Laptop Loans from Kiosks

Campus kiosks offer free loaner laptops for students to check out. A valid, active Columbia University ID card is needed. No reservation is required; the loaner laptops are available on a first-come-first-served basis.


To check out a laptop, tap the Checkout button on the kiosk's display, agree to the Terms and Conditions, swipe your Columbia ID card, and remove the laptop. Laptops can be borrowed for up to 5 hours and must be returned to the kiosk where they were originally checked out from.


To use a loaner laptop, power it on and begin working. Kiosk laptops do not require you to sign into your MC account. The laptop will automatically connect to the secure Mercury network when it's in range of campus wireless locations.

Note: Loaner laptops erase data saved to the hard drive on restart and shutdown.
When working on the laptop, please save your files to external media, such as a USB thumb drive, your OneDrive, or a network drive. We highly recommend doing this periodically while working to ensure that any recent changes you have made are saved if the laptop freezes or crashes.


All laptops run Windows 10 with the applications listed below. To see the current version numbers, please refer to CUIMC IT Standard Software.

7Zip Endnote R  for Windows
Adobe Reader DC ExamSoft - Examplify Rstudio
ArcGIS Firefox SAS
BitLocker GEPacsUpdateV2 SPSS
Chrome (Google) IDXUpgrade Stata
Cisco AnyConnect VPN Kaplan LockDown Browser (Respondus) TiffSurfer
Citrix Workspace 2203 Microsoft 365 (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access, OneNote, Publisher) TurningPoint Cloud
DotNetfx Nvivo VLC Media Player
EasyPrint Pharos Printing WinSCP
Edge (Microsoft) Poll Everywhere Zoom

Returning the Laptop

You should return Laptops to the same kiosk they were checked out from within 5 hours. We ask for everyone's cooperation to make sure laptops are available to others when not in use. If a laptop is kept for an extended period, we may need to contact your school or department and request payment to replace a missing laptop. Power cords cannot be checked out with the laptop; the fully charged battery will run out after approximately 4 to 5 hours. Once a laptop is checked back into the kiosk, it will take about an hour to charge and cannot be checked out.

Terms and Conditions

Terms and conditions must be agreed upon when checking out the laptop. Settings and configurations on loaner laptops must not be changed, and charges for damages, lost or stolen laptops will apply. Laptops cannot connect to networks other than Mercury on the CUIMC campus. Please do not take borrowed kiosk laptops off campus.


Can I reserve or check out a laptop for a longer period of time?

To make sure laptops are kept available for the entire CUIMC student community, laptops can only be checked out on a first-come-first-serve basis for a period of 5 hours. You may check out another laptop from the kiosk if needed.

Are the laptops connected to the internet?

Loaner laptops will automatically connect to the secure Mercury network when in range of campus wireless locations.

Can I print from the laptop?

Laptops are set up to print to the Pharos system at CUIMC. Note that you must have an MC account and Pharos quota to print. Additional pages for printing can be purchased at the CUIMC IT Service Desk.

How often should I save my documents or work when using the laptop?

As often as possible. Be sure to save your work to external media rather than the laptop's hard drive as you work: if the laptop encounters an issue and restarts, all user data saved to the hard drive will be erased.

Can others see the files I've saved on the laptop?

When the laptop is restarted, it is re-imaged (wiped). It returns to its original state when picked up. Documents, browsing data, and temporary files saved on the hard drive are erased.

Can I use CDs, DVDs, and USB flash drives with the laptop?

There are USB ports on the laptop, and you may use USB flash drives; however, the laptops do not have disk drives, so CDs and DVDs, cannot be used.

Can I plug in or recharge the laptop?

Laptops can only be charged at the kiosk. Power cords are not available for checkout. Please do not attempt to attach another computer's power cord to the laptop, as you might damage the hardware.

What should I do if the laptop isn't functioning properly?

Please call us at 5-Help (212-305-4357), option 5, or come by the Service Desk TechBar in the Hammer Building LL1-118.

What if the laptop gets a virus?

Save any work you need to an external media, such as a USB flash drive (be sure to scan externally saved files as soon as possible in case they are also infected), and restart the laptop. This will wipe the laptop and restore it to its original state, which will remove viruses or malware. Laptops are also restarted during checkouts, guaranteeing that they are virus-free before use.