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Computer & Technology

What is Residential Computing Services (ResCom) and how does it help me?

ResCom is the computer technical support service that Penn State Housing offers, free of charge, to students residing in the residence halls at University Park, excluding White Course apartments. ResCom operates help desks located in three of the commons areas. Help desks are open during evening hours 7 days per week, allowing students to make an appointment for in-room, one-on-one service as needed.

Technicians are available to assist you with technical issues you may encounter while using your computer or internet connection, including virus and spyware removal, software installation, and troubleshooting hardware issues. ResCom acts as the liaison between you and other departments to explain and resolve issues you may encounter from those departments

Do I need a computer? If so, what kind should I bring?

Although Penn State does not require students to have a computer, it is highly recommended that you bring one to campus. The University provides computer labs with workstations using all three major operating systems, as well as many expensive and necessary programs students need access to while achieving their degree from the University. It is recommended that you check with your academic college for computer recommendations or specifications. Any computer with a built-in wired Ethernet networking connection will work in the residence halls. Macintosh Air and some PC Ultrabook computers do not come with built-in Ethernet. You will need to purchase a USB Ethernet adapter from a computer store or online before you will be able to use a wired connection in the room. Wireless is not available in student rooms at University Park campus but is available elsewhere around campus. Visit the Rescom website for detailed step-by-step instructions on how to connect to the residence hall wireless network, which is available to all residential students.

Where can I find wireless access areas?

Wireless is available in most buildings on campus, housing commons buildings, and residence halls. For more information on how to connect to the ITS-provided wireless networks and a map of all their locations, visit Penn State Wireless.

How do I get my computer connected to the Internet in my residence hall room?

Visit the ResCom website for detailed step-by-step instructions on how to connect to the residence hall network. On the Rescom home page, follow the link “Getting Connected.” To avoid delays in connecting, you must register your computer’s “wired only” Ethernet adapter address at least one business day before arrival on campus. An active Penn State Access Account User ID and password will be required to register (you will know your Access Account is active once you can login to the Web Access screen on the ResCom website.) Each wireless capable device must be configured for the wireless network separately. To ensure proper connectivity to the network, ResCom will provide instructions for setting up each device during arrival. Note: the PSU wireless network requires enterprise-level authentication to connect. For this reason, a few devices are not compatible with the wireless network. A list of known unsupported devices is available on the ResCom website.

Do I need an antivirus program on my computer?

University policy AD-20 states that students are responsible for their computers and the activities that occur on their computers. Additionally, they are responsible to maintain their computer by keeping it patched, updated, and protected from viruses, including Macintosh computers. Penn State provides Symantec Endpoint Protection, free of charge, for all students. This free antivirus software is available through Penn State’s Information Technology Services. Since most antivirus software that comes with new computers is a limited trial version, it is recommend students install the Penn State provided Symantec Corporate Antivirus to protect their computer. DO NOT install more than one anti-virus program on a computer at the same time. Uninstall an old version first then install the new program.

What are my computer responsibilities?

There are several things you should do to keep your computer secure:

  • Each week, install all critical updates from Microsoft Windows Update. Some require a reboot before installing more. Other updates may be optional.
  • Use a personal firewall of choice on the computer.
  • Never provide a username and password through email if requested. Call the department or company requesting the information for verification that the information is needed and why it is needed.
  • Do not open e-mail with attachments unless you know the person that sent you the e-mail.
  • For more student responsibilities please visit the Parents and Families page on the ResCom website.

What should I know about downloading music, movies, and software from the Internet?

It is important to remember that it is illegal to copy or transfer copyrighted material—and that any user who does so may face University or legal sanctions.

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