During the COVID-19 pandemic, campus created the Student Technology Equity Program (STEP) for the long-term lending of laptops and other equipment to students. The program is still active for the 2023-2024 academic year. The STEP program generally makes lending decisions based on proof of financial need. Details and the application form can be found at this link. Please note that our lab staff have no access to or knowledge of STEP program policies and procedures.
Other laptop/device lending programs and information on campus can also be found at this link. The main campus library system does offer a number of loaner laptops for students to check out - we recommend visiting Moffitt to obtain one. The law library and law school do not offer any loaner laptops to our students.
Any laptop bought within the last 2-3 years should serve you adequately during your time at Berkeley Law. It is highly recommended that new laptop purchases include a multi-year warranty/service plan.
Some computers, accessories, and academic and popular software for students may be available for purchase through the Cal Student Store. UC Berkeley students are eligible for competitive discounts on online purchases from major retailers.
Berkeley Law provides broad support to laptops running the English-language versions of modern Windows and Macintosh operating systems, and provides narrower support to other operating systems and to mobile devices. We do not provide hardware support.
UC Berkeley reserves the right to deny access to its electronic communications network to any devices that do not meet the Campus Minimum Security Standards for Networked Devices (MSSND). These standards can be found here: https://security.berkeley.edu/policy/minimum-security-standards-networked-devices-mssnd
Make sure your system is kept updated with security patches
Schedule Windows Update/Apple Software Update to take care of itself
Use an antivirus service (on Windows computers), and keep it updated
More information is available on our Software page.
Run a firewall
Firewalls monitor network traffic and are critical in blocking many network attacks. Windows and Mac computers both come with a built-in firewall. Windows users should make sure to enable the Windows Firewall. Mac users can choose to enable their firewall via System Preferences if they wish.
Clean out Spyware
For Windows, use a free tool like Malwarebytes, Spybot S&D, or Microsoft’s Safety Scanner to clean your machine every few months. For Mac users, Malwarebytes also produces a good free Mac malware scanner.
We heavily encourage you to set up some sort of backup for your laptop and important files. You can back up your files "locally" to an external hard drive that you have purchased, or to internet/cloud storage.
Apps from Google, Box, DropBox, OneDrive, and more will also allow you to automatically back up selected folders on your computer to the cloud. All Berkeley students receive a large amount of free storage from Google while enrolled - for more information on automatically backing up your files to bDrive, see the bDrive section under the Laptop tab in this computing guide.