Many hardware and software problems on students' personally-owned laptops and desktops can be diagnosed and repaired right here on campus. See OIT Walk-in Center for details.
If your computer is under warranty, first contact the OIT Walk-in Center or visit the manufacturer's support website. If you're not sure what to search for on the website, contact their technical support department via email, chat or telephone. Ask if they provide on-site repairs. See:
Even if your warranty has expired, check the vendor's support website. Many have databases and free user support forums that are useful in resolving problems. See:
Many non-hardware repairs can be prevented and performance can be improved with regular maintenance and care.
- Visit NC State Antivirus Resources for a free copy of antivirus software, provided to all current students, faculty, and staff for their personal computers.
- Make sure that it stays updated.
- Perform scans at least monthly.
- Software updates
- Keep all your software up-to-date.
- For Windows, turn on Automatic Updates.
- For Mac OS X, make sure that Software Update notifications are enabled.
- Always install updates as soon as they are available.
- Some programs, such as Mozilla Firefox, use pop-up messages to notify you about updates.
- Remove unused software
- Review your installed software occasionally.
- Consider uninstalling any that you no longer use.
- If programs have components that run even when you're not using them, uninstalling them often improves your computer's performance.
- Maintain security
- Restrict access to your computer and use it in a secure manner.
- See Safe Computing at NC State and ResNet Security.
- Back up files on a regular schedule
- Store your files on a medium separate from your hard drive (e.g., CD-RW, external hard drive, USB thumb drive, on-line disk storage service).
- You can copy files by hand or use a backup utility.
- Consider disk imaging
- If you have advanced backup needs, consider a disk image imaging product (e.g., Acronis, Symantec Ghost, Retrospect, SuperDuper!, Apple Disk Utility or Time Machine).
- Use it on a scheduled basis or whenever you change your hardware or software configuration.
- If you're willing to learn how to use one, a backup and disk image utility can save time and effort if you have to restore your computer system or files.
- Store information securely
- Store your original software packages, licensing information, backup files and disk images in a safe place.
- You may also wish to create copies of installation discs, in case your originals become lost or damaged.