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Using your Laptop Computer

What is included with a laptop

  • With every laptop deployed, CIT provides a carry case, mouse, and security cable.
  • Laptops that have video output other than VGA also come with a VGA adapter.
  • The technology budget does not provide for external monitors, keyboards, docking stations, extra batteries, or additional power supplies.

Laptop user responsibilities

  • You are expected to secure your laptop computer at all times.
  • CIT provides a security cable with every laptop they provide. It is your responsibility to ensure that the laptop is secure: this includes locking it, even in campus offices, and especially when traveling.
  • You are responsible for the supplied VGA adpter (if applicable). If yours is lost and you need a replacement, please contact the HelpDesk with your department's account number for the charge.
  • If you are storing confidential information on the hard-drive of your laptop or any other portable electronic device it MUST BE protected using encryption. To add data encryption to your device, please contact the HelpDesk at x6-8555.

Problems to avoid

These are actual examples of laptop problems brought to the CIT HelpDesk. Please take care to avoid them with your laptop.

  • Liquids spilled onto laptop causing irreparable damage
  • Laptop dropped
  • Laptop stolen while left unattended in public place
  • Laptop stolen from unlocked campus office
  • Power cord stretched across walkway and someone tripped over cord
  • Cover closed with pen laying on keyboard caused screen to crack
  • Laptop left overnight in the trunk of car during the winter
  • Open laptop carried by a corner; caused stress cracks at the hinges

If your laptop is stolen or damaged

  • A laptop that is lost, or stolen, or damaged beyond use will be replaced with a desktop system. You will not have an opportunity to request a new laptop until the normal computer replacement cycle comes up.
  • If you have second laptop stolen or damaged due to carelessness, the College will not provide any funds for its replacement. You will be asked to reimburse the College for its replacement.

Setting up your laptop

  1. The laptop should be set up on a secure and stable table or desk, away from an edge where it can be knocked over.
  2. The screen should be shielded from direct sunlight, and kept from very moist or dusty environments.
  3. Care should be taken so all cords (power, modem and network) will be out of “tripping” range.
  4. Attach the security cable.
  5. Before turning on, plug in the power cord, and plug in the modem (off-campus) or network cables (on-campus)—if you plan on using these items. Unlatch and open the lid on the laptop and adjust the screen for viewing.
  6. Plug in the external mouse and other devices (except projector) if desired.
  7. Push the power button and allow Windows to fully start up (when hour glass disappears) before commencing with your work.

Restarting the laptop upon freeze-up

If the application/document you are working in freezes:
  1. First try to quit the application by simultaneously pressing the <Ctrl+Alt+Delete> keys.
  2. If you need to restart the computer, hold down the power button for 10 seconds or use the restart button (if the laptop has one).

Shutting down the laptop

To shut down the laptop, go to the Start menu and select Shut down. Allow the laptop to fully shutdown before closing the lid. Simply closing the lid while the computer is running is not a proper way to shutdown the laptop.

Battery and charging

Battery vs. power cord? When operating the laptop for short periods of time, it is easier to run off the battery. The length of time you can run off a full-charged battery is between 2 and 3 hours, depending on the laptop model used and the intensity of work you are performing.

If you plan to use the laptop for over an hour, it is wise to plug in the power cord. The battery will recharge whenever the laptop is plugged into power. It is a good idea to leave the laptop plugged in to fully recharge the battery.

How much battery power is left?

At the lower right-hand corner of the desktop, on the taskbar, is an icon of a battery (see photo below). Place the mouse cursor over the battery icon and a message appears indicating the percent of battery left. Windows will interrupt your work with a pop-up warning message when the battery power has approximately 10% remaining, giving you a chance to save your work and shut down the laptop.

Can I leave the laptop plugged in?

Leaving the laptop plugged in will not hurt the battery. Of course, if a lightning storm is expected or is occurring, it is wise to unplug both the power cord and modem cord from the laptop.

Document Management

CIT recommends that you store your documents on Calvin's network because the files are backed up daily. But what if you work on files on your laptop? Here are 2 recommendations:

  1. Keep a master library of your documents on the file server.
    We recommend you use H:\ which is your personal location on the file server. Name a folder My Documents on your H:\ drive. Keep your files stored in H:\My Documents and copy them to your laptop or an USB memory device if you need to work on your laptop when you are not connected to the network.
  2. Keep a master library of your documents on your laptop.
    Keep the master library of your documents on your laptop in the My Documents folder and copy the entire My Documents folder to your H:\ drive on a regular basis. Be sure to replace the H:\My Documents folder each time instead of duplicating the files.

With either method, personal music libraries, personal photo collections or personal documents should not be stored on the file server.