Preparing Your Computer for Use at UAB

Incoming students are required to verify that their computers are up-to-date with the latest patches and antivirus software. This step must be completed prior to connecting to the UAB network using a wired Ethernet (in residence halls only) or wireless (Wi-Fi) connection. Please follow these steps to prepare your computer. When you have prepared your computer, click the link in Step 5 to verify that you have the correct settings.

Step 1. Ensure that your computer is running a valid, licensed operating system. For students, UAB supports PCs with Windows XP with Service Pack 3, Windows Vista with Service Pack 2, Windows 7 with Service pack 1, and Windows 8.   UAB also supports Macs with OS X 10.6 or later.

(Note:Microsoft and UAB no longer supports Windows XP. This means you will not receive updates from Microsoft, which will make your computer vulnerable. Students can download Windows 7 and Windows 8 for free on the software website, Click on Microsoft Agreements and Products for more information.

Step 2: For complete setup instructions for WiFi outside the residence halls, click here. A map of WiFi areas can be found here.

Step 3. Check for updates that are available for your operating system. Windows operating systems can be updated by clicking on Start, clicking on All Programs, and then click Windows Update.

Student Computer Step 2 1     Student Computer Step 2 2

Mac OS X operating systems can be updated by clicking on the Apple icon in the Menu ribbon and choosing Software Update.

Student Computer Step 2 mac

Step 4: Ensure that one of the antivirus applications that are listed below is installed. The antivirus programs below are free of charge.  Contact the AskIT Help Desk at 205-996-5555 for assistance with antivirus software issues.

  • For home use on Windows 7 and Vista, UAB IT recommends Microsoft Security Essentials be installed on your Windows system. If your computer is running Windows 7, Windows Defender only removes Spyware. To get rid of viruses and other malware, including spyware, on Windows 7, Windows and Vista, you should download Microsoft Security Essentials for free. 
  • For home use on Windows 8 and 10, Windows Defender replaces Microsoft Security Essentials. You cannot use Microsoft Security Essentials with Windows 8 or Windows 10, but you don't need to because Windows Defender already provides built-in protection. Learn more about using Windows Defender on Windows 8.
  • For Mac/(OS X) use Sophos Anti-virus. Please click here and login to select Sophos from the available titles.  When you select and install your antivirus software, be sure to enable the Auto-update feature so the application will automatically download the latest antivirus definitions at regularly scheduled intervals.
Step 5: For students who will be using Canvas (UAB Online Learning System), there are several tutorials are provided to familiarize you with the Canvas system.  If you have issues with Canvas please call Canvas Support at 1-855-778-9969 or go to