Should I take my computer and monitors home?


As COVID-19 isolation continues, many employees are making the adjustment to work at home. Biology IT has been working closely with everyone to make sure that computing arrangements are helpful and effective. Here are some common questions we've been receiving.

I have nice monitors at work. May I move these to my home office?

Yes, with the permission of your supervisor (see April 8 message from president Wintersteen). However, there are several questions to ask first. If your monitors are on a special stand that were designed for a certain standup desk, like the ones in ATRB, you might be better off contacting Biology IT for a loaner monitor that comes with its own stand. Also, be aware that there are several kinds of display technologies that require adapters depending on what you are connecting the monitor to. Common standards are HDMI, DisplayPort, miniDisplayPort, DVI, and USB-C.

I have a Dell tower on my desk. Should I move this home?

No. The Dell computers that we use have (1) no wireless capability, (2) no microphone, and (3) no webcam. You are better off leaving the Dell computer attached to the (blazingly fast) network on campus and using Remote Desktop to connect to the computer from your home (see bottom of this page for instructions). Both Macs and PCs can connect to a Windows remote desktop session. If you need a computer for home we can loan you a laptop computer that has a built-in webcam and microphone and WIFI. This laptop can be connected to a large monitor, keyboard and mouse.

I have an iMac at work. Should I move this home?

In her April 8 update President Wintersteen indicated that guidance on tracking equipment is forthcoming. However, if the university permits moving computers home then iMacs should work. Things to watch out for include (1) connecting to the VPN will be necessary for Self-Service to install and update some applications, (2) if you use LSS for your research files or the Isilon (, you may be better off connecting to your computer remotely so that it remains on ISU's stable network.

Warning: if you do move an iMac, do not set it upright, for example on a rolling cart. It may tip, go over the side, and crash to the floor, destroying the glass on the front of the panel. Instead, iMacs should be transported "face-down" on a soft cloth or towel to protect them.

I don't have internet at home. If I move my computer home from my office will that give me internet?

No. You will need your own internet service provider at home.

Will IT come to my home and help me hook things up?

No. But we will do all we can to assist you remotely on university-owned equipment. We have the ability to share screens even if you are off-campus.

What should I not do from my home office?

Right now bandwidth over the VPN is precious. Very many people are connecting from home to the VPN gateway to use campus services.

If you fire up your computer at home, connect to the VPN, then mount your LSS research directory on your home computer and start transfering 30GB files to and from campus, you will be like the person at the office party that took 8 pieces of cake.

Instead, you should use remote desktop to connect to a computer on campus, and transfer/manipulate large files there on ISU's fast network rather than through the VPN gateway's bottleneck.

Note that this does not apply to Box, as Box is located in the cloud and not on campus. See When do I need to connect to the VPN for more details.

How do I connect to my on-campus Windows computer with  "Remote Desktop"?

See our separate how-to documents depending on whether you are connecting from Mac or Windows.