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Get Started: Before You Arrive

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What to pack?

While there are desktop computers in residences and libraries as well as short-term laptop loans available on campus, you'll want your own laptop, if at all possible. We recommend bringing the following items:

  • Laptop computer (with an extended warranty)
  • Charger
  • Sleeve or case to protect your device
  • Multi-outlet power strip
  • External hard drive (1 TB) to backup your computer, in addition to setting up cloud backup system

Both Macs and Windows are used and supported on campus, and public computer clusters include access to software on both operating systems.

If you own or require adaptive computing equipment, contact the Office of Accessible Education. They will advise you on system configurations and resources available to students with disabilities. You can reach out to them at or call (650) 723-1066.

What not to pack?

Stanford maintains a regularly updated record of devices known for their inability to connect the Stanford network as intended or that are prohibited for use on the Stanford network. Fortunately, it's not a very long list. Review Unsupported Devices FAQ here.

Are you buying a new computer?

If you don't want to wait and are looking for deals, be sure to check out your options for special educational pricing for Stanford students at the Stanford Bookstore's Cardinal Computing Center.

With varying requirements for different software and majors, we cannot specify the technical specifications. You can contact Student Technical Support for help.