UTS Help Desk provides wide range of specific tech assistance

The UTS Help Center is located in the Anderson Academic Commons.

The UTS Help Center is located in the Anderson Academic Commons on the main floor.

The University Technical Services Computer Help Desk, newly relocated to Anderson Academic Commons, provides an extensive assortment of free technical assistance to University of Denver faculty, students and staff.

The desk, staffed by both students and administrators with tech support and computer backgrounds, includes personal phone, email, online and walk-in computer and laptop support for Mac and PC operating platforms and software. Confronting a number of varying technology issues daily, the staff at the Help Desk can and does actively assist in the resolution of a large collection of common tech problems experienced by the DU community.

Common issues and services

Specifically, UTS Help Desk employees deal regularly with virus and malware disabling, printer installation, wireless Internet/PioneerNet connection issues, common software malfunctions in Microsoft Office software and troubleshooting of software programs, along with general tech questions and computer operations.

“The most common issues are printer installation, wireless issues and virus and malware help,” said Charles, the evening supervisor at the Help Desk with 13 years of UTS experience at DU and additional experience working at a call center for Packard Bell. “We do some hardware support, but most work is dealing mainly with software.”

Taken together, providing solutions to these common tech problems for free provides DU students and staff an avenue to resolve important tech problems without paying for additional support from outside sources or dealing with call centers.

“When I had an issue with my Microsoft Office software and wireless Internet because of a virus, it was much easier for me to go to UTS instead of calling the technical support for my computer,” said Shelby Carpenter, a sophomore biology major and chemistry minor. “I needed the problems fixed quickly because of the work I had to do and UTS was much more efficient than talking to a call center representative for hours on the phone.”

Despite their dealings with mostly minor issues, the Help Desk staff also takes on larger, more time-consuming technological problems. UTS employees have the resources to tackle more structural computer issues, including hardware troubleshooting, document retrieval, anti-virus software installation and hardware wipes. The Help Desk can even replace damaged or malfunctioning computer parts in certain circumstances.

“We do warranty repair work for Apples and Dells, which requires certification and yearly education. For example, we would be able to replace and install hard drives and hardware for free if it falls under the warranty,” said Charles.

The Help Desk process

The UTS Help Desk support team operates in three different mediums: via phone, via email and via walk-ins, although walk-ins are the most common.

Walk-in tickets are filled out at this monitor just inside the entrance to the Help Desk.

Walk-in tickets are filled out at this monitor just inside the entrance to the Help Desk.

“Walk-ins are based on a ticket system where walk-in customers log-in with their DU ID and passcode and provide a brief description of the issue on webCentral,” said Casey Litow, an electrical engineering major and computer science minor who has been working at the Help Desk for two quarters. “Then, a Help Desk consultant is assigned the ticket and will attempt to solve the issue personally while sitting with the customer.”

The meeting time with a consultant during walk-in appointments is based on the nature of the issue and the time required for a repair but is usually short. The ticket system is first come, first serve so wait times may occur during busier hours.

“The majority of the problems are minor and take far less time to complete. For basic printer installations and software issues, it takes anywhere from 30 minutes or less and for general software questions it takes 10 minutes or so,” added Charles.

Occasionally, larger problems arise which require additional time and effort to resolve. Virus scans and deletions can take upwards of two hours, depending on the severity of the infection, and hardware wipes often require overnight or multiple-day stays. For these issues, the Help Desk institutes a tentative 2-day turnaround policy, where customers can check in their laptops to the desk and pick them up when the problem is resolved sometime within a 2-day window.

“Customers can also drop off their laptop after filing the ticket which is entered into a queue. Dropped off laptops then carry a turnaround of 2 business days, so Monday through Friday. Customers are personally called when their laptop repair is completed or if the process will take longer than the 2-business day turnaround, which sometimes occurs when the problem is larger and takes more time to fix,” said Litow. This usually occurs when laptop repairs require parts shipped to the Help Desk or when a Dell or Apple representative is needed to personally assist with the repair.

The Help Center is open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.

When operating via phone, students and staff can directly call a phone help desk consultant at 303-871-4700 and receive step-by-step assistance or set up a field support appointment when the computer isn’t mobile, although appointments are primarily reserved for staff and classroom equipment. In addition, customers can directly email the desk by filling out a ticket online on the Help Desk website under the link “Email Us!”. The Help Desk fields upwards of 200 calls per day and phone services are open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday – Friday. Email support is available from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday – Friday.

University Technical Services campus-wide

Apart from the Help Desk, University Technical Services is involved with a large variety of other technical services at the university involving all manner of technical support.

“We handle and maintain our own telephone and data networks, house webCentral and Blackboard servers and provide tech support for a spattering of other in-house services like staff e-mail, virtual laptops, lab machines and DNS,” said Charles.

Specifically, UTS publishes online: training and software guides, web-based search operations, free software downloads, information about software requirements and troubleshooting and wireless access information. Also, UTS maintains computer lab resources, printing systems, online security and classroom audio/visual support.

Correction and edit made 4/9/2013 regarding an inaccurate phrase. The wait time for a walk-in appointment is not based on the nature of the issue, rather, the meeting time with a consultant is. Change made above. 

Additional information added 4/9/2013 regarding 2-day policy extensions. Repairs taking longer than 2-days usually occur when parts are being shipped in or when an Apple or Dell representative assists with the repair. Information added above.

Additional information added 4/9/2013 regarding Help Desk phone services. The Help Desk phone service fields upwards of 200 calls a day. Information added above. 

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