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Wireless Networks Thread, Keeping the OS up to date in Technical; This thread is directed particularly to Primary Schools. Visiting a few primary schools who have their systems looked after by ...
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    speckytecky's Avatar
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    Keeping the OS up to date

    This thread is directed particularly to Primary Schools.

    Visiting a few primary schools who have their systems looked after by outside contractors I have been surprised to see that many XP computers are not patched up to date - most still seem to be on SP2.

    As this seems to add to the case for in house IT Support I'm trying to get my LEA to do something about this. Any suggestions on a way forward onn this what I suspect is a national situation would be handy please.

    There just doesen't seem to be any system in place toward ensuring that system security is universally up to date.

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    Surely this would be covered by the contract (and/or SLA) between the school/LEA and the contractor?

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    SYSMAN_MK's Avatar
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    What sort of thing are you looking for?

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    speckytecky (1st March 2010)

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    speckytecky's Avatar
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    Thanks Sysman-mk,

    I'm in a fairly unique position being a Tech in a Primary, I do a day a week in another school; but with school budgets under scrutiny nowadays I'm trying to build a case for them keeping me when the axe inevitably hovers!

    So, I'm not quite sure where I'm going with this. That said I have been surprised when visiting a few other schools in the County to find that their systems are not up to date.

    Obviously I think ther is a case to say that in house is better able to keep things up to date.



    Quote Originally Posted by SYSMAN_MK View Post
    What sort of thing are you looking for?

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    I would have thought there's a good case for setting the machines to download and automatically install all critical updates. That way, it doesn't matter how good or bad the support company is; the updates will just be installed.

    Of course, this might lead to the odd machine failing due to a faulty update but the risk of that is massively less than the risk of an unpatched machine being let loose on the internet!

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    speckytecky (1st March 2010)

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    SYSMAN_MK's Avatar
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    Got you.

    Well point you could use would be first and foremost the fact that you know the current network better than any external provider would. Also you work within your LA at other sites so will have a better knowledge of how LA wide services etc work within / affect your school.

    Then there is the personal side of things. I support 4 Primary schools and the thing I always try to get across is that I am more than just the Tech. For the one day I am onsite I am their employee, the same as if I was there full time. For example, depending on the SLA of the external company chances are they will come in on the set day, look at the list of problems that people have, work through the list and then at the end of the day go home. Myself on the other hand do this and a whole lot more. Like many other here who support Primaries I am involved in budgets, purchasing, school websites, help with events, fix tables in staff word docs give support to staff on things they can do to get the best from the equipment, the list goes on.

    Also you could maybe setup some remote access so that minor issues could be fixed without having to go on site.

    You don’t say what kind of setup you have regarding your other schools but with mine there is give and take with regards to any major problems. For example if one of my schools have Ofsted on a day I’m not due in I can just swap days and be available on site for those days. Same applies if one of the sites have a server failure I’ll just pop over, usually within the hour.

    Just some ideas, I am sure others will be along with their take on it.

    The only thing I will say after being in a similar position at a previous school is that if the school is looking to save money and think they can do without the IT no amount of positives will change that.

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    speckytecky (1st March 2010)

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    @speckytecky: Obviously keeping your machines patched is pretty important but you could argue that, if the machines are working well, it isn't essential.

    Of course, if you keep a log of all your jobs and can show that installing patches has improved uptime and efficiency, that will help your cause.

    I think the best angle to take when justifying your job is to show how much work you do and the best way to do this is via a helpdesk system which will also show turnaround times. These times can then be compared to the SLA that a third party company could provide and that would allow an informed decision to be made.

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    speckytecky (1st March 2010)

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    In my old job I used to hate going into primaries. Even as late as last summer before I left, I would encounter entire suites still on XP SP1. When asked about who provides the tech support they ould often tell me it was a 'local company', which means soemone doing very little and still getting paid, or worse still, no one at all!
    What did anger me though was that some had contracts with a well known provider of school IT support in Lancashire, and their machines would still be unpatched 2 years after the 'company' was supposed to be maintaining them.

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    SYSMAN_MK's Avatar
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    Not to mention the kit some of these external companies can provide. Some supply the most basic spec self built machines for the same cost as business grade machine from a top tear manufacture.

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    nicholab's Avatar
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    Surely it would cost less employing you and getting some thing like the K-box form kace systems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by srochford View Post
    I would have thought there's a good case for setting the machines to download and automatically install all critical updates. That way, it doesn't matter how good or bad the support company is; the updates will just be installed.

    Of course, this might lead to the odd machine failing due to a faulty update but the risk of that is massively less than the risk of an unpatched machine being let loose on the internet!
    We were effectively doing this with MS updates installed via WSUS. I stupidly presumed all critical updates were fine to install without testing and let IE8 auto-install, which then promptly broke the entire network. Logging on for all staff post-update caused the BSOD and endless restarts; removing IE8 manually fixed the problem.

    This was a fairly major incident for us and might not have happened had I tested the update first.

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    speckytecky (1st March 2010)

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    TechSupp's Avatar
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    You are not alone! I look after 4 primaries and decided to do something about our PC's being out of date, so just set up WSUS at one school and sorted out what was needed (with help for EduGeek) and now I have all four with their own WSUS setup merrily keeping everything up to date. Its fairly easy to set up and only had a few minor niggles so far, pc's reporting they have not contacted the server for x days but know full well they have at some point, but as I say only minor niggles and far out weighs the fact that they were out of date before.

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    speckytecky (2nd March 2010)

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    If you're using WSUS 3.0 then the following script should resolve any of those "workstation has not reported in...." issues.

    Code:
    \\<server>\<share>\windowsupdateagent30-x86.exe /quiet /norestart
    Download the agent here (see More Information for links to download for your environment) and dump it in a share of your choosing.

    I run it as a startup script. Installs Windows Update Agent which enables the workstation to talk to WSUS.

    In theory the Update Agent should be installed on the workstation automatically reading from a public area on the WSUS server but I have yet to see a site where this was happening consistently.

    Depending on your imaging technique you may need to run something like NewSID although the debate rages on whether this actually does anything useful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pwds View Post
    Depending on your imaging technique you may need to run something like NewSID although the debate rages on whether this actually does anything useful.

    Running Newsid does not reset the required information in the registry for WSUS to work. As I found out to my cost. It can be reset by modifying the registry but I now always use sysprep.

    Chilbs

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    speckytecky (2nd March 2010)

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    box_l's Avatar
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    One reason for machines not being up to date on service packs is that they may be a laptop, SP3 will not install even if WSUS delivers it, as it will not run without an external power supply.

    This does not excuse the fact however.

    BoX

  25. Thanks to box_l from:

    speckytecky (2nd March 2010)

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