Thursday, June 15, 2017

Getting Your Computer Ready for School

Most of you either bought a new computer for school or kept one (complete with all the stickers) from high school. I am in both groups, actually: My main traveling computer is a laptop that has been with me for a couple of years, but my home desktop unit just got a new hard drive, so it's completely blank.

Here's some summer advice to make your transition easier (and besides, doing something like this will feel like you are progressing toward being a college student).

  • Clean house. Go through all those files and ask yourself whether you really need that homework from your first Junior semester.
    • You might like to delete or hide some of those embarrassing photos.
    • And that desktop image.
  • Back up the really important stuff. (Your only picture of Uncle Ed, the school addresses of your buddies, and so forth.) I put mine on a CD. If you can't do that, you can upload a copy to Google Drive. Computers crash at school. Computers get stolen. There are some things you don't want to lose.
  • Figure out Google Drive. Everyone who has a gmail account has access to this cloud drive, and when you get to Ashland, you have an AU Google Drive account with infinite storage space. It's an excellent way to move things from one computer to another and to save important things.
  • Don't buy a copy of MS Word. AU students get a free copy. As soon as you are permitted, go to this Ashland University link and download your copy.
    • MS Word is a huge file! You probably want to start the download before you go to bed.
    • The download instructions are complex, so I suggest you print them out before you begin.
  • Windows users: figure out OneDrive. Go to this Microsoft link to see how. (OneDrive is a free service that allows you to back up your work to a Microsoft server so you can get to it from other computers. If your computer quits, your writing is still on the cloud server.)
  • Apple users: our cloud server is iCloud. Here is the link to setup instructions. (Note: iCloud is fairly small unless you pay Apple some extra money, so if you have a lot of music or video material on your computer, it won't all fit. There's a way to set up iCloud so it only saves items you specify.)
  • This one should be obvious: If the computer is giving you trouble, get it to a repair shop before you get to school.
  • Learn how your system does file folders and set up your system. I suggest a master folder called something like "Fall 2017" with daughter folders inside for each course you are taking. Inside each course folder you can create folders for such things as major papers, homework assignments, and class notes. By the way, you should come up with document titles that actually tell you something—not names like "English Paper." The whole idea here is to help you find what you need without wading through a mountain of unrelated material. Your time is important in college.