A female student is working with a laptop.

Technical support for students

Help with the use and operation of the donated devices
A female student is working with a laptop.
Image: Pexels/ Pixabay

Support by email or telephone

You have already received a laptop, but you have technical problems? Please direct your question by email to laptopspende@uni-jena.de 

Information on extending the loan period and on returning the laptop

Extension: You can extend your loan period twice for 180 days each time directly at https://laptopspende.thulb.uni-jena.de. Please click on "Welcome, first name last name" on the top right and then "Your account". Extending is possible from 14 days before the loan period expires. You will receive an automatic reminder by email shortly before the loan period expires. Additional extensions are only possible in person at the Thuringian State and University Library (ThULB) by prior appointment via laptopspende@uni-jena.de.

Return: If you no longer need the laptop, you can return it to the "Central Information Desk" ("Zentrale Information") in the main building of the ThULB. An appointment is not necessary for this, but please check the current opening hours in advance at https://www.thulb.uni-jena.de.

1. What software are the devices equipped with?

  • The laptops have the open operating system Ubuntu installed as well as some standard software, including LibreOffice, Firefox, Chrome and the VLC Media Player.

2. How do I put the device into operation?

  1. Supply the device with main power and switch it on using the power button.
  2. Set the desired language → Next
  3. Select keyboard layout → Next
  4. Connect to wireless network (also possible later, e.g. for eduroam) → Next
  5. Select time zone for system time → Next
  6. Fill out the user form: Enter name, computer name (optional, otherwise it will be assigned automatically based on the name and device name), user name (lower case) and a password of at least 6 characters (the password is also the admin/root password). → Next. The system is now set up for initial use and will restart.
  7. Log in using the user account created with the selected password.
  8. For Livepatch → Next, then make selection for sending system information (optional)→ Next, then make selection for location services (optional) → Next → Next → Done.
  9. To turn off the device, click on the triangle in the upper right corner of the screen (next to the battery icon) → Power off/log off → Power off. 

3. Why do I need to assign a username and password?

  • A user name and password must be assigned in order to start up the computer and thus create a user account.

4. How can I set up a VPN access?

5. How do I set up a WiFi connection with eduroam?

  • Please make sure that there is a wireless network nearby that you want to connect to and if necessary activate the Wi-Fi module of your laptop (bar → networks → activate Wifi).
  • Eduroam instruction 

Here is also a guide for setting up eduroam specifically on Ubuntu:

  1. Download the eduroam installer for students of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena.
  2. First open a terminal window (task combination: ctrl + alt + T, or left by clicking on the terminal symbol), then navigate to the download folder by entering the following command in the terminal window (confirm with enter):

    cd Downloads

    If you have saved the downloaded file in a different directory, select that directory.
  3. Now enter the following command (confirm with enter):

    python3 eduroam-linux-Friedrich-Schiller-University_Jena.py

    Confirm the following prompts and enter your login data. Please note that you have to add @uni-jena.de to the user name (e.g. xy01ab@uni-jena.de). The setup is now complete. As soon as you are near an eduroam network you can connect to it.

6. My WiFi is not working, what can I do?

  1. Make sure that the aircraft mode is not activated and that the WiFi module is switched on if necessary. If this does not help, connect the device to your router using a LAN cable or a USB LAN adapter and LAN cable and follow the step-by-step instructions:
  2. Start the computer as usual and log in.
  3. Check if a WiFi module is installed: Open a terminal window with the key combination: ctrl + alt + T, and then enter the following command identically

    lspci | egrep -i 'ethernet|network'

    If a device with Wireless, WLAN, 802.11 or similar appears in the name here, continue with step 4. If this is not the case, skip the following steps and arrange to have the device checked at: laptopspende@uni-jena.de.
  4. Press the Windows key.
  5. Depending on the selected system language, enter the following: Additional drivers (on English systems) → Press Enter to confirm.
  6. Now select the driver for the network card → Apply changes and install by entering the password. If necessary, secure-boot must be switched off in the BIOS: Restart the PC and change to the boot-menu (by pressing F1,..., F12 or enter, depending on the device). Switch to security and turn off secure boot. Save and exit to finish adjustments.           
  7. Disconnect the cable connection to the network and connect to the desired WiFi device.

7. How can I access Moodle?

8. I would like to participate in a web conference. How do I log in and which functions are available during a web conference?

Please also note the specific instructions for Zoom and WebEx (see question 9).

Logging in:

You will receive an email to your stored email address with an invitation link to the web conference. Please click on this link to join the web conference. To participate in a web conference, you need a PC or a mobile device with an Internet connection. As long as the web conference is taking place, you can dial into it at any time. 


You can see the screens of the other participants when they are connected. You can also chat with the other participants, upload and share data or start a screen recording to view the web conference again later. Please note: To record a conference, the prior consent of the participants is required.

To start the screen recording under Linux, please install simplescreenrecorder:

  • open the terminal window
  • Type in the following code and confirm with Enter: sudo apt-get install simplescreenrecorder
  • Afterwards your password is required.
  • Confirm with Yes (J) to download the package.

If you need the sound in mp3-quality, you have to install libavcodec-extra:

  • Open terminal window
  • Enter code and confirm with Enter: sudo apt-get install libavcodec-extra
  • Enter password
  • Confirm with Yes (J)

To start a screen recording with SimpleScreenRecorder, follow these steps:

  • Start SimpleScreenRecorder → Click next
  • Select video and audio input → Click Next
  • Specify target storage path for recording → Click Next
  • Click Start Recording and save it at the end.
  • If the recorded sound is too soft or too loud, you can adjust it with the volume mixer.

9. How can I use WebEx and Zoom?

10. How can I access Nextcloud?

11. How does chatting with Nextcloud Talk work?

12. How can I watch videos?

  • The VLC Media Player is installed on the device, which can play audio and video files.

13. I want to write texts and create tables, how can I do that?

  • The office package LibreOffice is installed on the device. LibreOffice includes several applications: Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (vector graphics and flowcharts), Base (databases), and Math (formula editing). On the website of LibreOffice there are video instructions (in German) and manuals (in English) with detailed tips and assistance.

14. Can I read and edit MS office documents?

  • With LibreOffice, all Microsoft Word, PowerPoint or Excel documents can be opened and edited.
  • Alternatively, you can use the Microsoft 365 web applications. To do so, log in with your university account at www.office.com. The prerequisite is that you have previously registered for Microsoft 365. This is free of charge for students and employees of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. 

15. I want to install MS Office. How can I do this?

  • If you want to install Microsoft Office products (instead of using the Libre Office Suite which also is capable of reading/editing MS formatted docs, tables etc.), you have to install a Windows OS on your device first.   
  • Alternatively, you can use the Microsoft 365 web applications. To do so, log in with your university account at www.office.com. The prerequisite is that you have previously registered for Microsoft 365. This is free of charge for students and employees of the University of Jena.
  • Office 365, License Key and Installation Instructions 

16. Can I use Windows with the laptop?

  • It should be possible to use Windows 10 with the devices. The installation must be done by yourself.
  • Step 1: Windows 10 License Key
    Windows 10 Education is available to students of the Friedrich Schiller University free of charge. Follow the instructions to obtain a valid licence key.
  • Step 2: Create a bootable USB stick
    Now create a bootable Windows 10 USB stick. You can use the tool "Rufus", for example, to create the stick. A Windows computer is required for this. You can find a lot of tips and instructions when searching for "Windows 10 Bootable USB Rufus" in your search engine or also on YouTube. You can now use the USB stick to install Windows. 

17. How can I open PDF documents?

Adobe Acrobat is no longer supported and further developed for Linux or Ubuntu. Therefore, installing Adobe Acrobat would initially also be a security risk. However, there are separate PDF viewers for Ubuntu with which you can open and read the documents:

  • By default, the "Dokumentenbetrachter" ("document viewer") is installed which you can use to open PDFs.
  • Alternatively, you can use the programme Okular, for example. This programme can be found and  installed via the software administration.
  • Other useful programmes

18. Can I exchange the device and get another laptop?

  • According to the receipt of your request we will assign a device to you. It is our aim to serve as many requests as possible and not to prefer or disadvantage anyone. Therefore, we can consider individual requests to a very limited extent. Please note, that all of our laptops are not new, but used and refurbished devices. In case of technical problems that occur with the device you have loaned and that cannot be solved even with the help of the FAQs, please send an email to laptopspende@uni-jena.de
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