Software Requirements

Standard Software

Georgia Tech supports a standard software suite for both Windows and macOS systems. Standard software minimizes software incompatibilities between students and faculty, helps meet educational goals, improves the effectiveness and timeliness of software support, and helps minimize support costs. The Enterprise Service Desk and Wreck Techs will actively support the standard software. The Technology Store at Barnes & Noble does not provide software support. Most standard software will additionally be available for student use in the general-purpose computing clusters maintained by OIT.

Students should install software packages at the time they are needed for use in their courses; many packages are available for free at software.oit.gatech.edu, or through vendors offering academic discounts, such as Kivuto’s OnTheHub (onthehub.com) and Kivuto. Be aware that downloading and installing additional software can substantially affect the performance of your computer. Removal of software from expired trials is encouraged to maximize the operating speed of your system.

Since the Enterprise Service Desk and Wreck Tech cannot support all software, if students choose to use any non-standard software, they may be solely responsible for maintaining it.

Students should have available a record of the license keys for all their purchased software so that these may be re-installed in the event of a serious problem or system reinstall.

Windows Systems


Operating System:

Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit)

NOTE: Included with new computer purchase.

Email:

Office 365 Exchange (can be used with most web browsers and email clients)

Note: Accessible online at mail.gatech.edu, no purchase or installation required. Student’s GT Email will be created about one month before the semester starts. See additional instructions on configuring mail clients.

Data Backup:

Windows Backup

NOTE: Included as part of Windows 7 and newer versions. Requires external hard drive.

Optional: OneDrive cloud storage is another (free) option that can be accessed through office365.gatech.edu.

Visit this document for good advice on Data Backup.

Security: Georgia Tech expects each machine to have security software installed, whether it’s a part of the Operating System or a 3rd party software. For more information about this requirement, please:

Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation Software:

Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus or LibreOffice

Georgia Tech students can download Office 365 ProPlus for free by following these instructions.

LibreOffice is a free Open Source office suite alternative.

Online Storage:  As part of the Office 365 Pro Plus package, students will have access to OneDrive for Business for file syncing and storage. (See FAQ Q23 for additional information.)

macOS Systems


Operating System:

Apple macOS Catalina (10.15)

NOTE: Versions older than 10.14 Mojave are not recommended. Big Sur (11) is newer and may conflict with some programs.

NOTE: Included with new computer purchase.

Email:

Office 365 Exchange (can be used with most web browsers and email clients)

NOTE: Accessible online at mail.gatech.edu, no  purchase or installation required. Student’s GT Email will be created about one month before the semester starts.

Data Backup:

Apple Time Machine

NOTE: Included with macOS. Requires external hard drive.

Optional: OneDrive cloud storage is another option that can be accessed through office365.gatech.edu.

Security: Georgia Tech expects each machine to have security software installed, whether it’s a part of the Operating System or a 3rd party software. For more information about this requirement, please:

Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation Software:

Microsoft Office 365 Pro Plus, OpenOffice, or iWork Suite (free download for Macs)

Georgia Tech students can download Office 365 ProPlus for free by following these instructions.

LibreOffice is a free Open Source office suite alternative.

Windows Compatibility: Windows compatibility software is not required campus-wide. However, some classes may require the use of specific, Windows-only applications. Students in these classes choosing to use macOS systems can install virtualization software (Parallels Desktop (paid) or VMware Fusion (free)) and a fully licensed copy of Microsoft Windows 8.1 (or newer) in order to run Windows applications. Keep in mind that virtual machines take away from your total available RAM; this is why we recommend 16GB.

Linux Operating Systems


OIT recommends that students who need to use Linux for class assignments carefully consider which distribution of Linux they will install. For the best experience possible, OIT recommends students stay with Ubuntu-based Linux distributions such as one of the following:

  • Ubuntu
  • Linux Mint
  • Elementary OS

These distributions offer the most familiar user interface and are relatively easy to interact with.

IMPORTANT NOTE: It is highly recommended that any Linux distribution be used as a Virtual Machine (with at least 16GB of RAM) and not as a multi-boot or Boot Camp environment, since modifying the local partition tables may lead to unstable computer systems and have a high potential for data loss.

Please know that OIT and the Technology Support Center provide “limited/best effort” support for Linux distributions at this time. Some support documents have been created to support Linux users and are available at faq.oit.gatech.edu or for wireless configuration at lawn.gatech.edu.

The standard software suite indicates software versions known at the time of this printing. At the time of purchase, students should acquire the latest versions for the computer they will be using. If you purchase software from the Technology Store, then you will always receive the current version. The Technology Store can be accessed online (techstuff.gatech.edu) and offers exclusive discount pricing for the Georgia Tech community on  software,  hardware,  and accessories. Additional purchasing options include Kivuto’s E-academy (http://gatech.e-academy.com) and On-the-hub (onthehub.com) – an online vendor offering academic discounts for essential and curriculum-based software – or other commercial sources.

Computer Support


Georgia Tech provides the following support facilities and services:

  • Printing (limited)
  • Internet access
  • Email
  • Centralized network storage (limited) and basic web-hosting
  • Computer labs for short-term access to computers running the standard software
  • Departmental clusters or labs with major-specific software (e.g. mathematical manipulation and calculation, CAD, compilers, and databases)
  • Special classrooms and labs for computer-enhanced presentations

Enterprise Service Desk 

https://techsupport.gatech.edu

Services provided by the OIT-Enterprise Service Desk include but are not limited to: GTAccount, email and Wireless Network support. The OIT-Enterprise Service Desk is also available to students to offer consultation about computer hardware configurations. The Center is in Room 215 of the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons and is available for walk-in support and at 404-385-5555. See https://techsupport.gatech.edu for a complete listing of services and hours of operation.

Wreck Techs

Wreck Techs provides full support to residents of the on-campus residence halls. Wreck Techs utilizes student technicians as Residential Technology Advisors (RTAs) who are available to provide telephone, online chat, in-office, and on-site technical support to residents. RTAs are available to assist students with such tasks as connecting to the GT wired or wireless network, installing anti-virus software, and assisting with connecting gaming/personal entertainment devices to the Georgia Tech network.

Wreck Techs is the only service on campus that provides After Hours Support (see  techsupport.gatech.edu for hours of operation and locations) and in-room repairs. All residence hall wireless access points and wired network connections are maintained, supported, and repaired by Wreck Techs. See https://techsupport.gatech.edu for a complete listing of services and hours of operation.

Academic Technology Resources for Students

This web site provides information about academic technology resources that are available to students, as well as how students can get assistance when they need support on using these resources.

Third Party Support

All computer repair and upgrade services for Apple, Dell, Lenovo, and HP are referred to outside Support Vendor Repair. Please note that there is no affiliation whatsoever to OIT with these Service locations and users can choose to seek computer repair from anywhere else not referred. Hardware repairs on all brands of computers, regardless  of  where  they  were  purchased  or  current warranty status, can be facilitated at referred  locations.

Computer Security


  • Read the Georgia Tech Acceptable Use Policy
  • Review Endpoint Computing Best Practices
  • Create strong passwords and do not share them with anyone for any reason. A strong password has at least eleven characters and uses a combination of numbers, upper and lower case letters, and special symbols (!@#$%^&*-+). Do not use the same password for multiple purposes or websites. Password management  tools  (e.g.  LastPass) are highly recommended, and can help with the development of strong passwords.
  • Register your devices with the GT Police
  • GT Police also offers free laptop engraving of your Georgia Tech ID number on your laptop. Email crimetips@police.gatech.edu to request an appointment.
  • Keep software applications, operating systems, and security patches current by visiting vendor websites regularly. Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh users can set their computers to download Operating System patches automatically:
        • Windows Users: Enable Windows Update:
          • Start -> Windows Settings -> Update Security -> Windows Update
        • Mac Users: Enable Software Update:
          • System Preferences -> Software Update -> Check for updates (weekly)
  • Perform regular backups and store them in a secure location.
  • Verify that websites are secure prior to entering personal information by looking to see that
  • your web browser is pointed to an https rather than an http address.
  • Log off or lock your session when away from your computer.
  • Prevent theft of your computer: use a cable lock to secure your laptop to a table or desk if you need to step away.
  • Do not use your computer to download, copy, store, or redistribute copyrighted materials for which you do not have the legal right to do so.
  • If you anticipate being involved in undergraduate research, or working at GTRI, make your laptop supports full disk encryption, which may be needed for certain projects. In particular, Windows Home edition (including Windows 10 Home) doesn’t support Bitlocker and therefore whole disk encryption, so Windows Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions of Windows 10 are recommended.

Two-factor Authentication

Georgia Tech considers the security and privacy of student and employee information to be of utmost importance. To keep our information safe, the Institute requires that all faculty, staff and students use two-factor authentication when accessing campus services and systems to strengthen the protection of student and employee data and maintain compliance with University System Information Security policy. For information on installation, visit http://twofactor.oit.gatech.edu/students.  If you do not have a mobile phone, your phone is lost or stolen, or you simply wish to purchase a backup two-factor access device, you can purchase a blue DUO token (and have it setup for your GT account) at the BuzzCard Center located at 48 5th St. NW, 2nd floor (inside Barnes & Noble / GT Bookstore), Atlanta, GA.  The cost is $22.00.

Campus Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Many campus digital services are accessible only through the campus network. However, this does not mean one must be physically present on campus to connect to the GT network. Connecting to the campus VPN allows for remote connections to the campus network.
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