STARS, Lehigh’s Student Technology and Repair Services program, allows students to get technical support from other Lehigh students. If you need help with any of your personal devices, be sure to stop by the main floor of E.W. Fairchild-Martindale Library, where the service desk is located. (Annalise Kelloff/B&W Staff)

STARS repairs student computers for free

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For many college students, a working computer is an absolute necessity. Damaging a laptop, getting a virus or mistakenly deleting important files can be stressful and academically detrimental. At Lehigh, students can utilize resources from Student Technology and Repair Services (STARS) to get free computer help.

“We moved to the main floor of FML (Fairchild-Martindale Library) this past fall, and we’re open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.,” said Bruce Eisenhard, who has worked as the manager of STARS for 23 years. “There’s always a student employee there.” 

Eisenhard manages a team of about 20 student consultants. He said students with broken computers can bring them in to STARS, previously called WIRED, to have the damage assessed. If repairs are necessary, they can often be done in the on-campus hardware shop, which can be more convenient than dealing directly with the manufacturer. 

Students have the option to  make an appointment, or if they don’t have the time to sit through a troubleshooting session, they can leave their laptops with STARS. 

Eisenhard said smaller software related issues can be fixed in a couple of hours, while larger problems may take anywhere from a day to two weeks. However, he said having repairs done in the hardware shop can still often be quicker than having a laptop sent out to the manufacturer.

Eisenhard said STARS can be an especially good resource for students who live far away, don’t know where to go for computer help or are unable to pay for it. He said he once had a student from Germany bring in an old laptop that was in poor condition. The student couldn’t afford to replace her computer and STARS managed to get it in working condition again. 

“It’s a lot of thinking on your feet, which is something I enjoy,” STARS student consultant Vincent Taylor, ‘21, said. “You do some amount of training after being hired here, but really the most valuable thing is just getting in here, doing shifts and getting a feel for fixing computer problems.” 

Taylor said he enjoys his job, and he said he would recommend it to first-years who are looking for a job to work as a consultant.

He said students should be more aware of STARS as a resource when dealing with computer issues.

“I really wish people used (STARS) more,” Taylor said. “Especially being in computer science, I see people using their laptops all the time for all sorts of things and almost nobody’s laptop is in full working condition.”

Surui Huang, ‘22, another STARS student consultant, said as a computer science and business major the job flows smoothly.

Huang said STARS provide services like scanning for viruses, re-installing systems, cleaning malware and backing up files. 

STARS can also help if a laptop gets water damage or screen cracks, Huang said.

“It’s good that I can help people solve their computer problems,” Huang said. “STARS is a free place. People can find help here and they are always welcome here if they have any problems.”

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