There are some accessories that we recommend that you at least consider purchasing when you purchase your new laptop/tablet.


External Hard Drive / Flash Drive

These are probably the most important accessory you can purchase. External hard drives and flash drives function in basically the same way in that you can drag and drop or copy/move files to either in order to save backup copies of files. Flash drives usually provide a smaller amount of storage while external hard drives can provide larger amounts of storage. If you want to backup all of the files on your laptop, an external hard drive would be best. If you just need to backup a couple important Word documents or PowerPoint presentations, a flash drive would be more than enough.

Apple computers have a utility called Time Machine that can be used to backup all of the data on your computer.

Windows 8/8.1 computers have a feature called File History that can be used to backup all of your data.

Some external hard drives also come with their own software that can be used to backup your data. Just be aware that they may require that you use their software in order to recover the data from the hard drive later.


Video Adapter

Another very important accessory is a video adapter. Depending on your laptop/tablet, it may have one or more different types of video ports. The most common video output ports on laptops and tablets right now are HDMI (including mini or micro HDMI), DisplayPort (especially mini DisplayPort), VGA, and DVI. The most common inputs for projectors and external monitors are HDMI, VGA, and DVI (some monitors also use DisplayPort). Therefore we would recommend checking your computer to see if you might need any video adapters to connect to the projectors in the classrooms or to the monitors we have in the first floor study rooms.


USB/Wireless Mouse

Some people find the touch pad or screen that comes with a laptop/tablet to be less than ideal when trying to quickly navigate their computer. A USB or wireless mouse can be helpful in alleviating this. They can come in different sizes to make them more portable. If you get a wireless mouse, make sure you have extra batteries on hand as well.


Keyboard (for tablets that do not come with one)

Laptops and convertible tablets will come with a keyboard for your use. However, most tablets will not. Some tablets may have special keyboards (specific to just that model of tablet) available for purchase. Most tablets can also use more generic bluetooth keyboards. It is a good idea to try out keyboards, if possible, to ensure that you will be comfortable typing on them. Some special keyboards (the "touch" keyboard for the Surface Pro, for example) do not have the tactile feedback that traditional keyboards have and may be difficult for some people to use well.


Microfiber Cloth and Screen Spray

 Computers that use touch input tend to accumulate a lot of fingerprints on their screens. We recommend that you purchase a microfiber cloth (or other lint-free cloth) to wipe down your screen every once in a while. There are also special laptop/tablet screen sprays that can be used to help clean off more stubborn fingerprints. You do not want to use any normal household cleaners on a laptop/tablet screen as it can damage it.


(Extra) Stylus

Depending on the type of touch screen your computer has, there are different types of styli/pens that it can use. See the section on displays to determine which kind of stylus you need. Having a stylus (if you laptop/tablet didn't come with one) or a backup stylus (in case you misplace yours) can be useful when trying to write on your device or need to touch your tablet with a little more precision.


Many of these accessories can be purchased in person at UNC's Student Stores or on their website