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ITS FAQ - NSR 2020 (Branch campuses)

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

Q. Solid-state hard drives or regular hard drives?

A. Solid-state hard drives are easily the fastest 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. 

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 or Chromebook is good for taking notes, but they 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 the price range. 

Q. Mac or  Windows?

A. More often than not, this depends on personal preference. If you are in the 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. What kind of computer do I need? I am a/an [insert area of study here] major.

A. It depends on 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  Mac, Windows, 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 engineering. That software will require Windows or a workaround, as many do not offer a Mac version. 

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 it at The mobile version, KB4U, is available free for Android or iOS.  Tech support at your fingertips!

Q. How do I access the virtual desktop?

A. Instructions for both Windows and Macs are posted in the ITS Knowledge Base. Go to and search "virtual" or just click here.

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. Additionally, you are eligible to purchase software at reduced prices through the WISC Software Catalog. Details are posted online at

Q. What cell service provider should I have?

A. In our experience Verizon and US Cellular service works well in our geographic area.

Q. Do I need a printer?

A. No, there are many printing stations all over campus. Each student is allotted $3 in Passport 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. 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.

Q. How can I get in contact with you?

A. The ITS Help Desk is located on the 1st floor of the Karrmann Library on the Platteville campus. Stop by, or feel free to contact us by phone or email.

Phone: 608.342.1400

Academic year hours
Monday through Thursday: 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

In addition, a lab consultant is available by phone or email for limited hours in the early morning and evening as well as on the weekend. Check the Help Desk website for specific times.

Summer hours
Monday through Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: Closed

Keywords:frequently asked questions new student registration apple pc computers recommendations router software specs knowledge base virtual desktop cell service printer hiring hire students   Doc ID:102327
Owner:Deb M.Group:UW Platteville
Created:2020-05-26 06:35 CSTUpdated:2020-07-14 10:01 CST
Sites:UW Platteville
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