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Computer Guidelines For New Students

This page is to familiarize new students with the technology environment at Shepherd. As a new student, you need to know what networks are available and where, what requirements we ask you to have for your computer and what you can do before arriving on-campus to help you have a smooth start.

While Shepherd does not require students to own a computer, we strongly encourage it. The decision to purchase a Windows or Apple computer should be made based on your major. Linux based computers are becoming popular, but they require a greater knowledge than PCs or Macs. Contact the department chair from your area of study to determine which type is right for you.

Shepherd does not operate a computer store and we cannot repair computers. We strongly recommend you research vendors and purchase a quality machine backed by good service. Vendors such as Dell, Apple, and HP have solid reputations. Search for education discounts from the vendor and take advantage of them if offered. Consider extended warranties.

Our suggestions below are for students looking to purchase a computer that will last four years.


Hardware Item Desktop Laptop
Processor “CPU” Intel / AMD multicore processor Intel / AMD multicore processor
Graphics Card “GPU” 2 GB* 2 GB*
Memory “RAM” 8 GB with 16 GB preferred 8 GB with 16 GB preferred
Hard drive “HDD” 250 GB 250 GB
Operating System Windows 10 or Linux Windows 10 or Linux
Network Interface 10/100 Network card 10/100 Network card
Monitor 17 inch or larger 14 inch or larger
Wireless Card No 802.11 g/n/ac compliant


Warranty 4 year Recommended 4 year Recommended
Anti-Virus See recommendation below** See recommendation below**


Hardware Item iMac MacBook
Processor “CPU” iMac with Intel multicore processor MacBook Pro with Intel multicore processor
Graphics Card “GPU” 2GB
Memory “RAM” 8 GB preferred 8 GB preferred
Hard drive “HDD” 250GB 250GB
Operating System Mojave or higher Mojave or higher
Network Interface 10/100 Network card 10/100 Network card
Monitor 17 inch flat panel or larger 13 inch
Wireless Card Airport Extreme Airport Extreme


Warranty 4 year Recommended 4 year Recommended

* The brand name is optional. nVidia and AMD produce excellent products. You can determine the video card for the specific software you use.

** Shepherd recommends using either a free anti-virus program like Microsoft Defender, MalWareBytes or a subscription to a commercial product.

Shepherd maintains a wired Ethernet network for connecting your computer and other devices. The cable must be a Category 5, 5e or 6 cable. All residence halls have at least one Ethernet port for each person living in that room, suite or apartment. The suites and apartments have more than one port per person. There are also some Ethernet ports available for use in academic and common buildings such as the Library.

Shepherd also maintains a Wi-Fi network in every building on-campus including all of the residence halls, academic and common buildings. If you find an area in a campus building which does not have Wi-Fi coverage, please contact the IT Services Desk so we are aware of it. Our contact information is below.

The easiest way to get connected, if you have problems or questions, is to call the IT Service Desk at 304-876-5457. However, there is a link at the bottom of this page if you want to try configuring the Wi-Fi card(s) of your device(s) to our wireless network before you arrive on-campus.

To ensure the network is secure and reliable, we maintain strict standards for operating system versions and virus protection:

To connect to our networks, you must register your devices. The registration process will scan your computer for compliance with the above requirements. Be sure to have your Computer Account before proceeding. Please note that you cannot register using a dial-up connection.

Game consoles, Roku devices, SmartTVs and similar devices used in a residence hall room can only connect through a wired connection and must be manually registered by IT Services staff. Please go to this page: Registering devices in Residence Halls and follow the instructions. This will submit your information to our ticketing system. Please give us up to three business days to complete your request.

NOTE: We delete all registered devices after each Fall and Spring semester ends. You may need to re-register your device(s) at the beginning of each semester.

We recommend before coming to campus for the start of the semester, click on the icon below to scan your computer for compliance to our requirements. If it meets our requirements, it will pass and be registered. If it does not pass, you will receive a message on your screen why it did not pass.

Checking for compliance
Register and scan my computer.