Computer Recommendations and Security Protocol

Many are bringing their own devices (BYOD) to campus. In order to ensure that you have what you need to do your work on your personal computers/devices, TTS has outlined the following computer recommendations and security guidelines.

We recommend computers should not be more than 2 years old and have the following minimum specifications:

  • At least 8 GB of RAM and i5 2.0 Ghz CPU processor
  • Windows 10 Professional or Apple Mac OS 10.14 laptop
  • 256 GB Hard Drive or a 500 GB Solid State Drive or greater storage
  • WiFi capability
  • 3 years or greater of hardware support and accident protection

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Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office 365 is available to all students for FREE. We strongly recommend that students not buy Microsoft Office from laptop manufacturers or retail stores.

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Extended Warranties

We strongly encourage students to purchase extended warranties that cover three to four years. When possible, purchase additional protection that covers drops and liquid damage to the device.

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Student Discount

Tufts maintains a list of discount agreements with many computer vendors.  

Recommendations

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Recommendations for New Laptops:

Solid State Drive (SSD)

SSDs are the new hard drives that do not rely on a spinning disk to store memory. SSDs improve the speed, security, and portability of any computer. This is the single best decision that can increase the speed of any computer dramatically. MacBook Airs, Macbook Retina Displays, and several Ultrabooks come with a SSD by default. 

8 GB - 16 GB RAM

If you plan to have the computer for several years, we recommend shelling out the extra dollars for 8 - 16 GB of RAM. Programs and operating systems are using more and more RAM. This way you are sure to have a computer that lasts.

External CD/DVD Drive

 

Easy Cloud storage options have decreased the need for a built-in CD/DVD drive. The option to purchase an external drive is available for those rare circumstances when you might need one. The added bulk to the computer is not worth the few times you might find yourself in need of a CD/DVD drive.

 

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Windows Laptop Recommendations

When purchasing a Windows computer, pay attention to the following:

  1. Purchase a PC - Windows 10 Professional laptop with 13-15" screen
  2. Purchase a computer with a Solid State Drive (SSD) of 250 GB or greater; as speed, data security, and portability dramatically improve as compared to a standard hard drive. 

Antivirus Software

Check out AVG and MSE for free anti-viruses before purchasing a product. If you would like to purchase an anti-virus we recommend Kaspersky or Norton

Microsoft Office

It is strongly recommended that students NOT buy Microsoft Office from laptop manufacturers. The Tufts Microsoft Campus Agreement makes Microsoft Office 365 available to all students at a discounted price. See Office 365 University (PC or Mac) for more information.

Warranty

Accidents happen and the cost of a repair can often exceed the value of the computer. It is strongly recommended that you purchase an extended warranty.  

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Apple Laptop Recommendations

When purchasing a Macintosh computer, TTS recommends the following:

  1. Purchase a Mac (OSX 10.15) recommended - (minimum OS 10.14)
  2. Purchase a computer with a Solid State Drive (SSD) of 250 GB or greater; as speed, data security, and portability dramatically improve as compared to a standard hard drive. If you choose a standard hard drive, it should be a 512 GB hard drive.

Microsoft Office:

It is strongly recommended that students NOT buy Microsoft Office from laptop manufacturers. The Tufts Microsoft Campus Agreement makes Microsoft Office 365 available to all students at a discounted price. See Office 365 University (PC or Mac) for more information.

AppleCare:

It is strongly recommend students buy Applecare (the extended warranty) for their apple laptops. Tufts Technology Support Center is an Apple Certified Service Center and can perform in warranty repairs on computers covered by the AppleCare Protection plan at no charge.

** Please note that the Information Stewardship and Supporting Information Policies prohibits connecting an Apple Airport or Time Capsule to the Tufts network. We recommend a USB hard drive for student backup.

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Mobile Devices (Tablets & Mobile Phones) Recommendations

Tufts strongly recommends that all students with mobile devices (i.e. Android phone or tablet; iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch) have the most recent operating system.

  • Android tablet or phone - OS 10.0
  • iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch - iOS 13.3

NOTE: Ensure your device is set for automatic updates by the vendor to ensure your device is always on the most current operating system.

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Security Recommentations

Disk Encryption

Tufts strongly recommends that personal devices - specifically laptops, tablets, and phones have disk encryption toggled on.

  • Windows PC's
    • Select the Start  button, then select Settings  > Update & Security  > Device encryption.
    • If device encryption is turned off, select Turn on
  • Mac - use File Vault for encryption
    • Under the main Apple menu (top left), go to Systems Preferences ; select Security and Privacy; and File Vault and turn on.

Browser Security/Updates

Browsers (i.e. Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari) should be set to automatically update to ensure you have the latest patches/security fixes for browsers.

Screen Savers

Tufts recommends that screen savers be set to the 10-15 minute setting on all devices.

For students: It is suggested you purchase a privacy screen for your laptop or tablets.

Passcodes and Yubikeys

Ensure passcodes and/or biometrics are enabled for devices to ensure data security.

Tufts strongly encourages that students use a Yubikey to protect your devices from unauthorized access. Learn more about Yubikeys.