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Equipment Requirements

Frequently Asked Questions

DoesSiena have a computer purchase program?
Yes. See our Laptop Purchase Program

I don't plan to use the purchase program.  What computer do you recommend?
Any new computer will work on Siena's network (FRANet).  Any computer from a major manufacturer should be fine. Computers are a commodity, so what you need to look for are things like price, support, and service. As a general rule when buying a new computer, get the one with the most memory (both disk size and RAM) that you can afford.  Older computers (Windows XP and above) are also fine if you don't want to get a new one.

Computers on campus currently use Windows XP, but we will be adding Vista, so it will work fine. You are welcome to use a Macintosh, but some network features may not be available. 

You will need special software on your computer: antivirus/antispyware and Word Processing (Office 2007 for the PC and Office 2008 for the Mac.

Notebook or desktop computer?
Notebooks (also called laptops) are generally more convenient and we see students preferring their portability.  Our standard computer is a notebook, but it's your choice. Most students do bring notebooks to Siena.

What operating system?
We are set up to accommodate Windows XP. Windows Vista will also work fine. Other versions of Windows  will probably work on the system, but we cannot offer support  We strongly urge users not to install Windows 2000 or linux, due to the technical knowledge required.  
Macintosh computers will work on the system.  There may be some minor lack of functionality with older operating systems, but current Macs should be fine. 

What hardware needs to be included with the computer?
The most important item is a Network Interface Card (also called an Ethernet Card). These are standard on most new computers.  If your computer doesn't have one, they are available at any computer/office supply store for about $15-30 for a desktop computer and $30-60 for a notebook computer.  

What about additional equipment?
You will need a network cable to connect between the network card and the Internet port. These are never packaged with new computers; you will have to buy one.  Note: new computers usually come with phone cables for the modem.  These may fit in a network jack, but they do not work.

What about wireless?
A wireless card is optional.  Wireless access is currently available in many buildings on campus (see map).  Wireless will be added to other buildings as time goes on, but the residence halls will continue with wired connections.  A desktop computer will not need a wireless card (unless you're going to drag it around campus), but you may want one on your laptop.

Do I need a printer?
You will need one to print from your computer.  Any type is fine, but you may want to look into an all-in-one printer -- the scanning and copying ability is very convenient.

What software do I need?
We require that all computers on the network have up-to-date antivirus software running.  New computers do come with antivirus, but this expires after three months.  Either pay for a subscription or remove it and install another antivirus. Computers without updated antivirus software may have their connection to the Internet turned off.  Siena has links to free antivirus software that are all as good as what came with your computer.
Since spyware is the #1 reason why students have problems computing, we also recommend you have spyware protection software on your computer. In addition, you need to install Windows updates as they are released.

What about word processing and other software?
Siena uses Microsoft Office 2007 products, with Microsoft Word 2007 used for word processing.  Office 2003 is compatible with Office 2007. 

What about a memory stick?
Memory sticks (also called flash drives or thumb drives, as well as other names) are often sold as an option on new computers, replacing floppy drives. They can be used in labs, so you may want to get a one. Documents can be saved to the student's web folders to be available in labs, so you don't need a floppy or a memory stick to transfer files.

What is a Network Interface Card (NIC)?
A NIC — also called an Ethernet card (see right) — is installed on your computer to allow you to have a direct connection to a computer network. NICs are not standard on all Windows PCs, but many new computers do come with them already installed.  Macintoshes do come with one already installed. 
If you're buying a new computer without a card, ask the dealer to install it.  You can also install the card yourself -- it isn't hard, though those uncomfortable with working on their computer may prefer to have someone else do it.