Troubleshooting issues logging in to Northwestern services

If you are experiencing trouble logging into a NetID-authenticated system, review the following possible causes and solutions:

Service Availability
Is the service currently available? Check the status of University IT services at to find out if there is scheduled maintenance or an unplanned outage.
NetID Password
Enter the user's NetID in NUValidate to make sure their account and password are both active.  If their password has expired they will need to reset it. If their NetID has no current (or expiring) assertions, they may need to have their NetID reasserted by their school/HR/DDCA, as appropriate, before logging in to any NetID-authenticated system.
Before going any further, verify that:
  • You're typing in your password correctly.
  • The caps lock key isn't pressed.
  • Your browser isn't auto-filling an old password.
  • Your password is current. Go to NUValidate at and enter your NetID and password. 
    • If you receive an error message, you'll need to reset your password. Options for resetting your NetID password are available here.
Cookies and Cache
Some services, including the Online Passport, require your browser to use cookies. Website settings and cookie data may grow stagnant over time, and some services, such as CAESAR, may need you to periodically clear your browsers cookies and cache.
Multi-Factor Authentication (Duo)
Have your registered your phone with Multi-factor Authentication? Many University systems, including myHR, CAESAR, and NUFinancials use Multi-factor Authentication as part of the login process. Learn more about managing your phones at Duo Multi-Factor Authentication.
Users with Feinberg affiliation may experience Duo difficulties when attempting to access Northwestern services on a personal computer. While the names are similar, this is instead part of the Duo Device Health security agent. For more information about this service, please see the FAQ page and how to encrypt your personal device.
Institutional or SSO-based (Microsoft) Login
Some services require specific reference towards being connected to Northwestern University before granting system access.
  • Library resources may require you to choose "Belong to an institution? Select from a dropdown" in order to choose Northwestern University and authenticate using the Online Passport.
  • Authenticating into Zoom requires you to select the SSO (key) option at the sign-in prompt. 

IF you are encountering a Microsoft login screen and you do not have an Exchange email, use instead. This applies for services including Canvas and Microsoft Office (and by extension, Teams and OneDrive).

Some services, such as the Online Passport, use Javascript. Make sure your browser does not use any add-ons that restrict or disable Javascript.
Are you eligible to access the service? Several University systems and services, as well as access to some software titles, have specific NetID eligibility requirements and may not be available for all users. Check with the IT Support Center at 847-491-4357 (1-HELP) to determine if your NetID is authorized for access.
"Forbidden" Error
Did you get a "Forbidden" error trying to access a NetID-authenticated service without even being prompted for your NetID and password? It could be due to one of these common issues and not your NetID:
  • Your computer is connected to both wired and wireless networks (also known as "dual-banding")
  • You physically moved your laptop from one location to another while connected to a wireless network and its network address changed
  • You are connected to SSL VPN
Try quitting your browser and relaunching it to access the service. If that doesn't work try using a different browser.
Off Campus
Are you trying to access a service from an off-campus location? Some services, such Workforce, require you to either be on campus or use VPN when off campus. Get step-by-step instructions on setting up VPN.
Security Certificates
Many secure sites at the University require security certificates to ensure secure data transmission. Most browsers should receive certificates automatically and experience no issues when accessing services. If you are experiencing a certificate error, get instructions on installing certificates.
Are you trying to access a service from an off-campus location that's behind a firewall? It's not uncommon for companies and businesses (and even some countries) to restrict authenticated access to sites on the Internet from computers on their network. Check with your company's IT department if you are having access issues at your non-University workplace.
Security Form
Some services, such as NUFinancials, Cognos, and administrative access to CAESAR, require you to have completed a security form before you are permitted access to the system. Verify with your department's business administrator that you have been granted appropriate access.


For additional assistance please contact the IT Support Center at 847-491-4357 (1-HELP) or via email at

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Article ID: 1410
Thu 5/12/22 12:39 PM
Thu 6/1/23 2:26 PM