Tips for Using Lab Computers

Depersonalized “personal” computers

Williams College OIT provides desktop computers, both windows and mac, for use by students, faculty and staff in common areas across campus. An important distinction between these lab computers and others you may use is that OIT has endeavored to depersonalize, as much as possible, these inherently “personal” computers. This depersonalization is required to provide a reliable and secure computing environment for all to use.

Save your work (often)

Just as you keep your personal belongings in site in public spaces, it is important to be mindful of where your personal data is being stored when using lab computers. A couple of important reminders help to make sure you always have a copy of your work:

Always – select “Save As” and use your own personal USB drive or network file space when saving your work.
Do not edit documents directly from web-based email. Instead save the attachments to your USB drive or network space first. Then, when done editing, make sure to “Save As” like above.
While we will endeavor to provide fair warning, any data left behind on lab computers is subject to deletion without warning. There are several reasons, not the least of which is hard drive failure, which can cause the immediate loss of stored data.

Also, as with any computer, please save your work often. Do not edit a document for hours, for example, without saving copies as you go along. Power failures happen when you least expect them!

Log off when done

Since your private network space may be available to you while logged into lab computers, it is important to log off when done to prevent others from inadvertently deleting or changing data that is important to you. Also, you are responsible for the security of your account and could be questioned should someone use your account inappropriately.

Please, No “Camping”

Please do not leave your personal belongings, books, study guides piled around lab computers when you are not actively using a computer. All lab computers are available on a first come – first serve basis and “reserving” a computer is not permitted. With nearly 500 lab and classroom computers on campus you are sure to be able to find an open seat somewhere.

Please contact the lab manager (email below) if you need access to a computer for a long running job .

Other useful information:

  • Location for computer labs and other facilities
  • Issues with printer supplies (paper, toner, etc) can also be reported to the Student Help Desk in the CET
  • Contact with any questions or fill out this web form.