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Northwest Laptops

Northwest Laptops

All Northwest students are provided with a wireless-ready laptop computer. Northwest laptop models may vary between students, depending on availability and enrollment status. Students enrolled in Online Professional program have a different fee structure and are ineligible to participate in the Northwest laptop program.

All repairs of Northwest-issued laptops for hardware or software failure as a result of normal everyday wear is free of charge at the Jon T. Rickman Electronic Campus Support Center.

Northwest-issued LaptopsSince Northwest owns the University-provided laptop computer and its software, the Office of Information Technology reserves the right to format and reload the hard disk without the user's permission after it is returned to the Northwest Technology Service Center. Users are encouraged by Information Technology to back up personal files on a weekly basis to prevent loss of data in case of hardware or software failure.

Northwest-issued laptop pickup and return

Where do I go to pick up or return my Northwest-issued laptop?

To pick up or return your Northwest-issued laptop computer, visit the Jon T. Rickman Electronic Campus Support Center. 

To pick up a laptop, read and sign with the Laptop Agreement under the Personal Information tab in CatPAWS.

Can I return my Northwest-issued laptop by mail?

Summer 2024 laptop returns must be received on campus by Friday, July 26th.  Students who cannot return their laptop at Northwest’s Maryville or Kansas City Center locations should use the pre-paid UPS return label provided below by the University to ship their laptop. Students who use their own shipping label will not be reimbursed.

While Northwest strongly encourages campus-issued laptop computer to be returned in-person at the Jon T. Rickman Electronic Campus Support Center, due to liability issues, individuals may return their laptop via traditional mail.

To return a campus-issued laptop via shipment, email the Northwest Technology Service Center at and include a tracking number, the sticker number on the front of the laptop and contact information; indicate whether you are also returning the AC adapter. Users will be charged $25 if the Northwest AC adapter is not returned with the campus-issued laptop computer.

Ship your Northwest-issued laptop with its AC adapter to:

Northwest Missouri State University
MDC - 800 University Drive
Notebook Returns --ECSC 108
Maryville, MO 64468

Pack the laptop securely, or have the mail service do it for you. Users are liable for up to $1,500 if the laptop is lost, stolen or damaged in transit; users are strongly encouraged to request insurance of $1,500 in case it is damaged, lost or stolen while in route via traditional mail.

What is Northwest's laptop return policy?

Students must return their laptop computers to the Electronic Campus Support Center before or on the last day of final exams or within five business days of withdrawing from the University.

The latest the campus laptop computer may be returned without being charged a replacement fee is the first business day after final exams. Failure to return your campus laptop computer will result in a $1,500 replacement cost fine.

If, for some reason. you cannot return your laptop computer by the first business day after final exams, contact the Northwest Technology Service Center at 660.562.1634 to make special arrangements for returning your laptop computer on an approved day.

Do I have to return my Northwest-issued laptop during the summer?

If you are pre-registered for courses during the summer or fall sessions, you do not have to return your Northwest-issued laptop. 

If you are not taking summer courses and are pre-registered for the fall semester, you will be charged a summer rental fee of $75, which will appear on your University bill.

If you are not pre-registered for summer or fall courses, you must return your Northwest-issued laptop at the end of the spring term. Failure to return your campus laptop computer will result in a $1,500 replacement cost fine.

BitLocker recovery key

BitLocker is a security application used by Northwest for security purposes on all Northwest Windows devices. BitLocker prevents loss of data if a device is lost or stolen. BitLocker is always running in the background on your Northwest Windows devices; however, system updates may prompt a need for a recovery key.  Your BitLocker recovery key is a unique 48-digit numerical password that can be used to unlock your system if BitLocker is unable to confirm that the attempt to access the system drive is authorized.  This key may change periodically.  Always look for the current key rather than using a previous one.

Note: Your BitLocker recovery key is specific to your device.  Sharing this information with others may result in a breach of security.

How do I locate a BitLocker recovery key for my Northwest device?

If your Northwest Windows device prompts you with the following screen, please complete the steps below.

BitLocker recovery key needed

  1. Go to the following link on another device.
  2.  Sign into your Northwest Network Account using your username and password.
  3. On the Account Overview page, locate Devices and select MANAGE DEVICES.
  4. A list of devices will be displayed. Select the appropriate device name.
    • To locate the correct device, select an active device beginning with NW, NWSTU or NWSTA followed by a series of 5 to 12 numbers.
    • The active or inactive device status will be displayed in the far right column.
  5. After selecting a device, select the View BitLocker Keys button.
  6. In the next window, select the Show recovery key button.
  7. A pop-up will then appear with your BitLocker recovery key for the selected device.
    • On smaller devices, you may need to select the copy button within the recovery key window and paste it into your preferred notes app to see the full recovery key.
  8. After the full 48-digit key is visible, type the numbers into the BitLocker window on your Northwest device.
    • Do not include any spaces or dashes when typing this key.
  9. The device will then begin to load the sign-in page.
  10. You should then be able to sign into your device as usual. 
If you run into issues following these steps, please contact the Northwest Technology Service Center at 660.562.1634 for assistance.

Northwest-issued laptop care and security

How do I care for my Northwest-issued laptop?

Protecting your University-provided laptop computer from damage and theft is important. Here are some guidelines.

General Care

  • Carry your laptop computer in a backpack or tote that is made for a laptop computer. A purse or regular backpack does not have adequate padding and the laptop computer could be damaged if dropped.
  • Keep sticky or runny foods away from your laptop computer. Such foods may permanently damage the laptop computer keyboard or other delicate components, and most warranties do not cover such damage.
  • Keep open drink containers away from your laptop computer. Soda and other beverages can cause keyboard keys to stick or become inoperable. Other damage to delicate components may result from spilling, and most warranties do not cover such damage.
  • Do not leave your laptop computer in a cold environment. Condensation, when you return it to a warm environment, could cause the circuitry to fail. If your laptop computer has been exposed to a cold environment, always let it warm up before turning it on.
  • Do not try to repair your laptop computer or open it up to see inside or add components. You may inadvertently cause more damage by your lack of knowledge.
  • Do not color (markers, crayons, etc.) the keys on your laptop computer keyboard.
  • Do not place stickers on the exterior of your laptop computer that cannot be easily removed by you without damage to the laptop computer.

Battery and Electrical Care

  • Use a surge protector if you keep your laptop computer hooked up to an electrical outlet, particularly if your computer is turned on. An electrical surge may not hurt it one time, but continued surges could potentially damage the device and cause the loss of critical data.

Preventing Loss

  • Do not leave your laptop computer unattended in a classroom or other area.
  • Do not leave the laptop computer in your car where it is visible.
  • Do not check the laptop as baggage when flying; take it as a carry-on.

Repair and Troubleshooting

  • Do not have your laptop repaired at a location other than at the Electronic Campus Support Center.
  • If a key or keys come off of your laptop computer, do not try to repair yourself. Do not use glue on the keyboard. Key replacement is usually free of charge at the Electronic Campus Support Center unless the whole keyboard is damaged or vandalism is involved.
  • If you drop your laptop computer into water or spill liquid on the keyboard by accident, take the laptop computer immediately to the Electronic Campus Support Center. If a spill is taken care of immediately, the laptop computer and keyboard can be cleaned and dried to prevent additional problems. Repair is usually free of charge unless major damage or vandalism is involved.
  • Allow Windows and the installed antivirus software to apply updates and security patches as indicated. If the laptop is demonstrating odd behaviours, apply updates and restart the laptop.
  • Windows 11 requires activation at least every 6 months.  Activation can only be done when on campus and connected to the campus network.

How should I clean my Northwest-issued laptop?

To clean the LCD screen, use LCD screen solution/wipes, eyeglass cleaning solution, or one-part isopropyl alcohol and one-part water (50/50 solution). Do not apply solution directly to screen. Pour solution onto a soft, clean, cotton cloth and use the cloth on your LCD  laptop screen.

To clean the keyboard, use a soft, clean, cotton cloth, cotton swabs and a can of compressed air. Do not spray cleaning solutions onto keyboard. A one-part isopropyl alcohol and one-part water (50/50) solution is all that is needed. Do not spray or pour the solution directly onto keyboard. Pour a small amount on a cloth, squeeze out excess and gently apply the cloth to the keyboard. Use cotton swabs and compressed air to clean between the keys. Turn the keyboard upside down and gently shake to dislodge any particles stuck between keys.

Am I responsible for backing up personal files on my Northwest-issued laptop?

The Office of Information Technology and the Northwest Technology Service Center are not responsible for supporting or backing up personal files on University-provided laptop computers. The user is solely responsible for backing up personal files to an alternative storage device.

Alternative storage devices are not provided by the Electronic Campus Support Center or the Office of Information Technology. The user is responsible for purchasing a device with personal funds. Such devices include, but are not limited to, a USB flash drive or external hard drive. 

Northwest students, employees and University-approved organizations have OneDrive file storage with their Northwest email accounts.

Northwest-issued damages and fees

Since Northwest began providing laptop computers for students, an average of seven laptop computers per year have been reported stolen from rooms and vehicles. Although theft is rare and occurs primarily off-campus and outside Maryville city limits, students should take reasonable measures to protect their laptop computer.

Am I responsible for damage to my Northwest-issued laptop?

Students are responsible for repairs for their laptop computer with financial responsibility determined by severity of damage. In a typical year, about 150 repairs result in a student being billed for the damage.

The most common non-warranty repairs are broken LCD screens ($50 charge), lost AC adapter ($25) and repairs resulting from liquid spills that corrode and short internal circuits ($50 charge).

In most cases, depending on circumstances involved with the damage, students are not billed for the full cost of repair unless the laptop computer sustained major damage due to vandalism or obvious abuse, or was lost or stolen.

While you can add decorative or personal stickers to your Northwest-issued laptop, you are responsible for removing those stickers and adhesive residue prior to returning the laptop to Northwest. Failure to do so may result in a $10 charge. The Northwest ID sticker must remain intact and not damaged.

May I decorate or personalize my Northwest-issued laptop with stickers?

You can add decorative or personal stickers to your Northwest-issued laptop. However, you are responsible for removing those stickers and adhesive residue prior to returning the laptop to Northwest. Failure to do so may result in a $10 charge. The Northwest ID sticker must remain intact, fully visible and not damaged.

What happens if my Northwest-issued laptop has major damage or is lost or stolen?

Students are financially responsible in full for major damage, loss or theft of a campus-issued laptop computer up to $1,500 and will be billed accordingly.

What should I do if my laptop is lost or stolen?

  • Immediately file a police report if your campus-issued laptop computer is lost or stolen.
  • Filing a report and providing that report to the Northwest Technology Service Center will result in a refund, if the laptop computer is recovered and may reduce financial liability.
  • Report the loss or theft to the Northwest Technology Service Center.
  • Under most circumstances, you will be issued another Northwest laptop to ensure you continue to succeed academically.

Northwest-issued laptop Insurance

Does Northwest provide insurance for my Northwest-issued laptop?

Although manufacturing defects are covered by the vendor and hardware and software repair is free of charge at the Electronic Campus Support Center, Northwest does not provide additional coverage to protect your campus-issued laptop from damage, loss or theft.

Where can I get additional insurance for my Northwest-issued laptop?

For major laptop computer damage, vandalism or theft, students are encouraged to purchase liability insurance from an insurance provider of your choice.  

Three such vendors are listed below and will cover other personal equipment such as TVs, personal computers, gaming consoles, etc:

Does Northwest endorse any particular insurance provider?

Northwest does not endorse any provider and encourages students and parents to research the best option for their needs.

Any questions?

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