Breaking down and setting up your desktop system

Here are some tips to help you get your desktop computer system set up at home. Note: Locate or buy a power strip for home, you’ll need one or a wall outlet with 3-4 open spaces.

List of helpful items to bring with you (Some of these may already be on your desk):

  • A canvas or other strong bag to carry your cords, keyboard, mouse, etc.
  • One or more boxes to pack your computer and monitor in
  • A towel or two (or bubble wrap) to protect the monitor from scratches or bumps
  • Masking or scotch tape for marking cord locations.  DO NOT USE DUCT TAPE. 
  • A Sharpie (or other permanent marker)
  • Paper or Post-it notes
  • Scissors
  • A flat head screwdriver (for unscrewing stubborn monitor cords)
  • Cell phone or camera to take pictures (you’ll be glad you did)


  1. Unplug ONLY where the power cords are plugged into the wall or power strip at this time.  If you are unable to unplug the power to your computer, contact your IT staff before continuing.
  2. Leave all the wires connected and turn your computer around to get access to the back.   If it doesn’t turn freely, check for adapters getting caught on the back edge of the desk. 
  3. Before disconnecting anything, take some closeup pics of where each cord plugs in.
  4. If you have two monitors: Use tape to mark your left monitor LEFT, right monitor RIGHT, etc. 
    • This will help keep your mouse travel direction correct after you reconnect your monitors.
  5. Start at the left side, facing the back of the computer and mark each cord, near the connector, with a number.  Mark the back of the computer next to the port where it is connected with the same number. You may need to wipe the dust from the machine for the tape to stick well. Once numbered, disconnect the cord ONLY from the computer side. Don’t disconnect the other end from the monitor, dock, etc. 
  6. Do this for each cord on the back and front of the computer.
  7. Once all the cords are disconnected from the computer, set it aside.
  8. Wrap cords around the monitor or other connected devices, don’t disconnect them. This will make reconnection much easier.


  1. With your desktop in place, start from the left side and plug each cord into the corresponding port by matching the numbers you marked earlier or refer to your pictures.
  2. Once the cords are all plugged into the computer, plug in all the power cords.
  3. Be sure to put the monitors back into the correct position, left and right. This will guarantee that your mouse orientation will be correct.
  4. At this point, you can plug in your USB wireless device if you are using one.  Follow the directions included with your device. Contact your IT support staff if you have any trouble.


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