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As a Penn student, faculty member, or staff member, you have access to an array of information technology resources to support your academic and professional activities. Here's what you need to know to get started.

Computing Information. In Penn's decentralized environment, technology information is provided locally, by Schools and departments, and centrally. It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with your departmental or School computing web site to find out about the facilities, services, and resources available to you, and how things are done in your area.

Support. End-user support is delivered locally by Information Technology Advisors (ITAs) in on-campus student residences and by Local Support Providers (LSPs) in Schools and business offices. They typically provide advice on hardware/software purchases, assist with installation, and troubleshoot software, hardware, and network connectivity problems. Check the Primary Support Services page to find out how to reach your LSP or ITA. For faculty and staff needing support for home computers, the University has negotiated special rates with an outside vendor.

Email. Schools and departments provide email accounts to their affiliates. Several different email clients (software used to read and send email) are supported on campus and are distributed free of charge. If you're affiliated with a School, check the document Email Specifications by School to find out which clients are recommended in your School; staff in central business offices should check with their LSPs. Email addresses, personal web site URLs, phone numbers, and campus addresses for faculty, staff, and students are listed in the Online Directory. Departmental email addresses can be found on departmental web sites. You are responsible for keeping your directory information up-to-date (PennKey required).

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Network Access. You can connect to PennNet, Penn's gateway to the Internet, in several ways:

  • Wired access is provided in campus offices, residence rooms, and fraternity/sorority houses as well as in selected off-campus offices. To find out how to get set up, faculty and staff should contact their LSPs. Students living in residence should contact their ITAs or see the College House Computing web site for information. Links to setup information are also available from the Network Access menu page.
  • Many public computer labs are available across campus.
  • Wireless access is available in many campus locations. Requirements vary by location.
  • For off-campus access, faculty, staff, and students need to sign up with a commercial Internet Service Provider (ISP).

To facilitate network use, a suite of networking software (web browsers, email clients, secure telnet clients, newsreaders, etc.) is distributed free of charge.

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PennKey. A registered PennKey and secure password are required for accessing many widely used online resources and for wireless connectivity in some parts of the University. A PennKey Setup Code is required to access the PennKey registration site. See the PennKey Web Site, for details, guidelines for developing a secure password, and registration links.

Viruses & General Security. To protect your privacy, your data, and the University's IT resources, be sure to do the following:

  • Install antivirus software on your Mac or PC and update it regularly. You can download supported antivirus software for Macs and PCs free of charge.
  • Apply free security patches to your operating system (OS) regularly.
  • Assign a strong administrative password to your computer.
  • Activate your system's built-in firewall (Windows and Mac).

Additional information on these and related topics can be found on the Security web site and the Virus web site. Students residing in College Houses should see the College House Computing Web site for security recommendations and details. Other students should see the CRC site.

Policies. Each person with access to the University's computing resources is responsible for their appropriate use and by their use agrees to comply with all applicable University, School, and departmental policies and regulations. University computing and privacy policies are listed on the Computing Policy web site. The Policy on Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources (AUP), the Computer Security Policy, and the Policy on Unauthorized Copying or Use of Licensed Media are three key policies that affect everyone.

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Hardware & Software. Both Macintoshes and Windows PCs are supported for general-purpose computing. Specifications for recommended hardware configurations are published each year. but it's wise to check with your School or department for specific recommendations. An FAQ with purchasing advice for students and the Purchasing Services Buying Guide for institutionally owned computers are available for reference.

A set of supported desktop and networking software is widely used on campus. Again, it's wise to check with your School or department for specific recommendations. Supported networking and antivirus software is distributed free of charge on the PennConnect DVD or can be downloaded from the Supported Products web site. Site licensed software for special purposes is also available.

Commercial software, computers, and peripherals can be purchased at the Computer Connection, Penn's on-campus retail store. Hardware repair services are offered by the Computer Fixer on Campus.

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Computing Information


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Viruses & General Security
Hardware & Software

Information Systems and Computing
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