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Durham University

Computing and Information Services

Frequently Asked Questions

Supply and lead times

  • Can you deliver a PC to home/personal address during the Covid-19 related lockdown?
    • Yes, but neither CIS nor Procurement will ask you for this information. Raise the requisition as normal with a campus delivery address, at the point of fulfillment CIS will engage directly with the end-user to confirm delivery requirements.
  • I need to work from home during the Covid-19 related lockdown, can I have a laptop or other IT?
    • Please be aware that CIS have now provided over 2,000 laptops for home use and due to limited supply, you are not guaranteed to receive a laptop. Please complete the self-service web forms here: https://www.dur.ac.uk/cis/password/remoteworking
    • Please note, that due to Covid-19 home delivery may take longer than normal.
  • Can I have a PC and a laptop?
    • Central funding will provide a single in-warranty device for the purposes of teaching, research, and administration. If you currently have multiple devices, CIS will consider replacing one but take into consideration your current IT provision where known.
  • My equipment was previously funded through research, will CIS replace this?
    • Yes, if this is your only device, many University staff have not previously been provided with a centrally funded device.
  • How do I request a PC?
    • New PC requests are best initiated through Acquire; the University's e-procurement service used to purchase goods. At least one person in each department has access to Acquire, please contact your departmental administrator or finance officer if you're unsure who to approach. PC replacement requests can be initiated through the Desktop refresh web form.
  • Can I have two monitors?
    • Any request for additional displays should be supported by some justification; this is an increasingly common requirement.
  • I need a PC in a hurry, what can you do?
    • If the lead times for normal supply are too long, you should contact the IT service desk to understand what options are available. CIS can supply stock or temporary devices, or investigate alternative supply options and upgrade paths. Stock items can be supplied within 24 hours, if necessary.
  • Do new PC’s come with keyboards and mice?
    • Yes, you don’t need to order a separate keyboard and mouse when placing an order for a new PC or an iMac. Keyboards and Mice are required only when laptops or MacBooks are ordered.
  • Do new laptops come with bags?
    • No, see the Accessories catalogue and Stone portal for laptop bag options and costs.
  • Can I have a PC from another supplier?
    • No, not without a legitimate business justification. The University is contractually obliged to provide Lenovo hardware, supplied by Stone computers.
  • How long will it take to supply my PC, after an order has been placed?
    • The worst-case lead time for delivery from Stone Computers after an order is placed is 20 working days, although with the recent Intel CPU shortages, we have seen some orders take longer. The University's ordering and budget approval processes can add a few days onto any lead time. CIS hold a quantity of recommended options in bonded stock, these devices can be called off the next day, or form part of a weekly delivery schedule every Monday and Thursday. Stone also hold Gold stock of popular items to reduce this lead time further, most orders are fulfilled within two weeks. Lead times for Apple hardware varies; standard specification devices are typically supplied within 5 working days, custom specification orders (known as CTOs) can take 15-20 working days to supply. Installation work is contentious with other activities involving CIS field teams and the on-site engineers, installations are prioritised by impact and urgency, so you may find you wait a little longer to have your PC replaced - new starters, typically, taking priority.
  • Can I keep my old PC?
    • No, unless the PC’s original funding source means it’s clearly not the property of Durham University. Replacements are made on a 1:1 basis, old machines are exchanged for new.

Hardware options

  • Can I have a different PC from those recommended?
    • Yes, providing supply is based on requirements, not preferences, and suitable justification is provided. CIS will work with you and our supply partners to ensure the specification meets needs.
  • Can I have laptop or an Apple Mac?
    • Under normal circumstances, Apple computers are not supplied to staff in PSS roles unless business justification is provided and the request is endorsed by a line manager.
    • Apple computers are supplied in silver and space grey colours only.
    • Requests for Apple devices and laptops will be assessed according to the following refresh matrix, taking into consideration roles and the time staff members spend working away from their desks. An *asterix denotes justification and/or line manager endorsement may be required to fulfill your request.

    • PSS /Colleges Staff

      Academic Staff

      Desk-based user (>70%)

      30% spent away from desk/campus

      70% spent away from desk/campus

      Desk-based user (>70%)

      30% spent away from desk/campus

      70% spent away from desk/campus

      PC

      PC

      X

      X

      Standard laptop

      *X

      *X

      X

      X

      Large screen laptop

      *X

      *X

      X

      X

      Ultra-portable laptop

      *X

      *X

      Mac

      iMac

      *X *X *X

      X

      X

      X

      MacBook

      *X *X X

      X

      X

  • Can I have a Microsoft Surface Pro?
    • No. Unless the technical specifications of a Surface Pro evolve to the point the hardware requirement is justified. CIS recommend hybrid laptop alternatives which, unlike Surface Pros, are both compatible with managed desktop builds and adhere to information security policies regarding encryption. Surface Pro's are also not serviceable by CIS nor the onsite support engineers, repairs need to be carried out offsite and take between 3 and 12 business days after shipping.
  • How does CIS handle equipment requirements based on DSE assessment or medical need?
    • Requirement relates to DSE assessment - if the desired equipment specification relates to a DSE assessment, the assessment itself must be attached to the request or accompanied with written support from your line manager (an e-mail will suffice). Example scenarios where this comes into play include a screen’s specification being inappropriate for its intended use, or the workstation equipment does not comply with the requirements of the Display Screen Equipment Regulations and guidance.
    • Requirement relates to injury or medical condition (existing staff) - if equipment of a heightened specification is required based on medical grounds then a management referral to occupational health should be made prior to the request being submitted to CIS, to ensure that all of the necessary adjustments have been identified to support you at work. The outcome of an Occupational Health report is confidential to you and your Manager, however, Management authorisation is required by CIS before the request is progressed.
    • Requirement relates to injury or medical condition (new staff) - if equipment of a heightened specification is required on medical grounds, then a management referral to occupational health should be made prior to the request being submitted to CIS, to ensure that all of the necessary adjustments have been identified to support you at work. A self-referral to Access to Work may also be appropriate for further support and advice if recommended by the Occupational Health service. The outcome of an Occupational Health report is confidential to you and your Manager, however, Management authorisation is required by CIS before the request is progressed.
  • How energy efficient are the recommended PC options?
    • All desktop PCs use 80+ certified efficient power supplies. 80 Plus (trademarked 80 PLUS) is a voluntary certification program intended to promote efficient energy use in computer power supplies. It certifies products that have more than 80% energy efficiency at 20%, 50% and 100% of rated load, and a power factor of 0.9 or greater at 100% load. Such PSUs waste 20% or less electric energy as heat at the specified load levels, reducing electricity use and c02 emissions compared to less efficient PSUs.

Desktop build and refresh

  • I don’t want a managed desktop build applying to my new PC, what should I do?
    • Managed desktop builds are typically mandatory in any workplace. By default, all PCs that pass through CIS hand will include a Managed Desktop build. CIS apply their builds for the purposes of effective support, security (anti-virus, disk encryption), asset inventory, insurance, and various other reasons. If the application of a managed build is unsuitable, CIS needs to understand why in order to make the necessary changes to accommodate.
  • Why does my line manager need to endorse my request?
    • Between 2017 and 2021, Desktop refresh reps / HoDs sense-checked replacement hardware requirements, but the approval process was time-consuming and cumbersome, caused delays and the list of authority contacts to liaise with was difficult to maintain; in most instances, requirements were uncomplicated and standard catalogue items met most needs. From 2021 onwards, in order to streamline the fulfilment process, all staff using centrally provided hardware are empowered to communicate their own requirements. Line manager endorsement simply helps prevent operational disruption where hotdesking and other unique, departmental level operations require a degree of decision making or consideration. The recorded justification, regardless of role, is still required for any Enhanced catalogue options.

Support/Other

  • Can I loan a PC temporarily?
    • Yes, but the specification and availability of stock items vary. Contact the IT service desk to understand what options are available.
  • I’m not happy with my laptop’s battery life, what can I do?
    • There are lots of things you can to improve your laptop’s battery life, they include:
    • Lowering screen brightness.
    • Configuring power-saving policies through battery saver (you can see within Battery saver which applications are using battery life)
    • Use Rapid Charge; all recommended Lenovo laptops can charge the battery up to 80% within 30 minutes when turned off.
    • If you’re otherwise still unhappy with battery life, contact the IT service desk to investigate.
  • I’ve damaged my PC or Laptop, what should I do?
    • Contact the IT service desk.
  • When will my PC be replaced through Desktop Refresh?
    • Phases and priority for Refresh are determined annually, please refer to this page for further information.