University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Getting started with tech for students

  5 minutes to read | Last updated July 26, 2019

Welcome to UW‑Madison! We’re here to help you with technology so that you can get the most out of your time on campus.

Below you will find some guides to help you navigate all the resources available to you.

You can also visit https://kb.wisc.edu/helpdesk/ for information on working at the DoIT Help Desk, documentation for commonly asked questions, and to get timely support updates.

Top 5 Things to do before you get to campus...

Once you arrive...

Tech recommendations for your major

  • College of Engineering

    Some courses in the CoE will require the use of a laptop for class use as well as for homework. If you already own a laptop, you can certainly start with that one. Chances are that it will be adequate for your first semester or two of classes. You will then have a better idea if you will need a more powerful machine. 

    If you plan on purchasing a computer, here are some recommended specification to consider:

    • Intel Core Processor, Core i5 or i7
    • Windows 10 Pro, Educational or Enterprise (Home and ‘to-go’ are not recommended)
    • Display Resolution of 1366×768 or better
    • 8 GB RAM (minimum) or 16 GB RAM (recommended)
    • 256GB SSD (minimum) or 512GB SSD (recommended)
    • A good warranty (two to four years) with coverage for accidental damage

    Recommended models:

    • Dell XPS 13
    • Dell XPS 15
    • Dell Precision
  • Wisconsin School of Business

    BBA students are highly encouraged to bring a Windows-enabled laptop to be successful in the program.   If you plan on purchasing a computer, here are some recommended specifications to consider:

    • Intel Core Processor, Core i5 or i7
    • Windows 10 Pro, Educational or Enterprise (Home and ‘to-go’ are not recommended)
    • 8 GB RAM (minimum)
    • 256GB SSD (minimum)
    • An extended warranty (two to four years) with coverage for accidental damage

    Recommended models:

  • School of Pharmacy

    Students are not required to purchase a new laptop computer, but all Doctor of Pharmacy students are required to have access to a Windows or Macintosh laptop during class with the following hardware specifications.

    1. Processor: Intel Core Processor, Core i3 or higher (i5 or i7 recommended)
    2. Memory: 4 GB (8 GB or higher recommended)
    3. Hard Drive: 128 GB or higher (256 GB SSD or higher recommended)
    4. Warranty: Two to four years (recommended)
    5. HDMI output or have an adapter for HDMI output if you want to project in the classrooms with your laptop (recommended)

    Recommended models:

    • Dell XPS 13
    • Macbook Air
    • Macbook Pro

    Additional requirements to review and complete when you arrive on campus.

    If your laptop is not working, you can check out a laptop from UW InfoLabs Equipment Checkout System

  • Law School

    Although not required, a laptop is strongly recommended.  Exams can be taken on laptops using special exam software (both Mac and Windows are supported), and many students find using laptops to take notes helpful. Below are the minimum recommended specifications:

    1. Processor: Intel Core Processor, Core i3 or higher
    2. Memory: 8 GB or higher
    3. Storage: 256 GB SSD or higher
    4. Warranty: Two to four years

    The Law School does not have specific recommendations regarding Windows or Mac laptops.  They recommend using what you like best as there are no compatibility issues with the software they use.  The Law Library also provides students exclusive access to a computer lab.

    Recommended models:

    • Dell XPS 13
    • Macbook Air
    • Macbook Pro
  • Computer Sciences

    MacBook Pro 15 with Touchbar –  Quad-Core Intel Core i7 | 16GB | 512GB SSD | Mac OS 

    Dell XPS 15 Non-Touch – Intel Dual Core i7 | 16GB | 512GB SSD | Windows 10

  • School of Nursing

    MacBook Pro 13 – Intel Dual-Core i5 | 8GB | 256GB SSD | Mac OS

    Dell XPS 13 – Intel Core i5 | 8GB | 256GB SSD | Windows 10

  • School of Journalism and Mass Communication

    We are currently hard at work to verify our recommendations with your school. In the meantime, here are some recommended minimum laptop and software options, and essential items that will get you through your time here on campus:

    • CPU: Intel Core i5
    • Memory: 8 GB
    • Hard Drive: 256GB Solid State Drive
    • Warranty: 3 or 4 Year Accidental Damage coverage
  • School of Medicine and Public Health

    MacBook Pro 13 – Intel Dual-Core i5 | 8GB | 256GB SSD | Mac OS

    Dell XPS 13 Non-Touch – Intel Core i5 | 8GB | 256GB SSD | Windows 10

  • College of Letters & Science

    MacBook Pro 13 – Intel Dual-Core i5 | 8GB | 256GB SSD | Mac OS

    Dell XPS 13 – Intel Core i5 | 8GB | 256GB  SSD | Windows 10

  • School of Human Ecology

    MacBook Pro 13 – Intel Dual-Core i5 | 8GB | 256GB SSD | Mac OS

    Dell XPS 13 – Intel Core i5 | 8GB | 256GB  SSD | Windows 10

  • School of Education

    We are currently hard at work to verify our recommendations with your school. In the meantime, here are some recommended minimum laptop and software options, and essential items that will get you through your time here on campus:

    • CPU: Intel Core i5
    • Memory: 8 GB
    • Hard Drive: 256GB Solid State Drive
    • Warranty: 3 or 4 Year Accidental Damage coverage
  • College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

    MacBook Pro 13 – Intel Dual-Core i5 | 8GB | 256GB SSD | Mac OS

    Dell XPS 13 – Intel Core i5 | 8GB | 256GB  SSD | Windows 10

  • School of Veterinary Medicine

    We are currently hard at work to verify our recommendations with your school. In the meantime, here are some recommended minimum laptop and software options, and essential items that will get you through your time here on campus:

    • CPU: Intel Core i5
    • Memory: 8 GB
    • Hard Drive: 256GB Solid State Drive
    • Warranty: 3 or 4 Year Accidental Damage coverage
  • Communication Arts

    MacBook Pro 13 – Intel Dual-Core i5 | 8GB | 256GB SSD | Mac OS

    Dell XPS 13 – Intel Core i5 | 8GB | 256GB  SSD | Windows 10

  • Arts (Graphic Design, Photography, 3D Animation)

    We are currently hard at work to verify our recommendations with your school. In the meantime, here are some recommended minimum laptop and software options, and essential items that will get you through your time here on campus:

    • CPU: Intel Core i5
    • Memory: 8 GB
    • Hard Drive: 256GB Solid State Drive
    • Warranty: 3 or 4 Year Accidental Damage coverage
  • General Recommendations

    Not sure which major? Here are some recommended minimum laptop and software options, and essential items that will get you through your time here on campus:

    • CPU: Intel Core i5
    • Memory: 8 GB
    • Hard Drive: 256GB Solid State Drive
    • Warranty: 3 or 4 Year Accidental Damage coverage

DoIT Help Desk

The Help Desk is here to help. Connect with us at our in-person location or on the phone, email or chat.

608-264-HELP (4357) | Chat | Email

Computer Sciences
1210 W Dayton Street
608-264-DOIT (3648)
M-F: 7:45am-5pm
(hours may change depending on time of year)