Get Ready for Campus Technology

Page Last Updated: Mon Apr 01 12:25:17 EDT 2019   


Long lines at the Help Desk during the first week of Spring 2014.

Don't waste your first days on campus stuck in long lines at the Help desk!

Technology never stops changing. Campus technology is no different. Whether you're a new or returning student, give the information below a quick read to help ensure your first days back on campus are free of tech related issues. Avoid those long lines at the Help Desk!

If you run into an issue, you're welcome to bring your system by the Help Desk so we can help you through any troublesome steps.

Remember, we're open all summer too.  If you need help just email or give us a call to setup an appointment.

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Important Information for New and Returning Students

Windows 7 not supported after January 20th, 2020!

Windows 7 will not be allowed to connect to the campus network after January 20th, 2020!  Microsoft ends support for Windows 7 on January 20th, 2020.  This means that Windows 7 will no longer receive security updates from Microsoft.  As a result, state policy requires us to block Windows 7 from connecting to the campus network on 01/20/2020.  Windows XP and Windows Vista are already blocked on the campus network due to lack of support from Microsoft.

5 GHz wireless adapters recommended for use in residence halls.

5 GHz wireless adapters are highly recommended in residence halls and work best across the rest of campus offering a greatly improved connection.  If you're buying a new computer or wireless adapter be sure it supports connecting to wi-fi at 5GHz (your sales person should be able to assist you with this).  5GHz adapters offer a much more stable connection resulting in vastly improved performance on the campus wi-fi over older 2.4GHz adapter connections. Residence halls at USCA will be exclusively 5GHz by Fall of 2015. Most laptops and devices purchased in the last 5 years will already be able to use this new technology.  Devices which don't will need a USB wi-fi adapter to connect to the 5GHz wi-fi.

Appointments available all year.

Appointments available all year...including throughout the summer!  Instead of waiting until classes start, stop by any time for assistance!  To ensure someone will be here to help you quickly be sure to call or email for an appointment.  We'll sit down with you in the lab or one of our offices, walk you through setup of all your accounts and devices, and answer any questions you might have about technology on campus.

Housing residents get a FREE Ethernet cable the Help Desk.

FREE Ethernet cables are available to all housing residents.  Have a bad wi-fi connection in your room?  Bring your device by the Help could be something easy to correct.  If we can't fix it, you can opt to go wired instead.  Just request your free Ethernet cable.  Only one cable per housing resident with current USCA ID card.

Wireless printing not allowed on campus.

Wireless printers have proven to be the #1 cause of students dropping Wi-Fi connections in housing. Wireless printers are no longer allowed on campus because a printer's wireless connection interferes with secure networks causing those in surrounding areas to be kicked off Wi-Fi.  If you plan to bring a printer to campus, any wireless features must be disabled and a USB cable used instead to connect to your computer. The Help Desk can help you find instructions for disabling wireless on your printer. 

PacerStudent network gives students their own 250Mb/s secure network.

Students have their own secure 250Mb/s network called PacerStudent.  You should not connect to PacerNet, PacerGuest or any other campus network.  Student owned devices which accidentally connect to another network will need to be switched over to the PacerStudent connection.  PacerGuest is not secure and using it puts your devices at risk.  PacerNet is optimized for connections to administrative and staff systems, meaning you'll get less bandwidth for sites like my.usca, Blackboard, Facebook, YouTube, gaming, etc. 

To make sure you're ready, complete each of the steps below BEFORE arriving on campus. 

Steps to Complete Before You Arrive

New and returning USC Aiken students, should complete the steps below before arriving on campus to avoid unexpected problems connecting computers to the campus network.

If you're unable to complete these steps, the Help Desk is available to provide troubleshooting assistance. 


Make Sure Your Accounts are Ready to Use

Students have five accounts: VIP ID, Network Username, Multifactor Authentication (MFA), the Pacer Account and email.  Don't worry though, you'll usually only a couple of these on a typical day. Even so, it's vital each account is working properly shortly after acceptance. 

If you've previously setup your accounts, major changes may have taken place since you last used an account.

First Time Account Setup:

Manage Existing Accounts:

Information on Recent Account Changes:


Check the Minimum System Requirements

We want everyone's tech to work together, so, all computers and wireless devices connected to PacerStudent must meet a set of minimum requirements.

Most computers and wireless devices purchased within the last two to three years will easily meet the minimum requirements. Keep in mind though that meeting the minimum requirements will provide only a minimum experience.  For best results, your equipment should exceed the minimum wherever possible. You'll find the minimum computer and device requirements included as part of the Recommended Specifications page.

Recommended Specifications:


Make Sure your System is Free of Malware

Connecting to PacerStudent and the internet may not be possible if your system is infected with malware (viruses or spyware).  These rouge programs often make it difficult or impossible to complete required system updates.  Infections can actually disable security software altogether.  It's not uncommon for infections to go completely unnoticed until they're detected by our network security software (Impulse SafeConnect)...the main reasons we require all system to connect though it.

We suggest installing Malware Bytes Anti-Malware (MBAM) on your system to eliminate malware before you arrive.  MBAM has great tutorials on its web site.  After you've run MBAM on your system, you'll likely see just how infected it really was.  Infections lucking in the background of a system often number in the hundreds; quite a shock when everything seemed ok.

Install or Update Antivirus Software

Once you've gotten rid of everything you can with MBAM, you'll want to update your anti-virus software.

If your anti-virus software updates properly and doesn't run into errors, it is probably still in good working order.  If so, you'll want to use it to run a full system scan.

If your anti-virus software won't update or runs into problems, it's likely corrupted by the infections you found earlier. You'll need to replace it.  You can either re-install and update your current software, or download a reliable free anti-virus program.  We suggest AVAST! Free Home Edition for Windows and Sophos for Mac. Both are also available for mobile devices. What ever you choose, be sure to update your anti-virus software completely and then run a full system scan.

Uninstall File-sharing Software

Now is also a good time to uninstall file-sharing programs such as uTorrent, Limewire, Bearshare, FrostWire, or similar software.  Many of these will be removed by virus and malware scans because they're the most likely source of infection for your system.  Please be aware: illegal file sharing is not allowed on PacerStudent.  Any student caught illegally sharing files of any kind faces loss of network privileges and possible Judicial charges (as explained in the USC Aiken Student Handbook).

Malware Bytes Anti-Malware (MBAM):

AVAST! Free Home Edition: 

Sophos for Mac: 


Perform Operating System Updates

Keeping your OS (Windows or OS X) up-to-date is the most important step in protecting your system and the campus network from virus and malware outbreaks.  You should always leave Automatic Updates turned on and complete any critical or important Updates as they become available.  SafeConnect will not allow your system full access to PacerStudent until all recommended updates are completed successfully.

Depending on how well your system has been maintained, an update may take as little as five minutes or several reboot cycles  For more information on Windows Update see this section at the Microsoft site.  For information on updating Mac OS X please see this article in the OS X Knowledge Base.

Windows Updates: 

Mac/OS X Updates: 


Install Impulse SafeConnect

You can install the Impulse SafeConnect software from any computer with an internet connection, you'll just need your Pacer Account info. To download SafeConnect, click here.

Install PacerStudent Wireless Profile

If you plan to use wireless while on-campus, you will also need to install the PacerStudent Wireless Profile (this is required for both students residing on campus and commuting students).

Please note that although we are asking you to install the Wireless Profile before arriving on campus, you obviously won't be able to connect to PacerStudent until after you've arrived on campus. It's important that you install the Profile before you arrive so PacerStudent immediately connects when you get to campus.

Windows: Windows users should be able to connect to the PacerStudent connection when it is detected.  Accept all defaults and certificates and your system should connect without issue.  If you do run into a problem, we've created an automated installer set-up on Windows.  You can download the installer here.

Mac: Mac users should be able to simply connect to the PacerStudent connection when it is detected.  Accept all defaults and certificates and your system should connect without issue.  If you do run into a problem, you'll need to see us for assistance.

Mobile Devices: Most Android, Windows mobile and iOS devices will connect easily to PacerStudent. Just enter your PacerStudent Username and Password when requested.

Impulse SafeConnect:

PacerStudent Wireless (for Win 7, Win 8.1, Win 10):

Alertus Emergency Notification Software

USC Aiken provides emergency notification software (Alertus) for installation on personally owned computers.  Alertus is also installed on all campus owned computers. When an emergency occurs a full screen emergency alert notification displays on screen until acknowledged by the user.  For more information on Alertus (including installation instructions) please see the Alertus Installation page here.



Pulse Secure VPN

VPN (virtual private networking) software lets you connect to campus resources from off-campus and use them as if you were still on-campus. This is especially helpful if you need to access files stored on the local network.  Instructions for VPN installation can be found here.

Junos Pulse VPN:

8am - 8pm Monday -Thursday
8am - 5pm Friday
Closed Saturday - Sunday
Closed Campus Holidays

The Help Desk is located in B&E Suite 238
803-641-3391 from non-campus phones
x4357 from campus phones

After-Hours Outage Reporting
Call or Text 803-265-5266