Important questions and answers about information technology at UVM with a student focus.
If you don't see the answer to your question here, please contact the UVM Computing Help Line.
Common Questions and Answers
What will I need to know about computing at UVM?
You are responsible for:
- activating your UVM Network ID and email address
- checking your UVM Email
- learning how to use macOS 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 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 email address? How do I find someone else's email address?
Your email address is based on your first and last names, like this: Myron.Kapoodle@uvm.edu, or your NetID, like this: firstname.lastname@example.org.
UVM uses your uvm.edu 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.
- Your Network ID gives access to:
- Blackboard online courses
- Email with virus protection and SPAM management
- UVM Directory (edit some info)
- Private file storage on UVM's server
- Computer labs
- Library computers
- Cyber Café computers
- Web publishing
- UVM-only Web resources like volume-licensed software
- UVM Wi-Fi network
- Course registration
- Financial information and transactions
- Your student ID number (starting with 95) is required if you have forgotten your NetID password and need to reset it.
Do I need a computer?
Access to a computer is critical for our students' success, both in and out of class. Beginning Fall 2020, all UVM students are required to have a laptop that meets the minimum specifications. Please note that Chromebooks, iPads, and Android Tablets are not recommended as a primary computing device.
UVM's computer labs provide access to a computer if you don't have one.
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 Techstore, located in the UVM Bookstore. The Techstore offers competitive educational pricing on computers from Apple and Dell that are fully serviceable by our on-campus Computer Clinic and fully compatible with the University's network environment.
Should I get a Mac or Windows computer?
Both are supported at UVM. Viruses and "spyware" are generally not a problem for Mac users, though the macOS is not immune to malicious software. Most students can choose whatever they're most comfortable using. Some disciplines, however, have either specific computer requirements or recommendations, for example:
- the College of Education and Social Services' Laptop Recommendation
- the School of Business Administration's BSAD Mobile Computing Requirement
- the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences' CEMS Computer Recommendations
Check with your advisor or dean's office if you are unsure.
Where can I buy a computer from UVM? What about software?
The UVM Bookstore's nonprofit Techstore offers computers from Apple and Dell at competitive educational prices. The Techstore is the place to look first for software, too—you'll find great academic discounts as a UVM student.
- UVM Techstore
- (802) 656-3067
- 3rd Floor Davis Center in the Bookstore
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 port or Wi-Fi network adapter, whether built-in or via USB.
Prepare Your Computer for the Campus Network 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.
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"?
- Before you come to campus, protect your computer -- especially if it runs Windows -- with the latest security updates: Windows / macOS. Set it to apply future updates automatically if it does not already.
- Follow the additional steps listed in Prepare Your Computer for the Campus Network.
- Use UVM's email system
- UVM automatically removes viruses from your UVM email and has a robust anti-spam filter that automatically routes spam to a Junk mailbox so that it doesn't clutter up your inbox.
- To set options for these features, go to our Network ID & Account Management site.
- Don't install free programs that download or share music or videos, such as uTorrent. While torrents can be used to distribute content legally, using them to share and download copyrighted materials puts you at legal risk and can deliver malicious software to your computer.
What is the minimum supported operating system (OS) I should have on my computer?
We recommend the most up-to-date version of macOS or Windows that your computer will run. See our minimum specifications for more info.
Our computing support team may not be able to offer you the same level of support if your computer runs an older version of macOS or Windows.
Furthermore, older versions of OS X and Windows—especially those no longer getting security updates—will not provide sufficient protection against malware, viruses, and other security threats, and therefore will not be able to use the campus network.
What about Linux (Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, openSUSE, etc.), Chromebooks, and the like?
Chromebooks, iPads, and Android Tablets are not recommended as a primary computing device.
Our computing support team is proficient in helping with macOS and Microsoft Windows. We may not be able to offer you the same level of support if your computer runs a different operating system such as Linux or Chrome OS.
What software will I need?
UVM recommends and supports macOS and Windows applications for collaboration & communication, word processing, presentations, and much more. For details, please see our Software Information page.
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. For installation instructions, see our Office 365 – Licensing, Installation, and Activation Knowledge Base article.
Other software titles are available from the UVM Techstore at educational discounts.
How much space do I get on UVM's servers to store my academic work and other files?
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 many gigabytes of data with ".mp3" extensions, or numerous downloaded software installers, we would seek their cooperation in moving files to a more appropriate location. Please contact email@example.com 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 the temporary storage of large files.
Is there a limit to how much email I can keep on the server?
With Microsoft Exchange, each user has 50GB (50,000MB) of email storage with no specific limit on the size of your inbox.
Which way should I check my UVM email?
Since people's tastes differ, the one you should use is the one you're most comfortable with. You don't need to limit yourself to one method and can use what fits your needs at any given time. For example, using Outlook on your computer and the native mail app on your phone. These are the supported programs:
- UVM Outlook Web App (OWA)
- Outlook for PC
- Outlook for Mac
- Apple Mail
- iOS Mail
- Android Mail
Setup information for the above mail apps is in our Add a UVM email account to your device Knowledge Base article.
When and Where is computing support and help provided?
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 can submit an online help request, call UVM's computing Help Line at (802) 656-2604, or bring your device to our Computer Clinic. If they can't resolve your problem, they can designate a specialist to work with you. In addition, we can provide certified hardware service for Apple and many Dell models.
The Help Line 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 Help Line.
In-person help is available at the Computer Clinic, located in I-117 Ira Allen (1st floor, near the CATCard Service Center and the Billings-Ira Allen Lecture Hall), weekdays during specified hours. No appointment needed, but be sure to bring your computer (monitors and keyboards not necessary), power supply (for laptops), and an external hard drive (if you have one).
For more information, including phone numbers and hours, please see the Tech Team's Contact Us page.
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?
Where can I buy an Ethernet cable?
If my school has its own computer requirements, does this information apply to me?
Yes, much of it still does, though your school may have additional requirements and recommendations: