First Days Computing Guide

Please read the important guides below regarding college accounts, getting your computer on the network, computer security and other fun and important information that will help you get online quickly and safely at Williams.

If you still have not purchased a computer for use while you are at Williams see: Student Technology guide

Once you have your computer you can do some preparation before you arrive on campus by following guides below. This will save you the hassle of doing it during first days. If you have any trouble you can email [email protected]. When possible please use your Williams email address to contact OIT.

You can visit or call us as well.

  • Stop by the Student Support Desk at the Center for Educational Technology (CET) on the second floor of Sawyer Library
  • Call x3088 (413-597-3088 from off-campus)

Hours during First-Days

The scheduled hours for the Student Help Desk in the CET for First Days 2018 are as follows:
  • Monday Aug 26 through Friday Aug 30:    8am to 5pm
  • Sunday Sept 1:     1pm to 5pm
  • Monday Sept 2 through Wednesday Sept 4:  8am to 5pm

1. First, please read our Computing Ethics and Responsibilities policy

2. Follow these instructions to get your computer ready to be on the Williams network.

  • Before arriving at Williams

    Secure your computer - Run Windows Updates
    All Windows computers must have current critical updates and anti-virus software.

    • Windows 10: Start menu > Settings > Update & Security
    • Windows 8: Click the Windows button > type update > click the settings field > choose Windows Update.

    You will need anti-virus software on your PC - if you have Windows 10 then the built-in Windows Defender software is fine.  If you'd like a different anti-virus we recommend Sophos Home (free) edition:

    Run common software updates

    Adobe Reader (if you have it), Adobe Flash and Sun Java (also optional) are particularly noteworthy for getting out of date quickly. Out of date versions leave you vulnerable to web drive-by downloads where malware is installed on your computer simply by viewing a web page.

    • Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash can be updated from Adobe
    • Java can be updated from Sun.

    Install Keyserver (optional)

    Some academic course related programs require  a "key" to authenticate on our network. The Keyserver client is the component that verifies you are connected to the Williams network to allow these applications to run. When you download software from the OIT software page you can run the applications as long as you are on campus.

  • Before arriving at Williams Secure and Update your computer 

    • Run OS updates On your Mac, go to the Apple menu and choose Software Update. Or for newer operating systems, Apple menu, App Store.
    • Install and/or Update Anti-Virus software. Although Macs are generally much less likely to get viruses there were some well publicized ones a few years ago that caused massive disruptions.
    • Run common software updates Adobe software, Web Browsers (Chrome, Firefox), Microsoft office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint), Etc. These apps, among others, update often to patch security vulnerability and provide new features.
    • Install Keyserver (optional) Keyserver allows you to run our licensed software while you are here on campus. Not all software is available for students to download. Our software site is located at the Software Downloads page

3. After you arrive on campus connect to our wireless network.

Due to the increased need for videoconferencing we recommend having the following:

  • Headphones/earbuds with a microphone
  • Webcam (unless built into your laptop)


Other important information: