Bringing your computer to Berkshire
Berkshire School requires that all students bring a laptop to school for use both inside and outside the classroom. Both Windows and Mac laptops are supported, but should be reasonably up-to-date in order to provide the fastest, most trouble-free experience possible. The following sections outline our requirements and recommendations regarding student laptops, how to prepare your computer for the Berkshire School Network (BSN) before arriving on campus, and what to expect when you connect to the BSN.
- Windows 7 or 8 with the latest updates
- Mac OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or greater
Requirements for All Laptops:
- 2+GB of RAM
- Wireless network capability
- The latest version of Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome browsers
- Microsoft Office (Provided by Berkshire)
- Anti-Virus software with current subscription and virus definitions
- The operating system on student laptops must be able to display in English.
Recommendations for All Laptops:
- 4GB or more RAM
- 160GB or larger hard disk
- Laptops should be large enough to work on comfortably for extended periods of time and small enough to easily carry around campus as needed. We find that laptops with 13-14" screens strike the best balance.
- Laptops should have a rated battery life of 6 hours or more.
- We recommend purchasing a 3-year, on-site warranty, if possible. Accidental damage warranties may also be a prudent investment if available. If purchased outside of North America, ensure that your warranty will allow for service from a US-based provider.
Other Items and Considerations
- Berkshire School makes Microsoft Office available to all current students for installation on their personal laptops, so families need not purchase it.
- Bring an Ethernet cable, 15ft. or longer. While wireless is available in all dorm rooms, having an ethernet cable with which to connect to the network will provide a backup, should a wireless access point fail. In Crispin-Gordon-Rose and MacMillan dorms, a 25ft. cable will offer the most flexibility in room layout, as the Ethernet jack is only available where the desk is located when you arrive.
- Bring all disks and paperwork that came with your computer. This will help us help you if your computer is in need of service.
- Consider how you will backup the important data on your laptop's hard drive. Laptop hard drives frequently fail, leaving the unprepared in a potentially very painful and unfortunate situation. Berkshire provides students with space on our servers to securely store important academic work. This storage is not large enough, however, for students to store their music, video, or picture libraries, or any other system files or configuration information. We strongly recommend that students have an external hard drive that is at least as large as the hard drive in their laptop and use Apple's TimeMachine or Windows Backup utilities to create backups that will allow for fast restore of all programs, files, and configuration information if the hard drive should need to be replaced.
- Bring a case or protective sleeve for your laptop.
- A personal printer can be convenient at times, but printing to the school’s high-volume printers is more cost-effective, efficient, and environmentally sustainable. Many teachers accept assignment submissions via e-mail and/or our online course management system, reducing the need for printing. Students can print to select printers from their own laptops via our WebPrint service.
Preparing Your Computer
Before student laptops may access the internet through Berkshire School's network, we require that they go through a registration process that includes checks to ensure that they have up-to-date anti-virus software and that their operating systems meet minimum version and update requirements (Windows 7, Mac OSX 10.6, etc). In order to ensure that your computer is able to access the internet immediately upon arrival please click here to access our computer registration site and follow the instructions within to prepare and register your computer. A valid student account is required to complete computer registration.