Computer System Recommendations for Students


As each semester begins at Northern Arizona University, new technologies are implemented on and off campus to enrich your learning experience. Students are strongly encouraged to ensure that the computers they bring on campus meet the requirements for support established by NAU Information Technology Services. Because buying a computer is an important academic purchase, students are advised to carefully choose a computer that will meet their needs during their four years at NAU. We also strongly recommend that you consult with your chosen major's faculty and staff to see which type of operating system (PC or Mac) would be preferred during your academic career.

Computer Specifications

The STC recommends purchasing a computer with the following components. These are certainly not required but will definitely improve your computing experience at NAU.

PC recommendations. 

  • Solid State Drive (SSD)
  • At least 4GB of RAM (memory)
  • Wireless AC compatibility
  • Windows 10

Mac recommendations

  • At least 4GB of RAM (memory)
  • Mac OSX 10.10 (Yosemite) or higher

We strongly recommend you use a 5 GHz, dual-band wireless card (computers with wireless AC technology always have 5 GHz support).

Operating Systems that are supported on ResNet:

  • Windows 7 (any version, with Service Pack 1)
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 10
  • Mac OS 10.10 or higher

Students can purchase the Windows 10 upgrade through the Microsoft Education Store.

Please note that the following operating systems are not supported on ResNet:

  • Windows XP (all versions)
  • Windows Vista (all versions)
  • Windows 7 (without service pack 1)
  • Windows 8 (without Windows 8.1 installed)
  • Mac OSX 10.9 or lower

In addition to a supported operating system, other steps to a secure computer include:

  • A full (not trial) version of an anti-virus program, with automatic updates enabled. A fully updated anti-virus program is required to get internet access on campus.
  • An up-to-date anti-spyware program such as Malwarebytes or Spybot S&D to ensure the safety of your computer and personal information.
  • A strong password for each administrator account on the computer.
  • An up-to-date internet browser such as Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, or Chrome.

For off-campus students, internet access speed is another consideration. Modems for dial-up access are no longer the best option. While Blackboard Learn can be accessed over a modem, there are a number of NAU courses and resources that will not function properly or successfully. A high-speed connection is recommended in order to achieve the best experience possible.


Related Services

Available to studentsNot available to faculty Not available to staff

The Student Technology Center (STC) provides 24/7 technical phone support as well as in-person support. Call 928-523-9294 for assistance or statewide toll-free at 888-520-7215.


Training & Documentation

How to connect to the ResNet network in your residence hall room.


Related Information