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Windows Thread, Admin Network out of date on install in Technical; We have just had three "new" admin pc's installed. I need your thought as this is a county installation and ...
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    ICT_GUY's Avatar
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    Admin Network out of date on install

    We have just had three "new" admin pc's installed. I need your thought as this is a county installation and network.

    The computers have come with XP service pack 2 and IE6. I know that county does not want to upgrade to IE7 or 8 but really? IE6 was pants when it came out, now its just terrible.

    Also they only had a gig of ram installed. Personally I feel that might have been acceptable 3 years ago, but now 4 gigs is the norm on budget PC's.

    Thoughts on security implications and whether to complain to county please.

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    dgsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ICT_GUY View Post
    but now 4 gigs is the norm on budget PC's.
    Sorry I had to pull you up there - 4GB the norm on BUDGET PCs? I don't know how many millions £s your school has to burn, but i'd have thought most schools would be more than satisfied with 2GBs of RAM even on their more superior PCs (with the exception of specialist application use of course). We haven't got 1 workstation that has more than 2GBs of RAM and only 2 servers that have more than that, at 4GB and 4.5GB respectively.

    We also run RM CC4 which is incredibly demanding yet 2GB seems more than sufficient if the processor is up to scratch. Our next batch of PCs we plan to buy in a few months will still have 2GB of ram, as will the batch after that (unless the price comes down alot, but currently it's going the over way - 2GB ram now double the price it was this time last year)!

    However, I do agree that IE6 is out of date, but that is what ships with SP2 (I think?) so it may have just been laziness in not updating rather than them not actually wanting to?

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    ICT_GUY (12th March 2010)

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    Depends on what they are going to be used for to be honest. But personally I would say any new machine should at least be still going 3 years on (and running all relevant software)....will this one? If it wouldn't hit your minimum spec machines then yes, I would raise the question. Just a quick one though, have they been purchased or are they spare machines county had lying around.

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    ICT_GUY (12th March 2010)

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    Looks like they've not bothered to update their default images / patch them before they ship. 1GB in 2010 is laughable, especially considering that's the bare minimum spec for MIS client software (SIMS at least). Assuming county (and not you) are responsible for commissioning these PCs and getting them ready for end-users, they've probably fell foul of their own security policies.

    Quote Originally Posted by dgsmith View Post
    Sorry I had to pull you up there - 4GB the norm on BUDGET PCs? I don't know how many millions £s your school has to burn, but i'd have thought most schools would be more than satisfied with 2GBs of RAM even on their more superior PCs.
    I spec 4GB these days - the actual cost increase (as part of the overall purchase (40-60 units at a time) is negligible and it keeps them usuable longer. We do run CS3, Solidworks, and a bunch of random curriculum apps with horrible memory leaks though.

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    ICT_GUY (12th March 2010)

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    All PC's I buy now have 4GB as standard - the difference in price usually works out to about £30 for the extra 2GB. In 3 years time, I can see that amount of RAM being needed, as many schools will either be looking to or will already have switched to Windows 7 - which likes memory.

    Personally, I'd say that the machine seems a bit of an odd config. IE6 is well out of date now, and is not even being supported by Google any more on their sites. The SP2/SP3 issue is slightly different, so long as the security updates are on as well as the SP2 update then it should be fine. There was a discussion on here a while ago where SP3 was discussed. Whilst it is bad that they haven't installed it, SP3 itself doesn't actually install any new security updates.

    I'd be pretty miffed though if anyone tried to supply us with machines with 1GB RAM and IE6 now though.

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    ICT_GUY (12th March 2010), Newton (12th March 2010)

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    36Degrees's Avatar
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    We bought 100 Dell machines recently and as the budget was tight I specified 2GB as 1x 2048MB as there are only 2 memory slots and it means if I do need more RAM in the future I won't have to discard the existing.

    As to shipping with XP2 then yes, I would make them aware and ask them why it has happened. I'd also ask if this implies they haven't had the security updates installed since the original image was built.

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    ICT_GUY (12th March 2010)

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Just a couple of curiosity questions - why where the LEA putting the machines in in the first place? Could you have not used your own supplier? And simarly, any reason you didn't have your own image for these machines?

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    ICT_GUY (12th March 2010)

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    Every PC on the school network has a minimum of 2 gigs of ram and a dual core processor.
    They will run windows 7 comfortably.

    Dells cheapest PC @ £329 inc VAT & delivery has 2 gigs of ram.

    My main concern is with the security of the admin network. County have a thing for not installing updates, incase it breaks something. Personally I would rather fix the broken app than a broken network but then again, nothing here is that mission critical.

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    ICT_GUY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Just a couple of curiosity questions - why where the LEA putting the machines in in the first place? Could you have not used your own supplier? And simarly, any reason you didn't have your own image for these machines?
    Their policy is, you look after everything or nothing. If I poke around then any problem becomes my problem. I am not here 5 days a week and admin need support 5 days a week.

    So we have to buy the stuff county supply if we want heir support.

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    RingOfFlame's Avatar
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    I would say 2GB would be fine for most desktops. Just make sure you have free slots then you can add more in the future if it is needed. As for IE6 and SP2, SP3 is just a patch roll up really and how hard is it to install a new browser? Also if you are imaging machines before they are added to your network then surely this is all just a moot point.

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    ICT_GUY (12th March 2010)

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    CESIL's Avatar
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    Our LEA is still installing images with SP2 and IE6, although we do have the promise of a central WSUS server some time soon(ish) so perhaps then we will get more up to date.

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    ICT_GUY's Avatar
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    If I update the PC's any future problem will be mine and tech support from county becomes billable.


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    LEAs do seem to prefer to hold back on updates in case it breaks things.

    When they've built machines for the network, SP3 has been the base, and they've got their own update server now, and several of their packages are chronolgically "old" but that doesn't mean they don't work.
    (is any office security safe with Adobe PDF reader on them?

    For example, our LEA here has just this week started roll-out of IE7.
    The delay has been a problem which meant the ordering and finance system now works with IE7 (when it was originally tested, for some reason, it didn't want to work. So? they stuck with IE6 fully patched.
    It still did the job, and despite the frustration of not running all the "latest and greatest" IE7/8, etc, it was obviously far more important for schools to be able to use the finance system than the need to update their browser for anything else.

    Just imagine the scenario - They've installed this PC with all the software your office (and most likely all the other LEA schools' offices). Then, you decide to do some updating...
    You download and install SP3. Then IE7. Maybe IE8. Install all the updates for XP. Then the hardware / driver updates. Then install the new .net framework. You then hand it back to the office, who now can't get into their finance system, the registration system doesn't work. One of the hardware updates has a glitch causing the pc to randomly BSOD, or worse, you get the machine boot-rolling.

    Who do all your admin staff then blame for the office coming to a halt?

    What I'd do is point it out to them, simply tell them what you think should be done, and why it should be done, but don't forget to ask them why it hasn't been done - there may be an obvious reason - or it could be something as simple as forgetting to run the batch file to stick all these onto the pc. (or wrong build image)

    Best thing is not to jump to conclusions - and tread tactfully - if you annoy or rub your LEA up the wrong way, they'll remember it forever

    Also, if you are going to speak to them, prepare evidence which shows you need to update.
    Check out MS site for announcements that say "for security reasons, you need to upgrade to SP3" etc, etc.

    Finally, for Security information, check out Home of Gibson Research Corporation

    (click on the "Security now" link at the top of the screen - Steve Gibson is a security guru with a show on the TWiT podcasting network - unmissable stuff!

    (and after yo're listened to the last 5-10 podcasts, you'll get my "Adobe" reference...)

    Chunks

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    ICT_GUY (12th March 2010)

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    cookie_monster's Avatar
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    As SP2 will be unsupported from july i'd say it's foolish to be sending PC's out imaged with anything less than SP3 it just creates a headache. IE6 is a no for me unless there's a VERY good reason to stick with it.

    I know that county does not want to upgrade to IE7 or 8 but really?
    They need to pull it out of their you know what, they'll soon have no choice so get on with it IMO.

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    ICT_GUY (12th March 2010)

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    Chunky's Avatar
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    Going back to the spec point - 1 gig of ram is very respectable for a PC that's usually running very little more than MS Office, SIMS / MIS, your finance progs and IE - especially if it's XP. Heck, XP can't even see the whole of the 4 gig if you stick 4 gig in it anyway. you can stick 2 gig in, but I'd say it wasn't an outdated spec. 4 gig is overkill...

    If their running typical school office software, 1 gig is fine.

    (My management / workhorse workstation with XP, SP3, 2 gig of ram will happily run with SIMS, Excel, Publisher, several Firefox sessions and a test machine VM all running at the same time.)

    I could joke that 1 gig is overkill for Solitaire an Hearts, but I like going into my school office
    (they work hard, really, whatever people think, they do!)

    Chunks

  26. Thanks to Chunky from:

    ICT_GUY (12th March 2010)

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