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RE: "What Happens Over in ITS?"
jodi walsh its help desk coordinator
December 15, 2009

Who is ITS?

In ITS we provide a wide variety of technology support services on campus including hardware/software support, telephone/voicemail support, resetting passwords, providing you with network and internet access, and finding your files when they go missing. One of our goals at ITS is to make sure that you have a fully functional laptop for school use. All students are issued a Deerfield laptop when they start school at DA. This is the laptop for which we provide unlimited support and we will always make sure you can get your school work done on it. We’re friendly, we bleed green, we don’t bite and we encourage you to stop by.

What does ITS do with your laptop?

If your laptop is experiencing technical difficulties or it has a virus we will often reimage it. Reimaging means restoring your laptop to the way it was the day you received it from ITS. Reimaging is an excellent and effective way to clean up and improve the overall performance of your laptop. We save all your documents, pictures, desktop and favorites. One change this year is that we do not save your music, mostly because of the incredible length of time it takes and because of the increase in virus activity. Instead, we give you the option to first backup your music onto an external hard drive (available for purchase at the Hitchcock House). The only time we do not backup your data is if your hard drive is damaged beyond repair. We make every effort to save your data but sometimes even your Deerfield computer experts cannot perform miracles.

Some hardware repairs can be done in-house; for example, a new keyboard, cd/dvd drive, hard drive or palm rest. Parts replacement on the MAC’s is more limited but we hope to expand that capability in the future. If the hardware problem is more serious, like it needs a motherboard replacement or it grew wings and flew off your desk and needs the screen replaced, we have to ship it out to be repaired. This process can take anywhere from 1-2 weeks. We won’t be upset with you if you dropped it, stepped on it or your brother ran it over with his car. We just want to know what really happened so it’s easier for us to fix and we can get it back to you faster. And remember you can always get a loaner laptop if your DA laptop needs repair.

Why doesn’t ITS help with my personal machine?

We have a required laptop purchase program here at Deerfield. Each student has a laptop (MAC or IBM) that was provided by Deerfield with a school “image” that includes all the necessary academic software. This method allows us to more accurately and efficiently service your laptop. With a uniform platform, we have images built and ready to restore to your laptop when you get a virus or your hard drive crashes. If each student came to us with a different model laptop to repair we wouldn’t have the images, drivers, software or support access to be able to service it. In addition, most of our software licenses do not include use for your personal machines and are strictly for Deerfield issued laptops. It’s important to remember that there are TWO technicians in ITS to provide hardware/software support for all 600+ of the student laptops and the faculty and staff machines.

2009 MAC Attack

The MAC transition has been a learning process for us all. You asked and we listened but it’s going to take time to iron out the wrinkles and we in ITS need your support and patience. Our policy of not supporting non-standard machines is not new to this school year. All new students for the 2009-2010 school year received a MAC from Deerfield. This MAC is fully supported by ITS. We also gave returning students the option to purchase a MAC at a discounted price, as we had always done in the past with the IBM’s. This MAC was not meant to replace your existing IBM and consistent with our past practice, your personal purchase MAC has to be treated as “non-standard” because of licensing issues. However, we will provide very limited support including facilitating warranty repairs in the event of hardware failure due to normal wear and tear. Returning students are still expected to use their IBM laptop and we will continue to provide support for your IBM since the warranty is effective until you graduate.

Although we cannot provide the same support on a non-standard laptop we do provide you with instructions posted on DAnet (under Library/IT, ITS Help Desk) for the most commonly asked questions including printing, setting up email clients, connecting to networked drives and installing academic software. These are all procedures that we have tested and verified. If you have problems beyond that with hardware or your operating system, we recommend you visit an Apple store. We are not currently certified Apple Technicians. If these problems are preventing you from doing your school work, then please use your Deerfield provided IBM.

We’re here to HELP

We have a ticketing system that keeps track of all the work we perform on your laptop. We’re happy to share that information with you—all you have to do is ask. Typically, we email you to let you know when your laptop is ready, if we had to ship it out for repair unexpectedly or to let you know what parts have been replaced, especially when you have a recurring problem. If you have a question or concern about your laptop, please ask. We’re not holding your laptop for ransom and we’re happy to clear up your fears of the unknown.

Stop by the Help Desk and tell us how we are doing and what we can do to help you!

Jodi Walsh,
ITS Help Desk Coordinator