How To… | Passwords

Life is full of passwords. We use them every day to shop online and to access email, social media and University systems. Passwords prove who you are and help stop identity theft, fraud and confidential information from falling into the wrong hands.

Using strong passwords, or passphrases, is an essential part of protecting your online accounts. A strong password is one that is unique, long and hard to guess.

Password Trouble-shooter

Having trouble signing into your account? Try our Password Trouble-shooter system.

By answering a series of quick questions and following the steps, the Password Trouble-shooter can guide you through the process of getting back into your account, changing your password or diagnosing issues with your login.

It can also help to prevent any future lockouts after changing or resetting your password by guiding you through some extra necessary steps, as well as helping you to set up Self-Service Password Resets if you haven’t done so already.

You can work through the trouble-shooter at

You can also submit your responses once you have completed the form to help us spot any trends or common issues and hopefully improve on them in the future.

How to change your password

1. Visit your Microsoft Account page

2. Ensure you are on the Overview tab on the left-hand side.

3. Click on the Change Password > link on the Password tile.

4. Enter your current password into the Old Password field, then enter a new password into the Create new/Confirm new password fields.

5. Click submit. Your password should update instantly.

Forgotten your password?

If you have forgotten your password, there are two ways to get back into your account:

  1. Use our Self-Service Password Reset tool. Follow our guide to set this up below.
  2. Contact the ICT Service Desk on 01522 88 6500 to have them manually reset your password and unlock your account if you are locked out.

Self-Service Password Reset

If you have forgotten your password and wish to change it, you can now use our Self-Service Password Reset tool! The Self-Service Password reset tool requires some advance preparation before you can use it, so please ensure you have registered a personal email address and set up your security questions in advance at

  1. Click on a “Forgot Password?” link on any of the sign-in pages for Blackboard, Office 365, the Library and other University services.
  2. Enter your University email address in the following format:

Students: (where “01234567” is your Account ID).

3. If you have a personal email address registered with us, you will receive a verification code in your personal email inbox. Type this into the box that appears, and you will be able to change your password.

Please Note: If you don’t have a personal email address registered with us, you will need to visit to set up your security questions and an alternative email address.

Remember: It is important that your password is updated on all devices used to access University services such as Wi-Fi and email. If you do not do this, you may be temporarily locked out of your account.

Choosing a Password…

All passwords MUST:

  • Be at least 13 characters long.
  • Contain at least 4 random words.
  • Contain an upper-case letter, lower-case letter, number, and a special character (excluding £ and € as some systems do not recognise these characters).
  • Not contain the words ‘University’ or ‘Lincoln’ (even if you use a common substitution like ‘@’ instead of ‘a’ or ‘1’ instead of ‘l’).
  • Not be based on personal information, user id, names of family, children or pets.

Please Note: To create a long password that is not hard to remember but is highly secure we recommend stringing together at least 4 random unrelated words along with some substitutions to meet the number and special character requirement – e.g. “Tworedpendog7!”

Alternatively, you could use the first initial of each word within a 10 word or greater phrase – e.g. “The two planets, Earth and Mars are both bigger than the Moon” would be “T2pEaMaBbttM!”

Strong Password Definition

In some instances, even stronger passwords are required. Strong passwords MUST have the following characteristics:

  • It is at least 16 characters long.
  • It includes upper and lower case letters (e.g. a–z, A–Z); digits (0-9) and other characters (punctuation): ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ + | ~ – = ` { } [ ] : ” ; ’ < > ? , . / )
  • It is not a word in any language, slang, dialect, jargon.
  • It is not based on personal information, user id, names of family, children or pets.
  • It must be changed every six months for interactive accounts (that are typed during Sign-In) and every year for non-interactive accounts.
  • When a password is changed a previous password can never be reused.
  • More than three attempts at entering a strong password will result in the account being set unusable (locked out) until an administrator has unlocked the account.

Note: you can also use a strong password where only a normal password is required.