Most students bring personally-owned computers and other devices to campus, but it’s not required. Learn about what kind of devices work well at college, how to get a discount on a new computer, the software you can get for free, the computer resources the college provides, and how to get support.
Broadly speaking, most students are best served by a traditional Mac or Windows laptop, though some students have Chromebooks, tablets, desktops, or Linux computers. No computer will meet 100% of your needs—fortunately, computer labs are there to fill the gaps.
If you are a student who is thinking about buying a computer, your Luther email will let you get discounts with Apple, Dell, and many other manufacturers. At minimum, we recommend a computer with at least 8Gb of RAM, an SSD, and a 5ghz-capable antenna. For some popular models, Laptopmag and Consumer Reports both have thorough, always up-to-date guides.
With any computer, there will be times where a particular piece of software isn’t available for your operating system or hardware: When this is part of class curricula, the college will try to provide that software on lab computers. There is also software you can use for free because you are a Luther student.
The Technology Help Desk offers students a first-come, first-served Hardware Repair service for laptops and desktops. Work isn’t under warranty and not all repairs are possible, but this is a good first stop if something serious is happening with your computer.
Other personally-owned devices are also welcome on campus, though a very few devices have troubles because they weren’t designed for a campus environment. The only prohibited devices are those that broadcast a wifi signal as part of normal operation, like routers, certain wifi-enabled printers, or some NAS backup solutions like the Apple Time Capsule. We’re not concerned about devices that need to generate temporary wifi signals during setup.
There are several labs and classrooms computers for student use, including one lab in every Residence Hall. They will always have certain core software installed, like Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Acrobat. In specialized spaces, they may also have extra software, like the full Adobe Creative Cloud suite in the Digital Media Center, or Sibelius and other music composition software at the lab in Jenson-Noble.
You can see our Classroom and Lab Availability tool to see what lab computers are currently available and what software is installed.
Lab computers will reset to their default state and erase all personal data whenever they are restarted, so they aren’t a good place to store your work—For that, we recommend Google Drive or a flash drive.
There are public kiosks in Marty’s, Legends Fitness Center, Dahl Centennial Union Lobby, Preus Library, Koren Lobby, and Sampson-Hoffland Concourse. These computers are primarily for web browsing and other light tasks that don’t require extra software.
The Preus Library Circulation Desk has computers available for checkout for students and employees. Student checkout is limited to 4 hours and the computer must stay in the library; Employees can checkout for 2 weeks and the device can leave the library.
When you checkout equipment, you agree to some terms and conditions and may be fined if equipment is lost or late.
Luther provides workstations to employees when there is a need. Those workstations have a standard software suite, including Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Cloud. Like all Luther computers, they should be used by employees for work only.
Employees are eligible for many of the same hardware and software discounts as students and can also download much of the same software for free. The college doesn’t service employees’ personally-owned computers, including as part of the Technology Help Desk’s Hardware Repair service. However, the Technology Help Desk is available to employees for general troubleshooting and assistance regarding their personally-owned devices.