Quick Search PC’s are changing!

As part of the upgrade to Windows 10 some changes are being made to the Quick Search PC’s. Functionality and website access remains the same, however machines are now using the Chrome browser to allow increased compatibility with services.

Remote Print

PCAS Remote Print is automatically loaded as the second tab in the browser. Documents can be loaded from USB

Closing sessions

To close a session and sign-out of any services simply close the browser window. A fresh window in a new session will automatically load.

 

Quick Search PC’s will automatically refresh after 10 minutes of inactivity. Any open sessions will be closed at this point.

 

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CONNECT Managed Desktop: Windows 10 updates

Managing quality updates on your machine

We release Microsoft quality updates to machines on a monthly cycle in line with the standard Microsoft release dates. By default your machine will receive updates three weeks after they have been released by Microsoft. This allows us time to go through two stages of piloting and testing updates to pick up on and identify any issues. This does not cover feature upgrades, which we handle separately (see below).

When your machine receives updates the message box below will be displayed, allowing you to choose when the updates will be installed. Regardless of the option you take the updates will be applied automatically when the date and time displayed is reached, normally one week from when you are first prompted to install them.  If the machine is off this will happen when it is next switched on. If a restart is required you will be prompted for this, it will not happen automatically unless you check the ‘Restart my computer…’ box.

There are three available options, outlined below to allow you to choose when the updates are installed

  1. Install the update immediately – This will install the updates straight away. If a machine restart is needed it will prompt you to do this.
  1. Outside my business hours – This will pick a time when your machine is idle outside of your business hours and will automatically restart it if required. Click the link to configure the days and hours classified as your business hours
  1. Snooze – This will delay the installation of the applications and re-prompt you at a later time.

Pilot Groups

We have two pilot stages that all Microsoft updates go through before being released to all CONNECT machines.

Pre-Pilot

These are the first machines to receive the updates and are machines internal to the support teams for the managed desktop service.

Pilot

The pilot group consists of users across all of our departments to help identify and feedback any issues with business systems and services used across the University as well as a wider set of hardware. Any problems identified can then be checked and reviewed ahead of the updates being made available for general deployment.

General Release

All machines that are not part of either pilot group will get updates installed at this stage, with updates released after two weeks.

Which applications and components are patched?

Quality updates classified as Critical, Security, Service Packs, Update Rollups or Updates are applied for the following products:

  • Microsoft Windows
  • Silverlight
  • Report Viewer 2010
  • Report Viewer 2008
  • Microsoft Office 2013
  • Microsoft Office 2016

How do I check if any updates are pending?

The status of any updated installing or pending can be seen in the Software Centre. To open this click on Start and type software centre. It will appear in the list of results above. Within Software Centre the status of any pending Microsoft updates will appear under the Updates tab.

Feature updates rollout

Microsoft have adopted a new servicing strategy for Windows 10. Instead of major revisions (e.g. Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1), Microsoft are now releasing feature updates twice a year. We will release these feature updates to machines over a six month period after they have been released to the Semi-Annual (Targeted) servicing channel.

Piloting feature updates

Similar to quality updates, we have two stages of piloting feature updates before being released generally to all Windows 10 workstations. This allows us to review and test these updates to ensure stability and compatibility with the University’s core systems and services. These pilot groups are separate to the quality update groups to allow us to target different machines if required.

Pre-Pilot

These are the first machines to receive the updates and are machines internal to the support teams for the managed desktop service. This allows us to review and check core functionality as well as identify any changes or additions which need to be reviewed.

Pilot

The pilot group consists of users across all of our departments to help identify and feedback any issues with business systems and services used across the University as well as a wider set of hardware. Any problems identified can then be checked and reviewed ahead of the updates being made available for general deployment.

General Release

Providing no problems have been identified during the pilot phases the feature update will be released to all managed machines 2 months after the first pilot machines have received it.  You will be prompted to install feature updates in the same way as quality updates.

Feature updates have an installation deadline of 3 months after it has been released, regardless of whether the machine has been turned on during this period. Once the deadline has been reached the update will be applied automatically. If the machine is off this will happen when it is next switched on.

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Changes to remote support access for Managed Desktop Services

IT Services is transitioning to a new central support tool to enable teams to remotely support and assist staff. This is replacing the previous support tools that were used, including WebEx and PC Anywhere. Additional functionality that this provides include chat windows and the ability for multiple staff to assist with a support session.

Who can access my machine?

No member of staff can ever access your screen whilst you are logged in and the machine un-locked, until you agree the connection.

The tools allow two methods of initiating support sessions with you, through a one-time session link and through the pre-installed jump client.

How are remote sessions initiated?

There are two ways that connections can be made.

Single use connection request

Members of IT Services can request a remote session with you via a one-time session, either by asking you to navigate to remotesupport.it.ox.ac.uk or via emailing you a link for you to initiate the session.

Jump Client

Teams directly supporting the Managed Desktop Service can also access machines via the pre-installed Jump Client. This replaces the access via PC Anywhere which has now been disabled. This allows access to machines that are not logged in or that are locked, but does not bypass any Windows security. It also allows visibility of system information, such as installed hardware and software, event logs and services.

If the machine is unlocked and logged in you will get a prompt to accept the connection. If this is not accepted access to your screen is automatically denied.

Whenever your screen is being shared a watermark is displayed in the top right hand corner of the screen.

 

To stop sharing the screen at any time click the stop sharing text in the Customer Client.

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Dell BIOS Updates

In response to the recent security vulnerabilities affecting Intel processors we are rolling out a programme of BIOS updates to CONNECT workstations in line

The updates will be pushed to your machine and you will be presented with the below popup message asking if you want to update the BIOS on your machine.

Once you see the popup your now have 4 possible scenarios:-

  1. You Select “YES” the bios update installs and the PC reboots to finish the update.
  2. You select “NO” the popup box goes away for an hour and then comes back asking if you want to update again.
  3. You do nothing the popup box stays open for 1 hour then disappears for an hour before reappearing asking you if you want to update again.
  4. You do nothing with the popup box or keep selecting “NO”. You then leave the office whilst still being logged into your PC and between the hours of 10pm and 5:30am the BIOS update runs and your PC restarts. (BEWARE – Any unsaved work could be lost during this process).

When the PC restarts the bios will be updated during the below screenshots its IMPORTANT that you DO NOT turn off the machine.

A list of models that are being updated can be found here: Models

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PC Replacements 2018

We have successfully completed the PC Replacements for 2018, having replaced 476 machines, across 36 different locations. This work was completed on time and within the allocated 4 week schedule.

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Pitt Rivers Museum migration to CONNECT completed

We have completed the migration of Pitt Rivers Museum to CONNECT!

The migration was completed on Monday 18th December.

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Pitt Rivers Museum CONNECT migration

Your migration to CONNECT starts Tuesday 12th December!

We will begin to migrate your department to CONNECT – the managed desktop environment offered by IT Services as of Tuesday 12th December.

Further information about the CONNECT service and frequently asked questions, including how to request new user accounts can be found at the following location – http://help.it.ox.ac.uk/connect/index

If you have any problems relating to your CONNECT PC or any software installed on it, please contact the
Service Desk on #12345 or email help@it.ox.ac.uk

Logging on to your PC
1) After your PC has finished loading, press the CTRL + ALT + DEL keys when prompted
2) Read and accept the terms and conditions before clicking ‘ok’
3) Enter your CONNECT username and password in the boxes shown to the right. If you do not have these details, please contact the Service Desk on #12345 or by emailing  help@it.ox.ac.uk
4) Click the logon arrow or hit enter
5) Your desktop should load shortly

Printing
CONNECT uses ‘P’ numbers to identify printers. You can find a sticker on the front of any CONNECT printer showing the number. To add a printer, please do the following:

1) When logged in, click ‘Start’ > ‘Devices and Printers’
2) In the window that appears, click ‘Add Printer’
3) An ‘Add Printer’ window will appear. Click ‘Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer’

4) Click ‘The Printer that I want isn’t listed’
5) Ensure’ Find a printer in the directory, based on location or feature’ is selected, before clicking ‘Next’
6) In the ‘Find Printers’ window that appears, locate the printer you wish to install. You can also search using the ‘P’ number e.g. P0754 or location
7) Double click the printer you want to use and follow the prompts until the printer is installed

Network storage
CONNECT uses network drives to store data. This means that no data should be stored on your office PC, rather it is off site and accessible from any CONNECT computer. This is both more secure, and more practical as it allows you to easily share files with colleagues, using the O or I drives. Files are also backed up daily, which is not the case if they were to be saved on the C drive on your PC. Network drives are accessed via Start > Computer or from most programs.

The H (Home) drive contains files that only you have access to. Within this drive, you will find ‘Desktop’ and ‘Documents’, which correspond to the same areas on the PC you are logged into. There is limited space on this drive, so we encourage you to save larger files to one of the drives below.

The O (Departmental) drive contains files that correspond to the department you are in. Different people will see different things when looking at this drive, as the contents depends on the permissions that have been granted to them.

The I (Inter) drive is a way of sharing files between departments – for example other museums using the CONNECT platform. If you have access to files belonging to another department, the InterDrive will show these, alongside the files shown in the Departmental (O) drive.

CONNECT Help Pages

Please visit our website which contains lots of useful information as well as FAQ’s on the CONNECT service:  http://help.it.ox.ac.uk/connect/index

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Connectivity issues with Dell Latitude 7370 laptops

A few months ago we were made aware of the below issues affecting staff usign Dell Latitude 7370 laptops:

  • Frequent loss of connection to network. Sometimes not working when first logging in, sometimes the connections drop throughout the day.
  • Logging in / out intermittently takes excessive amounts of time.
  • Whilst docked, laptops seem to flick between Ethernet and WIFI connections frequently for no apparent reason.
  • External mouse and keyboard sometimes aren’t detected at start-up whilst docked, and a full reboot is required. The issue duplicates when disconnecting and reconnecting to dock during the day.

After spending some time investigating the issue’s and testing different scenarios we have found that updating the Drivers, BIOS and WD15 dock firmware resolve the issues and also improve security on these models.

We plan to email all users who currently have a Dell Latitude 7370 so that they can schedule a time with us for the updates to be applied. The update process shouldn’t take more then 20 minutes so please make sure you are free on the time and date you have selected. When the updated is initiated you will be prompted to confirm you are happy to go ahead with the updates.

What will happen during the update? (User interaction is required)

  1. The software will be deployed to the laptop at the agreed time and date
  2. You will be asked if they want to carry out the update
  3. If you select YES on step 2 the update process is initiated (If you select no we will be in touch to re-schedule it for another time)
  4. The laptop drivers will be updated
  5. Then the BIOS update will be applied and the laptop will restart
  6. Once this is complete you will be prompted to enter your passphrase
  7. Now the WD15 dock firmware will be updated and the laptop will restart again
  8. Once the update has been applied you will be required to enter a passphrase one more time and the system will load to the Windows login screen
  9. To finishes the dock firmware please remove the USB-C cable that goes from the dock to the laptop and remove the power supply from the back of the dock
  10. Wait for 15 seconds, then replace the power lead into the back of the dock and the USB-C cable into the laptop

Once you have carried out the above steps you should be able to log into windows and carry on working as normal. If you have any issues please contact the Service Desk in the normal way

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Issues with OptiPlex 7040’s experiencing a loss of sound or ‘Blue Screening’

After our PC rollout in February we were aware of an intermittent issue which left a few people with sound dropping on their machines. This was only affecting a small number of people using the newer Dell OptiPlex 7040 desktops which we are currently deploying. This was fixed by us through updating the Realtek Audio driver on machines where the problem had been identified. Whilst this solved the initial problem we were also aware of a few reports of the same model machines crashing and experiencing the ‘blue screen of death’.

Investigations identified that this crashing was happening after the machines had been left locked and the screen had turned off. When subsequently unlocking the machine it then crashed and restarted. Further testing and tracking of the problem showed that this was only happening on machines where we had applied an updated audio driver to resolve the original issue sound dropping out.

Since then we’ve spent a large amount of time reviewing and testing an updated set of drivers that Dell have made available for this model of machine. We now have an updated pair of audio and video drivers which we plan to deploy to all of our 7040 machines (over 500). This ensures that we fully resolve both the problems on all machines and enables us to maintain a consistent build across all machines.

We plan to roll out the update automatically on Thursday 6th April.  The process will be fully automated with no input required from you, however it may cause the screen to ‘blank’ for 3-4 seconds whilst the video driver is updated. Due to this we have emailed staff using these machines to make them aware.

Any machine which is not turned on at the time the update is deployed will receive it automatically next time it is turned on.

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CONNECT and Library-Public: Infrastructure Migrations Complete

The last of the data held on the CONNECT File Servers was migrated to the new infrastructure last night. This marks the completion of the successful migration of all CONNECT and Library-Public services across to the new VIPR virtual infrastructure. At the same time services have been upgraded to the latest possible operating systems to maintain and increase functionality, performance and resilience.

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