Computers and software

Find a computer

computer

To find a computer in any of our IT labs and spaces, check the live PC availability (Colchester Campus only).

Information about our computer and software services including:

To find out about staff computers, including purchasing hardware and software such as computers, printers and accessories, see our IT purchasing information.

Our services

We provide a number of IT labs and computers conveniently located around our campuses, containing Windows computers running a wide range of software. Many spaces stay open till late and some are open 24/7.

Our IT labs are general access and can be used by students and staff members. Labs may be booked by academic departments for teaching through the Timetable Office. Please obey the rules and etiquette when using any of our computers.

Locations and opening times

  • Colchester Campus: 821 PCs



    Lab Room number Total computers Opening times
    Library Square 5 170 See Library website
    Silberrad Student Centre Square 5 80 24/7
    Lab A 5.000 15 24/7
    Lab B 2.403 18 7am-midnight Monday to Friday
    Lab C 4S.5.7 42 24/7
    Lab D 4N.3.9 19 24/7
    Lab E 4N.2.6 18 24/7
    Lab F 3.300 77 24 hours a day, Monday to Friday
    Lab G 4N.4.3 27 24/7
    Lab H 3.403 21 24 hours a day, Monday to Friday
    Lab I 3.402 18 24/7
    Lab J 4SB.4.14 106 7am-midnight Monday to Friday
    Lab K 4S.2.8 38 7am-midnight Monday to Friday
    Lab M 4S.2.4 55 7am-midnight Monday to Friday
    Lab N 5A.101 40 7am-midnight Monday to Friday
    Lab O TC2.16 25 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday
    Lab P CB.10 17 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday
    Lab R TC.2.11 12 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday
    Lab S EBS Trading floor 38 7.30am-8.00pm Monday to Friday

  • Southend Campus: 140 PCs


    The Forum Room number Total computers Opening times
    Open Study Space (OSS) TF.2.53 42 24/7
    iDesks TF.2.50 / TF.2.60 12 24/7
    Innovation Space TF.2.06 5 24/7
    Share Space TF.2.59 4 24/7
    iMac Media Spaces TF.2.09A/B/C 3 24/7
    Reading Space TF.2.07 6 24/7
    Gateway Building Room number Total computers Opening times
    IT Lab 1 GB.3.53 40 7am-10pm Mon-Sat, 9am-6pm Sun
    IT Lab 2 GB.2.34 10 7am-10pm Mon-Sat, 9am-6pm Sun
    iDesks GB.2.01 / GB.3.01 6 7am-10pm Mon-Sat, 9am-6pm Sun
    Student Common Room GB.2.32 3 7am-10pm Mon-Sat, 9am-6pm Sun
    East 15 Open Access GB.5.17 3 7am-10pm Mon-Sat, 9am-6pm Sun
    Clifftown Studios Room number Total computers Opening times
    East 15 Clifftown Lab Seminar J 6 7am-10pm Mon-Sat, 9am-6pm Sun

  • Loughton Campus: 33 PCs


    Lab Room number Total computers Opening times
    E15 Hatfields House 19 N/A
    GRR Roding House 14 N/A

Related information

  • Rules and etiquette

    By logging on to any computer in an IT lab or group study pod, you are agreeing to obey the rules and etiquette that specifically cover the use of the these facilities.

    • These areas are intended for University related work only.
    • No eating or drinking in the IT labs. The exception to this rule is in the group study pods, but please be careful.
    • No alcohol in the IT labs or group study pods.
    • No smoking in the IT labs or group study pods.
    • Do not log in to more than one computer at a time.
    • Do not leave belongings unattended.
    • Do not attempt to alter the computer system in any way or for any purpose. Please note that the computers may restart at approximately 3am. You will receive prior warning to save your work.
    • Obey the instructions of University staff on all matters relating to the IT labs or group study pods.

  • Automatic log off

    If you need to take a quick break from the computer you can lock it whilst you're away. This gives you enough time to take a quick break, for example use the toilet or make a phone call. Locking the computer keeps your work and account safe whilst you're away.

    Whether the computer is locked or not, if you're away or inactive for more than 15 minutes (no mouse or keyboard activity), then the computer will automatically log you off. If that happens, any unsaved changes to open documents may be lost, so please save your work regularly and just before you take a break!

    Any attempt to circumvent the IT security systems is a breach of the guidelines for the use of IT facilities.

  • Support for hardware and software in teaching and learning spaces

    This applies to IT Services supplied hardware and software only.

    Hardware support

    IT Services will:

    • provide hardware support 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday
    • fix broken computers within 48 hours
    • dispose of computers
    • not fix a broken computer if there is a class in the room and there is a spare computer - this does not include teacher stations

    Software support

    IT Services will:

    • provide support for core software 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday
    • install core software on request (see software request form)
    • assist with the installation of non-core software
    • not support non-core software or operating systems, however, non networked virtual machines can be created if we are supplied with the image to build them

    All non-core software must have a sponsor, who is considered the software ‘owner’. The owner will sign off the installation as fit for purpose. Support for non-core software is provided by the software owner, champion or through a network of approved users, not IT Services.

Students at work in a pod

Our group study pods are designed for small groups who want to share ideas and work collaboratively. In each pod you'll find a Windows computer, projector, writeable wall surfaces and pens. You can also connect your own laptop.

Pods cannot be booked or reserved - they are available on a first come, first served basis and should only be used by groups of three or more.

Locations and opening times

  • Colchester Campus: 31 pods


    Location Number of pods Opening times
    Limehouse 8 7am-midnight Monday to Friday
    Orangery (Zest Cafe) 7 24/7
    Silberrad Student Centre (ground floor) 16 24/7

  • Southend Campus: 17 pods


    Location Number of pods Opening times
    Innovation space (The Forum) 5 24/7
    Share Space (The Forum) 4 24/7
    Open Study Space (The Forum) 6 24/7
    Second floor corridor (Gateway Building) 2 7am-10pm Monday to Saturday, 9am-6pm Sunday

Popular software

  • Microsoft Office

    Description

    As an Essex student or member of staff, you're entitled to download the latest version of Microsoft Office for your home computer or mobile device, all free of charge. It's available for Windows, Mac and mobile devices, and can be installed on up to 5 computers, and on up to 5 mobile devices.

    This includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, Publisher, Outlook, Skype and OneDrive for Business.

    License and availability

    Getting and using Microsoft Office
    Campus computers Staff computers Personal computers
    Microsoft Office 2010 is available in all of our IT labs. Microsoft Office 2010 is available on all IT Services supplied computers. See download instructions to get your copy.

    Notes

    • If you already have a version of Office installed you should remove it before downloading the latest version. You can run multiple versions of Office on one computer, however we don't recommend it.
    • If you can't see the download link, this may be because you aren't eligible for free Microsoft Office. This includes Edge Hotel School staff, Kaplan, European Consortium for Political Research, Multi-Faith Chaplaincy Centre and Students Union staff plus University Of Essex Online students.
    • Office 365 is a subscription based service, and while you're at Essex you get this for free. However, when you leave Essex your subscription with us ends. When this happens you have a few options.

  • EndNote

    Description

    EndNote is a bibliographic software package for managing bibliographies, citations and references.

    License and availability

    The University has an EndNote site license for use on University-owned computers only.

    Getting and using EndNote
    Campus computers Staff computers Personal computers
    EndNote is available in all of our IT labs. EndNote can be installed on staff computers connected to the campus network free of charge.

    On your computer, click Start and type \\sernt2\endnotex7$ in the search box and press Enter. In the new window right click on EndnoteX7_install.bat and select Run as administrator.
    Use EndNote Web (free)
    Create an EndNote online account for use with EndNote Web.

    Purchase a personal license
    Available at a discounted rate from Bilaney Consultants.

    Help and training


  • Stata

    Description

    Stata is a complete, integrated statistical software package that provides everything you need for data analysis, data management, and graphics.

    License and availability

    The University has four different licenses for Stata:

    • 120 network user classroom license for Stata/IC – to be used for teaching only
    • 34 network user license for Stata/MP (4 cores) – to be used for research only
    • 8 network user license for Stata/MP (8 cores) – for use on forthcoming HPC facility
    • 2 network user license for Stata/MP (16 core) – for use on forthcoming HPC facility

    A network user license is a license that allows a maximum number of concurrent users. It is a perpetual license without an expiration date.

    Which Stata version is right for me?

    Stata version Available to Used for Number of licenses Where you can use it
    Stata/IC All University members Teaching 120
    • All IT Services computer labs
    • Other computers for preparing teaching materials
    Stata/MP (4 cores) Staff and postgraduate research students Research 34
    • All IT Services computer labs
    • Other computers for preparing teaching materials
    Stata/MP (8 cores) Staff and postgraduate research students Research 8
    • Compute servers
    Stata/MP (16 cores) Staff and postgraduate research students Research 2
    • Compute servers

    How to run Stata in an IT Services computer lab

    • Stata/IC - Double-click the Stata icon from the desktop.
    • Stata/MP (4 cores) - this version must be run from a network share and is only available to staff and postgraduate students. Click Start → Run → and enter \\isswin148\StataMP$\Stata.cmd

    How to run Stata on a staff computer

    How to access Stata on a compute server

    Access information coming soon.

    Help and support

    Contact the IT Helpdesk.

  • SPSS

    Description

    SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) provides statistical analysis of data. It allows for in-depth data access and preparation, analytical reporting, graphics and modelling.

    License and availability

    The University has a site license for SPSS and is free to use for all staff and students including use on personal computers.

    Getting and using SPSS
    Campus computers Staff computers Personal computers
    SPSS is available in all of our IT labs. SPSS can be installed on staff computers connected to the campus network. See installation instructions for more. To obtain a personal copy of SPSS free of charge:
    1. download the "Software Trial: IBM SPSS Statistics Desktop" version from the IBM website using the 14-day temporary license
    2. then enter the University's site authorisation code (Essex users only) to get the full version

    Help and training


  • MATLAB

    Description

    Scientific, Mathematical and Engineering software for numerical computation, visualization and application development, with an interactive environment for iterative exploration, design and problem-solving. Mathematical functions include linear algebra, statistics, Fourier analysis, filtering optimization, numerical integration, and solving ordinary differential equations.

    License and availability

    The University has a site license for MATLAB and is free to use for all staff and students including use on personal computers.

    Getting and using MATLAB
    Campus computers Staff computers Personal computers
    MATLAB is available in all of our IT labs. MATLAB can be installed on staff computers connected to the campus wired network.
    1. Click Start and type \\matlab\matlab into the search box. Press enter.
    2. Right-click on the latest version of Matlab, for example R2015b, and select Copy.
    3. Go to your C:\ drive and paste the folder. From the new folder open the bin folder and double-click matlab.exe.
    4. To create a shortcut to Matlab on your desktop, right-click matlab.exe and select send to → Desktop (create shortcut).
    To download MATLAB see our installation instructions.

    Help and support


  • NVivo

    Description

    NVivo supports qualitative and mixed methods research. It lets you collect, organize and analyse content from interviews, focus groups, discussions, surveys, audio and social media data.

    License and availability

    The University has a site license for NVivo and is free to use for all staff and students including use on personal computers.

    Getting and using NVivo
    Campus computers Staff computers Personal computers
    NVivo is not available in our IT labs. Download NVivo from the IT Services download page (Essex users only). Download NVivo from the IT Services download page (Essex users only).

    Help and training


  • Sophos Antivirus

    Description

    Sophos Antivirus is the preferred antivirus software at the University of Essex, and all computers supplied by IT Services come with Sophos already installed.

    License and availability

    The University has a site license for Sophos Antivirus which also covers the personal computers of staff and students.

    Getting and using Sophos
    Campus computers Staff computers Personal computers
    N/A All computers supplied by IT Services come with Sophos already installed. For Windows and Mac
    Sophos Home is now available for free from the Sophos website.

    1. Go to the Sophos Website.
    2. Click Get Started.
    3. Create an account (you don't have to use your Essex email address or password here), and then continue to download Sophos.

    Help and support


  • OpenVPN

Can't find what you're looking for? Check our software catalogue for a full list of available software titles.

Software information for staff

  • Software installation requests

    If you're a member of staff, you can submit a software installation request form for software to be installed in IT labs or teaching rooms where there is a specific need.

  • Software purchasing

    For information about purchasing software for staff, see IT purchasing.

We provide four specialist Debian Linux compute servers for processor or memory intensive tasks, for example processing large data sets or queries with a long execution time.

  • Request access

    Access is only available to staff and research students on request. Postgraduate students should get their supervisor to request access on their behalf.

    Compute servers should not be used for reading email, web browsing or other network related activity, and we reserve the right to remove access if they are being misused.

  • How to connect

    Once you've been given permission to access, you must use SSH software to connect. If you're off campus, you'll need to establish an OpenVPN connection first. We recommend the following software and methods:

    • Windows - Download Putty (external website)
    • Mac - open Terminal window and use SSH command
    • Linux - open shell window and use SSH command

    The server addresses to connect to are:

    • unix0.essex.ac.uk
    • unix1.essex.ac.uk
    • unix2.essex.ac.uk
    • unix3.essex.ac.uk

  • System specifications


    Server CPU CPU cores Memory Connection Software
    unix0 / serlx27 4 x AMD Opteron(tm) Processors @ 2.2 GHz 48 128 GB 1 Gbps ethernet
    • Linux (Debian 8.5 (Jessie), x86_64)
    • GNU c/c++ /g++ compilers
    • MATLAB Version 8.6.0.267246 (R2015b) - 64 bit
    • NAG Toolbox for MATLAB R2015b
    • Intel Fortran compiler ifort (IFORT) 11.1 20100414 (64-bit)
    • gfortran and f90
    • NAG (64-bit) Fortran libraries
    unix1 / isslx027 4 x AMD Opteron(tm) Processors @ 2.9 GHz 48 512 GB 1 Gbps ethernet
    • Linux (Debian 8.5 (Jessie), x86_64)
    • GNU c/c++ /g++ compilers
    • MATLAB Version 8.0.0.532 (R2014a) - 64 bit
    • Fortran compliers: f95 and gfortran
    • OpenMPI
    unix2 / isslx037 4 x AMD Opteron(tm) Processor 6380 at 2.5 GHz 64 512 GB 1 Gbps ethernet
    • Linux (Debian 8.5 (Jessie), x86_64)
    • GNU c/c++ /g++ compilers
    • R (3.2.2)
    • MATLAB Version 8.1.0.604 (R2013a) - 64 bit
    • NAG Toolbox for MATLAB R2013a
    • Fortran compliers: f95 and gfortran
    unix3 / isslx047 4 x AMD Opteron(tm) Processor 6380 at 2.5 GHz 64 512 GB 1 Gbps ethernet
    • Linux (Debian 8.5 (Jessie), x86_64)
    • GNU c/c++ /g++ compilers
    • R (3.2.2)
    • MATLAB Version 8.6.0.267246 (R2015b) - 64 bit
    • NAG Toolbox for MATLAB R2015b
    • Fortran compliers: f95 and gfortran

Assistive technologies provide essential accessibility to computers for those with significant vision, hearing, dexterity and mobility, language and communication, or learning needs.

If you need further advice or support on assistive technologies and teaching aids, please contact the Student Services Hub who will be happy to advise you.

Available technologies

  • Adjustable monitor arms

    Monitor arms allow you to adjust the height of the computer monitor as well as of the viewing and focal distance from the screen. Positioning the monitor screen at the correct viewing height eliminates strain to the neck and upper back of the user, as well accommodating users seated at different heights, for example in a wheelchair.

    Adjustable monitor arms are available in the following areas:

    • Colchester Campus: at least one computer in most IT labs, Albert Sloman Library (most floors)
    • Southend Campus: at least one computer in IT lab 1, IT lab 2 and in the Open Study Area.
    • Loughton Campus: at least one computer in each of the computing rooms at East 15

  • Screen readers, magnifiers and literacy aids

    Windows Narrator

    Windows Narrator is a basic screen reader that reads what is displayed on the screen, for example the contents of the active window, menu options, or text that has been typed. Narrator is designed to work with Notepad, WordPad, Control Panel programs, and Internet Explorer. It also allows users to customize the way screen elements are read.

    • Available on all Windows computers.
    • To access, click Start → and then search for Narrator.

    JAWS Screen Reader

    Jaws is highly specialised screen reader which features advanced spell checking, homophones support, word prediction and thesaurus. You will need to bring your own headphones to make use of the audio features of this package.

    TextHELP! Read & Write Gold

    TextHELP! Read & Write software aims to assist users with dyslexia or other difficulties which affect their English reading and writing abilities. It is a vocabulary support package which talks, types, checks spellings, and can even predict what the user wishes to type.

    It can be used with word processors, spreadsheets, databases, email and Internet. It provides a simple toolbar that "floats" on top of any open application waiting to provide assistance when called upon. You will need to bring your own headphones to make use of the audio features of this package.

    • Available in all IT labs.
    • Site license.
    • To access, click StartAll ProgramsAccessibilityTextHELP!.

  • Visual aids, graphic and drawing tools

    SmartDraw

    SmartDraw is a graphics tool that assists users with mobility difficulties to create vector graphics with ease, for example business charts, technical drawings, and other diagrams.

    • Available in all IT labs.
    • Limited to 10 concurrent users.

    Inspiration 9

    Inspiration is an organisational and study skills tool that helps students learn to think. Students can use Inspiration to create a visual map of ideas using pictures, colours, shapes and relationships. Inspiration is especially useful for students with specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

    • Available in all IT labs.
    • Limited to 10 concurrent users.

  • Microsoft Ease of Access Center

    In the Windows Ease of Access Center, you'll find quick access for setting up the accessibility settings and programs included in Windows, and other tools including Magnifier, Narrator and On-Screen Keyboard.

    • Available on all Windows computers.
    • To access, click StartControl PanelEase of Access Center.

Support for staff office moves

Please note that due to a backlog of work we are not accepting any more move requests for this October.

If you're planning an office move and need to relocate staff computers, printers or telephones, you must book in advance with the following notice periods:

  • 1 to 2 people – 3 days notice
  • 2 to 5 people – 5 days notice
  • 5 or more people – 2 weeks notice

If the space you are moving to has not been refurbished then more power and data may be required. This will be managed by Estates Space Planning please contact 4323. This may delay your intended move date.

At busy times of the year during September, Christmas and Easter, there are a limited number of slots available so we recommend you book at least twice the recommended notice period. This is because we may need to contract in more staff if your preferred slot has already been booked.

When booking , please include the new location, the old location, and a preferred date and time for the move to happen.