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Recommended Student PC Configuration


Having your own computer in your residence hall is not a requirement, but many students find if convenient to own their own. MDCHS students are required to bring a PC laptop.

Most students find it more convenient to own a laptop due to ease of portability and limited desk space in the residence hall rooms. An additional advantage of a laptop is that you can take your laptop all across campus to access the wireless internet.

If you choose to bring your own computer, you may connect it to the Mary Baldwin College network from your residence hall room to access the Internet.

Because of licensing arrangements with software vendors, you are not allowed access to the same programs on your own computer that are available to you at a college-owned lab workstation. Therefore, there will be times when you’ll need to go to a computer lab to complete your assignments.

Basic Information

Mary Baldwin College provides resident students fast network and Internet access from all residence hall rooms through an Ethernet connection. There is one connection per student. You will need to bring your own Ethernet cable. 10′ to 15′ is usually good. If you live in Spencer you’ll need a longer cord – about 30 feet.

MBC also provides wireless access to students that have a valid student account. All Mary Baldwin College buildings are covered with wireless access. While the wireless connection can be convenient, OIT recommends that you use a network cord for internet access, as it is faster and more reliable than wireless.

MBC’s connection to the Internet is thousands of times faster than dial-up connections, and hundreds of times faster than broadband (cable or DSL) connections.

We provide each student a MBCMail e-mail account which is used for all official campus communications by faculty and offices.

RULES OF THE ROAD – the MBC Acceptable Use Polices

You are REQUIRED to READ the Acceptable Use Policies and Guidelines regarding use of MBC facilities, network ID and email accounts.

Connection to the MBC network is a privilege, not a right, and subject to compliance with all the specifications of the Acceptable Use Policy. Use of the Mary Baldwin computer network implies your acceptance and compliance with all rules, policies and regulations!

Please read our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.


Although MBC does not have a computer requirement we recommend that students purchase laptops. What computer should you choose? We recommend laptops because they take up less space and their mobility allows you to roam the campus. The portability and smaller size of laptops provide added advantages outweighing the slightly greater cost of laptops over desktop computers. Desktop space is at a premium in the residence halls. Laptops can also be brought to class for note taking.

Minimum Computer System Requirements for Support

Systems that do not meet these minimum computer system requirements are not supported on the network.

If you choose to buy a system from a different vendor we recommend the following:


  • Windows 7 or Vista with the latest Service Pack and patches installed. We do not recommend Windows 8 for serious student use at this time. OIT Help Desk support for Windows 8 is limited in scope.
  • Current and Updated Virus Protection
  • MS Office (we are currently using MS Office 2010)

HARDWARE for Windows 7 or Vista

  • a modern laptop or tablet PC
  • 2.8 GHz dual core processor faster processor
  • 4 Gb or more memory
  • 100GB Hard Disk or larger
  • 10/100 mbps Ethernet Network Card
  • 802.11 b/g/n wireless card


Macs are also supported by the Mary Baldwin network. We do, however, require that you have Mac OS X installed (10.4 or higher).

You must also be running up-to-date antivirus software.

Other Options

  • a USB jump drive (for transporting files back and forth around campus)
  • 10′ to 15′ Cat-5 Ethernet cable (if you live in Spencer you’ll need a 30′ cord)
  • a surge protector
  • DVD Rom drive (a CD-RW/DVD or DVD/RW is also a great idea for backup and entertainment purposes. Grafton Library checks out DVD movies to students for free)
  • a personal laser or inkjet printer (preferably USB and not wireless)
  • a personal scanner


To connect to the campus network you will need a Network Interface Card (NIC) for your computer, a Category 5 network cable and an up to date version of Microsoft Internet Explorer. Most new computers come with network cards already installed or integrated in the system. As long as they are 10/100 BaseT connection type they should work fine.

In order for a student to access the MBC network, you will need to authenticate through a special web page. When you connect you are re-directed to the authentication page. You enter your MBC Username and your MBC PIN.

Students are not allowed to “extend the network” by connecting additional hubs, routers, switches or personal wireless access points to the MBC network. All buildings on campus are already equipped with wireless.


UPDATE YOUR OPERATING SYSTEM REGULARLY: Believe it or not, even brand NEW PC’s operating systems are out of date. Microsoft and other software vendors generally release updates to their operating systems on a weekly or monthly basis. These updates are extremely important to keep your system operating properly and to protect yourself and other campus network users from the latest virus, worms and network attacks. Get in the habit of checking for OS updates weekly or monthly.

ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE! Before you even begin thinking about what type of computer to use, start thinking about Anti-Virus software. In the college community it is easy to get a computer virus. Computers in the classrooms and labs are protected against virus infections but they will not scan your portable USB drive for viruses.

Antivirus software is now required on every student PC that connects to the network. It is HIGHLY recommended that virus definitions be updated on a DAILY basis.

* WARNING * – Any Vulnerable or Infected computers found on the MBC Network will be disconnected immediately, and will remain offline until the computer is properly updated and patched by the user, and they can prove their PC is no longer a threat to the campus community. This policy is for the protection of other students and the MBC Network.


Owning your own computer can be a real challenge. While it is definitely handy to have a computer available whenever you need it, it can be difficult to keep it running without problems.

Sources of technical support available to students:

Your Fellow Students: Often your fellow students are the best and fastest source to help you resolve computer problems.

Your Computer Vendor: When you purchase your computer you should also receive some level of technical support. Be certain you know what this is at the time of purchase and obtain the appropriate phone numbers.

Local Computer Vendors: Many local computer stores provide expertise in resolving hardware and software problems. Be sure you agree to a flat price or price per hour before signing any service agreement.

MBC OIT: The support provided by OIT is limited to assisting students with connections and access to the MBC network. We assist students who are having problems connecting to the web, e-mail and to their network drives on the file servers. Other hardware and software problems will need to be referred to one of the other above sources.

Also see Getting your personal PC fixed