Viruses & Quarantine
If your computer is infected with a virus that is causing detectable outbound traffic on our network, your computer will be quarantined, suspending your connection to the internet to prevent excessive network traffic and to prevent the spread of the virus. A quarantined computer attempting to access the internet will be redirected to an informational page displaying information about the quarantine, and the steps you will need to take to be able to regain access to PSU networks.
Computers that have been quarantined must be verified free of viruses and malware before they may use the campus networks again. For a Windows computer, the hard disk must be formatted and Windows reinstalled. Mac computers may be cleaned without needing a reinstall. These operations may be performed at the User Support Services Helpdesk free of charge for staff and faculty, and for a nominal fee for students.
For PSU-owned computers, you may bring the computer down to the Helpdesk, or call to arrange a pickup. All data may be backed up by our workbench, the computer will be reimaged, and all software and backed up data restored. Loaner computers may be available to replace the infected machine for the duration of the reimage.
Faculty/Staff personal computers
For Faculty/Staff personal computers, the workbench may also reimage your computer by backing up any data, reinstalling the operating system, and restoring any PSU software and the backed up personal data. Note that you will need to have a Windows license (product key) for your computer. Most newer computers should have a Windows license/product key sticker, and all Mac computers by default include a copy of Mac OSX.
Personal software will need to be reinstalled following reimaging, although Microsoft Office and McAfee can be included for free.
Students who find their computers jailed by our network system will also need to format and reinstall their operating system. The Helpdesk only offers assistance if your computer has been quarantined by PSU; free security software (McAfee Antivirus) is available to prevent your computer from being infected. For reimaging your computer, you will also need to have a Windows license (product key) for your computer.
There are two options to remove a virus:
- The OIT department offers a $25 service to format your computer and reinstall windows.
- Performing the work yourself or by a third party (like a repair shop) – however, you will need to bring the computer to the Helpdesk afterwards for verification.
Make sure to backup ANY and ALL data that you want saved on a backup medium, such as a CD, DVD, flash drive, or external harddrive. This includes documents, local email and email address books, web browser bookmarks, music, video, and picture files. All data currently on your computer WILL BE LOST during the format (including the virus).
After backing up your important data, please bring the computer, power cables, and OS install disc (windows CD, etc) to the Helpdesk, which is located in Smith Room 18 (basement). You will need to fill out a Personal Computer Virus Imaging form. $25 will be charged against your student account, your computer will be checked in, and the work will be performed.
Work will take a minimum of 1 week (5+ business days) to complete, after which you will be contacted to pick up the computer. The computer will be as-new, with a clean installation of your operating system in good running order. Any additional software you had installed previously (such as Microsoft Office, Firefox, Adobe, etc.) will need to be reinstalled by you.
Reinstalling Windows yourself
You may also choose to fix the computer yourself. The harddrive of the computer that contains the operating system (usually “Local Disk C”) will need to be formatted and the operating system (Windows) reinstalled. Simply reinstalling the operating system over the top of itself, without performing a format, will not remove the virus from the affected computer, and will remain infected.
Obtaining a Licensed Operating System
For student, faculty and staff personal machines, you will need to provide us with your Windows Product Key sticker. These stickers are usually attached to the rear or bottom of the computer, but may be included with the computer documentation (see example image below). In some rare cases, brand-name computers may include model-specific versions of Windows on CD or DVD (OEM). In those cases, you may wish to bring these OEM Windows install discs along with the computer to expedite the reinstallation process. You may want to check with the Helpdesk first if you have any questions. If you do not have a copy of Windows, you will need to obtain one by:
- Purchasing a copy through the PSU bookstore or retailer (ie, Amazon, Best Buy, etc)
- Obtaining a copy through your computer manufacturer (ie, Dell)
- Students in the MCECS program may obtain a copy through their department
USS is able to install these (English, USA only) OS versions:
- Windows XP (Home, Pro)
- Windows Vista (Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, Ultimate) (32 & 64 bit)
- Windows 7 (Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, Ultimate) (32 & 64 bit)
- Mac OSX (10.4, 10.5, 10.6)
Terms & Conditions
The PSU Helpdesk/OIT department takes no responsibility for lost or broken computers or parts that prevent the operating system to be reinstalled. We will make a reasonable best-effort to use provided installation media (CD/DVD) and computer’s included optical drive to install the copy you provide us.