Computer Helpdesk Services for Students

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Computer Helpdesk Services for Students

The Computer HelpDesk is provided as a support tool for lab-users and college employees at their desks. With a few exceptions, the Computer HelpDesk does not provide support for dorm users. Below are some common questions asked by incoming students.

Can I get my computer in my dorm connected to the Internet?

Yes. Please ensure that your laptop meets the Laptop Minimum Hardware Requirements. If your computer is configured correctly, you should be able to connect to our network with a "category 5" patch cable and register electronically with any web browser. For more information on how to use this system, contact the HelpDesk at (413) 662-5276 (extension 5276 on campus).

Do you limit what I can do with my Internet connection?

Yes and no. As this is an academic institution, priority goes to academic pursuits. So, while services such as 'peer-to-peer file sharing' do work on campus, in the event that web-based research traffic is taking a good portion of our bandwidth, priority will go to that research and other services will be significantly slower. This is handled by a physical device called a 'packet shaper' which is aware of the type of transmissions by the Web, peer-to-peer file sharing services, chat engines, and other types of communications devices. From research over the past year, the best time for non-academic pursuits (other than web surfing - which is always given priority) is between midnight and noon. Again, these services will continue to work during all hours of the day, but web services will take priority when access is heavy.

If my computer has a hardware problem such as a broken monitor, CD-ROM, or other device, can the Computer Helpdesk fix it?

The Computer Helpdesk cannot perform any hardware work on student computers, with these exceptions:

  • Installation of a network card for campus connectivity.
  • Hardware replacements and troubleshooting for computers purchased through the MCLA Laptop Program.

If it is found that the computer is unable to connect to our network due to a hardware problem with the student's computer and the problem is not the student will be referred to a shop (there are 3 local computer repair shops which are listed in the Yellow Pages).

If I am having a problem using the software on my computer, can the Computer Helpdesk help me?

The Computer Helpdesk can assist you with typical user-level problems that a lab-user would face if you are using a campus supported application. In cases of extreme "this is impossible to do over the phone" problems, you may be asked to place your work on portable storage, and obtain support in person at the Computer Helpdesk.

If my computer keeps crashing due to software problems such as spyware or viruses, what can the Computer Helpdesk do?

The Computer Helpdesk does perform limited software work on student computers: In the case of computers purchased through the MCLA Laptop Program, basic reconfiguration of the software and removal of spyware and viruses will be performed. If this process takes more than 30 minutes, the computer will be restored to its factory state. The HelpDesk will work with the student to backup and restore documents.

Service for computers that are not part of the MCLA Laptop Program will be limited to installation of network card software for campus connectivity, basic configuration of network and browser settings, and spyware/virus removal. If the computer's software is heavily damaged and requires more than 30 minutes of work the student will be referred to a shop (there are 3 local computer repair shops which are listed in the Yellow Pages).

Can I use applications other than campus supported applications?

Yes, you can. The Computer Helpdesk can also convert many file types you may have. You will need to bring a disk of your files to the Desk and know which application they were created in. Please note that we only provide support for campus supported applications and that it is unlikely that we will be able to assist you with unsupported software.