New Student Computer Guide and FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I purchase a Windows or Apple computer?
     Choose whichever you prefer, both platforms are equally supported on campus. 

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. In addition, Apple, Dell and Microsoft offer higher education discounts both in store and online.

Should I purchase the extended warranty?
     Can you afford an expensive 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 area of study, 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.

What are the recommended system specifications?

  • Operating System - Macintosh and Windows systems are equally supported on campus. 
  • Memory - 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.
  • Hard Drive - 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.
  • Data Storage - MHC supports 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
(MINIMUM RECOMMENDATIONS) 
MAC Platform
(MINIMUM RECOMMENDATIONS)  
Windows 7 or greater OS 10.7 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 throughout campus.  You may bring your own printer.  LITS does not offer support for use or repair of personal printers.  

Where can I get my computer repaired?
     The LITS Student Diagnostic Center, open M-F, 9-4, in Library 422, offers support for student computers.  The DC supports system management and virus/malware removal and authorized warranty service for Dell computers purchased from the Smith Computer Store.  The Diagnostic Center does not support hardware service or repair. The DC 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. MHC requires student computers to have anti-virus software.   

How do I connect my computer to the Internet? 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.

Tech Support

Information Commons Technology Consultants

  • How-to Help with LITS Printers, Scanners, Software (general OS, Office, Moodle, 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.

Software Training