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Information Technology Support Policies

Support is defined as connecting computers to the College and Campus networks, installing software, installing upgrades including internal devices such as cards and memory, providing troubleshooting services to determine repair needs, completing repairs, and providing user assistance.

Support for University-Owned Computers Located On Campus

Hardware

Computing Services will support:

  • All computer equipment and peripherals purchased by the College of Arts and Humanities, or by any unit within the College with the advice of the Computing Services staff.*

Computing services does not support:

  • Equipment that is not purchased with the advice of Computing Services technical services staff or does not comply to the College's hardware standards.
  • Equipment that has been serviced (the addition or removal of memory or other internal components) by anyone other than a full-time member of the Computing Services staff or a campus-authorized vendor with the recommendation of Computing Services.
  • Equipment on which the installed operating system is a "home" version of Windows (e.g., Windows Vista Home).
  • Equipment on which the operating system has been upgraded or re-installed by someone other than a full-time member of the Computing Services staff.
  • Equipment purchased with non-State funds unless that equipment is included in the University's inventory of equipment.

In cases where hardware repair is necessary, Computing Services will provide troubleshooting services. Hardware repairs that cannot be completed by Computing Services due to parts availability, complexity of the repair, or warranty status will be completed by a campus-authorized vendor. The department that owns the computer will be responsible for the full cost of all repairs. If a unit chooses to obtain the services of someone other than the vendor identified by the campus, Computing Services no longer will provide support for that machine in the future.

Computers are provided for faculty and staff to support their work. As such, these machines should not be used to store data that is not related to work. ACS is not responsible for the backup, transfer, or recovery of personal data such as music and image files that are not related to a faculty or staff member's work. If University-owned equipment is used to store such data, it will be the user's responsibility to back it up and restore it in the case of hardware failure or when new equipment is provided to replace an existing computer.

In cases where a particular application or a unique aspect of the computing environment requires installation of an operating system other than what is installed at the time of delivery, please contact the Assistant Director for Technical Services at 301-405-2105 to discuss the situation. If the operating system can be supported, a member of the Computing Services staff will complete the required installation. To comply with security and support standards, Computing Services reserves the right to withhold support from some operating systems at its discretion

*Recommendations for standard faculty and staff workstations are provided to the departments each spring when requests for workstations are made for the following academic year. Equipment recommendations can be requested to meet special needs or at other times during the year. Please contact the Assistant Dean for Academic Technology and Administrative Operations (301-405-2116, kcav@umd.edu) or the Assistant Director of Technical Services (301-405-2105, jkboone@umd.edu) to obtain recommendations.

Software

Computing Services supports:

  • Standard productivity applications such as those included in the Microsoft Office suite and Adobe suite.
  • Mail clients, web browsers, and other Internet tools such as Firefox, Internet Explorer (Windows only), Thunderbird, F-Secure, and Fetch.

The Computing Services staff recognizes that a diverse collection of applications is required to meet the varying needs of the disciplines within the College. Discipline-specific applications will be supported to the extent possible.

Computing Services does not support:

  • Any application that has not been legally purchased for the machine on which it is is installed.
  • Applications that are not being used for University business (e.g., income tax applications, games).
  • Operating systems that have been re-installed or upgraded by someone other than a member of the Computing Services staff.

User support for software packages supported by the campus is available from the Division of Information Technology Help Desk (5-1500, www.helpdesk.umd.edu).

University-Owned Computers Located Off-Campus (including laptops)


The College expects that faculty and administrative workstations will remain in faculty and staff offices to support work on campus. Unit heads may grant permission for the removal University-owned equipment from campus on a case-by-case basis. If permission is granted, an inventory record must be kept on file in the unit showing the location of the equipment, the purpose of the loan, and the expected return date. In addition, a loan agreement must be signed that outlines the expectation of liability in case of theft or damage due to catastrophe (such as flood or fire) or negligence. Faculty members who have laptops as their primary faculty workstation must also sign inventory and loan agreements. Inventory forms and loan agreements can be obtained from the Computing Services office (contact Kathy Cavanaugh by electronic mail at kcav@umd.edu to request forms).


Hardware

Computing Services will support University-owned equipment that is located off-campus that complies with the guidelines listed in the hardware section for University-owned equipment located on campus under these conditions:

  • Software installations will be completed on campus only.
  • Computing Services will not support commercially provided communication software such as software provided for DSL or cable modem service. Support for such applications is available from the service provider.
  • If software is installed or configurations are changed after the equipment leaves campus and these changes cause the computer not to work properly, Computing Services is not responsible for providing troubleshooting or support services.
  • Computing Services is not responsible for providing troubleshooting services for applications that function properly when the computer is located on campus but do not function properly once the computer is removed from campus. Information about connecting to the College file servers from remote locations is available here.

User support for laptops is also provided by the Division of information Technology (301-405-1500, www.helpdesk.umd.edu)

University-Owned Computers in Shared or Public Spaces

Computers shared by multiple people or located in public spaces are at a higher risk of frequent malfunction and damage from security breaches than those in private offices used by individuals. For this reason, it is Academic Computing Services policy to configure shared machines in such a way as to prevent the installation or modification of software applications and operating system settings by anyone other than an ACS staff member. Arts and Humanities units that own machines located in shared or public spaces may choose to request that such security measures not be taken in favor of allowing users to install and configure software themselves. If the decision is made not to implement the recommended security protections, support provided for the computer in response to any software malfunction will be limited to restoring the computer to its original state at the time of initial delivery to the unit. This restoration may result in the loss of all locally stored user data and any applications installed after initial delivery without the assistance of Computing Services staff.

Non-University-Owned Equipment Located On Campus

  • Computing Services will not provide hardware of software support for personal equipment.

Non-University Equipment Located Off Campus (including laptops)

Hardware
  • Computing Services will not provide support for any equipment that is not owned by the University.
Software

Current versions of Macintosh and Windows operating systems include all software needed to connect to the Internet from home. Instructions for configuring your machine to dial into the campus network are available at the UMD Help Desk web site.

Computing Services will not support any software that is not purchased by the University for use on a University-owned machine.

Support for Obsolete Equipment and Software

Unsupportable Hardware

Computing Services recognizes that hardware officially classified obsolete still has some usefulness in the College. We cannot, however, continue to support all hardware indefinitely. Computing Services cannot support equipment that does not meet the minimum configuration standards listed below. In addition, equipment categorized as unsupportable will not be able to connect to the College fileserver or to networked printers.
 

Intel-based PCs (e.g., Dell)

  • Any Dell model prior to the Optiplex 980
  • Machines with non-i-series processors
  • Machines with less than 4 Gb of RAM
  • Operating systems prior to Windows 7

Macintosh

  • Any Apple computer prior with a non-Intel processor
  • Machines with less than 4 Gb of RAM
  • Operating systems prior to Mac OS 10.8
Unsupportable Software

Computing Services will continue to support older versions of legally owned software installed on older equipment. In many cases, new versions of applications are released to solve known problems. In these cases, Computing Services strongly recommends updating the application as the solution to the user's problem.

  • Computing Services will not seek alternative solutions to the problem if upgrading is determined to be the best option.
  • Computing Services will not install or provide support for outdated versions of software on new equipment.

Responses to Problems Caused by Spyware, Adware, and Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Applications

  • ACS currently recommends Sypbot Search & Destroy for identifying and removing spyware and adware from computers.
  • In response to problems caused by spyware and adware, ACS staff will first try to remove the offending applications
  • Because it is impossible to tell what malicious software may have been installed as a result of installing freeware and peer-to-peer file sharing applications, Computing Services reserves the right to replace the operating system by re-imaging any computer on which a user has installed freeware (e.g., games, media players, utilties). User-installed applications and locally stored data will be removed through the re-imaging process.
  • In cases where spyware and adware have caused significant problems, re-imaging the computer will be the preferred solution.