Driver's Manual

Welcome to the MKA Driver’s Manual for Laptops.

The Driver’s Manual  provides information and resources to help students and teachers understand how to be responsible and informed laptop users. Following the guidelines in this manual will help you more effectively use your laptop as a learning tool.

To navigate this site click on the links to the main topics above where you will find  information related to that topic.

If you feel ready to take the “Driver’s Test” follow the link on the right side of the page.

The materials on this website were created and organized by members of MKA’s Student Laptop Leadership.


A responsible laptop user keeps software up to date in order to keep the machine bug free and stable. There are 4 major update caterogies: Operating System (Mountain Lion), Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint), Adobe (Acrobat, Photoshop), and Other apps (App Store programs, non-app store programs).

Users are NOT allowed to upgrade to a new operating system (e.g., a new animal, 10.11 to 10.12).

The posts below provide information about updating each of these categories

Applications such as Pages, Keynote, iPhoto, and Garageband are updated via the Mac App Store or by going to Apple Menu -> Software Update...

No Apple ID is required to update these programs since they came with the computer. However, if other applications have been personally downloaded or purchased, those will also appear in the update list.

Enter the Apple ID used to download or purchase the app to initiate the update.

Read More about Updating Apps from Mac App Store

Backing Up

The Time Machine Back Up is critical for your laptop use. It makes a copy of all of your applications, settings, and files (including music, photos, and movies) that can be used for recovery if your computer gets damaged or stolen. It is also used when doing major upgrades or transitioning to a new computer. You should back up your computer at least once a week but doing it more frequently is even better.

If you see a message that says Backup Delayed, it means that the most recent backup attempt did not complete successfully. If you plug in your drive and let it complete that message will go away. As long as you see a date or time when you click the Time Machine icon, you will know that you have at least one valid back up. If it says 'Back up device not configured' or you are having any other trouble with the back up process, bring your computer and back up drive to the Tech Center where someone will help you trouble shoot the problem.

If you cannot find your back up drive your family is responsible for purchasing a replacement through the school or on your own. The back up drive should be USB 3.0 and have at least 500 GB of storage space.

Read More about What to do if your back up drive is missing or doesn't seem to be working

To back up your computer, connect the external USB hard drive provided by the school. The back up process will begin automatically within a minute or two. You can also click on the Time Machine icon in the top left corner of the screen and choose 'Back up now.' This menu also provides the date or time of the most recent back up. It is best if you back up every 2-3 days to minimize the risk of lost information should your computer get damaged, lost, or stolen.

Read More about How and when to back up your computer


The security of the laptop and the information on it is your responsibility. Never leave your laptop unattended. MKA laptop users will have a password for accessing the laptop, a password for accessing Moodle,  a password for Evernote, and perhaps several more depending on tools and services that one uses. MKA recommends that set your computer to prompt for a password when waking from sleep either immediately or after 1 minute. This will protect you and your computer should you have to leave it unattended for some short period of time.

Never share your passwords with your friends, and try to pick something that is memorable but not obvious.

A laptop might get misplaced, accidentally taken, or in some rare cases stolen. For this reason it is incredibly important to password-protect your information with a secure and private password.

If your computer is missing tell an adult as soon as possible. If at school, tell a member of the Tech Department and your advisor. If at home, tell your parents. If at school, check the Tech Center to see if anyone has returned it there. Retrace your steps and try to locate the computer. 

If it has been missing for a long time, the school and your parents will help determine if it seems to have been stolen. In this case your parents will need to acquire a police report so that we can file an insurance claim for the replacement. Your family will be responsible for a $250 insurance deductible for the cost of the replacement computer.

If you find someone else's computer unattended, bring it to the Tech Center.

Read More about How to handle a missing computer

A good, strong, and secure password is at least 8 characters long and contains a mix of numbers, letters, lower case, and upper case characters. Even stronger and more secure is a passphrase - a combination of words that feature a mix of numbers, letters, lower case, and upper case characters. The strongest passphrases are 20-30 characters long. Your password or passphrase should be memorable to you, and not obvious to others.

Avoid using your name, the town where you live, your birthday, or phone number. Don't use repeating numbers or letters or sequences like "abc" or "123." Also avoid using sequences of letters that are near each other on the keyboard such as "qwerty" or "asdfg."

MKA requires a password with at least 8 characters, including at least one capital and one numeric character.

Read More about What makes an effective password or passphrase

Good Habits

Developing good habits with your Macbook Air will help you effectively continue to use your computer while at school and while at home. All students are expected to bring computers to school fully charged. Following good power management techniques should help your computer last an entire school day without needing to charge it. Students are NOT allowed to charge computers in classrooms.

When moving around with your laptop, it is essential to use the practices recommended in the video below to ensure the safety and integrity of the machine.

Always close your laptop when carrying and walking with it.

You shouldn't ever drop your computer, but accidents do happen. Dropping a computer while it is open has a much higher chance of catastrophic damage than dropping it when it is closed.

Avoid extreme temperatures (very hot or very cold) when transporting your laptop and do not squeeze it in between heavy objects such as books.

Read More about Transporting and walking around with the laptop


Understanding how the laptop operating system has been configured and resolving issues quickly are key steps to maintaining your laptop, keeping it in good running shape. Whenever you have an issue fill out a Help Desk ticket so that your problem is logged and sent to the Tech Department. Once you have filled out the ticket, visit your campus tech center to get help. If you are not going to be able to come to the school within a day or two, you can take the laptop to an Apple Store for warranty repairs (this does not include cracked screens). If you visit an Apple Store please also let a member of the Tech Department know. Administrators of the laptop have access to System Preference settings, and it is important to know that changing certain settings could impact the ability to use the computer.

Three issues with your computer should be addressed immediately since they pose a safety risk to you and the MKA community:

  • Cracked display/screen
  • Cracked trackpad
  • Puncture or crack to metal casing on computer
  • Liquid spill

For all other problems (loose display hinge, missing keys, strange noises), fill out a Help Desk ticket and then come to the Tech Center during an appropriate time (free period, recess, CWP, etc.).

There is no reason to leave class unless it is one of the problems above. It is important to get these issues addressed quickly as non fixing them can lead to larger and more expensive repairs.

Read More about When to go to the Tech Center immediately

The laptop has been set up in a way so that it functions correctly within the MKA Network.

There are settings in the System Preferences that you should not change. This includes settings in menus such as Sharing and Security & Privacy. You should also not change the contents of the System or Library folder on your hard drive.

Watch the video below to become more familiar with the System Preference you should not change.

Read More about System Preferences and folders you should not change

Common Problems

Below are some steps you should follow for problems that commonly occur for MKA laptop users

If Evernote is not syncing or you are having other issues with Evernote, you might need to update your version of Evernote (Evernote -> Check for Updates). Also, try restarting your computer. If neither of these steps help, use the web-based version at and then please visit the Tech Center to get help with the client version.

Read More about Evernote not syncing

If your backup drive does not seem to be working you should bring it to the Tech Center along with your laptop so that we can help troubleshoot the problem.

Here are some common messages that you might see:

  • Preparing backup... - It can take a while for the backup to prepare, especially if it has been a while since your last backup. Just let this process complete.
  • Backup Delayed - this means that backup was started but never completed. Connect your backup drive and let the back up process complete.
  • Backup not configured - This means that your backup drive has somehow gotten disassociated with your computer. Bring your drive to the Tech Center to get it reconfigured.
Read More about Backup not working

If you are missing any keyboard keys, visit the Tech Center to see if any replacements are available. If not, someone will provide instructions for ordering replacement keys, and a member of the Tech Department will  install the replacement keys.

If you are having other keyboard issues, check your System Preferences to make sure that you don't have alternate settings enabled that may impact how your keyboard functions.

Read More about Missing keyboard keys or other keyboard problems

Never keep an open liquid container near your computer, but if an accident should happen there are some very important steps you must follow.

  • Stop the source of the spilling
  • Power down the computer immediately
  • Unplug any USB or power cables from the computer
  • Gently wipe any visible water from the surface
  • Do NOT attempt to turn the computer back on for at least 72 hours (3 days)
  • Notify an adult and a member of the Tech Department to begin the damage assessment and repair process

The three videos below demonstrate the importance of understanding these steps. 

Read More about Spilled water or other liquid on computer

If you're wireless internet is not working, first check to see if it is on in the top right of your computer.

Also, make sure you are connected to the correct network. Before filling out a Help Desk ticket or visiting the Tech Center, first try turning your WiFi off and on.

If that doesn't resolve the issue, restart your computer.

Read More about Wifi not working

A crack in your display screen is very dangerous. Not only can the broken glass cut you, if not repaired quickly the glass can cause further damage to the LCD screen behind the glass.

Bring a laptop with a cracked screen to the Tech Center immediately. This is not a warranty repair, so your family will be responsible for the $250 insurance deductible towards the replacement screen.

Read More about Cracked display screen

The trackpad has a layer of glass on the surface that if cracked, can cut you or cause further damage to the components beneath it.

A cracked trackpad must be repaired immediately.

This is not a warranty repair and your family will be responsible for the repair cost. To avoid cracking your trackpad, don't put anything between the keyboard and the display when closing the laptop and don't bang on the trackpad or tap it too aggressively. 

Read More about Cracked trackpad

Acceptable Use Policy




MKA recognizes how valuable the appropriate use of technology is to improving teaching and learning. Accordingly, MKA has made a significant commitment to integrating technological advances into the school program to enhance students’ learning experiences. MKA provides access to the school’s printers and internet services from every computer connected to MKA’s network. Understanding and following MKA’s Acceptable Use Policy allows MKA to maintain a respectful, effective, and safe learning environment. Issues such as fairness and network capacity limitations also require a policy concerning the appropriate use of all technology.

The school cannot be held responsible for any damages, injuries, or claims resulting from student violations of responsible use of technology as outlined herein. 

School-issued devices and network resources are considered the property of MKA. Any actions performed or initiated through the network must reflect the integrity and honesty expected of an MKA student, as described in MKA’s Honor Code, and be compliant with MKA’s Code of Conduct, as set forth in the MKA Handbook & Family Directory. All network traffic is logged by MKA, and those logs may be monitored for inappropriate use. MKA also monitors laptops for the installation of applications that are in violation of this AUP. 

MKA blocks websites and web-based services that the administration deem to pose a threat to the safety, security, and well-being of its community members, facilities, network, and resources. Categories that are blocked include: 

  • pornography and sexually explicit material
  • criminal and illegal activities
  • weapons and extreme violence
  • computer hacking
  • spyware and malicious software
  • certain video streaming sites

MKA will also continue to take precautions against this type of material on all equipment that is part of the school’s network.

Students may be held responsible for actions initiated on their laptops, regardless of whether they were using their computer at the time of the infraction. Therefore, students may only use the laptop they have been issued or one provided in the event of repair.

Students are provided with an MKA-issued email account, which is the primary email account used by MKA faculty, staff, and coaches. This account is to be used for educational purposes; however, school email may be used for incidental or occasional personal use so long as it does not violate any terms defined in this AUP. Email is not to be used for group solicitations not directly related to school purposes. 

As a rule, MKA will protect students’ privacy and will treat students’ electronic information as it treats any other student property. However, the school reserves the right to randomly search students’ personal belongings, laptops (personal and school–issued), and school-issued accounts in accordance with policies stated in the MKA Handbook & Family Directory and posted on MKA’s website.

Responsible Use of Technology
Students will:

  • Use technology in ways that reflect MKA’s Character Standards and uphold MKA’s Code of Conduct and Honor Code.
  • Use technology during class time only for approved academic purposes
    • Software and services whose use may be deemed inappropriate for the teaching and learning approach of a specific course or subject (e.g., language translation services, literature summary sites, calculators, and equation solvers) should not be used unless instructed to do so by a teacher
  • Protect passwords
    • Do not give out passwords or accept another’s password
    • Have a plan to remember passwords
    • Do not allow anyone to add their fingerprint for Touch ID
  • Keep a hard, protective case on their laptops (similar to the ones originally issued with their laptops)
    • Students are encouraged to place stickers on this protective case to personalize their laptops; students may not place stickers directly on or otherwise mark their laptops
    • Backpacks with a separate, padded, laptop section are recommended
  • Carry laptops with lids closed
  • Come to school with their laptops fully charged and charge only in these areas while at school:
    • Middle School: Library, Dining Hall, and Tech Center Charging Carts
    • Upper School: Commons, Academic Center, and Dining Hall
  • Visit the Tech Center any needed repairs (e.g., cracked screen, missing keys)

Violations of the Acceptable Use Policy fall into two broad categories: "Minor Offenses" and "Major Offenses."  A Major Offense of the AUP is also a Major Code of Conduct Violation.

Minor Offenses
A minor offense is an action or behavior that violates a rule that has been put in place to maintain the strength, integrity, and sustainability of our technology program. Students who demonstrate a pattern of minor offenses will be referred to the Middle or Upper School Dean of Students. Minor offenses include, but are not limited to, the following: 

Laptop Usage and Settings

  • Creating secondary accounts for the laptop. (e.g., for a friend or parent or to enable parental controls).
  • Installing operating systems other than those installed by the MKA Tech Department. (e.g., Boot Camp, Virtual Machines).
  • Upgrading the Mac Operating System beyond MKA’s currently supported version. (e.g., upgrading to 10.15.x). 
  • Changing the following settings in the System Preferences:
    • Sharing → Disabling or changing settings for Remote Login
    • Sharing → Disabling or changing settings for Remote Management
    • Security → Turning on FileVault 
    • Security → Enabling the Firewall
    • Parental Controls → Converting this account to a parental controls account
    • Profiles → Modifying or removing any MKA-related profiles
    • NTWare MacClientConfig → Do not modify or delete any settings

Network Access (Minor)

  • Installing or using unauthorized 3rd party multi-node file-sharing software (e.g., Torch, BitTorrent, Transmission) on school laptops. Messages, Dropbox, Evernote, and AirDrop do not fall under this category.
  • Using personal laptops or tablets instead of the school-issued laptop.
  • Sending chain emails, inappropriate broadcast messages or any other information that may cause undue network congestion.
  • Accessing MKA’s network via the wired network.
  • Using the network for commercial purposes. The school will not be responsible for any financial obligations resulting from school-provided laptops, technology, or access to the Internet (including BitCoin related sites/services).
  • Installation of third party firewalls, anonymizers, or proxies.
  • Accessing non-MKA wireless networks with the laptop while on campus (this includes personal hotspots).
  • Attempting to connect to the MKA wired or wireless network with non-authorized devices including personal laptops, phones, or tablets.

Major Offenses
A major offense is a serious violation of the standards of the community and poses a threat to the safety and security of the school’s network, infrastructure, students, faculty, and greater community. Major Offenses to the AUP also count as Major Offenses to the Code of Conduct. Major Offenses include, but are not limited to, the following:

Privacy, Property, and Community

  • Accessing or deleting the MKA administrative account.
  • Vandalizing the laptop or other network resources. This includes defacing, engraving, coloring, painting, etching, stickers, skins, and using marker on the laptop itself. It also includes deliberately removing keys or deforming the original shape of the laptop and its components.
  • Accessing laptops, accounts, and files of others without permission. This includes going on to someone else’s computer and accessing any web page, social network, or application without the owner’s knowledge or permission or impersonating someone online.
  • Recording, filming, or photographing teachers or other students without express permission to do so. If teachers or other students have given permission to record, the student who receives permission is expected to respectfully and responsibly use and manage the recorded material. Sharing or publicly posting captured material without permission is also prohibited.
  • Using the laptop and its applications or the school network either in or out of school to harass, disparage, or intimidate another person or the school itself. 
  • Sending or posting messages that are detrimental to the reputation of MKA by virtue of the sender’s address or other means of identification.

Illegal Activity

  • Installing or distributing unlicensed or illegal software. 
  • Using the network in support of illegal activities or businesses or for gambling. The school will not be responsible for any financial obligations resulting from school-provided technology or Internet access.

Network Access (Major)

  • Placing, creating, or accessing sexually explicit, violent, obscene, or unlawful material.
  • Attempting to get around MKA’s network security or to impair functionality of its network by using, for example, VPNs or remote login tools (e.g., GoToMyPC, LogMeIn).
  • Attempting to bypass restrictions set by the network administrators.
  • Using a computer for distribution of inappropriate or illegal material including text, audio, images, or video.
  • Providing billable services to others for the use of your laptop or MKA network resources.


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