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Computer requirements and recommendations

A laptop computer is required for your adacemic courses at Johnson. CNET can offer some assistance in choosing the right brand and model. Apple, Dell, and HP offer educational discounts on their computers and can be accessed through the Cornell Store.  Johnson Technology Services is most experienced with Dell computers, so to get the most effective and efficient troubleshooting service, you may want to consider purchasing a Dell.  Other manufacturers introduce differences that may require additional time from Technology Services to support your computer.

Johnson's computer recommendations

  • Hardware: A Laptop less than 2 years old
  • Operating system: Windows 7 (or later) or Mac OS X with Windows 7 Boot Camp or Parallels Media: Many students find that a USB flash drive is convenient for file transfers, but it is not required.
  • Wireless capability: 802.11 b/g/n

Johnson's Smart Phone recommendations

Many students find using a Smart Phone at Johnson to be convenient; however, a smart phone is not required. The following is Johnson’s phone recommendation if you are considering a new purchase.

  • iPhone - Apple's iPhone is simple to use and simple to configure for Cornell email. Cornell provides a "profile" to download, asks pertinent information, and completes the setup for you.
  • Android - Android phones, depending on the OS version and manufacturer, give various results for ease of setup. Johnson provides the information necessary to complete your setup; however, Androids may require a more manual entry of configuration settings.
  • Windows - Windows phones are simple to set up at Cornell, but they do not have the advantage of the App Markets available for iPhone and Android.

Software requirements

Microsoft Office Microsoft Office for PC is required for some courses, and Johnson recommends Microsoft Office 2010. An academic license can be purchased from the Cornell store. If you choose to not purchase Microsoft Office, or are using a Mac, Johnson has public PCs available for you to complete coursework.

Anti-virus and anti-spyware software
Cornell requires that your computer has virus protection software installed. Some computers come with trial software, but Cornell and Microsoft provide fully functional anti-virus for free. Please see our "Configure Your Laptop" section on JConnect's Laptop Configuration page.

Other recommended features and options

Laptops are easily susceptible to damage. The best protection for these occurrences is an accidental damage warranty. Many computer companies and personal insurance providers offer this protection at the time of purchase. Purchasing this warranty will protect you in the event that you accidentally damage your laptop.

Printers High-speed, high-resolution, wireless black & white and color laser printers are available in Sage Hall. Owning your own printer may be both convenient and affordable, but is not required.

Security for a laptop Since laptops are easily portable, they are a target for theft. You might want to consider insurance to protect your investment. Purchasing a security cable for quick trips away from your computer is also recommended.

Frequently asked questions

Q: I am not technically inclined, so what is the easiest way for me to be sure I have the computer I need? 
A: You may find it helpful to look at several computer vendors' websites on the Internet to become more familiar with the models, options, and prices available. CNET has an excellent guide to buying Laptops.  Simply search for Laptop Buying Guide on CNET.

Q: Should I buy my laptop from the Cornell Store?

A: Purchasing from the Cornell store can be done if you do not have the time for shipping or do not want to pay the additional shipping costs associated with purchasing directly from the manufacturer.

Q: What if I already own a computer?
A: If you have a Laptop computer that does not meet our recommendations, you may want to upgrade it as appropriate. If your computer is more than 3 years old, you may want to consider replacement. If its hardware meets or exceeds our recommendation, you may want to consider upgrading your operating system and Office Suite.

Q: I am running an older version of Windows (Millennium/Win2K/XP). What do I need to do?
A: These Operating Systems are prone to crashing, freezing, and are becoming limited in support. If your current Laptop computer does not have the capacity to run the recommended Operating System, you should consider a new Laptop. Older Operating Systems on older hardware have greater chance of crashing at crucial moments.

Q: How long does it take to get my computer ready to do everything I will need?
A: By following our self-help instructions, you can have your computer and Microsoft Office properly configured in less than 1 hour.

Q: Should I use the same computer I use for my job?
A: If you do bring your business Laptop to use in the school's program, be aware of these potentially limiting factors:

  • School network settings often conflict with corporate requirements.
  • Operating Systems updates are often not allowed.
  • Microsoft Office updates are often not allowed
  • The installation of third party software is often not allowed.
  • Security settings often conflict with school requirements.
  • The user is often not the administrator, which means our support team may not be able to troubleshoot your computer.

Q: Are Macs fully compatible at Johnson?
A: There are some software packages required for coursework at Johnson that are not compatible with Mac OS; however, you may install a copy of Windows on your Mac, purchasable at the Cornell Store, to meet your needs.  Johnson also has public and classroom computers that can be used.

Q: What cell phone/PDA works best?
A: We run Microsoft Outlook with an Exchange server for your email, calendar, contacts, tasks, etc. Users have found that iPhone, Android, and Windows Mobile all work well. Email access via BlackBerry is not supported in our environment.