Student Skill Level: Familiarity with computer applications, including word processing and email is required.

Connectivity: You must have computer and Internet access for all online (section IN) and hybrid (section Y) courses. A T1 or higher, DSL, cable, or high speed satellite connection is recommended.

HCC's library offers computer access on a first come, first served basis. On-campus computer labs are available for student use at designated times. These times are posted on the lab doors. Public libraries and most local colleges also provide Internet access.

Hardware: Minimum and recommended computer and connection requirements are as follows.

  Microsoft Windows Apple Macintosh
Minimum Recommended Minimum Recommended
Operating System Windows 7 Windows 7 or 8.1 MacOS 10.7 MacOS 10.8 or higher
CPU Memory 4 GB of RAM
Internet Connection Any high-speed connection (e.g. cable broadband, Wi-Fi, or DSL)
Free Hard Disk Space 40 GB 60 GB 40 GB 60 GB
CD/DVD Drive Yes
Speakers Headphones Desktop Headphones Desktop
JavaScript Enabled for HCC websites
Cookies Enabled for HCC websites
Pop-up Blocker Off for HCC websites
Users of Windows XP are strongly advised to upgrade to a newer version of Windows.
Software Minimum Recommended
Browser most recent version of Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome
Productivity software Microsoft Office 2010, 2011 or 2013 (Word, PowerPoint, Excel), OpenOffice (free, available at or LibreOffice (free, available at Microsoft Office 2013 (Windows); Microsoft Office 2011 (Mac)

Updated Anti-Virus protection, installed and running. Microsoft Security Essentials is available free for Windows users.


Adobe Reader 11 -
Mac users can use Preview PDF viewer already included in MacOS X.

Installed Flash 12 -
Installed Adobe Shockwave 12 -
Installed Quicktime Player 7 -
Installed Windows Media Player 12 - Included in Windows 7, 8 and 8.1. 
Flip4Mac free version allows Mac users to view WM content. -

Other Software Needs: You will be required to turn in many written assignments, so you will need access to a word processing program. We recommend Microsoft Office, since it is the most common suite of software. However, other word processing programs are usually sufficient. If you have questions about what software might be necessary, please check the course syllabus or contact the instructor for the course. It is your responsibility to have access to the software for your course.

Some Internet courses require more RAM and hard drive capacity due to specialized software needs. This will be indicated in your course syllabus. Some courses also require the purchase of additional software. Most courses do not require special software, but if you are in a program that requires extensive computer skills (CIS, NET, GIS, etc.), you may need to purchase special software and upgrade your computer's capabilities.

Remember: You are responsible for the safety and integrity of your work. If you use borrowed or lab computers, make sure all your work is stored on removable media, like a flashdrive.

In many cases, open source (free) versions of software are available.