Computer Support


Although, we provide computer support to faculty, staff and students. The following describes our support procedures for university-owned computers.

Operating systems
Instrument computers
OS upgrades
Security controls

Operating Systems

We support the following:

  • Windows 7
  • Windows 10
  • MacOS (10.11 (El Capitan), 10.12 (Sierra), 10.13(High Sierra))
  • Linux


We normally install and support the following software on university-owned systems:

  • Microsoft Office 2016
  • Mozilla Thunderbird (email client)
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Google Chrome
  • Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and Adobe Acrobat Reader DC
  • Adobe Creative Suite 2018
  • Data security controls (see “Security Controls” section for more info.)

Instrument Computers

We recognize that instrumentation and/or software require older operating systems or hardware to function and cannot have the data security controls implemented on them. These systems will be placed on a network that does not allow Internet access but allows access to the file server and printers.

Additionally, we have run into difficulties in acquiring parts and/or support for some of the older hardware in the department. While we will do our reasonable best to keep these systems up and running, we strongly recommend that the owners of these systems determine what the upgrade path is, whether that requires purchasing new hardware, software, or replacing the instrument itself. We recognize that that can involve significant expense, but at some point these older systems will fail, and we will not be able to fix them.

OS Upgrades

We recommend keeping upgrading your computer’s operating system on a yearly basis to remain in compliance with UMass IT’s security policy. While we don’t recommend upgrading to the newest operating system for your computer when the OS is first released, we do recommend upgrading six months after the initial release.

If your computer becomes too outdated, it may be necessary to wipe the hard drive and install the latest version of the operating system .


We recommend setting up an automatic backup to either an external hard drive or the file server.

TimeMachine backups to external hard drives are best for MacOS. TimeMachine makes data migrations or restoration very easy and ensures that all of your data is backed up.

We use SyncBack Free to automate backups to the file server on Windows systems and we use a command-line utility called rsync to automate backups to the file server on MacOS.

Please send an email to or to request help setting up computer backups.

Security Controls

Per UMass Amherst IT’s security policy the following security controls must be implemented on all university-owned systems and any systems that contain university data:

  • Anti-virus software
    • Sophos is installed on all university-owned computers.
  • Automatic patching
    • Automatic updates are enabled on all Windows and Macs.
    • KACE is installed on all university-owned computers for inventory purposes.
    • JAMF is install on all university-owned Macs.
  • Hard drive encryption
    • FileVault for Macs
    • Bitlocker for Windows
  • Firewall
    • The OS Firewall is enabled on all university-owned machines with the default configuration.
  • Secure Disposal
    • Please contact us for the secure disposal of all university-owned systems (see the “Recycling Computers” section for more info.)


Please contact us for help purchasing new computing equipment. In your request please include the intended purpose of the computer and any software needs as well as a budget amount.

We can also work with you to order the system and have it delivered to our offices to complete the initial set up and then deliver it to your office or lab.

Recycling Computers

Please contact us for help recycling any computers you no longer wish to use. We will make sure that the hard drive is destroyed according to University policy and recycle the computer. We also make sure to take the computer off of inventory.


Please send an email to or