Computer Specifications

Information & Technology Services supports both Windows-based computers and Macintosh computers on campus.  The campus network is designed primarily around Windows computers and servers.  However, both platforms are tested regularly and are compatible with most systems on campus.

Inforgraphic30% of student computers are Macintosh.


New Computer Recommendations
When purchasing a new machine, it is important to consider the longevity of a computer.  Purchasing a good machine now means it is likely to last the four years you are at Elizabethtown College.  Buying a cheap machine means it is likely to need to be upgraded or replaced during that same time period.

ITS recommends reading Consumer Reports as it provides excellent information on a variety of computers.  They also provide details on the repair history or various models of computers.  In general, most computers will work on the campus network.  It is just a matter of how well the computer will run the software.

Many times we are asked what machine to purchase.  Although we do not recommend a specific brand or model for students, we do provide general guidelines in the hardware we believe are best suited for college work.  These recommendations are based around the computers we are currently purchasing for the college.  We also strongly recommend getting a 3-4 year on-site service warranty.


Additional Resources:

2017 New Student Computer Specifications (Updated April 2017)
Computing at Elizabethtown Frequently Asked Questions (Updated April 2017)

Computing at Elizabethtown Frequently Asked Questions (Updated April 2017)

Personal Devices

The quick answer is no. Students are not required to bring a computer with them to campus. There are over 200 computers available in public areas on campus that students may use including the library lab (open until 1am most days) and a 24-hour lab. However, most students find the convenience of having a computer in their room extremely beneficial. Computers have become the number one communication tool and help students keep in contact with each other. Students will, at times, find themselves having to visit a computer lab whether or not they have their own computer. Some software or hardware is only available in a computer lab and it would be cost prohibitive for students to purchase it themselves.

Approximately 90% of the computers purchased by the college are Windows-based Dell and the other 10% are Macintosh. ITS supports both platforms on the network, but most of the focus is on Windows computers due to the higher number. Students should purchase the computer they are most comfortable with. Macintosh computers are becoming more popular with our students. Last year, the incoming class brought approximately 30% Macintosh and 70% Windows computers.

Desktops generally provide more computing power and have a have a larger screen. Portability is the number one reason students choose a laptop. Students can take it to class, the library, or just outside. There is also the added convenience of being able to take a laptop home over breaks. We estimate that 95% of student computers on campus are laptops. Unfortunately, with this portability also comes a higher likelihood of damage. For this reason, ITS strongly recommends that students buying laptops also purchase a warranty that covers accidental damage (i.e. Dell’s CompleteCare). Additionally, the computer should be treated with the same security as cash, don’t leave it sitting unattended and remember to keep it locked up when not in use – use a security cable.

Each year, ITS provides a guideline for purchasing new computers. These guidelines provide recommendations for the hardware and software that should be purchased on a machine. These guidelines are a best effort to suggest a machine that will last four years without requiring any upgrades. These specifications are available on the ITS website at: Computer Specifications

Tablets like the Surface Pro or convertible ultrabooks, running full versions of the operating system, can provide the same processing power of a laptop computer, and can run most software packages. These tablets are capable of replacing laptops. However, tablet devices running the mobile operating systems like the Apple iPad or Android Tablet are wonderful tools, but they should not be considered a replacement for a laptop as they have limited processing power and can only run mobile-compatible apps.

We recommend that you have the most recent version operating system when arriving to campus. However, our network does support some older versions of windows and Macintosh operating systems. For Windows, we support Windows 8 and Windows 10. As of right now, Windows 7 is still supported on our network but will be phased out on our network over the next 4 years, so an upgrade in the future may be needed for these machines. For Macintosh machines, we support Mountain Lion or newer operating systems on our network.

Every lab has a high speed laser printer available and there are also eXpress print stations available throughout the campus. Students are given 500 pages of free printing each semester. Even though a printer is not required, some students find it beneficial to have their own printer in their room so they do not have to visit a lab to print. Wireless printers are not permitted due to their interference with the existing wireless network. Printers should be connected via USB directly to the computer.

Campus Network

An Ethernet card is required to connect to the college’s wired network. Many machines have integrated Ethernet cards, but some of the ultraportable machines do not. For those machines, USB to Ethernet adapters are available. You will also need an Ethernet cable (25’ recommended) which can be purchased at any computer store or the college’s bookstore.

An Ethernet card is required to connect to the college’s wired network. Many machines have integrated Ethernet cards, but some of the ultraportable machines do not. For those machines, USB to Ethernet adapters are available. You will also need an Ethernet cable (25’ recommended) which can be purchased at any computer store or the college’s bookstore

We have two wireless networks on campus. The secure wireless network is an enterprise-level encrypted network. Any device that supports 802.1X encryption will work on this network. Many gaming devices are not capable of connecting to this network. We offer an open wireless network for this purpose. This open network allows most wireless devices to connect (after the device has been registered with ITS).

All students are provided with a college e-mail account ( These accounts are considered the official method of electronic correspondence and students are required to check this e-mail account on a regular basis. Students will be provided with their account information (username and password) during summer orientation. All official correspondence after summer orientation will be sent only to these accounts. Students can check their e-mail via the web at

Each student receives 200MB of storage on the network in their “Public and Private” folders. These folders can be used to access files from anywhere on the campus network. Additionally, the public folders are often used to share files between students working in a group.


Students should not purchase antivirus software. ITS requires that all computers on the network run Symantec Endpoint Protection and provides this software for free. It will be available for installation when students arrive on campus in the fall. If you plan to use the computer over the summer, ITS recommends you get a free trial version of antivirus software. These are generally available from most manufacturers when you purchase the computer. Please note that you will need to uninstall this trial antivirus program before installing the required software.

Students will be writing papers and creating presentations for many of their classes. Microsoft is collaborating with the College to provide free Microsoft Office to students. Currently enrolled students are eligible to install Microsoft Office on their computers and personal devices (up to 5). Download and installation instructions for installing this software are available in the ITS knowledgebase.

All computers connected to the network are also required to have the most current updates for their operating system. To save time when registering your computer in the fall, ITS recommends that you install any updates during the summer. Windows users can get their updates from and Macintosh Users should go to the Apple Menu and select Software Update. It is good practice to regularly check for new updates. These updates are as critical to your computer as running antivirus software.


Each room and common area is wired for cable television. Students receive the standard cable lineup provided by Comcast free of charge which includes over 100 HD and SD channels. A QAM-enabled tuner is required to connect to the cable system. Information about the tuner and a complete listing of the channels provided can be found on the ITS Cable Channels webpage.

First, navigate to while connected to the campus Secure Wi-Fi. When prompted, enter Elizabethtown College as your School Name and press enter. This will take you to a login page. You should login with your E-town username and network password. Click Start Watching, and agree to the Terms of Activation. Add a descriptive name of your device. This will help you find your device later when you login. We recommend using your network username to avoid forgetting it. Click continue after you have named your device. This will take you to the Xfinity streaming site.

Additional Questions

The staff at the ITS Help Desk would be happy to answer any questions you may have about purchasing a computer or any technology at Elizabethtown College. The ITS Help Desk can be reached at 717-361-3333 or via e-mail at