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ITS FAQ - NSE 2023 (Branch campuses)

Frequently asked technology questions for students planning to attend classes on the Richland or Baraboo Sauk County branch campuses

To see information specific to the main Platteville campus, see ITS FAQ - NSE 2023 (Platteville campus)
Q. What is the ITS Knowledge Base?
A. The ITS Knowledge Base contains information and guides for many campus systems and procedures.You can access the Knowledge Base through Pioneer Portal at Search your term at the top of the page, then select the KnowledgeBase tab to view all results. 

Computer Recommendations

Q. What kind of computer do I need? I am a/an [insert area of study here] major.
A. It is less about your major and more upon how you intend to use your computer. If you use computer labs or virtual machines for major-specific programs, the requirements for your personal device will be standard. ITS maintains a virtual desktop environment that students can connect to anywhere there is an internet connection.  The virtual desktop allows you to use campus software on your personal device as if you are on a campus computer.
Suggested generic laptop specs
 Processor  RAM  Operating System  Storage Space
 Intel i5 or equivalent
(AMD Ryzen 3)
 8 GB  Windows, Mac, Linux  500 GB+

If you need special software installed on your own personal computer, there will be special requirements. This is primarily a concern for students in STEM programs. That software will require Windows or a workaround, as many do not offer a Mac version.

The College of EMS provides additional computer recommendations for their students at

Q. General recommendations for computers (desktops, laptops, etc.)?
A. It all depends how you will use the device. A laptop is a portable option that still lets you use all the standard programs. A tablet is good for taking notes, but it won't be able to support most campus software. As for manufacturer, every company makes both bad and good computers. It is less about who's making them and more about quality and price of components. 
Q. Windows or Mac?
A. More often than not, this depends on personal preference. If you are in an engineering program, see the question below about specific major needs for more information. The ITS Help Desk supports both Windows and Mac OS, and there is a case for both. In the end, it is really up to you.
Q. Solid-State Drive (SSD) or Hard Disk Drive (HDD)?
A. SSDs are faster than regular drives and can change boot-up time from around a minute to five seconds. However, a solid-state drive provides much less storage space for your dollar. With a regular hard drive, you can get a lot of storage cheaply, but it will be slow in comparison. If you want speed from your computer, we recommend you get the solid state. If you decide you need more storage later, you can get an external drive. 

Additional Hardware

Q. Do I need a printer?
A. No, there are many printing stations all over campus. Each student is allotted $3 in printing funds per fall and spring semester for printing. Accounts are charged $0.04/page for black and white and $0.10/page for color. Charges over $3 are the student's responsibility. Unused allotments do not carry over to the next term.  See full details at Policy - Student Printing Policy and Procedures 


Q. What software is available to me as a student?
A. As part of your Office 365 account, you have access to five free MS Office licenses to use on personal devices as long as you are enrolled at UW-Platteville. New students get access to their email accounts in late spring, prior to registration.
General campus lab software can also be reached using the virtual desktop on your personal computer.
Q. How do I access the virtual desktop?
A. Instructions for both Windows and Mac are posted in the ITS Knowledge Base. Go to Pioneer Portal at Search "virtual" at the top of the page, then select the KnowledgeBase tab to view all results or follow this link: Virtual Desktop - FAQ

Cell Service

Q. What cell service provider should I have?
A. In our experience Verizon and US Cellular services work well in our geographic area.

Student Employment

Q. Do you hire students?
A. Yes, we do! We typically hire in spring for the following summer and academic year.  Watch for posters, check out our Facebook page (UW-Platteville ITS Help Desk), and monitor the Handshake website.

Getting Tech Support

Q. How can I get in contact with you?
A. Contact the ITS Help Desk via phone or email

Submit a report through the Tech Support button on Pioneer Portal.
Phone: 608.342.1400
Website for guests:
Website for students (login required):

Hours of Operation
Monday through Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: Closed
Visit us! If you are in the Platteville area, you are welcome to stop by the ITS Help Desk on the 1st floor of the Karrmann Library on the main campus during business hours.

If you have questions, please contact the ITS Help Desk at 608.342.1400 or  You may also visit the Help Desk on the first floor of the Karrmann Library.

See Also:

Keywords:frequently asked questions new student registration apple pc computers recommendations router software specs knowledge base virtual desktop cell service printer hiring hire students experience nsr nse tech support help desk ITS   Doc ID:102327
Owner:Deb M.Group:UW Platteville
Created:2020-05-26 07:35 CDTUpdated:2023-01-19 16:37 CDT
Sites:UW Platteville
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