Home Support

Home PC support is a desired departmental service, but the issues of supporting home machines are complex and in some cases clearly beyond the CSL control. A set of guidelines must address complex issues such as: hardware volatility, user error, OS upgrades, program support, user training, multiple OS-es, effective CSL time use, CSL training, and data archiving in such a way that the CSL is unencumbered in meeting the larger departmental goals. Incorporating such issues into a single set of guidelines is not an easy task. Any working solution will require a significant investment in the home PC user's time. To meet the home PC support needs, the CSL has created the following set of guidelines.



  • Any supported computer must be a departmental machine, i.e sanctioned by the department.
  • It is clear that in order to support such machines, it must be both possible and practical to configure and maintain the machine. Therefore, it is essential that we advise in the purchase of the equipment that we are asked to support.
  • Dual boot machines require two disk drives. This allows for the installation all of the departmental software for the UNIX operating systems. This will minimize the problems associated with the user's environment.
  • Only limited support for the Linux, Windows, and MacOS will be provided.
  • Machines will be configured as stock departmental machines. No customizations, i.e. dotfiles, windowing, etc... will be performed by the CSL staff. Users will be responsible for integrating their CS environment into their home PC environment.
  • On-site visits will not be made available. If a faculty or staff members need support in the home, on-site consultants should be contracted.
  • Configuration and installation of these machines are not a top priority. Specifications for the setup of a machine must be given well in advance of the expected completion date.
  • Continuing education will be not provided. Users will be expected to install third-party software, and learn how to use software on their own, e.g. Netscape, Real Audio, Microsoft Word, etc...
  • The CSL staff will not perform backups for home PCs.
  • If and when upgrades are desired, it will be a complete re-installation. All local configurations will be lost. Users will be responsible for restoring their environment from the current stock departmental setup after a complete upgrade.
  • Users will be responsible for upgrading their own software, i.e. Emacs, Browser, TeX, etc...