Information Technology Services

Drop Shadow

Student Computer Requirements and Recommendations


Faculty/Staff: Please visit the Computer Ordering site for more information

To use the USD network, the following minimum components are required for both laptop and desktop machines. Computers with less capacity may not be able to connect to our network or run applications necessary in the classroom.

If you are buying a new computer

While almost any computer purchased today will be compliant with the network, we recommend that each machine have the following features.

  • Windows 7, 8 or Mac OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)
  • At least 4 GB RAM (6 GB or more recommended)
  • 250 GB or more hard drive, or a 128 GB or larger SSD and an external hard drive
  • Extended warranty that covers accidental damages
  • A DVD-RW drive or external hard drive for making extra copies of your data
  • A wireless card for notebook computers (802.11N that uses both 2.4 and 5 Ghz recommended)

If you already have a computer

We realize that not everyone will be bringing a new computer to campus. Computers with less than the required capacity may not be able to connect to our network or run applications necessary in the classroom. Please note: these are minimum requirements for using our network, but other software might require newer equipment

Minimum Requirements

Minimum Requirements for AppleMinimum Requirements for Windows
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo Processor Intel Core 2 Duo or higher
Operating System Macintosh 10.5.8 or newer
Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (NOTE: Microsoft is discontinuing support for XP in April 2014)
Memory (RAM)) 2 GB 2 GB

Recommended Software

Office Suite Microsoft Office 2010/2011/2013 or Open Office
Web Browser Mozilla Firefox 20, Safari 6, or Internet Explorer 9/10 are recommended. 
Anti-Virus Software Symantec Endpoint Protection is a free anti-virus for all students of the University. You can download Symantec Endpoint from the following site: If you have a different antivirus program, you can choose to uninstall it and install Symantec. If you would prefer to keep it, please check our list of Supported Antivirus Programs.
Adobe Reader, Flash
Available free on the internet at
Java Available free on the Internet at


As prices on netbooks (low end mini laptops) drop and Apple iPads are released, students might be tempted to use one of these as their primary machine.  While netbooks and iPads are supported on campus, they often do not have the processing power or storage space to do everything a student might need. Due to the limitations of these devices, the ITS Help Desk recommends that students only purchase netbooks/iPads as additions to their standard computer.

Is 64-bit Windows (Vista/7/8) supported?

Many new Windows computers with 4gb of RAM or more will ship with a 64 bit version of Windows.  The ITS Help Desk supports 64 bit versions of Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.  Our Antivirus software has all been tested and functions on these operating systems.

I'm a law school student - what do I need to know?

The USD Law School allows students to take their exams on their computer using a program called SofTest by Examsoft.  As of Fall 2010, you can now install SofTest on a PC and a Mac.  If you have a Windows computer, it can be XP, Vista, or Windows 7.  If you have a Mac, you must have OS X 10.5.8 or newer.  For more information, please see the USD Law School Use of Laptop Personal Computers policy.

Recommended Accessories

  • Laptop Lock
  • All original operating system and software CD’s
  • External hard drive (to backup your data)
  • USB thumb drive (to quickly and easily backup and transfer files)
  • Personal Printer
  • Wireless ready/compatible (Most new computers are equipped for wireless access)

Unsupported/Not allowed Items

While ITS strives to support as much technology as it can, there are a few items that ITS cannot support, or will not function, at USD.  You can see a whole list at our Supported/Unsupported Network Devices article.

  • Wireless Printers: Some new printers have the ability to connect to a wireless network to allow printing from multiple computers.  These printers are unable to log in to our 'usd' or 'usdconnect' wireless network and are unable to maintain the same IP address from the network.  Due to these limitations, we cannot support printing wirelessly to a personal printer.  All personal printers support plugging in directly to your computer via USB, which we recommend as an alternative.
  • Personal Routers/Wireless Access Points:  Wireless access points and personal routers will often allow other people to connect to the USD network under your username and password.  This means all traffic they generate (including any illegal file sharing) will look like it is coming from you!  These devices will also be stopped from allowing you Internet access.  You shouldn't need your own router or access point - there is wireless available throughout campus!

Looking for a new computer? Try the USD Torero Store at (619) 260-4551 or online at