University of Wisconsin–Madison

Frequently Asked Questions

10 questions

1.      What kind of laptop should I buy? Do I need a specific laptop for my major?

This largely depends on your personal preferences. We have done some  initial research for you in our Tech solutions for your major. You will find both Mac and PC options for your major, with software recommendations.

2.      Should I buy a Mac or a PC?

This depends on what you are using currently.  In most cases, your choice of Mac or PC will not impact your class experience. We recommend that you stay with what feels familiar, to make sure your computing experience isn’t a complete change for you.

That said, remember that Mac computers can also run Windows if you’re interested in moving to a Mac product. Their software is very user-friendly, and we host regular “Get to know your Mac” learning events in the store.

3.      Is it better to buy at the Tech Store, the Apple Store or Best Buy?

The DoIT Tech Store is the best option for UW-Madison students because they have:

  • Deep student discounts on tech and tech accessories.
  • Tech solutions for your area of study, developed in cooperation with various UW-Madison schools and colleges.
  • On-campus tech support, including free troubleshooting, free software cleanup, free virus removal, and lots more.  They also repair most devices, including those under Dell or Apple warranty.
  • Three convenient on-campus locations.
  • Stores staffed by fellow UW students.
  • Technology resources for students. When you buy from the DoIT Tech Store, you’re reinvesting in campus technology.

4.      What is Office 365?

Office 365 is a suite of web-based tools hosted by Microsoft.  In addition to free email and calendaring features for UW-Madison students faculty and staff, Office 365 provides multiple online applications such as OneDrive, the Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), and additional productivity tools. Configuring your devices with Office 365 is easy using the campus Knowledgebase instructions.

In addition to email and calendar, UW Madison students, faculty and staff have access to free Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) through the Office 365 portal.  Get it here.

5.      Do I need external storage or backup?

You should always backup your data.  We’d recommend using at least one of the following:

You can find more information about backup options in the campus Knowledgebase.

6.      How do I get my laptop fixed on campus?

If something goes wrong with your device, call or stop by one of the DoIT Help Desk locations. They will do some initial troubleshooting, and if the device needs repair they will first try to provide free warranty support to resolve the issue.  If the device is out of warranty they will provide cost-effective repairs to get you back up and running.

7.      Do I need antivirus software?

All computers connected to the network are required to be running antivirus software, regardless of whether that computer is a Mac or a PC. As a UW student, you have access to free antivirus software from the Campus Software Library ( You only need one working antivirus software installed, so if you already have an antivirus software that you prefer, feel free to continue using that instead of the campus-provided option.

8.      Where do I get WiFi on campus?

Every campus building has complimentary UWNet or Eduroam wireless networking available.  This includes all UW Residence halls as well with ResNet.  

9.      Do I need a printer?

You will find several resources for printing on campus at the libraries and campus computer labs.

For a student perspective, check out this We are Badgers student blog post.

10.   How do I find all the other tech resources available to campus users?

We always recommend you first search our Knowledgebase for answers to your tech questions.  You can also contact the free campus Help Desk for answers.

Contact the Help Desk via: