an Internet, wi-fi, or cellular connection.

Please note that if you're traveling internationally (or have an international phone number) and are using text messages as your method of two-step verification, you may be subject to your carrier's roaming charges for SMS messages.

 

I lost my phone or got a new one. What do I do about two-step verification?

If you lose your phone, or suspect that it's been stolen, please contact the HUIT Service Desk immediately at ithelp@harvard.edu or 617-495-7777 so your phone can be disabled for authentication and we can help you log in using another phone or device. Note that even though it's important that you contact the HUIT Service Desk if your phone is lost or stolen, remember that your password will still protect your HarvardKey account.

If you get a new smartphone or mobile device, you'll need to re-activate the Duo Mobile app in order for it to work on the new device. You can do this yourself by visiting the HarvardKey self-service portal and choosing "Manage Two-Step Verification" under "Manage Your HarvardKey Account." If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact the HUIT Service Desk for help.

 

I no longer receive push notifications for two-step verification.

If you're having trouble receiving push notifications when you try to log in to HarvardKey, this may be because there are network issues between your phone and the Duo service — particularly if you're moving between buildings on Harvard's campus, as many phones can have trouble determining whether to use the wi-fi or cellular data channel when checking for push requests. You may be able to troubleshoot this problem easily simply by turning your phone to "airplane mode" and then back to regular operating mode again, or turning off your device's wi-fi connection and forcing it to use its cellular data connection.

If that doesn't work, check the time and date on your phone and make sure they are correct. If your date and time are manually set, try changing your device's configuration to automatically sync date/time with the network.

If you're still having troubles, log in to the HarvardKey self-service portal with a passcode generated by the Duo Mobile app and then send a new activation link to your phone. You can do this under "Manage Two-step Verification" in the "Manage Your HarvardKey Account" section of the portal.

If you still need help, please contact the HUIT Service Desk at ithelp@harvard.edu or 617-495-7777.

I'm trying to log in using two-step verification but get an error on my phone.

If you have activated two-step verification, but receive an SSL error on your phone when trying to log in using Harvard's wi-fi, you may need to manually register or re-register your device for use on the Harvard University network. See full instructions here.

 

Why am I required to log in only sometimes or for certain applications?

Whenever you log in, HarvardKey remembers who you are without the need for you to log in to every Harvard-secured website. By default, the system will remember you as long as you are still using the same “session” you used to originally log in to a Harvard-secured site (in other words, you have not quit and restarted your browser, or switched to using a different browser). Please note that while HarvardKey does not ask you to log in every time you access a secured site, those sites are still asking the system who you are, and the system uses your browser's “memory” to answer this question and authorize your access.

Quitting your browser tells the browser to “forget” you, thereby preventing anyone else who may use that same machine from logging in as you. For maximum security, you may also wish to actively log out from HarvardKey when you know you are done using Harvard-secured resources.

HarvardKey may ask you to log in again in scenarios such as the following:

  • You actively logged out, such as by clicking a “Logout” link or button within an application or by visiting the main HarvardKey logout page
  • It’s been a while since you’ve logged in
  • You are accessing a site that does not allow users to be remembered

How can I ask HarvardKey not to "remember me"?

Because HarvardKey is a multi-site authorization system, once you have logged in to one HarvardKey-protected application using a given device or browser session, you will automatically be logged in to others. In addition, some applications and services will “remember” you for a period of time after you have logged in unless you actively sign out. To ask HarvardKey to “forget” you, sign out of your HarvardKey account at any time by clicking the logout button or link on a HarvardKey-protected site. Alternatively, you can also visit key.harvard.edu and choose the "Logout" link from the main menu.

How do I log out of HarvardKey?

You can sign out of your HarvardKey account at any time by clicking the logout button or link on a HarvardKey-protected site. Alternatively, you can also visit key.harvard.edu and choose the "Logout" link from the main menu.

Why can't I get into every application with my HarvardKey login name and password?

HarvardKey is in a tiered rollout to Harvard communities and applications, with an initial focus on the applications and services Harvard users access the most, such as Office 365 email, desktop access, web applications like PeopleSoft and ASPIRE, and more. If you can't use HarvardKey to access one of the applications or services you use, hopefully you won't have to wait long — we are adding new apps and services every day. In the meantime, simply continue to use the credentials you've used in the past.

Why won't my HarvardKey let me into the site I want to use?

Having a HarvardKey (or any of the other credential types listed on the HarvardKey login screen) does not automatically give you permission to access all Harvard resources. The academic or administrative groups responsible for those sites or applications manage who is allowed to have access. Sometimes license agreements limit who has access to a resource. If you feel that you should have access to a particular resource, contact the administrator directly for help; please note that your primary IT help desk is usually unable to grant you access, since site authorization is determined by site owners.

I logged in with my HarvardKey, but I still can't access the site I want.

Even if you see a message indicating that your login to a site is successful, but you still aren’t able to access the site, this could be due to several reasons:

  • The site itself may be “down” or experiencing technical difficulties. You can check for known outages in the HUIT Service Status Dashboard, or try checking again later.
  • Even though a site or application successfully accepts your credentials (known as authentication), if you’re not approved for access, it may not allow you to get to the materials you’re looking for (known as authorization). If you are not authorized for access to part or all of a particular application, it may display a message or other alert to let you know. If you feel that you should have access, try following any information that the message or alert provides, or contact the site’s administrator directly for help (please note that your primary IT help desk is usually unable to grant you access, since site authorization is determined by site owners).

I just did my annual password reset. Do I have to do it again when I claim my HarvardKey?

Yes, you'll have to reset your password when you claim your HarvardKey.  But once you set your new HarvardKey password, you will no longer be subject to the annual change requrement. (Please remember, however, that it's important to change your password if you ever feel that your account may have been compromised or your password exposed to others — even unintentionally.)

After you change your password, you'll want to make sure that you update that password anywhere that it might be stored, such as in your email preferences or apps on your phone or tablet — particularly since repeated login attempts with the wrong password may result in your being locked out of your account. For more information on synchronizing your passwords, see Step 3 in this guide (instructions are for HarvardKey password changes, but apply to other login types, too). If you're confused about which login type gets you into which application, check this itemized list of applications' login types, organized by School. Please note that after you change your password, you may need to log in again to any other HarvardKey-protected applications or browser windows you have open at the time of your password change.

What are the password requirements and why are they important?

Using a strong password helps keep both your own sensitive personal information and valuable University resources safe — that’s why it’s required of all HarvardKey users per official Harvard policy. To see tips on how you can create a strong password that's also easy for you to remember, see the guidance on the Information Security website.

To help keep your information safe, your password must contain:

  • At least 10 characters (and up to 120 characters)
  • 5 or more unique characters
  • At least 3 of the following: uppercase, lowercase, numeric, or special characters (special characters are ~ ! @ # $ % ^ * - _ = + [ { ] } / ; : , . ?)

Additionally, your password may not include:

  • Your email, part of your name, or part of your address
  • Common words or abbreviations/acronyms of 4 or more letters UNLESS your password is more than 20 characters long (in which case you can use words)
  • Number sequences of 4 or more numbers
  • Character repeated 4 or more times

Remember, if you ever feel that your password may have been compromised, it's important to change it as soon as possible. HarvardKey holders can change their passwords at any time by visiting HarvardKey self-service.

How can I change or reset my password?

How you reset your password depends on the login type you use. See the list below for links to help you reset or remember your password. If you're not sure which login type you use or need, contact the HUIT Service Desk at ithelp@harvard.edu.

After you change your password, you'll want to make sure that you update that password anywhere that it might be stored, such as in your email preferences or apps on your phone or tablet — particularly since repeated login attempts with the wrong password may result in your being locked out of your account. For more information on synchronizing your passwords, see Step 3 in this guide (instructions are for HarvardKey password changes, but apply to other login types, too). If you're confused about which login type gets you into which application, check this itemized list of applications' login types, organized by School. Please note that after you change your password, you may need to log in again to any other HarvardKey-protected applications or browser windows you have open at the time of your password change.

If you use your HUID and password to log in, and you would like to get a temporary password letter in person, you may visit the Harvard Campus Service Center to request one. Please be prepared to show identification.

When and how should I change my password?

Although HarvardKey holders are not required to change passwords at any specific interval, you must change your password if you ever feel that your account may have been compromised or your password exposed to others, even unintentionally.

You can change your password at any time in the HarvardKey self-service portal. Simply visit key.harvard.edu and select the "Manage Your Account" option. After you change your password, you'll want to make sure that you update that password anywhere that it might be stored, such as in your email preferences or apps on your phone or tablet — particularly since repeated login attempts with the wrong password may result in your being locked out of your account. For more information on synchronizing your passwords, see Step 3 in this guide (instructions are for HarvardKey password changes, but apply to other login types, too). If you're confused about which login type gets you into which application, check this itemized list of applications' login types, organized by School. Please note that after you change your password, you may need to log in again to any other HarvardKey-protected applications or browser windows you have open at the time of your password change.

You can also learn more about best practices for password safety and security at Harvard by visiting the Information Security password guide.

Why don't I have to set security questions for HarvardKey?

Harvard University’s requirement that all HarvardKey holders use a strong password helps keep your account secure without the need for difficult-to-remember security questions. However, please remember that it's important to change your password if you ever feel that your account may have been compromised or your password exposed to others, even unintentionally.

I'm an Alumnus/Alumna as well as a Harvard employee. Do I need to claim my HarvardKey?

To access Alumni resources, you must claim your HarvardKey. Once you have claimed your HarvardKey, you can also use it to access resources that you previously accessed with your HUID and its associated password. There is no reason to wait to claim your HarvardKey.

Once you have claimed your HarvardKey, whenever you are served with a HarvardKey login screen, login by selecting the HarvardKey tab and entering your login name and HarvardKey password. This will gain you access to all the resources for which you previously used your HUID and password to access. Alternatively, you can also select the HUID tab and enter your HUID and HarvardKey password.

If you are prompted to enter your HUID and password to access a Harvard system that doesn’t use the HarvardKey login screen (such as VPN), your HUID and HarvardKey password will work.

What happened to my old Alumni.Harvard login?

Harvard has transitioned to the new HarvardKey system for Alumni user account management. HarvardKey is replacing your current alumni.harvard login name and password as part of a larger plan to improve the Alumni online experience. The decision to bring Alumni login into the HarvardKey unified login system also means that when students graduate, they will no longer need to claim a separate Alumni account — their HarvardKey automatically transitions to Alumni status.

If I claim my HarvardKey because I'm an Alumnus/Alumna as well as employee, what about others in my department?

For the next several months, users who don’t yet have a HarvardKey can still log in to all the same resources by selecting the “HUID” tab on the HarvardKey login screen and entering their HUID and its associated password. Resources for which the PIN login screen has been replaced by the HarvardKey login screen (such as financial systems or HARVie) will work with both HarvardKey/password and HUID/password.There will be no difference in what HarvardKey users and HUID users can access.If you are prompted to enter your HUID and password to access a Harvard system that doesn’t use the HarvardKey login screen (such as VPN), your HUID and HarvardKey password will work.

As an Alumnus/Alumna, does my HarvardKey grant me access to Library materials?

Yes! Your HarvardKey provides access to Harvard Library e-resources. You can learn more at the Library Alumni Portal Page or the Harvard Alumni Association help page.

Why can't I use a Harvard email as a recovery email address?

Using an official Harvard email as your HarvardKey recovery email address is prohibited because many users' official email is already in use as their login name — using the same email address as both login name and recovery email leads to a danger of losing access to your HarvardKey credential entirely if you are unable to access your Harvard email for some reason.

Will my HarvardKey stop working when I graduate or leave Harvard?

Harvard’s “one identity for life” paradigm means that your HarvardKey remains valid even if you graduate or stop working at the University. If you are a graduating student, your HarvardKey will even automatically roll over to Alumni status upon your graduation, enabling you to access Harvard Alumni Association resources and benefits.

However, please note that changing the nature of your Harvard affiliation may mean losing access to some applications and services, even if your HarvardKey remains valid. For example, employees leaving the University may lose access to some PeopleSoft resources after their separation date, and departing students may lose access to resources affiliated to their degree program. If you feel that you have lost access to a specific resource in error, please contact that resource’s administrator directly for help; the HUIT Service Desk is usually unable to grant you access, since eligibility is determined by site owners.

Why does HarvardKey look different in Internet Explorer 8?

Some legacy applications still require users to use IE8, but that browser cannot support some visual features of HarvardKey. However, login and self-service are fully functional.

What is my NetID, and why is it important?

Your HarvardKey is your identity for life. It is linked to a unique number, your NetID, that will never change. When you claim your HarvardKey, the email you receive confirming your claim contains your NetID, and you can always see it on the Connections service. Your login name may change as you change roles within the University, you transition to alumni status, or your relationship with Harvard evolves in some other way. In some rare circumstances, applications cannot support the email-style format used as a HarvardKey login name, and NetID provides you an alternative form of login name for these situations.

I need help communicating to my School/unit's users about HarvardKey.

If you work with communications or outreach to a School, department or other unit that offers HarvardKey authentication to its users, take a look at the HarvardKey Communications Tool Kit — this contains a wealth of resources for communicators, including graphical elements for print and online materials, help sheets and informational fliers, sample social media posts about HarvardKey, helpful links to pass on to your constituents, and more.

What if I can't find the help I need in this FAQ?

If you still need help with your HarvardKey, please contact the HUIT Service Desk by calling 617.495.7777 or emailing ithelp@harvard.edu.

However, please note that users with XID and eCommons credentials have their own separate resources for help with their accounts. If you use XID to log in, please contact the XID help desk at 617.496.9001 or xid_help@harvard.edu. If you are an eCommons user, please contact 617.432.2000 or help_desk@hms.harvard.edu.