Service and Support


The below measures are in place to ensure that the school is able to focus on delivering first-class education, which includes using up-to-date technology to its best advantage and streamlining processes to keep the costs as low as possible.

It is policy that every boy has one of the prescribed machines purchased from one of the prescribed suppliers.

The school prefers that the machines are warrantied for the full duration of each pupil’s time at Bishops, as that is the only way that the school can ensure that every learner has a working laptop in every class. However, from 2020, because of circumstances relating to Covid, the school now accepts a minimum of a three year warranty on the understanding that parents accept that the outsourced HelpDesk is not able to support machines outside of warranty or issue loan units for hardware issues on machines that are out of warranty. Loan laptops are still always available for software issues.

The new Dell machine(s) includes an international, five year factory warranty and five year accident care.

The Dell reconditioned machine includes a 3 year warranty. This means that any hardware faults will result in the machine being swopped out for another Dell reconditioned machine from the pool of replacement machines held at the onsite HelpDesk, supplied by Universe Direct. Damage done to the machine that is not covered by warranty would be for the parent's own account.

The Apple machine(s) include a one year international and four year local, Digicape warranty. Boys who choose Apple Macs may only work on their Windows platform during class time.

Not having a fully functional machine impacts severely on a boy’s ability to participate properly in class and jeopardises his education. This puts a real premium on servicing faulty machines.

Help Desk

Normally the Help Desk support is limited to ‘walk-in’ support only and specifically excludes email and telephonic support. However, due to Co-Vid 19, laptop support is currently by appointment only. Boys are required to submit a remote laptop support call using this link provided under IT support on the Intranet, in order to make the necessary arrangements with the Help Desk support staff.

School technical support is positioned to help the boys and staff with their use of technology in the classroom, but the school is not geared to manage a big repair centre. The decision was taken to outsource technical repairs via a Help Desk centre on campus. Outsourcing allows us to have the full weight of an industry respected support organisation prioritising any problems that we might have. In addition, outsourcing protects the Bishops/parent relationship.The overhead cost of the Help Desk (partly funded by the once-off support cost) is kept low by (a) the machine warranty and  (b) the economies of scale when supporting just a few recommended models. Because of this, we are able to demand an affordable solution and satisfactory turnaround on support from the company that operates the Help Desk.

The Help Desk assists with Windows software for all machines. The machines are initially configured by the prescribed supplier and thereafter can be supported on site by the outsourced technicians. The only hardware that can be supported on site by the outsourced technicians is warrantied, Dell prescribed machines. Apple hardware is supported by Digicape, off site at their premises. Reconditioned machines are supported on and off site by Universe Direct technicians.

The Help Desk is available to the boys at break times and after school. During holidays Help Desk hours are advertised on the Bishops website. We encourage boys to help each other and to use the self-help features on our HelpMeOnline portal on the Intranet. A boy is able to talk to his tutor if he needs additional help and his tutor will liaise with the technical team to see how it is possible to best assist.

Boys know that they are responsible for bringing a working laptop to school every day and that it is their responsibility to install the service patches and look after their machine responsibly.

Laptop service and support process at Bishops

All boys are charged a once-off technology levy, billed in the first term of their Grade 8 year and their future laptop support is also covered by this. This levy covers:

  • configuration of machines (after initial set up by prescribed supplier)
  • deployment of software updates
  • software support on software required by the school for their school career
  • support for learning and teaching
  • on-line documentation and self-help portal
  • classroom audio visual and technical support
  • anti-virus support
  • network connectivity
  • printing connectivity
  • managed Internet access
  • managed Intranet access
  • managed Teams support
  • access to loan units, available as back-up machines for boys whose machines are in for software repair, regardless of warranty
  • access to loan units, available as back-up machines for boys whose machines are in for hardware repair and that are covered by warranty (hardware warranty or accident warranty). This is possible because of Dell’s next business day resolution warranty and Digicape's willingness to loan units for the duration of the repair. Please note that the outsourced Help Desk is unable to work on machines that fall outside warranty conditions.
  • access to loan units, available as back-up machines for boys whose machines are in for hardware repairs that fall outside of warranty once the parent has paid for the necessary spare part (labour is included in once off levy). Please note that situation can only arise if the accident warranty has been used or the machine did not have a warranty for the full 3 or 5 years
  • maintenance of 'set-up' configuration of machines so that turnaround time is efficient (uniformity of machines makes this possible)

Every machine is initially configured by the recommended supplier and thereafter is supported via the outsourced Help Desk. The machine is given to boys and staff with their particular software, network, Cloud account and Internet access and printing preferences pre-installed (by the recommended supplier). It is important that we comply with software license regulations and that we ensure that every machine is adequately firewalled, configured for automatic software updates and is protected from viruses. Failing to do the above would jeopardise both the individual and other technology users and could compromise the academic programme and school.

Your choice of prescribed device does not exclude you from the once-off technology charge or the annual software license fee. It is important to note that it is only possible to offer seamless support to machines that are warranties and covered by accident cover.

Loan Units and Back up

The Help Desk has a number of loan units available which are pre-configured with the school software.

If a boy’s iSquared, Universe Direct or Digicape machine is taken in or sent away for hardware repairs, he will be offered a loan laptop at no additional cost, provided that the machine is under warranty or the required part has been paid for. Likewise if one of these machines is handed in for a software issue, a loan is automatically offered. There is thus no reason for a boy to be without a working laptop in class. In the event that a parent needs to pay for a non-warranty repair/replacement, we ask that this is done as speedily as possible so that a loan laptop can be allocated.

All boys are allocated network space and more recently Microsoft OneDrive (Cloud) space where they are trained and encouraged to save their work. Therefore, boys are usually able to collect a loan machine and continue working immediately.

Drives are also partitioned and data is saved on a separate partition. Should a boy’s software be corrupted, his data remains intact. Where possible, his drive will be quickly installed into a loan computer to minimize disruption. Please note that this is NOT possible with the Apple machines.

Boys are encouraged to save/backup all their work regularly from their local drives to the network / Cloud folders. Anything that is only saved on his local hard drive is vulnerable should a machine fail.

The loan unit policy is dependent upon the type of machine that has been purchased.

Loan units for warrantied prescribed Dell machines

Loan units are issued free of charge for the few days in which it takes to repair the machine. This time frame is made possible by Dell’s next business day resolution warranty.

Loan units for Digicape Apple machines

Broken Apple machines are not left at the Help Desk on site. These machines must be taken to Digicape for repair.

The Digicape support solution runs parallel with the Bishops HelpMeOffline Dell loan laptop solution. Digicape’s extended warranty includes a loan machine that can be collected from Digicape once you have informed them of the need. Digicape will arrange for a Windows-loaded loan unit, preconfigured with the school software, to be ready for collection when you take your damaged MacBook in for repairs. Please contact Digicape immediately by emailing them at bishops@digicape.co.za. A Bishops loan unit can be used for the short period it should take to arrange the Digicape loan. There is no charge for this provided the Bishops loan unit is returned within a period not exceeding three business days.

Please read the Digicape Support Offering for more information.

Loan units for existing non-Digicape Apple machines bought into the school pre-2017

It is your responsibility to take your machine to your supplier for repair and to provide an alternate machine for you son to use in the interim. Digicape may able to offer a rental service so that if you choose to take your machine to Digicape for repair, they can issue your son with a pre-configured windows-based loan unit.

Please read the Digicape Support Offering for more information.

Help with Apple Machines purchased through Digicape

Should a boy experience windows software difficulties with his Apple computer he is able to bring his computer to the Help Desk. They will assist with Windows software difficulties and will issue a Dell loan unit at no cost. Should there be a hardware fault it is your son's responsibility to ask his parents/guardian to notify Digicape and take the machine therre for repair. To do this please email bishops@digicape.co.za . This automatically contacts Digicape support. Kindly include all contact details and serial number of the machine in that email. Please note that the onus is on the parent to deliver the faulty machine to Digicape. In special circumstances Digicape can arrange collection and delivery directly with the parent, outside the school. The Help Desk is unable to facilitate this on the parent's behalf due to the administrative overheads involved.

Should the faulty machine not be fixed within a three business day period, Digicape will provide their own pre-configured windows loan unit for your son to use until his machine is repaired. He will be required to hand in the school loan laptop before he collects the Digicape loan.

Please refer to the Digicape Support Offering for more information.

Help with existing Apple machines purchased overseas

International Apple Care warranties bought overseas are not upheld in South Africa. There is a premium on servicing Apple machines if not accompanied by legitimate paper work and this causes delays which are disruptive to the academic programme. Digicape is able to offer educational pricing and are fully positioned to support the boys at Bishops. Only Apple machines purchased through Digicape are acceptable.