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Hardware Sales

What brands of computers do you sell? What kind of discounts can I get as a student?

At RamTech, we offer discounted computers and tablet from Apple and Dell. Students are eligible to purchase these as soon as they’ve paid their deposit to the University and have received their URI ID number. Discounts vary between manufacturers, and between products. On most machines, the discount ranges from 5 to 15 percent off the regular retail price. Any system from Dell comes with Windows pre-installed, but Office must be downloaded separately.

Should I buy a computer now or closer to when school starts?

There are strong arguments on both sides here. Some retailers will tell you that the longer you wait, the more technology improves, and prices will go down. RamTech recommends buying after the spring revisions (usually early June) to allow more time to get familiar with your new computer. Plus, it's one more thing off your plate when classes start!

What type of computer is recommended for my major?

Most laptops and desktops that RamTech carries in stock will work for any major however, there are some exceptions. To help narrow down your choices, we work with departments each year to guide you based on your major. This guide will be posted soon! The most important factor of purchasing a computer is not necessarily what your major is though, but how you will be using your computer. Since each student is unique, we try to work with each student to determine a computer that will best fit their needs. If you can’t make it in to the store, give us a call during business hours or send us an email any time and we'll help figure out the best computer for your needs.

Microsoft Office

What is the difference between Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office?

Windows is an Operating System. It provides the foundation on top of which all other programs run. Office is a productivity suite, a set of programs which must be installed on your computer to use (any system from Dell comes with only Windows pre-installed). Office’s programs include Word, Excel, and Power Point, which run on top of an operating system, just like any other program on your computer. Microsoft Office is available for Windows and Apple computers.

Where can I get Microsoft Office, Windows Operating System, etc.?

Office 365 is free for all active URI students, faculty and staff. Users can log in to Office 365, see their ProPlus license, and download the latest version of Office. Office 365 will work on Windows, Mac, and mobile devices. Requires an active URI email address.

Other Software Questions

Are there alternatives to Microsoft Windows or Microsoft Office?

Alternatives to the Windows OS include Apple’s OS X, which is only available on Apple computers, or various types of Linux operating systems. Linux is not typically recommended for use by most students. Competitors to Microsoft Office include iWork, available for Apple computers, and for any operating system.

Can Macs run Windows?

All of the Intel-based Macs (Apple computers released after mid-2006) are capable of running Windows. There are a number of different methods available. Apple’s Boot Camp is available for free through Apple and gives you an option upon startup to choose which operating system you want to boot into. Virtualization software such as Parallels Desktop and VMWare Fusion allow you to run Mac OS X and Windows simultaneously and are both available to ISU students.

What software do I need? What about virus protection?

Every student will need MS Office. Some students will need specific software packages for their major - instructors will usually inform you of what you need once classes start. Much of this recommended software can be purchased at RamTech at an educational price.

Please reference the AntiVirus page from ITS located here for information and recommendations on software.

I’ve heard that software availability for Macs isn’t as good as PCs. Is this true?

Most students will find that a Mac runs all the software they will ever need. Microsoft Office is available for Macs, as is the Firefox browser, iTunes, and every kind of instant messaging. The biggest exception to this rule is within the College of Business. Mac computers are not recommended for students with majors with the College.


What kind of Internet connection does the University provide for on-campus housing?

Wired and wireless internet is available in all on-campus residence halls. Wireless connections are available in both common areas and student rooms. Students are strongly discouraged from setting up a wireless router or access point as it interferes with the other wireless networks in the residence halls. If you require more than one Ethernet connection in your room, you can request a switch from the IT Service Desk that can be borrowed, for free, for a semester. Setting it up correctly is critical to network functionality. If you aren’t sure how to do this, ask for help. If you have set it up, and it isn’t working, unplug it.

Wi-Fi is available across nearly all of the URI campus. 

For more information, please reference the ITS Service Desk

Service & Repair

If I have a problem with my computer, where can I get it fixed?

For URI related issues (WiFi connectivity, eCampus issues, Brightspace questions, etc) the best source for assistance on campus is the ITS Service Desk located on the first floor of the Kingston Campus Library. They can be reached at (401) 874-4357 or emailed at [email protected]
For hardware or software issues related to your computer including physical damage, please contact RamTech at (401) 874-2679 or come by the store located in Memorial Union. Store hours can be viewed here.

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