The School provides a computer for each graduate student entering the program... which is awesome. The purpose of this page is to explain a little about our support of these devices, systems management policy, and an individual's responsibilities in regards to this equipment.

System Management and Support:
With the exception of desktops running Windows OS, all graduate student computing devices are considered user-managed.  That is, a user has full administrative control over their device.  Given that, users are also responsible for the routine maintenance and regular application of all security and other software updates on their given systems.  (*addtional University Policy on use of University equipment and user responsibility is linked further below). Please note: Lab staff are happy to answer questions, but are not available to fix problems on user-managed systems, nor will they upgrade your system when new OS versions appear.

Be aware that the files on your local harddrive(s) are not backed up - only file server storage is backed up routinely.  That goes for desktops, laptops, tablets and other computing devices.  So we recommend that you store any data of importance on the School file servers (home directories, and research and instructional project directories), and only maintain cache copies on your personal machine.

Hardware Config Change or Upgrade:
The School provides a computing device, one time, as a student enters the program.  For alternate choices, or to upgrade or otherwise change your machine, you will need to convince your faculty research advisor to buy you something else!

Loss, Damage and Limited Warranty:
If you're unlucky enough to drop your laptop or leave it on the bus, you might have to head to a shared lab to get online for a day or a few years (i.e. you should not expect that the School will replace your lost laptop, or other mobile device with anything).  Support can assist with inherent hardware issues, and the potential need for full or partial warranty replacement *during the stated warranty period of your device*.  NOTE: Basic hardware warranty coverage varies by device.   If you are concerned about a limited warranty period you might discuss the possibility of extending warranty coverage with your faculty advisor.

Ownership and Responsibility: All initial equipment, including desktops, laptops, monitors, or anything else provided will remain the property of the University of Washington, and must be returned when you leave the School.  And REGARDLESS of which operating system you use, you are ultimately responsible for the security of the computer, intrusions into that computer, and the consequences to the broader network and community - see the responsibilities for "Computer User" in the UW Security Responsibilities at In particular, you will have full responsibility for any security-related incidents and will be expected to handle them with immediacy and vigor. You might also become acquainted or be reminded of the University's rules on Appropriate use of UW equipment at


Should you want to move out of your office and into a Research Lab...
Consider the monitor on your desk, to be part of the furniture.  If you move to another grad office and there is not a similar monitor, one will be provided for you.  Monitors should *never* be moved to research labs.  Research labs are responsible for providing adequate (hopefully more than adequate) computing resources for their users and inhabitants.  If you have a School sponsored desktop and wish to move to a lab or elsewhere, inform both your faculty advisor as well as Support of the situation.

 Got Questions? Email support@cs