University of Vermont

Information Technology

The Scoop FAQ

Students getting ready for the upcoming semester are asking important questions about information technology at UVM.

If you don't see the answer to your question here, please contact the UVM Computing Helpline.

What will I need to know about computing to succeed at UVM? What do I need to do?
You are responsible for:
  • activating your UVM Network ID and email address
  • checking your UVM email
  • learning how to use Mac OS X or Windows
  • learning how to use software commonly needed for classes, such as word processing, email, and the Web
  • backing up your work and personal files; such as music, digital photos, etc. A backup refers to making copies of files (such as an external hard drive or CD) so that these additional copies may be used to restore your files when, for example, your hard drive crashes or your computer is stolen.
  • setting up your computer, if you own one
  • installing software
  • basic troubleshooting
  • being an active participant if you need technical help
  • solving problems caused by software and hardware not explicitly recommended by UVM
The more you can learn before you arrive at UVM, the better off you'll be. Fortunately, most modern computer programs come with built-in help and hints; some even have automated tutors. Bookstores are stocked with self-help books. Your fellow students and teachers are often experts. And many UVM departments tailor courses to using computers in their field. Sign up for credit courses including CS 2, CS 8, BSAD 040, EDEL 11, EDSC 11, and CALS 85, or introductory computing courses offered through your major, if you need basic computing skills.
What's my Network ID?
All University of Vermont students, faculty, and staff have a Network ID (Net-ID), composed of eight letters based on your last name and initials, for example "iallen" for Ira Allen. You'll need your Network ID to use computers in the computing labs and Library, and for myUVM, UVM email, online learning, Web publishing, and file storage. You can find our what your Network ID is, and you can activate and manage your Net-ID and email, on the Web, from anywhere. Click on
Your Network ID is also known as your "Zoo account." Zoo, so named because it's a collection, a cluster, of several varied and specialized servers, is where your email is delivered, and where you can publish Web pages and save your important files. For more information about what you can do, see the account management pages.
What's my email address? How do I find someone's email address?
Your email address is based on your first and last names, like this: You can look up email addresses for students, faculty, and staff by clicking directory on the UVM home page or myUVM.
UVM uses your address for official correspondence, so don't miss out.
Why do I need both a Network ID and a PIN?
UVM is in a multi-year transition with accounts and passwords, with the goal of replacing several accounts and associated passwords with one. Almost all UVM business now uses your Network ID.
1. Your Network ID gives access to:
2. Your student ID number (starting with 95) is required if you have forgotten and need to reset your Net-ID password.
Do I need a computer?
You certainly will need to use a computer, so the big question is whether to purchase one, or to use UVM's computing labs. Although most colleges at UVM do not require computers, about 98% of students do own one. If you don't have much experience with computers, you may want to use campus computing labs while you get up to speed. But most students find having their own computer convenient and worthwhile.
Students who purchase computers through the University generally have a more positive experience than those who bring computers with them, so the University recommends purchasing from UVM's nonprofit Computer Depot, located in the UVM Bookstore. The Computer Depot offers competitive educational pricing on computers from Apple and Dell, on-campus hardware service, and the simplicity of ready-to-use Internet software and virus protection. Computers are designed for the University's complex networked environment, rather than less demanding home use.
Should I get a Mac or Windows computer?
Both are supported at UVM (Mac OS X, Windows 7 Pro/Enterprise/Ultimate). Viruses and "spyware" are generally not a problem for Mac users, though OS X is not immune to malicious software. Most students can choose whatever they're most comfortable using. Some disciplines however, including the College of Education and Social Services, the School of Business Administration and the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, have specific computer requirements or recommendations. Check with your advisor or dean's office if you are unsure.
Should I get a laptop or desktop?
Most students are choosing laptop or notebook computers. Though a comparable desktop computer typically costs less, a laptop can be used almost anywhere - in your room, on your way home, on the green, at the library, or in the student center. And it fits into your residence hall room. You can bring it with you on academic breaks and summer vacations - it's easy to carry and quick to set up. Keep in mind that a laptop computer requires careful handling to avoid loss, theft, or mechanical damage.
When can I buy a computer from UVM, and what models are available? What about software?
UVM's nonprofit Computer Depot offers computers from Apple and Dell, at competitive educational prices. The Computer Depot is the place to look first for software, too -- you'll find great academic discounts as a UVM student.
If I bring a computer with me, are there minimum requirements?
Some may tend to think that first-year students "only write papers" and consequently can get by with an older computer, as long as it can run a word processing program. In fact, that's not true; student academic work today is much more advanced than that, and requires a suitable computer. One meeting the minimum specifications should be sufficient for students beginning an undergraduate program.
If I bring a computer with me, how do I get on the Internet?
Be sure your computer has a working Ethernet network port. (Some computers may require a USB Ethernet adapter.)
See Prepare Your Computer for the Campus Network for several important steps you must follow before coming to campus. If you prepare your computer carefully for life on the UVM network, you'll be able to register and get online quickly. Note that Windows computers must run up-to-date antivirus software, provided by UVM at no extra charge.
When you arrive on campus, check for any additional instructions at your residence hall's main desk.
How can I protect my computer against viruses, worms, and other "malware"?
There are important precautions you should take before and after you bring your computer to campus.
  1. Before you come to campus, protect your computer -- especially if it runs Windows -- with the latest security updates: Windows / OS X. Set it to apply future updates automatically if it is not already.
  2. Install UVM's site-licensed virus protection software before you come to campus.
  3. Follow the additional steps listed in Prepare Your Computer for the Campus Network.
  4. Use UVM's email system, which protects against viruses (and can stop SPAM, too).
  5. Don't install free programs that download or share music or videos, such as KaZaA and Limewire. In addition to putting you at legal risk, these programs seriously mess with your computer. If you have them installed, use a malware removal tool to cleanse your computer.
How do I protect myself from spam and viruses in email?
UVM automatically removes viruses from your UVM email, and you can choose to have spam automatically routed to a "spam" mailbox so that it doesn't clutter up your "in" mailbox. To take advantage of these features, go to the account management pages at
What is the minimum supported operating system (OS) I should have on my computer? What about Linux (Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, etc.), Chromebooks, and the like?

Our computing support team is proficient in helping with Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion" and later, and Microsoft Windows 7 Professional and higher. We may not be able to offer you the same level of support if your computer runs an older version of OS X or Windows, a Home edition, or a different operating system such as Linux or Chrome OS.

Furthermore, older versions of OS X and Windows—especially those no longer getting security updates—will not provide sufficient protections against malware, viruses, and other security threats, and therefore will not be able to use the campus network.

What software will I need?
UVM recommends and supports Mac OS X and Windows applications for virus protection, word processing, presentations, and much more. For details, please see our software pages,

All matriculated undergraduate and graduate students are entitled to a no-cost download of Microsoft Office 365 through Student Advantage. This package will be available to you on up to five (5) devices while you're an active student enrolled at UVM and seeking a degree. To obtain your copy of Office 365, you may go here:

Other software titles are available from the UVM Bookstore Computer Depot at educational discounts.

Is there wireless networking?
UVM's wireless (Wi-Fi) network covers most of campus, including all residence halls and most buildings. Key areas include the Bailey-Howe Library, the Waterman Cafe, some classrooms, and throughout the Davis student center. For families and visitors, you can create guest wireless accounts. For details, see:
I get space on UVM's server to store my academic work and other files, don't I? How much space can I consume?
We expect students' use to go up and down as they work on various academic projects, so we don't set hard quotas. We don't look at content, but if someone has hundreds of megabytes with a lot of .mp3 extensions, or a bunch of downloaded software installers, we would seek their cooperation in moving files to a more appropriate location. Please contact if you need to store over 2 GB for any length of time. We also provide a scratch area, separate from one's home directory, for temporary storage of large files.
Is there a limit to how much e-mail I can keep on the server?
Only your "Inbox" mailbox has a quota; there's no limit on the size of your other mailboxes (folders). The quota on UVM email Inboxes, which is where mail is delivered and where it stays until you move it to another folder or delete it, is 100 MB per user. The maximum size limit on individual email messages is 10MB. To avoid filling up your Inbox, simply move messages to other mail folders after you've read them, or delete them.
Email software setup instructions are online in the email section of the Computing Web pages.
I've heard that there are many different ways to check my UVM e-mail. Which one should I use?
It's essential to check your UVM email, since your instructors, student groups, and other students use your UVM address to communicate with you. Most people check their mail using one of the following UVM supported programs:
For set-up information and more options, see the, and the General Settings page.
When is computing support and help provided? Where?
When you can't solve a computing problem on your own, and you can't find the information you need in the guides and built-in help pages that came with your computer or your software, you'll be able to submit a help request or call UVM's computer Helpline. If they can't resolve your problem, they can designate a specialist to work with you. In addition, we can provide hardware service for computers sold through the University.
The Helpline is staffed Monday - Friday and some weekends. Be sure to leave a message with your name, Network ID (NetID), and current phone number if you get voicemail when you call the Helpline.
Drop-in help is available at the Computer Depot Clinic, 200 Davis Center (2nd floor of the Bookstore), weekdays during specified hours. No appointment needed, but be sure to bring your computer (monitors and keyboards not necessary), power supply (for laptops), and software discs.
For more information, including phone numbers, hours, and our online help request system, please see the Computing Help pages.
If I'm in a triple room, how can all three of us get on the network?
All student rooms have wireless (Wi-Fi) and two wired (Ethernet) connections. If all three students in a triple room want to use an Ethernet connection, you can pick up a "mini switch" from your complex main desk so each person has a network jack.
What effect does the network firewall have?
See this ETS news item.
Where can I buy an Ethernet cable?
The Computer Depot in the UVM Bookstore carries Ethernet cables.
I'm a Business Administration student, so does all of this information apply to me? Who can help?
Please see the School of Business Administration's web sites:
You may also email BSAD Computing Help:
I'm reading this document in print form. Where can I find the on-line version?

Last modified August 19 2014 01:20 PM

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