March 28, 2008
Important Dates in April

Just a reminder of some important upcoming dates:

April 1, 2008:
This is the deadline for purchasing Filemaker 9 as part of the group purchase. If you're getting a Vista machine this year, you will want to upgrade to Filemaker 9 (Filemaker 8.5 will also work with Vista, though there are some known issues). For more details on the group purchase, check here.

April 15, 2008:
After this date, all new machines will be set up with Windows Vista as the operating system. If you need a new Windows XP machine, be sure to order before April 15th. For more information, check here.

Posted by dcoates at 02:00 PM
March 17, 2008
An Update on PDAs

Some of you have recently been asking questions about PDAs. So, here's an update on what we're recommending and what to think about as you're upgrading operating systems or computers:

  • If your current PDA is working and has the functionality you need, you can continue to use it with no changes.
  • If it's several years old and you're going to be replacing your computer and/or upgrading to Vista, it's a good time to think about replacing your PDA
  • We currently support Windows Mobile devices.
  • If you upgrade to Vista, have a Palm device and elect to keep it rather than upgrade, you will probably have to upgrade your Palm software.
  • Windows Mobile devices use Active Sync and are generally easier to sync with Windows XP and Windows Vista machines as set up for Extension than Palm devices.
  • Although Palm has some less expensive low-end devices, the cost of wireless-capable Windows Mobile and Palm devices are comparable.
  • Smartphones have many of the capabilities of PDAs and may be a good alternative depending on your needs

If you have questions about your current PDA or about upgrading to a new device, contact the hotline at 515-294-1725 or via email at

Posted by dcoates at 10:33 AM
March 07, 2008
Upgrading to Vista

With the decision that all new machines will come with Windows Vista after April 15th, some of you may be thinking of upgrading existing machines from Windows XP to Windows Vista. To help with this process we'll be sending a new Windows Vista DVD which includes Service Pack 1 in the March 14th transmittal.

Here's a list of what you need to do and resources for getting it done:

  1. Make sure your computer is capable of running Windows Vista
    • DVD reader
    • 1 GB memory (RAM)
    • 25 GB available hard drive space
    • 2 GHz processor (CPU)

    To check memory and processor speed, right-click My Computer and select Properties. To check available free space on your hard drive, open My Computer, highlight your C: drive and check the free space indicated in the left column.

  2. Back up your files
    • We recommend (very, very strongly) a 'clean' install which involves reformatting the hard drive before installing the new operating system. You'll avoid problems later on by taking this extra step now.
    • Be sure to backup your My Documents, Outlook archives (.pst files), Internet Explorer favorites and any other files that might be stored elsewhere (don't forget files you've saved to your Desktop).

  3. Make sure you have copies of all your programs or know where to find them online. Also be sure to write down your computer name before you reformat your computer (you can find this by right-clicking My Computer, selecting 'Properties', 'Computer Name' tab)

  4. Install Windows Vista

  5. Reinstall your software programs

  6. Reinstall your printers

    Posted by dcoates at 09:35 AM
March 03, 2008
Fraudulent E-mail Alert

Most of you have likely seen the following from Iowa State's Chief Information Officer:

To the Iowa State campus community:

Over the weekend, the campus has seen an increasing amount of spam email, purportedly coming from the "IASTATE.EDU SUPPORT TEAM,"
asking recipients to confirm their email account by following a link and entering their password. These spam emails are not from any Iowa State entity, and should be deleted immediately.

We'd like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that Iowa State University, IT Services, and the Solution Center will never ask for your password via email. Do not click on links in suspicious emails. If you have questions, the Solution Center is available to answer them at 515-294-4000.

More information can be found by following the Information Technology link on the Iowa State University home page.

Jim Davis
Chief Information Officer

The link he mentions for more information is here

If you responded to an email like this, you should change your password immediately (press Ctrl-Alt-Del and select 'Change Password')

As a point of reference, you will never receive an out-of-the-blue email from ISU Extension IT staff requesting your password. You should never respond to an email which does not identify a specific person or persons (but just says ' support team' or 'ISU Extension support team' or some other general label), particularly if they are requesting secure information like your password or Social Security Number. If you ever receive such a request, you can report it to

Remember, any time you have a question about the legitimacy of a message of this or any other type, you can email EIT ( or contact the hotline (515-294-1725)

Posted by dcoates at 08:45 AM