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First-Time Account Setup

Software you need

Note: Depending on your group, you may be asked by your PI to log in to the previous version of our operating system, CentOS 6. (The current version, as you might imagine, is CentOS 7.) If this is the case, the login for you would be

If you are planning to use GPUs for your research, you should use the CentOS 6 login above. We are working on fixing this issue and we will make an announcement on the ACCRE email listserv once it is resolved. Thanks!

Mac/Linux: All the software you need is already installed on your system. Open your terminal application (on Mac go to Applications > Utilities for your terminal application) and type in the following, replacing vunetid with your own VUnetID:


The first time you start ACCRE, you may see a message asking if you trust the system you are attempting to log in to. Type “yes” and hit return.

Windows: Download and install PuTTY. Type in the host name field, then ACCRE in the Saved Sessions field, then click Save:

The next time you start PuTTY, you just need to double click on ACCRE in the Saved Sessions section and it will load automatically.

Click Open to start the terminal connection.

As with the Mac/Linux login, you may see a message asking if you trust the system you are attempting to log in to. Type “yes” and hit return.

Web browser: Alternatively, there are many services that allow you to open a terminal connection from within your web browser. One such service is, which provides a GUI for editing files within the home directory:

Starting ACCRE for the first time

Your username, if prompted, is your VUNetID. Type it in and press enter.

Your password is in an email you should have received from ACCRE. The password system for ACCRE is separate from other Vanderbilt sites (the “ePassword”). Enter your password and hit return. Note that for security reasons the password will not appear as you are typing.

You will then need to change your password. Type in accre_password change and follow the instructions. Your password must meet the following requirements:

  1. Your ACCRE password must be at least 14 characters long, and not more than 4096.
  2. Your password must receive a perfect score on the ZXCVBN test.
  3. In addition to uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and symbols, you may use non-ASCII characters (including emoji, Chinese, Japanese, or Korean). However, you may have difficulty logging in later with different keyboards or terminal utilities. All characters must be printable and in UTF-8.
  4. If you need a password that can pass the ZXCVBN test, type in accre_password generate.

Your password change will be propagated out to all of the nodes within approximately 20 minutes.

Your terminal is now set up and ready to use. As a reminder, you will need to register for training within the first two months of receiving your account.

Advanced setup

Secure Copy client (SCP client)

SCP clients are useful for transferring files to and from the ACCRE server.

For Mac and Linux systems (including the Ubuntu for Windows setup) you already have an SCP client installed in the terminal. To transfer a file from your system to ACCRE:

scp <source_path> <vunetid><destination_path>

To transfer a file from ACCRE to your system:

scp <vunetid><source_path> <destination_path>

If you prefer a graphical interface, we recommend FileZilla.

For Windows users, you can use PSCP, which comes with the most recent installations of PuTTY. Open the command prompt (on Windows 10, right click the Start menu and choose “Command Prompt”). Then use the same command above, replacing “scp” with “pscp”.

pscp <source_path> <vunetid><destination_path>

Windows users can also use FileZilla or WinSCP, an SCP client with a graphical user interface. Click here, then use the Installation Package link to begin the download.

X Window Server

The X Window Server lets you run applications on ACCRE that have a graphical user interface. While it may come in useful at times, applications running on an X connection are slower than if they are running locally. For this reason we do not recommend using it (especially from outside campus) unless there are no alternatives.

For Mac systems, download and install XQuartz. Then, add an -X tag when you ssh to ACCRE (make sure it’s an uppercase X):

ssh -X

For Windows systems, download and install Xming. Then load PuTTY, load the ACCRE shared session, then expand the SSH item and go to the X11 page. Click the checkbox to enable X forwarding, then set the X display location to “localhost:0” (without the quotes). Then go back to the Session page and click on Save. Any future connections using the ACCRE shared session will use the X Window Server installed.

For many Linux installations, an X window server should be installed already. Just add an -X tag when you ssh to ACCRE (again, make sure it’s an uppercase X):

ssh -X

To make sure everything is working properly, type in “xeyes”. A window should open of a pair of eyes that move around with your cursor. Even though it appears similar to a program on your computer, it is being run on the ACCRE gateway.

Some X11 applications require “trusted X11 forwarding”, which can be enabled by replacing -X with -Y. Use the -Y flag only if necessary, since it is less secure than -X.

Default Environmental Settings

If you wish to view your default environmental settings, type set.

Changing Your Shell

Your “shell” is essentially your working environment while you are logged onto the cluster. Virtually any of the newer shells add such functionality as command/filename completion (e.g., spell part of the command, hit a “hot key,” and the shell will try to complete the name of the command/file), command line editor (so you can edit and re-invoke previously executed commands), manipulation of history on the system, and definition of command aliases/functions.

Currently the default user shell is set as bash.

To change your default shell (this is not recommended unless you have a good reason for doing so):

  1. Issue the command: ssh auth
    Commands issued now (e.g., the passwd command) will effect modifications to all of the nodes.
  2. Type: chsh
  3. You will be prompted for your choice of shells. Enter/bin/bash for the bash shell or/bin/tcsh for C-shell.
  4. To disconnect from auth, type exit. You will still be logged into your account. You may either continue working on the cluster or log out.

Your shell change will be propagated out to all of the nodes within approximately one hour.