Student Laptop Support
Computing and Information Services at Durham University has over 20,000 users to support, both staff and students and a finite amount of resource to do it. To make sure that you know exactly what we can and cannot do for you, we’ve pulled together some information particularly relevant if you’re having problems with your own computer (laptop or desktop).
Whilst it’s inevitable that sometimes things just go wrong, the best thing is to take some simple steps to reduce the chances of avoidable problems which could damage your computer.
- Make sure you have one of the recommended antivirus and antispyware packages on your machine. THAT’S NOT ALL - make sure you download the regular updates which the supplier (e.g. Norton, Kaspersky, McAfee, etc) send you and get into the habit of scanning your machine on a regular basis. We wouldn’t recommend you take a chance and ‘learn the hard way’ – you risk losing precious work, music, contacts etc.
- Back up your data on a regular basis; that way if something does happen to your machine you can reinstall or recreate your files.
If you've taken a look at our web pages and can't find anything to help you fix your problem, you have two options. You can either:
- bring your machine into the IT Service Desk and leave it with us for diagnosis and if it is possible, repair (during term time only)
- call us on 0191 334 1515 or email us via email@example.com to book a 20 minute appointment to see one of our IT support staff who will talk through the issue with you and carry out an assessment
If you book an appointment, when you turn up we will focus on:
- Getting you connected to the EnSuite Online (ESOL) service so you can access the network from your study-bedroom
- Getting you connected to the University’s wireless network (where available)
- Giving you advice on sorting out viruses which may have infected your machine and other issues which may be preventing you from connecting to our ESOL or wireless services
In order to do this, the IT Service Desk will do one or a selection of the following:
- Take details of your problem and give you advice on some ‘common’ problems including suggestions as to how to resolve them.
- Get you to test your machine in an alternative location (CM131 in the Computer Centre at Durham City or in the at the Queen’s Campus Library) so that you can check if your problems are down to the network point in your room, or issues with the location you are trying to connect from.
- If we identify that your connection problems are due to a hardware problem with your machine we will give you the opportunity to leave your computer with us for investigation and, if we are able to, repair.
If you leave your machine with us and we are able to repair it, the work is chargeable (more details are below).
If you have a problem with your machine and either know, or have a good idea of what needs doing to repair it, you can then you can either drop your machine off and leave it with us for assessment and if possible repair or you can try an locate a private repair firm in the Durham area. The time-scale for any machines left with us will vary according to the nature and extent of the problem, and the workload at that particular time.
To avoid making unneccesary trips to the Service Desk, we would strongly recommend that if you want to bring your machine in for us to look at, that you make an appointment in advance. In order to try and give you a more efficient service and reduce the risk of you having to wait around for undetermined periods of time to see a technician, we won't be able to look at machines on an ad-hoc basis. If you turn up at the IT Service Desk without an appointment, we will ask you to either leave your machine with us or offer you the opportunity to make one for which you'll need to make a return visit.
The services listed above are the key ones which should help you get onto the University network so you can get on with your studies, and they are the ones we will focus on. In terms of technical repairs, our priority has to be keeping the machines we provide in working order, although we do have a limited of resource which we can use for looking at students' machines. It is important to understand however, that there may be instances where we are either unable to identify or fix the cause of your problem or alternatively may not be able to effect a fix within the time scale you need. In these cases we will return your machine so that you can source an alternative repair solution (e.g. PC World or an alternative local repair shop - try searching www.yell.com).
If we do find a machine is particularly badly infected with viruses or spyware, our advice may be to reformat your computer back to its original settings, with recommended antivirus and antispyware packages, before you’ll be able to connect to our network. This instance is where having a recent backup of your data and programmes would be invaluable.
- All our self help materials (Information Sheets and Guides) are free.
- When we look at your machine, the first 20 minutes spent investigating and assessing the issue will not be charged for, however after that initial 20 minute period our work is charged at £25 per hour or part thereof, plus the cost of any spare parts required to fix your machine. We will contact you to confirm you'd like us to go ahead before any chargeable work commences. Once the initial 20 minute period has passed there is a minimum charge of £25. For example:
0 – 20 minutes – No charge
20 – 80 minutes - £25 (plus the cost of any spare parts)
80 – 140 minutes - £50 (plus the cost of any spare parts)