Computer Support Policy

This document details SSCC computer support policies and procedures established by the SSCC Steering Committee. For special requests or questions about this policy, please contact Andy Arnold, SSCC Director.

Which Computers the SSCC Supports

SSCC staff provide support for desktop and laptop computers running Windows, OS X, or Linux that are primarily used to carry out University business by SSCC members from the Department of Economics, Department of Sociology, Center for Demography and Ecology, Center for Demography of Health and Aging, Center for Wisconsin Strategy, and the Institute on Research for Poverty. This section describes the level and priority of support provided when these computers are bought with University funds versus when these computers are bought with personal funds.

Computers used in home offices must be brought onto campus for service. Staff do not make home visits. Please schedule your service request before bringing in your computer from home to ensure a minimum turnaround period.

Computers Bought with University Funds

SSCC staff are prepared to provide the full range of services described in this document for computers bought with University funds by SSCC members that are used in campus or home offices to carry out University business.

Computers Bought with Private Funds

SSCC staff are prepared to provide all services described in this document except for hardware services for computers bought with private funds. During busy periods, computers bought with University funds receive a higher service priority than computers bought with private funds.

Any SSCC member who wishes to use a privately owned computer in their campus office is welcome to do so with the following proviso in mind:

Not under any circumstances is the SSCC or the University of Wisconsin responsible for any damage that occurs to any privately-owned computer while on campus.

Requirements for Connecting to the University Network

University policy requires that computers connected to the University of Wisconsin-Madison network by any means must:

  • run up-to-date anti-virus software, when available,
  • and keep all operating system software, device firmware, application software and other software current with the latest security-related patches from the vendor.

Which Operating Systems the SSCC Supports

SSCC supports three operating systems: Windows, OS X, and Linux.

Windows

All PCs running one of the Windows operating systems in the Social Science Building can be part of the Microsoft Windows network. PCs are able to share printers, disk space, and applications that are provided by network servers.

OS X

Macs run successfully on the building network and are able to use network printers and use all software on SSCC's Windows Terminal Servers via downloadable client software. It is also possible for Mac users to mount Linux and Windows network directories.

Linux

Linux computers also run successfully on the building network and are able to use network printers and mount Linux network directories. Linux computers can also be set up to run "stand alone" without access to our Linux network.

Requesting Support

Requesting computer support is very simple. Just contact SSCC's Help Desk and your request will be logged and assigned to the appropriate staff person. Please do not contact SSCC staff directly because each request must go through Help Desk in order for the request to be logged and tracked properly.

If you have a private office and do NOT want SSCC staff entering without your being there, please make this known at the time you make your request. The staff person assigned to service your computer will then arrange an appointment at a time convenient for both of you. Otherwise, it is SSCC policy for staff to service your computer at their earliest convenience which may be at a time you are not present. If this happens, the staff person will leave a note that they have been there.

Getting Help from DoIT

The Division of Information Technology (DoIT), the University of Wisconsin's campus wide computer service department, offers computer services including a show room for purchasing hardware, an installation and repair service, a help desk for answering questions, and a backup service. DoIT's help desk number is 264-4357 and is available 24-hrs/day.

If you are not sure whether you should be requesting service from DoIT or SSCC, send your request to SSCC Help Desk and we'll either take care of your request or refer you to the appropriate contact at DoIT. Except for hardware problems with computers bought with private funds and certain campus-provided administrative software, SSCC can usually take care of your computer support requests. Also, at the end of this document is a list of computer services not supported by SSCC staff. This list includes alternative sources of support.

Computer Support Services

Computer support can be broken down into four main service areas:

  • Purchasing and setting up a computer
  • Network services and assistance with network related problems
  • Software services and assistance with software related problems
  • Hardware services and assistance with hardware related problems.

The following sections provide a list of services for each of these four areas.

Purchasing and Setting up a Computer

SSCC staff are eager to help you make your choices when deciding which computer to buy. While it is true that almost any brand will work satisfactorily in the SSCC network, there are certain components of some systems that are best avoided. These types of problems can usually be avoided simply by consulting with SSCC staff before you buy.

If you are not sure what to buy or you have special requirements for a particular component of the computer system (like the monitor), SSCC staff can offer advice in this area as well, including contacting vendors for specifications and prices and providing information for the purchase order.

Once the new computer arrives, SSCC staff will set it up in your on-campus office. We will also copy files from an old system to the new one and remove any old equipment, if necessary. Old equipment may be installed elsewhere (an RA's or faculty office, etc.), be used for parts, or surplused. Computers destined for home can only be partially set up before they leave campus. SSCC staff will not go to your home to set up your computer.

Network Services and Assistance with Network Related Problems

SSCC staff will provide and troubleshoot a physical network connection within the Social Science Building. This includes problems associated with hardware including installation and configuration of network interface cards (NIC). Contact DoIT's Helpdesk for problems associated with the UW wireless network (UWNet).

If you are having problems with your physical network connection outside the Social Science Building, please contact the appropriate Internet service provider (ISP). For example, if you have a cable modem at home and are experiencing network outages, please contact Charter Communications or whichever ISP you purchased your cable modem service through.

SSCC staff can offer advice with home networking issues. During busy periods, these requests may receive a lower priority. As stated above, the physical connection is not the responsibility of SSCC; however, we can do limited configuring for a system destined for home provided we have the necessary network information. Please keep in mind that each home network is unique and therefore SSCC is unable to support all scenarios. We will not visit your home to set up your network.

Software Services and Assistance with Software Related Problems

Refer to the SSCC Software Support Policy for a list of all the software for which SSCC staff can provide troubleshooting and consulting assistance about the software's usage. Each software product on the list is assigned one of three support levels: full, limited, or minimal. These three support levels are defined in the document. SSCC staff do not provide troubleshooting and consulting assistance for software not on this list.

SSCC staff will install and update any licensed software (whether it is on the software support list or not) that you have purchased to carry out University business. Please note that some software is only licensed for on-campus use and so cannot be installed on computers destined for off-campus locations.

SSCC staff are not obliged to troubleshoot problems that may be caused by incompatibilities due to games or other nonprofessional software installed on the computer.

Hardware Services and Assistance with Hardware Related Problems

SSCC staff provide hardware diagnosis and repair including replacing/adding memory, hard drives, motherboards, fans, network cards, power supplies, etc. for University-owned computers. For privately owned computers, we can do routine diagnosis and repairs. Not under any circumstances is the SSCC or the University of Wisconsin responsible for any damage that occurs to any privately-owned computer.

When the hardware is under warranty, we will contact the vendor and arrange to have the part shipped to us. When it is necessary to return the broken hardware component, we can arrange this with the vendor as well.

When the hardware is not under warranty and it requires a part that is kept on hand, SSCC staff will gladly give it to you for no charge. Otherwise, we will order the part for you, but you must provide payment.

SSCC has a few older laptops that we are happy to loan out while we repair your computer. If all of ours are checked out, you might try contacting your department or agency for availability. And, of course, you are also welcome to use our drop-in lab in the 4218 Social Science building.

All routine maintenance of printers including cleaning and changing toner cartridges are your responsibility.

Support Services Not Provided

The following areas fall outside the realm of computer support:

  • Problems with computers not primarily used to carry out University business.
  • Computers NOT belonging to SSCC members from the Department of Economics, Department of Sociology, Center for Demography and Ecology, Center for Demography of Health and Aging, and the Institute on Research for Poverty. Others can contact DoIT's help desk (264-4357).
  • House calls. Computers used in home offices must be brought onto campus for service. However, we can usually recommend someone who will make house calls on their own time for an hourly fee.
  • Non-routine hardware repair for privately-owned computers. DoIT's help desk (264-4357) can provide hardware repair on privately owned computers for a fixed rate.
  • Problems with computers connecting the DoIT wireless network (UWNet). Contact DoIT's help desk (264-4357).
  • Troubleshooting and consulting assistance for software not on SSCC's list of supported software. DoIT's help desk (264-4357) may be able to help. Otherwise, you should contact the software vendor or check out on-line support at the vendor's web site.
  • Troubleshooting problems that may be caused by incompatibilities due to games or other nonprofessional software installed on the computer. DoIT's help desk (264-4357) may be able to help. Otherwise, you should contact the software vendor or check out on-line support at the vendor's web site.
  • Backup services for files on local drives. On the other hand, SSCC provides network drive space for computer clients and this space is backed up. Also, DoIT offers an inexpensive service for backing up local computer drives. Contact the DoIT Showroom at 265-7469 for details.