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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What does this mean to me, an incoming Tepper student?
A: You will be coming to a mobile computing environment where access to various information networks will be encouraged and necessary for success in the academic program. Most courses are currently supported by Web pages. The notebook computer and the ability to effectively use mobile computing will be invaluable assets to you as a student and after you graduate.

Q: Can I bring a Mac? Will I have issues using a Mac on campus?
A: You can bring a Mac, just like you can bring any unsupported laptop. If you bring a Mac, make sure you can run Windows 7 Professional somehow. At some point during the MBA program, you will need to install some specialized software that doesn’t have a Mac version. Your best option is to run Bootcamp and install Windows using Bootcamp, this way you can boot into Mac OS or natively into Windows. If you can’t setup Bootcamp, then you’ll need to use Fusion or Parallels and run Windows in a virtual machine.

Q: What is covered under warranty? What is ThinkPad Accidental Damage Protection (ADP)?
A: Damage to your notebook is your responsibility!!

First, it is important to note what is covered under warranty and what is not. If you drop your laptop down the stairs, that is not covered under warranty. If you drive over your computer, that is not covered under warranty. Now, if you are using your computer and the screen starts to flash off and on mysteriously and you didn't spill anything in it, that is covered under warranty. If your hard drive just up and dies on you, that is covered (recovering data, unfortunately, is not covered...). As you can see, there are a great many circumstances where you will end up needing to pay $200 to $600+ to repair your notebook. As a result, when you purchase your laptop, please give serious thought to purchasing Lenovo's ThinkPad Accidental Damage protection for your laptop; it will be one of the warranty upgrade options.

Note: The ADP does not cover theft, so if you want coverage for theft, see about adding it to your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy, or consider buying a dedicated laptop insurance policy.

Q: What if I already have my own notebook computer?
A: If your computer meets the minimum requirements listed on the previous page, you may choose to use your own system. However, please make note of the differences in support you will receive because your support options aren’t as convenient as you get if you bring a supported laptop.  If you do not already have a copy of Microsoft Office 2010, after you get to campus, you can download a copy from the "P" drive (you'll find out what/where that is) or, if you want the "official" Microsoft CD, you can also buy one from the CMU computer store for around $35 (a substantial discount over the price you would pay for it from any retail location).

A2:  You might consider purchasing a base E430 as a supplementary supported notebook. With the i3 processor and no upgrades, you can probably find that laptop for around $500. Laptop computers are so important in today's educational and business environment that it is not a bad idea to have two laptops that are designed for different purposes. If you have a larger, more powerful laptop, you can use that as your home/multimedia machine. If you have an E430, you can use that exclusively for school--email, Office Apps, school Apps, etc. If something happens to your school machine, we can take care of what went wrong so you have some piece of mind. This was one option suggested by our student technology advisory panel.

Q: What is an "Internal Wireless Card"
A: CMU offers wireless Ethernet to its students. Wireless functionality is built into all laptops these days, so if you buy a supported computer, you don't need to worry about wireless connectivity. Just make sure, when you order your laptop, that you purchase the exact wireless card listed in the system configuration. If you buy a different wireless card, there can be some unpredictable results when you image your machine. If we are unable to use our image file on your machine, it will be considered an unsupported laptop (we can, however, support the hardware).

Q: What happens if my supported computer needs a warranty repair?
A: The supported E430 and X220 computers come with 1-year warranties that are upgradable to 3 years.  We are able to do most hardware repairs on-site. If we can't repair your laptop on-site, we will take care of sending it to Lenovo's repair center for you. While your computer is away, we will provide you with a loaner laptop. We make every effort to give you a spare laptop of the exact same type (this way we can just put your hard drive in the spare and you will have all of your data, settings and programs) but, occasionally, we may have to substitute another model. In this case, we'll help you move your data into the spare machine.

Q: What happens if my unsupported computer needs a warranty repair?
If you determine that you computer needs to be sent away for a warranty repair, say, for example, to Dell, stop down to our office and see if we have a loaner machine available. If we have a loaner machine available, if you need help, we can copy your data from your laptop to the loaner machine. You can then use the loaner machine until yours comes back from Dell. Since we can't repair unsupported laptops in house, if your machine needs a repair it will most likely need to be sent away, which takes more time. There is a good chance that, from time to time, we may run out of loaner machines for people with unsupported notebooks. If you want to be a help to your classmates, do what you can to expedite your repair—send out your notebook as soon as you receive the box and bring the loaner machine back to us as soon as you receive your repaired machine.

Q: May I copy software from a fellow student?
A: You will be responsible for abiding by all terms and conditions of software licenses for each package; copying software from someone else violates University policy and federal copyright laws.

Q: I am fairly comfortable with computers, does that mean I'm ok buying an unsupported notebook instead of a supported one?
A: Not exactly! We've noticed that over the years, some of the most seasoned IT veterans have purchased supported computers because they know what a nightmare it is dealing with mysterious hardware problems and difficult vendors. While tech-expert-types don't need our software support very often, they know that we can take care of their hardware needs and fully rebuild their machine in a matter of a few hours in case of major software problems.

Q: What about the USB DVD drive for the Tablet PC?
A: DVD drives come in handy sometimes for installing software, watching movies and backing up your files. You can find some fairly inexpensive drives these days, most likely under $100. Lenovo makes a very portable drive that you can order for around that price. If you decide you don’t need a DVD drive and you have some software to install that only comes on a CD/DVD, feel free to stop down to our office anytime and borrow one of our drives.

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