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This page provides recommendations for different ways to access technology at Carleton based on the diverse needs of the student body. We also list some of the intricacies of tech at Carleton and a number of support resources for when your tech malfunctions. If you cannot find the answers to your questions here, ITS is always happy to give more detail via phone at 507-222-5999 or email at


Personal Computers

I'm not bringing a device...

No laptop? Carleton's labs have you covered!

Public Labs

The public labs maintained by ITS provide students with well over 200 machines across campus. All software needs for the curriculum are met by these labs. For specifics, refer to the Public Labs wiki page.


Departmental Labs

These specialized labs provide machines that are well equipped for the specific tasks required by various classes in the corresponding department, especially when those tasks having demanding hardware or software requirements.

I already have my own device...

Is my device up to the task?


Chromebooks are incompatible with a lot of software packages commonly used on campus: Office (i.e. Word, Excel, PowerPoint), the stats suite R, or Mathematica. Chromebooks can connect to the wireless and wired networks, as well as print to Carleton printers. Nevertheless, expect to make liberal use of the public campus labs.


Tablets running a full-featured version of the Windows operating system, such as the Microsoft Surface line of machines, can be great replacements for laptops. Even budget Windows devices that cost under $200 can provide a basic level of productivity since they can install Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), browse the web, access your Carleton Gmail, etc.

However, devices that run iOS or Android often have severe drawbacks. They can, in most cases, connect to the Carleton network. They often cannot print or install important software. Similar to Chromebooks, if your personal machine is a tablet expect to make liberal use of the public campus labs.


Macbooks and PCs

If your machine can access the internet, load basic web-based software (e.g. Netflix or Gmail), and you are comfortable with its ability to perform productivity tasks (e.g. typing documents, reading email, and accessing the web), you should be able to continue using your machine at Carleton. Devices running Mac OS X or Windows 7 and up are most likely to be compatible. You may need to rely on the campus lab machines for more strenuous tasks. For machines with poor battery life, please note that there is no guarantee you will have access to a wall outlet during class.

I'm getting a new device...

Take a look at our Purchasing Guide!




Support Resources

The ITS Helpdesk is a centralized support center for all students, staff and faculty on campus.  We fully support Carleton-owned computers, printers and other hardware; access to network storage, networked printing, and the network itself – both wired and wireless.  For students we support their personally-owned devices including a drop-off repair service for software and some minor hardware issues. For more information about how to contact the ITS Helpdesk and when they are open please visit the ITS Helpdesk page. Below we showcase some of the other services that the ITS Hepdesk provides.

Assistive Technologists (AzTechs)

AzTechs are ITS student staff specially trained to support students with disabilities on campus. They are responsible for documentation and organization of all Carleton’s accessibility features and are equipped to direct students to the best programs to suit their personal and academic needs. They are available for one-on-one, private consultations about computing features and accessibility software. Visit the Assistive Technology website for more information about who the AzTechs are and what they do please click.

Drop-Off Consultants (DOCs)

Carleton runs a free repair service for student laptops, the Student Drop-off Center or DOC. At the DOC they can diagnose and repair a wide range of hardware and software issues. Visit the Drop-Off Center website for more information about the DOCs and the services they provide.


Beyond the Computer

Internet & Networking

Please see our Network Support page for more detailed info. Below is an overview of various aspects of internet and networking at Carleton.

Ethernet: All dorm rooms on campus have Ethernet ports. There is one active ethernet port per bed. We provide ethernet cables to students for free at the ITS Helpdesk. We highly recommend using our wired network in your dorm rooms because it is faster and more secure than the wireless.

Wireless: Wireless access is available in all buildings on campus and many outdoor spaces. For your personal computer and phones we recommend using our secure eduroam network. Please visit the eduroam wireless setup page for more information on how to connect to the eduroam network.

Smart Devicessmart device is an electronic device, generally connected to other devices or networks via different wireless protocols such as Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi, 3G, etc., that can operate to some extent interactively and autonomously. An example of a smart device would be an app-connected light bulb.

Smart devices are designed for home network environments. At Carleton we have an enterprise network that smart devices are not built to run on. We have noticed that smart devices with a configurable interface, such as a smart TV or a Roku, tend to function on our network. Other devices, such as smart light bulbs, that you cannot directly configure, tend not to work on our network. If you have specific questions about bringing a smart device to Carleton, please contact the ITS Helpdesk .

Phones and Service Providers

Students, Faculty and Staff at Carleton use many different kinds of phones and phone service providers. Through a very informal survey we have found that carriers like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint all work well at Carleton. Some people mentioned that T-Mobile does not have the best service on campus, but that using wifi to make phone calls or send messages has worked just fine for them. If you are already on a phone service plan we do not think it is necessary to switch to another plan for your time at Carleton.

Data Backups

There are two main ways to backup your personal machine; with an external hard drive or with a cloud backup service. Backing up your data is extremely important. Having an up to date backup safeguards your data in the event that your machine fails.

External Hard Drive: You can purchase an external hard drive and hook it up to your machine (Mac or Windows) and backup your data. Mac and Windows have built-in tools to help facilitate regular back-ups.

Cloud Backup Service: There are services such as Carbonite and Backblaze that will back up your data to their cloud servers. If your hard drive ever fails you can download whatever you had backed up.

For for information about backing up your data, please visit this Wirecutter article about backing up your computer.


Anti-malware software is important in keeping your personal machine safe and usable. We believe that the default anti-virus programs on personal machines, Windows defender and Macs built in defenses, are sufficient at keeping your laptop clean. A helpful addition would be to download a free scanning software, such as Malwarebytes, to run a full scan of your machine every week. We believe those two things in tandem should keep your computer virus free. If you suspect your machine has viruses you can drop your machine off with the DOC (Student Drop-Off Center).

DUO: Two-Factor Authentication

Carleton uses Duo two-factor authentication to provide an extra layer of security beyond a student's username and password. For more information on Duo and two-factor authentication please visit the Duo authentication page.


Carleton has about 200 networked printers and multi-function devices that are shared by Carleton faculty, staff, students, and visitors. (Multi-function devices, or MFDs, can print, copy, and scan.) There are printers and MFDs located in all of the public labs and also in some of the dorms on campus such as Goodhue and Cassat. More information on printing at Carleton and how to print can be found on the Printing at Carleton page.