Additional Information on Student Laptops

Apple Mac OS/X and systems running Linux or other Operating Systems

Many of the software packages used in ECE are available for both Windows and Mac OS/X. Where possible, The University and ECE try to provide students with the opportunity to obtain Mac OS/X versions of required software packages (e.g., Microsoft Office, Mathworks Matlab), and may be able to make such software available at similar discounts to the Windows versions of the software. However, some software packages required by ECE courses run only under the Windows platform. ECE students with Mac OS/X and/or Linux operating systems will most likely find it necessary to obtain and install an additional copy of Windows for their system. ECE recommends that students use virtualization environments that permit both operating systems to run simultaneously, although dual-boot solutions such as Apple's Boot Camp software will also work.

Virtualization Tools

Virtualization software is available from several sources. Two of the best options are the Virtual Box product from Oracle corporation and the family of VMWare products (VM Player and VM Fusion). Using virtualization software, a student essentially operates two distinct computer environments on the same laptop. The original Mac OS/X operating system still continues to be the primary operating system, while Windows can be installed and run as a guest operating system inside a virtual machine.

Windows Licensing for Virtual Machines

It is important to note that students must still have a Windows license in order to run Windows on a virtual machine. Windows licenses and the installation DVDs are available at several retail outlets (e.g., Best Buy) and directly from Microsoft. Note that students must have a full Windows license to install on a virtual machine (not an "upgrade").

The Cockrell School of Engineering and ECE are currently working with Microsoft to obtain full Windows 7 licenses for students at a substantially reduced price (or free) through the Dreamspark program. Details of this program will be linked here if and when this opportunity can be made available to students.