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.

Note: Google Chromebooks and tablets (such as the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy , Microsoft Surface, etc.) do not have the same functionality or storage capabilities as personal computers. If you are unsure if the device you have or are about to purchase is suitable for coursework, contact HCC’s IT department at (828) 565-4009 or the Tech HelpDesk in the Library for assistance.

HCC’s Bookstore has a selection of laptop computers for purchase. Financial Aid may apply. 

  Microsoft Windows Apple Macintosh
Minimum Recommended Minimum Recommended
Operating System Windows 8.1 Windows 10 MacOS 10.10 MacOS 10.12 or higher
CPU Memory 4 GB of RAM
Internet Connection Broadband internet connection (e.g. cable, DSL, or cellular connections)
Free Hard Disk Space 40 GB 60 GB 40 GB 60 GB
CD/DVD Drive Not required
Speakers Headphones Desktop Headphones Desktop
JavaScript Enabled for HCC websites
Cookies Enabled for HCC websites
Pop-up Blocker Off for HCC websites
Software & Browser Requirements

most recent version of Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome

Productivity Software

Microsoft Office 365 (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) is required for most classes.

Current students can log into the HCC Portal and download a FREE copy of Microsoft Office 365.


Updated Anti-Virus protection, installed and running. Windows Defender is included in Windows 10 for minimum protection.


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

Other Software: Some 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. If you have questions about what software might be necessary, please check the course syllabus or contact the instructor for the course.

Responsiblity: Students are responsible for having proper access to software needed for each course. Students are also responsible for the safety and integrity of course work. If you use borrowed or lab computers, make sure all your work is stored on removable media, like a flash drive.