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College laptop tips

By Lyndsey Hewitt in Opinions

September 22, 2011

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Buying an adequate laptop for use at college can be problematic if you’re not informed on some of the basics. It’s important to be aware of what you need for a long lasting laptop. I will discuss the LHU’s recently updated minimum requirements, what to do when actually purchasing a computer, how to access the network, and a common myth about Apple products revealed.

To start, visit Lock Haven University’s “Student Technology Enhancement Program” website at http://www.lhup.edu/step. There, students will find valuable information regarding LHU’s requirements as well as detailed information about finding an adequate laptop.

Laptop specifications for students entering for Fall 2011:

PC

Apple

CPU

Dual Core 2.4 Ghz

Memory

Minimum 2GB

Module Bay Devices

CD-RW/DVD-ROM or DVD-RW

Storage

Minimum 160GB

Battery

Recommended High Capacity or Spare

Software** Microsoft Office ’10 Microsoft Office ’11

Adobe Reader

Cisco NAC

Microsoft Security Essentials None
Browser IE / Firefox Safari / Firefox
Operating System Windows 7 SP1 OSX 10.6.1 Leopard
Windows Vista SP2
Wireless

802.11 a/b/g/n wireless

Specifications last updated 05.02.11

 

Often times, students will opt to buy a cheaply priced laptop but not realize that it may only be running less than 2GB of memory or sometimes have less than a 2.4 Ghz processor. If you purchase the laptop on a whim and don’t really look at the specs, you may get yourself stuck with a laptop that runs slow and freezes all the time, even if you aren’t running much on it.

Mistakes like this can be avoided simply by making sure, if you’re purchasing in-store, that you’re asking the salesperson all the correct questions. Does it have adequate memory? Can it handle more than just the operating system itself? Let them know what you’ll be using it for. If you’re choosing a laptop that you want to last you the entire four year duration of college, more than likely you’ll want a durable, long-lasting laptop that can hold a good amount of files and programs. (And especially if you download a lot of music.)

If you’re buying online, be sure to check out all the little fine print specs that you’re adding or not including in your purchase. An extra $50 spent on a laptop can go a long way. If you decide not to include something vital in your laptop purchase to save yourself some money at the time, you may hurt yourself in the long run later if it stops functioning correctly. (i.e. not buying enough memory or RAM which causes your computer to freeze)

Portable laptops, while attractive in price and portability, are typically not ideal for practical, long-term use in college. Typically, students will need a laptop that holds a decent amount of information and lasts a long time. However, if you have limited funds and it is all you can afford, there are certain ways that they can attempt to be practical.

One way is to invest in a portable hard drive to store most of your files on, that way you don’t take up a lot of space on your netbook. These are also very practical to have in general, just so you have a backup of all of your important documents and music, so if your computer ever crashes, they can easily be recovered.

Portable hard drives cost a mere $50 or so for a lot of memory. They can be purchased at your local Walmart.

Now, once you’ve acquired a decent laptop that meet the university’s minimum requirements, you’ll need to load it with the software that LHU requires to get on the network. To do so is simple.

If you’re connecting to wireless, and are using Windows based software:

  1. Connect to LHU_Student
  2. Open your browser and log in using the first part of your email and your corresponding email password
  3. Download Cisco NAC
  4. Follow the steps NAC provides to download Microsoft Security Essentials, which is the anti-virus program that LHU requires to access the network
  5. If NAC prompts you to get Windows Updates, do so by clicking Start, Programs and clicking “Windows Update”, install all provided updates

Once you’ve done all of the above steps, you should now be on the wireless LHU network. If you are connecting via Ethernet the steps will essentially be the same.

If you are connecting using Apple-based software, you will only need to log in and download Cisco NAC.

Keep in mind, if you are using a printer on campus, that using a wireless printer will not work. You will need the proper USB cable to hook up your printer to your computer in order to print on campus.

If you aren’t getting the net after following through with the above steps, then you may contact the Student Technology and Support Center at 570-484-2643, or take your computer to 508 Robinson Hall, where student technicians are on hand to help 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday.

Myth revealed:

Apple products don’t get viruses.

On the contrary, they do. Apple products are absolutely prone to getting malware and viruses and are growing in the rate that they do. Since more consumers are buying Apple products, more virus-makers and hackers are creating Apple-directed viruses. Just because you own an Apple product does not mean you should not look into acquiring security software, or be careless about what you’re clicking or downloading

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