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Faculty/Staff: Tips for Happy Computing

January 17, 2024

Happy computing starts with a secure, up to date, and productive device. To ensure the best experience possible, please review our tips for happy computing at Penn Carey Law. If you are experiencing problems with your laptop, these tips are a great place to start! ITS is always available to help as well, so please reach out to us if you have any issues that you need assistance with.

On this page:

  

Contacting ITS Help:

Email: itshelp@law.upenn.edu
Phone: Staff (215) 898-9140 | Faculty (215) 898-2589
Microsoft Bookings: Schedule an appointment with ITS

When contacting ITS with a technical issue, it is important to include detailed information about the problem or request such as the date, time, and frequency of occurrence. This will allow our team to find a solution quickly. Other details include:

  • What were you trying to do when the problem occurred? What happened instead?
  • What are the steps required to reproduce the issue? “Steps Recorder” can help with this.
  • If there was an error message, what did it say? (screenshots are great too!)
  • What’s the severity? Are you the only one experiencing the problem or is everyone in your office having the same problem?
  • Include a specific URL if requesting access to a SharePoint site/page or reporting an issue/question related to a web site.

 

Happy Computing

  

Updates/Restarts:

  • Please keep your laptop turned on and plugged in overnight. This will allow your system to receive critical updates that are provided by various services including Microsoft Windows, Office, and Defender (Antivirus), as well as driver updates from Dell.
    • Don’t wait – Be sure to restart your computer whenever there is a pending update.
    • Pending updates typically cause computer instability and running the update can often resolve the issue.
    • Many updates also remediate known security vulnerabilities, so running these updates is vital to ensure your device AND data is secure!

  • It is recommended to reboot/restart your computer regularly (at least once a week).
    • This clears the memory, stops CPU intensive services, and can reset peripherals (keyboard, mouse, monitor) should something not be working.

  • When shutting down your computer, be sure to do so properly - don’t just hold the power button down. Instead, follow these directions:

  

App-Specific Best Practices:

Web Browsers/Microsoft Edge

  • Keep “tabs” on your open browser tabs by closing what you’re no longer using!
    • Slowness and instability can often be caused by having too many tabs open at once.

Email/Microsoft Outlook

  • Practice good email folder hygiene and save emails into different folders with parameters such as “Category” or Date Range”.
    • You can set up “Rules” in Outlook to perform some of these hygiene tasks automatically!

Productivity/Microsoft Office

  • Make sure you’re always using the newer file formats (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx) to ensure the files you are working on are most readily compatible with other collaborators.
    • If you see “Compatibility Mode” when working on a document, select “Save As” and save in the newer formats above.

  

Audio/Video Conferencing Tips:

Video and audio problems with Zoom and Teams are common for many users. The troubleshooting steps below can help resolve many issues.

  • Make sure your camera/speakers/webcam is enabled.
  • Double-check your audio/video source and make sure it is selected/set correctly.
  • If you’re using an external audio/video device, try unplugging it and plugging it back in.

In addition to the steps above, performing a test call is a great way to proactively identify and remediate these issues. See the guides below.

  

Security:

  • Use your Law School issued laptop/computer when working with Penn Carey Law data, especially sensitive data or student related data.

  • Report suspected phishing to ITS. Always be skeptical of unsolicited emails.
    • This includes texts and phone calls too!

  • Do not download/install applications on your laptop that are not supported by Penn Carey Law ITS.
    • We likely have a supported solution that would meet your needs! You can see our supported solutions on ITS Online.

  

Caring for your Laptop:

  • If your laptop is lost or physically damaged, please report to ITS immediately!
    • We will work with you to assess the impact and determine next steps.

  • Never leave a laptop unattended in shared offices/public spaces.
    • When not in use, be sure your laptop is always secured in a locked office or cabinet.

 

As stated above, these tips are a great place to start if you begin to experience problems with your laptop. When dealing with a persistent problem, you can always reach out to ITS for assistance and we’ll be happy to help.

Thanks for reading!

Email: itshelp@law.upenn.edu
Phone: Staff (215) 898-9140 | Faculty (215) 898-2589
Microsoft Bookings: Schedule an appointment with ITS