New Student Computer Guide and FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I purchase a Windows or Apple computer?
Choose whichever you prefer: both platforms are supported on campus. Both Windows and Mac computers can be found in our dorm clusters as well as in most of our public labs.
Can I purchase a computer at a student discount?
Mount Holyoke offers an educational technology purchasing program in collaboration with the Smith College Computer Store. Purchasing options include hardware and software, with educational discounts from Apple, Dell, Microsoft, and Adobe. If you have any questions, please contact the store at 413-585-3027, or email Barbara Pliska, the Computer Store Manager.
Do I need an extended warranty?
Can you afford an out of warranty computer repair during your college career? Dell offers a four-year Complete Care extended warranty; Apple offers a three-year AppleCare plan. All computers purchased through the MHC/Smith Technology Purchasing Program come with an extended warranty. If purchasing elsewhere, we strongly recommend the purchase of an extended warranty.
What software will I need?
Specifics may depend on your course load, but most professors will require papers to be submitted in Microsoft .docx format.
You can purchase software via the MHC Software Hub. Discounted/student software is available from many retailers, the Smith College Computer Store, and directly from vendors such as Apple and Microsoft.
Bring your software disks/backup with you. If your new computer prompts you to make backup disks, make them before you come to campus. We cannot reinstall your system software without these.
What are the recommended system specifications?
Macintosh and Windows systems are equally supported on campus. To help our technical support personnel assist you, we strongly recommend you select the U.S. English version of your operating system.
Random Access Memory (RAM) is a temporary storage area for data currently in use. The amount of RAM installed affects the computer’s speed; the more RAM you have, the faster your computer will run. We recommend a minimum of 4 GB of RAM.
Your computer’s hard drive provides storage for your computer’s operating system, software applications, and files. Anything of 250 GB or above should be sufficient for most academic needs. We recommend an external drive to periodically backup your important files and data.
A USB Flash Drive is provided by LITS to each incoming student. MHC also provides each student with personal network storage on campus, as well as the Google Drive which is a part of each student's MHC Google Apps for Education account.
What if I already own a computer?
If you’re bringing a gently used computer to school, just check that it meets the generous minimums below. You may need to upgrade hardware or software if your computer does not meet the requirements.
|Windows Platform||MAC Platform|
|Windows 7 or greater||OS 10.6 or Greater|
|Minimum 250 GB Hard drive||Minimum 250 GB Hard drive|
|Minimum 4 GB RAM||Minimum 4 GB RAM|
Will I need my own printer?
Networked printers are available in every residence hall -- printing there is free but you must supply your own laser-compatible paper (available for purchase on campus at the Campus Store). You may bring your own printer.
Where can I get my computer repaired?
The Student Diagnostic Center (M-F, 9-4, Library 422) offers authorized warranty service for Dell computers purchased from the Smith Computer Store, as well as software support and virus removal. The Diagnostic Center is staffed by full-time staff and a
highly skilled team of student workers. Your warranty may offer door-to-door service and you should consider this when negotiating your purchase.
How can I protect my computer against viruses?
Mount Holyoke has a site license for McAfee anti-virus software which is available on campus to all students. You must remove any pre-existing anti-virus software before you install the MHC-provided software, even if you already have a version of the same program.
How do I connect my computer to the campus network? Will help be available?
During New Student Orientation students will be provided with instructions on connecting to our network. Most new computers require very little configuration.
What other support is available throughout the year?
By the time you graduate from Mount Holyoke College, you can expect to have developed an ease and facility with computer technology that is acquired through frequent access and use. Our support philosophy is modeled to promote self-sufficiency. We encourage students to learn by doing. LITS provides support in the following ways:
- Technical Support Help Desk: Monday–Friday 8:30 am – 5:00 pm. For account and email help, general how-to. The Help Desk is located within the Information Commons. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Information Commons Technology Consultants: How-to Help with LITS Printers, Scanners, Software (general OS, Office, Adobe, browsers), First-line Account Help: Information Commons, during Library hours, 4th Floor Library.
- Student Diagnostic Center: Monday–Friday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. Network registration, malware/virus scan and clean, system restores, file recovery (bring your recovery media!). Library 422.
- Student-led Software Training, for students, by trained students. Schedule varies.
Information Commons Technology Consultants
- How-to Help with LITS Printers, Scanners, Software (general OS, Office, Adobe, browsers), First-line Account Help:
Information Commons, during Library hours, 4th Floor Library.
Community Technical Support Helpdesk
- Accounts and Email, Network Registration: Monday–Friday 8:30 am – 5:00 pm, behind the Information Commons desk, 4th Floor Library, x2600
- Email: Help Desk
Student Diagnostic Center
- Student Diagnostic Center Hours: Monday–Friday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. For student computers: diagnostics, software fixes, network registration, assistance with facilitating warranty repairs.
- Student-Led Software Training: for students, by trained student technology consultants. Schedule varies.