Do I need to bring a computer to campus?
No, you don't have to bring a computer. The University provides students access to computer labs, software, and printers; however, the following pages provide computer resource information (where you can use the University's computers or buy computers and software on campus) and, if you choose to purchase a computer, what specifications your computer should meet.
If you are planning on bringing a computer from home or purchasing a new one, you should know that some colleges or departments have their own computing recommendations or requirements. Visit the Undergraduate and Graduate Program Recommendations page for the recommendations of your particular program, or contact your department to determine whether it has any computing requirements.
I already own a computer. Will it be good enough?
Minimum computing requirements
The Minimum Computing Requirements page presents the specifications that will allow you to easily run many of the applications that you will need to do your work on campus. You should make sure that your computer meets these basic criteria. Upgrades are available through the Illini Union Tech Zone.
If you have any questions about whether or not your computer or its OS is suitable for use on campus, please contact the CITES Help Desk.
Undergraduate and graduate program recommendations
Some academic programs have a preference for a particular platform for their students, but no program has a required operating system. So, if you already own a computer with an operating system other than your program's preferred system, it won't be a problem. Visit the Undergraduate and Graduate Program Recommendations page for information on recommendations related to individual colleges and programs of study.
What do I need to do to get my computer ready to use on the Urbana campus?
Install the latest version of your operating system
For security reasons, your computer must be running operating system software that still receives regular software and security updates from its manufacturer.
See the Minimum Computing Requirements page for more information.
Install and update antivirus software
Before you can plug in to the campus network, your computer must have a current version of antivirus software installed and running. Illinois students can download antivirus software from the University of Illinois WebStore at no charge.
Downloading antivirus software from the WebStore guarantees that your computer's antivirus protection is up to date, since the WebStore's version of the antivirus software automatically updates once it has been installed on your computer. Keeping your antivirus software up to date is critical, as outdated software will not recognize new viruses.
As an Illinois student, you can enjoy educational software discounts from the University of Illinois WebStore. Before you buy any new software or have it pre-installed by a computer manufacturer, check the WebStore to see if you can get the same software at a substantial discount. You should also check out Help Desk Supported Software to see what the CITES Help Desk is most likely to be able to assist you with.
If you have your own computer, you may also find it convenient to have your own printer. If you choose to not bring a printer, you can print to the University Residence Hall printers either from the residence hall lab computers or from your dorm room, using your own computer. Charges are applied to your printing account, and you can check your account balance online. You can also use the laser printers at any of the CITES ICS computer labs for a small fee.
I want to purchase a new computer. What do I need to know?
You'll need to decide whether you want to buy your computer before or after you arrive on campus. For instance, you may want to delay your purchase for financial reasons or because you can't bring it with you for some reason. If you choose, you can purchase your own computer on-campus from the University's Illini Union Tech Zone, as an alternative to local and national computer retailers, and have it conveniently delivered directly to your University Residence Hall room. You can contact a representative by phone at (800) 455-2365 or you can browse the Illini Union Tech Zone's price lists online.
New computer purchase recommendations
Detailed information on minimum specifications (such as memory, processor, and wireless card) can be found on the Recommended Computer Configurations page.
Before you buy any new software or have it pre-installed by a computer manufacturer, check the University of Illinois WebStore to see if you can get the same software at a substantial discount. You should also check out Help Desk Supported Software to see what the CITES Help Desk is most likely to be able to assist you with.