Computer Recommendations

Welcome to Davidson!

You don't necessarily need to bring a computer–more than 200 computers are available to you in public labs around campus, many of them open 24/7. But if you do plan to bring a computer with you, the following are some recommendations and things to consider.

  • Windows: Windows 10 is recommended. Older versions are also allowed to connect to our network.
  • Mac OS X: OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) is recommended. Older versions are also allowed to connect to our network.
  • Linux, Chrome, and other OSes are not supported (no documentation or assistance is available), though they are allowed on the network. If you are considering a netbook with an alternative operating system, be sure it can support WPA-2 Enterprise wireless networking; in our limited experience, not all of them do.
  • Laptop or Desktop? Most students have laptops, but the choice is up to you. Our wireless network provides campus-wide Internet access.
  • Other Internet-Capable Devices: We support network access for most smartphones, mobile devices and game consoles, and campus email access for Windows Mobile, iOS (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad) and Android devices. Be sure yours is fully updated.

What to Bring

  • Anti-virus software: Your computer probably comes with some pre-installed. Make sure it is working and updated. There are many free options; ones with good reputations include Sophos and Avira for Mac, and Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows.
  • A case or bag (for laptops): You'll be moving around with your computer, and having a convenient and safe way to carry it makes life easier.
  • A backup solution: Your files are understandably very important to you. Having a backup drive or an online backup service will give you peace of mind in case you experience trouble with your computer.
  • A VGA video adapter (for laptops): At some point during your time at Davidson, you'll probably want to hook your laptop to a projector for a presentation. Some laptops, particularly Macs, require a special adapter to connect to a standard VGA port. Make sure to bring one. If you're not sure what you need, check with your computer's seller.

What Not to Bring

  • Wireless routers, access points and printers: Personal wireless routers and access points are not allowed on campus because they interfere with the college's network. This includes wireless backup devices that also serve as routers (such as Apple's Time Capsule). We also recommend that you not bring wireless printers. They will not connect to the college network.
  • File sharing programs: Sharing music, videos, ebooks, and other copyrighted materials is illegal. The college cannot protect students who violate copyright by sharing files. Uninstall your file-sharing and bittorrent software before you arrive on campus.

What ITS will Provide

  • Microsoft Office 365: The full Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote) is licensed for Davidson students to install on their personal computers.
  • Email Software: Outlook is provided so you can access your Davidson email account. You can also use our Webmail service, if you prefer.
  • Dropbox: Davidson provides you an account with unlimited storage at no extra charge. Your account allows you to share and collaborate with professors, classmates and friends.
  • Google Drive: You get an account with unlimited storage for sharing and collaborating with friends, professors and classmantes.

Before you Come to Campus

  • Update Windows: On your Windows computer, visit Windows Update and install all critical updates (you may need to visit more than once to get everything).
  • Update Mac OS X: On your Mac computer, click on the Apple icon and select Software Update. Install all offered updates. Do this until it reports no further updates are needed.

Help Resources

During the school year, the Help Desk staff is available to help you. We are located In the ITS User Services Building, 213 N. Main St. and on the first floor of the E.H. Little Library. If you have questions not answered on our websites, email the Help Desk or leave a message at 704-894-2900 (option 5).