Hardware & OS
- Windows and Office Activation
- 32-bit vs 64-bit Windows
- New Hires: How to Request a Computer
- Mac OS 10.12 codename Sierra
- Electronic Device Support
- Initial setup for iPads
- Requiring a Password When Resuming from Stand-by Mode (Sleep)
- Determining MAC Addresses for Network Devices
- Student Guide to Technology at Williams
- Purchasing a Computer (Faculty/Staff)
- Computer models for late-2015
- Computer Recycling (Greenup) Program
Recommended Brands for student computers
Williams College is committed to supporting both PCs and Macs. Academic departments and our public labs are split evenly although departments tend to choose one platform or the other depending on the software they use. Contact the departments of your interest to see if they have a recommendation. Administrative departments are mostly PC.
See our specific model recommendations and methods for puchasing below.
Student Computer Purchasing
Apple computers can be purchased with an academic discount through the Apple Store for Education: http://www.apple.com/us_edu_357437/shop
For Dell computers our recommended models and academic discounts can be accessed here: http://www.dell.com/williams
If you already have a computer or plan to purchase another brand they should meet these minimum specifications:
Laptop or Desktop Computers
- 13", 14" or 15.6" screen
- Intel Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 processor
- 8gb of RAM
- 500GB SATA hard drive or 256GB Solid State Drive
- Mac OS 10.10 or Windows 7
For any model computer we recommend getting at least a three year Service Plan/warranty.
Getting on the Williams network
Given the multiple free options to open and edit Office documents you may find you don't need to purchase a copy for your own computer (see below).
- Your Williams College account comes with access to G Suite for Education these include: Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc. These apps can open most Word and Excel files, and save in those formats as well.
- Office 365 online is currently being offered for free to students that sign up with their williams.edu email address. More info here: https://products.office.com/en-us/student/office-in-education
- Other free software like LibreOffice or OpenOffice can open and edit Office files.
- All public campus computers have Office installed as well as other applications that are used frequently used in academic work.
For Office suite purchasing please take a look at the different options from the Microsoft Office for education page. The standalone version of Office for Home and Student is currently $139.
If you choose to bring your own printer there are many inexpensive options. You will need to decide whether you want a color inkjet or a black and white laser printer. A black and white laser printer will tend to be faster, be more efficient with consumables (toner lasts longer than inkjet cartridges), but will cost a bit more initially and be heavier.
Game consoles and other wireless devices like tablets, smartphones and e-book readers can join the Williams wireless network. For devices that do not easily connect to our network please log into our ticket system and submit a device registration request.