May 22, 2007
Network Requirements or, why you really don't want to just pull that old computer out of the closet

The last time I pulled out a computer that hadn't been used in several months and put it on the network, it took a day and a half to get that computer up to date and ready for use.

Our minimum support standards include the following Network Requirements:

Domain membership: Computer must be joined to the 'iastate.edu' Active Directory domain
Receive updates: Computer must be running on the network at least one day per month to receive Windows and antivirus updates, as well as to avoid NetReg expiration


Why? Several reasons:

  1. Computers lose their Network Registration if they have not been connected to the ISU network at least once in the last month. Network Registration is required for any computer on the ISU network to access the Internet and to receive email.
  2. Computers need to update Windows and Office. Updates are delivered automatically and are critical to your computer's smooth operation, particularly from a security standpoint. If you have a computer that hasn't been on the network for a month or several months, there can be many, many critical updates requiring hours of download and installation time.
  3. Virusscan also needs to update regularly. The longer the computer is off the network, the longer this will take. Meanwhile, your computer is vulnerable.
  4. If the computer is off the network long enough (3 months or so), it will no longer be a part of Active Directory. This means that it will not be possible for EIT to remotely change your administrator password (something that might be quite likely if no one in your office has used that computer for 3 months or more).

Note: Domain membership and the ability to receive updates automatically are a standard part of every machine we setup (and are also a part of the setup instructions for setting up machines in the field). Domain membership means that you log into 'IASTATE' when you log into your computer. So if your computer is being used regularly, it should already meet the minimum network requirements.

Posted by dcoates at 09:08 AM
May 10, 2007
Patch for Computers Locking Up and Slowing Down This Week

We're aware of a problem with some Extension computers appearing to lock, freeze up or greatly slow down this week. The problem is related to the Microsoft Update client that is installed on all of our Windows machines.

Though not all machines will experience this problem, a small percentage may. To fix this issue you must install an updated Microsoft Update client and an additional patch. Affected computers will usually experience the apparent lock up first thing in the morning, before you are able to do anything about it. Please be patient and wait it out, usually 5-20 minutes. Once the system begins responding normally log on as Administrator and install these updates:

WindowsUpdateAgent30-x86.exe
WindowsXP-KB927891-v3-x86-ENU.exe

An update from Microsoft that we can push to every computer is not yet available. If you experience the issue you should install these updates.

And, as always, feel free to call the Hotline at (515) 294-1725 if you are having any trouble with the installation of this patch.

UPDATE: 6/14/2007 -- The KB927891 update should now be installed automatically as part of the regular Microsoft Update process. If you still encounter problems you may yet need to install WindowsUpdateAgent30-x86.exe.

Posted by newmania at 10:34 AM