The Daily Gamecock

iCARE offers free computer support services to USC students

The college student population in America is largely occupied by computer owners (85 percent have a laptop).

With such a large percentage using technology at least once a day, it seems that knowing the ins and outs of that technology would be a given.

But computers are complicated and thus, students learn only the basics of operation, skimming over the details that seem unimportant, at least until something breaks.

At USC, if something does break, students have the option of technological assistance through the iCARE Center for free.

The iCARE Center, which stands for “Internet, Computer And Resource Education,” is nestled in the University Technology Services building on the corner of Blossom and Sumter streets.

At the iCARE Center, free computer support services are offered to students.

On their website is a list of services including “connecting to the network, installing software, diagnosing computer problems, removing viruses, providing mobile support and more.”

These services are offered to not only laptops, but also tablets and mobile phones.

According to Elvin Boone, one of the managers of the iCARE Center, some of the most common problems USC students deal with are malware and spyware issues, broken hard drives and the age-old qualm of an inability to connect to Wi-Fi.

Malware and spyware issues can mostly be attributed to the rampant downloading of illegal media on the internet, like movies and songs, because they often have viruses attached to them.

In the physical realm of computer problems however, broken hard drives often occur as a result of poor care and improper shutdown of laptops.

For people who are technologically challenged, these are problems which seem insurmountable, which is why it's often easier to take the computer to a specialist — someone who can act as a gateway between technology's complexity and its respective users' tendencies toward technological shortcuts.

At USC, iCARE specialists act as this gateway for students — and for free. But for whatever reason, these services are widely unknown to people experiencing computer troubles at USC.

Boone thinks this is because students don't know about the iCARE Center even exists or the services it offers that the students immediately pay for. 

"We're not pushing anything or selling anything. We're just here to support students in the use of technology," Boone said.

Boone also attributes the lack of knowledge about the iCARE Center to a reasoning similar to the old Southern saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

"Until it's broken, nobody worries about it," Boone said. "Until you're sick, nobody goes to the doctor."

With that being said, iCARE is undergoing the process of re-branding to help even better aid the technological needs of students and become more prevalent on campus.