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Students at UVa

Essential Computing Info for New Students

Technology Recommendations: Minimums for Support

You may opt to buy a new computer or bring an older one from home. It should fit within currently supported computing technologies at UVa and meet these minimum standards for support:

Photo of a student on a laptop

  • Minimum operating system:
    • PC: Microsoft Windows 7
    • Mac: OS X 10.9 or 10.8
  • Minimum free space on hard drive: 100GB
  • Minimum processor speed & memory: Intel Core 2 Duo/4GB or equivalent
  • See also Recommended Software
Consider These 5 Things When Choosing Your Computer for UVa

1. Software: Save Your Money!

Don’t pay extra for software that you can get at low or no cost as a UVa student.

TIP: UVa students get Microsoft Office & the Windows operating system for just $15 each, plus 50GB of online file storage for easy backups, and an antivirus program for free!

Photo of student on a Mac laptop


2. Warranty Coverage: You May Need Repairs While at School

Photo of laptop computer

TIP: Compare service plans carefully. Look at both coverage length (e.g., 3 vs. 4 years) and location. Are on-site repairs an option?

The Cavalier Computers Service Center in the UVa Bookstore is licensed to repair Dell, Apple, and Lenovo computers.


3. Portability: Keep Weight in Mind

You’ll carry this computer around a lot for the next few years, so balance horsepower with heft when making your decision.

TIP: Take advantage of collaboration spaces around Grounds with comfortable chairs, power outlets, and wireless to do group projects, print on the go, or work in between classes.

Photo of students collaborating on laptops


4. Printing: Wirelessly to Public Printers, With a Cable to Your Own Printer

Photo of USB cables

TIP: If you bring a printer, bring one with a USB port & a cable, since wireless printing is not supported in residence halls.

Printing is supported in public locations around Grounds—either via your own laptop or the public printer stations—using a pre-paid deposit to your Cavalier Advantage account.


5. You: Be Honest with Yourself about Your Tech-Savviness & Check with Your School

Many majors and programs have specific technology recommendations; ask first!

TIP: Thinking about switching to a platform you’ve never used before? Consider whether that may cause you extra stress. Or, if your heart’s set on one operating system though your program advises another, consider whether you’ll feel comfortable providing your own tech support—or not.

Photo of student assisting another student unfamiliar with Macs

Your Accounts & Passwords

ID Verification Process for New Students

Photo of student getting picture taken for UVa ID card

Review the ID verification process for new students: from passwords to wireless as you move from applicant to new admit to UVa student.

Students are provided a UVa Gmail account. View UVa Student Email FAQs and how to configure your smartphone or mobile device to read your UVa email account.

NetBadge & Passwords

Many University websites are protected by the NetBadge authentication service. Log in with:

Sample NetBadge login screen

Forgot Your Password? Use the Lost Password Wizard to get a new one. Select the appropriate status for yourself: “not yet a student” for lost Temporary passwords or “current student” for Permanent passwords.

3 Things to Know About Internet Access at UVa
  1. Both wired & wireless are available across Grounds. Wireless is in all residence halls, in the libraries, on the Lawn, and in most classrooms. Wired connections are available virtually everywhere, too.

    Photo of student on a tablet

    TIP: Know that Wi-Fi works like cell phone coverage—there may be a few “dead spots,” and it may be slower if you’re in a crowded location or are conducting bandwith-intensive activities like video streaming or chatting. (See #3, below.)


  2. First-time Wi-Fi setup requires your Permanent password. (It won’t work with your Temporary one.)

    Photo of student on a laptop

    TIP: Got your Permanent password? Upon your arrival at Move-In, you can connect to UVa Wi-Fi.

    Windows & Mac computers, plus iOS devices (iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches), can connect to UVa’s encrypted cavalier wireless network. All other devices must connect to the unencrypted wahoo network instead.


  3. Wireless is not recommended for streaming. For the best experience, plug in an Ethernet cable for movies, TV shows, or live video-chatting via services such as Skype.

    Photo of Ethernet cable

    Although you’ll primarily use wireless, bring an Ethernet cable with you to school anyway. It’s good insurance!

    Every dorm room has an Ethernet connection for each person in the room. (So, double rooms have 2 ports, and triples have 3.)

    TIP: Bring an Ethernet cable with you to access the faster, more reliable wired Internet connections available in your dorm and all around Grounds.

    We’re currently upgrading UVa Wi-Fi, so it will be improving, but for now, wired is faster and more reliable than wireless!

Recommended Software Programs

Microsoft Office: Recommended, and Just $15!

Yes! UVa students can get the latest full version of Microsoft Office for Windows or Mac and/or Windows 8 (to upgrade your operating system or run on a Mac), for just $15 per title—a significant savings from the full price and even the educational discount pricing. To take advantage of this deal, either:

  • Buy a computer through the CAV program at Cavalier Computers, and your Microsoft software will come pre-installed at no extra charge; OR
  • Bring or buy a computer from elsewhere, but wait to get the latest version of Microsoft Office, to upgrade your older PC to Windows 8, or to get a copy of Windows to run on your Mac.

    Once at UVa, take your new student ID card (which you’ll get at Summer Orientation or upon Move-In) to either Cavalier Computers location, sign a form, and pay your $15 to get your licensed Microsoft software.

Image of Office 2013 software

TIP: Don’t pay for Office 'til you arrive at UVa! You can get 2013 for Windows, 2011 for the Mac, and/or Windows 8 (to upgrade your PC or to run on a Mac) for just $15 each.

Before you go, you may want to check with Cavalier Computers to ensure they have the software you need in stock.

This deal is possible through an agreement UVa has with Microsoft for all degree-seeking students. (Not working towards a degree? You still can still get educational discounts on software at Cavalier Computers.)


Antivirus: Recommended for Both PCs & Macs, and Available for Free

An antivirus program called Microsoft Endpoint Protection is provided for you at no cost as long as you are at UVa.

TIP: Once you have your Permanent password, select your operating system on Software Central, then Microsoft SC Endpoint Protection, to download & install your free antivirus.

Logo for UVa-provided antivirus: Microsoft SC Endpoint Protection

Backup File Storage: Free through UVa Box

You can store up to 50GB in your UVa Box account, and while software isn’t required for Box—you can access it with just a Web browser—you’ll probably prefer the drag-and-drop interface and auto-synch convenience of installing Box Sync on your computer.

Box offers smartphone & tablet apps and a mobile-friendly website, as well.

Once you get a UVa Box account, your files will be backed up securely, but “in the cloud” and easily accessible from anywhere!

Photo of student in UVa Box T-shirt

TIP: Once you have your Permanent password, log into UVa Box to create your account for the first time.


Specialized Software Programs: Prices Vary

You may need specialized software for some of your courses, but these will vary with your program and degree. Your access options are:

Other Computing Services Available to You

Free Tech Support, Around the Clock

TIP: Contact the UVa Help Desk for tech support anytime. You can be helped via phone, live chat, or email—whichever you prefer—24/7.

And, connect with us on social media for tech news, tips, events, downtimes, & more:

Add UVaITS to your circles in Google PlusView the UVaITS YouTube channelFind UVaITS on FacebookFollow UVaITS on Twitter

Photo of tech support


Cellular Phone Boosters

Photo of UVa student 
using mobile device

TIP: Choosing a new phone provider? Know that AT&T, T-Mobile, & Verizon have boosters to improve signal strength in dorm areas and public venues like the John Paul Jones Arena, Scott Stadium, and Newcomb Hall. Other cellular carriers do serve the Charlottesville market and may work for you, though.


Cable TV

  • Optional: If desired, you can request cable TV in your residence hall room. (Note that some residence halls have cable TV included in the Housing fee.)
  • Signup: Available once you have received your Housing assignment in mid-July. Coordinate sign-up and payment with your roommate, if you have one.
  • Pricing: Not yet set for the coming school year, but last year, cable TV was $17.90/month.

Other Stuff to Know: Course Management, UVa’s VPN, Etc.

Screenshot of UVaCollab, UVa's course management system

You will log into UVaCollab via NetBadge for your courses at UVa.

  Page Updated: Thursday 2014-04-17 18:01:02 EDT

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Page Updated: 2014-04-17; © 2014 by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia.

The information contained on the University of Virginia’s Department of Information Technology Services (ITS) website is provided as a public service with the understanding that ITS makes no representations or warranties, either expressed or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information, including warrantees of title, non-infringement of copyright or patent rights of others. These pages are expected to represent the University of Virginia community and the State of Virginia in a professional manner in accordance with the University of Virginia’s Computing Policies.