Safe computing: Keeping your computer healthy

By on March 30, 2005

Students are not the only ones that need to stay healthy during the school year.

Lately there has been an upsurge in “sick” laptops wrought with viruses and simply “not working.” The Quinnipiac Help Desk is busier than ever and students are growing more and more frustrated with their temperamental machines.

The computer “doctors” at the help desk, Rick Brownell, the Desktop Support Manager, Fred Tarca, Director of Administration and Project Management and Frank Villa, the Manager of Academic Computing all agree that there are ways to keep student’s computers healthy so they can limit visits to the “ER.”

The most basic steps to protecting personal computers include installing the Symantec Anti-Virus software that is authorized for use by all Quinnipiac students. Most computers have this program already installed, but if not it can be installed at the university’s Help Desk or at http:\\\software\common\symantec\ClientInstall\Undergraduates\setup.exe.

Continuously updating your computer with Windows Critical Updates ( is also important. The newest updates are Windows Service Pack 2 and Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (

It seems that almost every day a new virus threatens to wreak havoc on students’ laptops. Some are almost impossible to detect. According to, if a computer starts to slow down, stops responding, or crashes and restarts every few minutes, it may have a virus.

Certain viruses can attack the start-up programs need to boot the computer, resulting in the “blank screen” effect.

Most viruses can be captured and quarantined with the correct software, but if that does not work, students should seek the help of professionals at the Help Desk.

Students should be especially aware of risks involved with e-mailing, instant messaging and downloading music.

Some viruses have the ability to send viruses through a student’s e-mail address using it as a carrier to infect others’ computers. No one should open unusual looking attachments in e-mails, instant messages, or profiles from people they know or even people they do not know.

Despite taking every precaution even the most computer savvy have problems sometimes. Backing up important information can save a lot of headache.

Quinnipiac provides students with an amount of “filespace” where they can drag information and access it from any computer that is connected to the network. Information can be saved to filespace in the same way it would be saved to any other file on the computer.

Information can also be backed up with a USB “thumb” drive or burned onto a CD.

Security wise, each Dell laptop purchased through Quinnipiac is equipped with Computrace, an anti-theft program that allows stolen laptops to be traced and recovered. Current freshmen should install this program by going to


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