Purchase a computer through Middlebury College

Revision as of 10:02, 15 January 2010 by Christopher Hunt (talk | contribs) (Added tag: 'Helpdesk Documentation')

Middlebury has coordinated with Dell and Apple to offer student discounts on a couple standard laptop models. The PC models are fully supported for repair and troubleshooting at our Helpdesk. The computers come with our standard software base.

  • Microsoft Office suite and Symantec Antivirus are pre-installed
  • Students receive around a 10% discount compared to a comparable purchase on Dell's or Apple's website
  • Computers are covered under warranty that will provide free service and support in case the computer is faulty or breaks. This does not cover spills, dropped computers, or other accidents.
    • Dell computers are covered for 3 years, with longer warranties optionally available
    • Apple computers are covered for 1 year, with AppleCare complete protection optionally available

You can see our computer offerings at these pages:

You may order online or via toll-free phone numbers directly from our vendors. This will allow you to customize your machine and add extras if you like. (Some Dell upgrades may be limited at the time of sale, however, due to preloaded software). Dell and Apple have special 'Middlebury Microcenters' on their websites where you can place your order. To do so, go to the Dell and Apple's information pages where you'll find order information as well as telephone numbers for phone orders and links for on-line ordering. If login information is required for a vendor website, please contact us.

Computer purchasing FAQ

Deciding on a computer purchase

Do I have to buy a computer? What computers and printers are available for public use?

While students are not required to have a computer, we strongly recommend that they do. Middlebury has more than 200 PCs and Macs in public computer laboratories, classrooms, and the library. Laser printing is readily available in public labs and the Library, although many students bring their own printers as well.

Students are encouraged to purchase one of the designated models. These models come with an academic discount and are pre-configured with the standard software that the student would be given to install at Middlebury.

What type of computer should I buy? What computers do most students use?

  • Students typically prefer having a laptop to having a desktop. Laptops are more expensive than desktops of similar-quality hardware, but students generally value the portability that laptops provide. The libraries and other common spaces are equipped with outlets and network jacks so that students can easily use their laptops in multiple locations.
  • More expensive doesn't necessarily mean more functional. Students use their computers primarily for word processing, email, music, and internet browsing; any popular computer model will meet all of these needs.
    • Advanced statistical analysis, video / graphics editing, or gaming will require a higher-end computer.
    • Netbooks, or low-end mini laptops, are extremely cheap and are capable of word processing, web browsing, email, music, and so forth. Perhaps their biggest limitation is that their tiny screens and tiny keyboards can be uncomfortable to use.
  • PC or Mac: Both are well-supported on Middlebury campus. PCs are more common on campus than Macs. PCs tend to be cheaper than Macs. Typically, Mac computers require less support and maintenance than PCs do. However, if something breaks in a Mac computer, they often need to be shipped away to Apple, whereas Dell PCs under warranty can often be repaired on-site.
    Please note that the third wheel of the computing world, Linux, is not officially supported by the Middlebury infrastructure. However most Middlebury resources work well with Ubuntu Linux.

Can I get upgrades on the Middlebury recommended systems?

Upgrades are available from both Dell and Apple at the time of purchase over and above the Middlebury recommended systems. These include modems, CD / CD-R / CD-RW / DVD/ DVD-R, scanners, printers, additional memory and disc storage, digital cameras and so on. These options are listed on the order pages of the Middlebury recommended systems.

Please note that the LIS helpdesk strives to support the academic mission of the college, and that setting up and troubleshooting of extra devices is not our priority.

How long will it take to get my computer?

Many manufacturers build all machines to order. You should allow one to three weeks for orders to be filled.

Security, protection, and support

Is theft a problem with laptop computers?

Laptop theft at Middlebury College is not common, but is a real concern nonetheless. Statistics on crime at Middlebury are available from Public Safety. Some computers have been stolen when students left them unattended in public areas such as dining halls, libraries, or lounges. Most thefts can be prevented by keeping rooms locked and / or using locking kits. Homeowner insurance policies can often be extended to cover a student's computer while at College; we recommend this when possible. Check with your insurance company for details.

What is Dell's Complete Care warranty option?

CompleteCare covers most non-intentional, accidental damage including electrical surges, drops and liquid spills. Non-intentional damage that is caused by accidents will be repaired. Damage caused by intentional acts, fire, theft or loss, is not covered under CompleteCare.

Please note CompleteCare is currently not available in all states. It is not available for Dell Home Sales customers in CA, FL or NY. For more information, please see Dell's Website.

Where will I get help with my computer?

Help documents are available and assistance can be requested from the Help Desk website. If you need personalized assistance, you can contact the Help Desk via emailor by calling (802) 443-2200. In some cases, we are available to assist with hardware troubleshooting and diagnosis, but we remind you that you may want to contact the manufacturer of your computer for assistance. Additionally, there are a variety of Internet-based help resources and manufacturer's help available. Local vendors are available to perform many out of warranty computer equipment repairs.

Software and accessories

What software is available to Middlebury College Students?

This software is pre-installed on computers purchased through the College. However, it is available to all Middlebury users free of charge, whether or not you purchased a computer from us.

  • Microsoft Office: Middlebury College has licensing for Microsoft Office for all regular year Middlebury College students. You can go to the Library and check the CD out with your student ID Card.
  • Symantec AntiVirus: Middlebury College has lisencing for all regular year Middlebury College students. It is available for download at go/sav once students are on campus. It is not available for download for people who are off campus.

How do I purchase other computer accessories?

The College Store located in Proctor Hall offers very basic computing accessories, such as ethernet cables, diskettes, blank CD's, Zip disks, and surge protectors. Other accessories can often be purchased online for reasonable prices. Here are two good resources in finding reasonable prices on accessories:

  • PriceWatch.com-- an index for pricing individual computing products from ethernet cards to external CD-burners. Companies sign up to be listed and you may query Pricewatch's database of prices.
  • C-net.com-- an index for prices along with a resource for reviews of equipment. Product range is similar to PriceWatch.com.

Another local resource includes Computer Specialists Inc., located in Middlebury, Vermont. The phone number for this company is 388-1444.

Does Middlebury College directly sell or resell computers?

Middlebury College does not sell or resell computers.

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