November 19, 2013
Windows 8.1 and new computer purchases

Concern:

An increasing number of staff are purchasing non enterprise class computers for their office. An example would be an HP laptop from Best Buy, Office Max, etc. Many of these computers have Windows 8 or 8.1 as the preinstalled operating system. There is a problem occurring when the staff member or Extension Information Technology tries to install the university licensed version of Windows 7. The hardware on the computer is not compatible with Windows 7 which forces us to install the university licensed version of Windows 8.1.

Issue:

Currently we offer extremely limited support of Windows 8.1. Extension Information Technology, has not tested the OS with university systems. Only a couple people in the office are using it on their work computer. We have no training materials of any type available for staff. The Hotline student workers have no training or experience with Windows 8.1.

Solution:

If possible, purchase preconfigured computers through EIT. (https://www.extension.iastate.edu/comp/orders/orderform/ )We know that the hardware on these enterprise class machines will be Windows 7 compatible. If these computers do not meet your needs, please contact me (Mike Mauton, mmauton@iastate.edu) and I can try to create a different configuration for you. If you still must purchase a non-enterprise computer please keep in mind that you may be forced to use Windows 8.1 and that EIT may not be able to help you when you encounter any issues.

EIT does plan on testing the operating system, writing documentation, providing training materials and eventually rolling out Windows 8.1 to all staff but there is no timetable for this to happen yet.

Posted by mmauton at 09:11 AM
January 20, 2011
Installing McAfee VirusScan on New Computers

When you set up a new computer and put it on the network, McAfee virus protection should load automatically. However, sometimes the program will not install automatically even though your computer has been up and running on the network for several days

NOTE: You can check whether McAfee is running one of two ways:

  1. Check the icons in the systray in the lower right corner of your screen. Be sure you're seeing all the icons. Click on the up-arrow if needed to see more.
  2. Click on the Start menu button. Select All Programs. Look for a folder titled McAfee. In the folder, you should see On-Access Scan, On-Demand Scan, VirusScan Console. This may take several minutes.>/li>

To install McAfee VirusScan on your computer:

  1. Go to IT Services Windows Software Downloads
  2. Under Current Software, find McAfee VirusScan and AntiSpyware (easy auto-install) (current version as of this posting is 8.7i)
  3. Click on the link in the Download column
  4. Enter your Net-ID and password
  5. Once the dowload is completed, double-click on the downloaded file to begin the installation process (or click Run in the download window)
  6. Enter your administrator password
  7. Click 'Yes' when asked if you want to continue
  8. If you DON'T have any other antivirus software on your computer, click OK to continue. If you DO have other antivirus software on your computer (some examples would be Spybot, Malwarebytes, Symantec), click Cancel and uninstall these programs before continuing.
  9. From this point the install is automated. Click OK at the screen that tells you this.
  10. You may see Windows pop up, but forms will be filled out automatically (however, there will stll be some dialogue boxes for you to respond to--see below). You should see a progress bar in the upper left corner of your screen which will tell you where you are in the installation process.
  11. Click OK when asked about Windows Defender. Click No when asked about your Internet Connection.
  12. Finally, you will be asked if you shut your machine off at least once a day. If you do, click Yes. Otherwise, click No. Click OK.

If you can't install McAfee, it may mean that you have malware on your system that's preventing the program from installing. For help diagnosing and resolving the problem, you can call the Computer Support Hotline at 515-294-1725.

Posted by dcoates at 02:10 PM
March 25, 2010
Purchasing New Computers

It's the time of year when I know many of you are looking at your current computers and deciding whether to replace them with new computers. Below is some information that may help as you're deciding what to purchase and how to purchase once you've decided.

Many of the specific items mentioned below are linked from the New Computer web page located here: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/it/support/setup.htm

--Information about ordering computers, printers and other items is available here: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/it/ordering/computers.htm

--County offices can use the order form here: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/comp/orders/orderform/ to order laptop or desktop computers. The configurations listed are updated each month so they will reflect current pricing and specifications. To see the details of a configuration, click on the Quote Number.

--If you're trying to decide whether your current machines should be replaced, you may want to check our minimum support standards here: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/it/support/standards.htm As well as the hardware requirements for Windows 7 here: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/it/support/win7/hardware.htm

--When you order computers, you can either have them shipped to your office and set them up yourself (setup instructions here: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/it/support/win7/install.htm ) Or have it shipped to EIT and we will set it up for you (charge for each setup is $100.00). Computers set up at EIT currently include: Windows 7, Office 2007, current updates, Power DVD, Adobe Connect plug-in, Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, VirusScan, Turning Point, Citrix plug-in, Windows Live Messenger, and Cisco Anytime VPN client.

We will install any printers for your specific office that we a) know about and b) the computer can see on the network.

If you have questions or need additional information, please let me know.

Posted by dcoates at 02:16 PM
September 02, 2009
Updated Policies for Computer Hardware Support

With Microsoft's deployment of the Windows 7 operating system and its discontinued support of XP (in April of 2009), EIT has changed some of its new computer setup and support procedures.

- ALL new computers setup by EIT will have Windows 7 as the operating system.
- If your computer is currently working just fine with XP you may continue to use it for as long as you wish. When a problem arises with a machine however, EIT's solution will be to resolve the problem by installing Windows 7 on the machine.
- Windows 7 installation DVD's will be distributed in the near future. Check back for updates.

Machines that can run Microsoft Vista can also run Windows 7. Machines that can't run Microsoft Vista and Windows 7 no longer meet the minimum support standards.

Posted by mmauton at 02:01 PM
November 18, 2008
Smartphone Setups

We're currently supporting two types of smartphones: Windows Mobile 6 phones and Blackberrys. If you get one of these phones with a voice/data plan and plan to sync email, calendar, etc over the air, you should be aware that the setup for each type of phone is different.

In particular, no matter who you get your phone through, Blackberrys sync through the Blackberry Enterprise Server run by ISU's Information Technology Service. There is a one-time setup charge for access to the server. Before you can activate your phone for data, you will need to apply for access to the Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES). Note: read the section on filling out the form carefully as there are some fields that must be completed.

Complete instructions for Blackberry setups and Windows Mobile 6 setups are available online.

smartphones.jpg

Posted by dcoates at 10:43 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
February 14, 2008
Vista on New Machines after April 15th

Beginning April 15th, we will no longer be loading XP on new machines.

Why?

  • Dell will no longer offer Windows XP on any new machines after June
  • Windows Vista, the new operating system, has been available for over a year.
  • We have been using Vista at EIT for over a year with relatively few problems. Vista-installed machines in the field are operating with little problem.
  • As new machines are released, drivers (necessary to run monitors, printers, connect to the network, etc.) are either not immediately available or not available at all for Windows XP. (Drivers for new machines are written for Windows Vista first)
  • Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Vista (which will fix known issues and enhance Vista's current release) will be released this month, increasing the reliability and usability of Windows Vista.

What you need to do

  • If you're currently running a Windows XP machine and you are not planning to replace it this year, you do not need to do anything.
  • If you are planning to replace a machine this year and require Windows XP because you are using Blue Ribbon or transitioning to the Cougar Mountain Fund Suite (see Exceptions and Issues for more details), think very seriously about ordering your new computer now.

Things to keep in mind as you make plans for your office:

  • There is NO need for everyone in your office to upgrade to Windows Vista if one computer in your office has Windows Vista on it.
  • Windows Vista is an operating system. It is not Microsoft Office (Word, Outlook, Excel, etc). It is not a program. It will slghtly affect the look and feel of your desktop, but otherwise is fairly painless to adopt.

Exceptions and/or Issues

Blue Ribbon
Currently, you are using version 2.5 of Blue Ribbon. This version does not work under Windows Vista. When a new version is released and tested and available to your office, it will work in Vista.

What you can do:

  • Continue to run Blue Ribbon on the computer you're currently using
  • Or, buy a new machine before April 15th and have it setup with Windows XP
  • Or, if you buy a new machine after April 15th, swap machines in the office so that the Blue Ribbon machine is newer, but not new.

Quicken 98
Quicken 98 will not run in Windows Vista. Quicken 98 is no longer supported by the company (Intuit)

What you can do:

  • As soon as possible, switch to Citrix/Cougar Mountain Fund Suite
  • Continue to run Quicken on the comptuer you're currently using (until you can switch to Citrix/Cougar Mountain Fund Suite)

Filemaker
Version 9 of Filemaker is fully compatible with Windows Vista. Version 8.5 will also run on Vista. We will be announcing a group purchase for Filemaker version 9 before April 15th. In this case, you will need to upgrade anyone in your office who is using a version of Filemaker earlier than version 7.0 (and anyone whose machine will be ugraded to Vista)

Some other issue/program that means you may need to consider a new Windows XP machine
Contact EIT (eit@iastate.edu) to discuss this specific requirement.

Remember, you can continue to run Windows XP on any machine you are currently using. The April 15th change is for newly purchased machines.

Why you should have Windows Vista on all your machines that meet the hardware requirements:

  • User Access Control
  • Enhanced security
  • Easy printer installs
  • Windows Defender
  • Instant Search
  • Fewer known issues than XP

This is the first announcement about the changeover to Vista only on new machines, but in the weeks between now and April 15th, I'll be posting several announcements to remind people of the upcoming changes and discuss options.

Posted by dcoates at 01:50 PM
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
December 19, 2006
Internet Explorer 7: Security

Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) has a number of new security features built in. Some of these include:

Phishing Filter: IE7 can help identify fraudulent web sites. When the phishing filter is on, you will receive a warning when visiting a site that is a known or potential phishing site.

Cross-Domain Barriers: Limits the scripts on webpages you access from interacting across domains or windows. This helps protect against malicious software damaging your system by limiting the potential for others to exploit security flaws or cause you to download spyware and other software that might damage your system.

Delete browsing history: Allows you to clean up your browsing history (cached pages, passwords, form data, cookies) from a single window.

Address Bar Protection: Every window will give an address bar which can help identify and block malicious sites masquerading as legitimate sites.

Fix My Settings: IE7 will warn you in the Information bar when your current security settings may put you at risk. Within the Internet control panel, you wil see certain crticial items highlighted in red when IE7 considers them unsafely configured. You will also continue to be reminded in the information bar as long as IE7 considers your settings remain unsafe. You can change your Internet security settings to 'Medium-High' by clicking 'Fix my settings' in the Information bar.

You can find more information about IE7 here.

Posted by dcoates at 08:56 AM
December 15, 2006
Internet Explorer 7: Look and feel

Toolbars

Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) looks different than Internet Explorer 6 and many common functions have been moved to new locations. For example, the menu toolbar is off by default and many of the most commonly used features have been moved to icons/menus on the right-hand side of the screen. In addition some icons are sporting a new look and a feature called Live Search has been added to the top of the screen.

ie62a2.jpg


ie62b2.jpg
Internet Explorer 6 Toolbar(s)

IE7 toolbar2a.jpg


IE7 toolbar2b.jpg

Internet Explorer 7 Toolbar(s)


Tabbed Browsing


Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) adds tabbed browsing to the features available. Tabbed browsing allows you to switch between web pages without switching between browser windows. The different pages are indicated by separate tabs at the top of the window.


ie7tabbeda.JPG


ie7tabbedb.JPG

Internet Explorer 7 Toolbar(s) with tabs

Posted by dcoates at 09:46 AM
December 13, 2006
Internet Explorer 7--Coming Soon

On December 19th, Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) will be approved for installation via Automatic Updates for Windows XP computers.

What does this mean?

  • Windows XP computers that are part of the iastate.edu domain will receive IE7 as part of an automatic noon update after December 19th. For many staff this will be noon on December 20th, but could be later depending when your computer downloads the update.

  • As with other updates, once completed you will see a message prompting you to reboot your computer. (NOTE: You can temporarily ignore this message until it is more convenient to reboot by dragging the Automatic Update reboot prompt out of the way.)

  • The first time you run Internet Explorer after rebooting you will see a 'Welcome to Internet Explorer' screen. You can either review some of the new features or proceed to your regular home page.

  • IE6 will be replaced by IE7. Your Favorites will remain intact. You will have the same functionality you had in IE6 plus additional features such as tabbed browsing and integrated search.

If you want to install IE7 before December 19th, download the installer and run it while logged on as administrator.

I'll be making several more posts between now and December 19th illustrating some of the new 'look and feel' of IE7 as well as new features.

We have been testing IE7 for several months and have found the upgrade to be reasonably trouble-free. Because Microsoft is packaging this as part of its Automatic Updates, continuing to use IE6 is not an option--the update will happen automatically.

If you have a specific concern about this upgrade, contact the Extension IT Support Hotline with your questions (515-294-1725).

Posted by dcoates at 02:48 PM
May 25, 2006
New Computer Setups 2006

If you are purchasing a new computer and having it shipped directly to your office, you will want to follow the New Computer Setup instructions when setting up your computer. Some issues of note:

  • Read all the instructions--some things have changed and there are some new things to do
  • Back up the files from your old computer
  • Call the hotline to get a computer name
  • Enjoy your new computer

If your new computer was set up at EIT before being shipped to you, you will want to refer to the File Transfer instructions for copying your documents and archived email to the new computer rather than the New Computer Setup instructions.

Instructions for Net-Regging your machine (a new requirement in the field; we've been net-regging for several years on campus) can be found here (these instructions are also part of the New Computer Setup instructions, however, you can refer to the Net-Reg instructions for more details on what Net-Reg is and why it's used.)

Posted by dcoates at 03:42 PM
April 29, 2005
New Computer Setups

The 2005 group purchase is upon us. Setting up computers has not changed significantly from last year. However, I've revised the setup instructions to make them as usable as possible.

You can download two sets of instructions here:

  1. Setting up computers from scratch (if you had your new computer shipped directly to you)
  2. Completing setup and file transfer (if EIT has already done the initial setup on your computer)

If you have questions about these instructions (or about which instructions you'll need), you can contact the EIT hotline at 515-294-1725

Posted by dcoates at 09:23 AM
August 19, 2004
More on Windows XP Service Pack 2

UPDATE: Service Pack XP2 has been patched so that you'll no longer see the 'Welcome' screen below when it's installed on your system. Service Pack XP2 will download and install itself behind the scenes and when it's completed, you'll see a screen that says that automatic updates have been installed and you should reboot.

If you're on a Windows XP machine, you should receive Service Pack 2 via automatic update sometime in the next week (some people on campus have already received the update). When the Service Pack is available for install, you will see an image that looks something like this:

Windows Service Pack 2 welcome screen

When you see the screen above, click "Next." Windows Service Pack 2 will install on your computer. Additional screens will appear during the install to report the progess. When completed, you should see an 'Automatic updates' box asking you to reboot your computer.

In some cases, the screen below may appear before the Welcome screen. If so, wait until the Welcome screen appears and then click 'Next.'

Windows Service Pack 2 welcome screen

Links to images (if you're receiving this in email)

http://www.extension.iastate.edu/mt/technews/extras/xpsp2-02-welcome.jpg

http://www.extension.iastate.edu/mt/technews/extras/xpsp2-01-extracting.jpg

Posted by dcoates at 03:52 PM
May 20, 2004
Purchasing a Data Projector

Matt Darbyshire with the ISU Instructional Technology Center has put together a nice overview of selected data projects including pricing and vendor information.

In general, we recommend the NEC VT-660. However, if you would like to visit with Matt regarding your specific needs, you can contact him via email at darby@iastate.edu or phone at 515-294-6074.

Data Projector Recommendations

Update: The Data Projector Recommendations file linked above is now up-to-date as of May 18, 2005. NEC VT676 or NEC VT670 (which has a $200 rebate through June 30th) look like the current models we'd recommend.

Posted by dcoates at 04:50 PM
March 23, 2004
Office 2003 and Windows 2000

If you're going to install Office 2003 on a Windows 2000 computer, you will need to install Windows Service Pack 4 before upgrading. This Service pack is available on the latest Scout CD (with the date March, 2004 on the CD; sent in the March 5, 2004 transmittal packet).

To access the service pack, insert the CD (do not run Scout); open the folder labeled 'Other'; open the folder labeled 'Win2000 SP4.' Double-click on the file, W2KSP4_EN.EXE

You must be logged in as Administrator to do this.

To tell if you need to upgrade to Service Pack 4, on a Windows 2000 machine:

  • Right-click on the 'My Computer' icon on the desktop.
  • Select Properties.
  • Under the General tab, it should tell you the operating system and the latest service pack installed (if it doesn't list any service packs, you have none installed).

Once you've installed Service Pack 4, you can upgrade to Office 2003.

Any time you are upgrading or installing programs, it's a good idea to have an up-to-date backup of all your important files.

Posted by dcoates at 08:46 AM
September 25, 2003
VirusScan Updates, or why am I having problems with my computer?

For Windows 2000 and Windows XP users:

If have a Windows 2000 or Windows XP machine and you are running VirusScan 4.5.1, you may find that although VirusScan is up-to-date, youíve installed all the latest patches, and youíve downloaded and run Stinger, you are still having problems with one or more of the following:

  • booting your computer (for example, very slow booting),
  • maintaining time on the clock in the right-hand corner of your screen,
  • slower-than-usual network connections.

You may want to replace VirusScan 4.5.1 with the enterprise version of VirusScan (VirusScan Enterprise 7.0.0).

VirusScan Enterprise 7.0.0 is included on the latest Scout CD which all field offices received in the July 13, 2003 transmittal packet (campus users can access the latest version via Scout and the network).

Instructions for installing VirusScan Enterprise 7.0.0 can be found under For Staff--Technology Items--Anti-Virus Information

Links for this post:

The latest patches: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/mt/technews/archives/000578.html
Download Stinger: http://vil.nai.com/vil/stinger/
Instructions for installing VirusScan 7.0:
http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Comp/virus/installing_virusscan.htm
For Staff Pages: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/ForStaff/homepage.html
Technology Items: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Comp/
Anti-Virus Informationhttp://www.extension.iastate.edu/Comp/virus/

Important Note: If you are running a version of VirusScan on Windows 2000 or Windows XP that is older than 4.5.1, you should update to VirusScan Enterprise 7.0 immediately.

Posted by dcoates at 08:23 AM
September 02, 2003
Reminder: Windows 98 Support Ends

As of September 1, 2003, Extension Information Technology no longer supports Windows 98. In practical terms, this means:

  • If you donít need support on your Windows 98 machine and itís running fine, you can keep on using it for as long as it does what you need it to do.

  • We will support upgrading Windows 98 machines (which meet the upgrade standards) to Windows 2000. This includes providing instructions, helping you decide if your computer can be upgraded, answering questions on the hotline, and upgrading your computer in our office (note: there is a $100.00 charge per computer for this service and you will need to make an appointment).

  • If you call the hotline with a question about a Windows 98 machine, we will answer it if itís a question we have an immediate answer to.

  • If we can not provide an immediate answer, we will remind you that we no longer support Windows 98. At this point, you can do further research on your own, upgrade your computer, plan to move to a newer computer, or live with the condition as it exists.

  • Most machines running Windows 98 are at least 5 years old. This means they are less reliable and more susceptible to hardware failures. You should be even more careful to maintain regular backups for these machines.

There are a number of reasons we dropped support on Windows 98:

  • Microsoft no longer supports Windows 98. This means no security updates and no critical updates, no technical support, and no Ďhigher powerí for solving problems.

  • New versions of software, including VirusScan and Scout are not being written for the Windows 98 operating system.

  • Computers that can only run Windows 98 (canít be upgraded to Windows 2000 or Windows XP) do not meet current ISU support standards, canít run essential software and are at least 5 years old, meaning their reliability is limited.

  • Expertise is limited. We use students for first level support. While their technical expertise is extensive, many of them have never used Windows 98. The fewer Windows 98 machines we support, the more limited our day-to-day experience and ability to solve problems.

Posted by dcoates at 02:59 PM
August 01, 2003
Windows 98 Support Will be Going Away

This message was recently sent by Floyd Davenport, ISUE Information Technology Officer, to ISU Extension staff:

We will no longer support Windows 98 after September 1, 2003. On July 1, 2003, Microsoft dropped support for the Windows 98 operating system.

This change is consistent with the minimum campus support standards found at http://www.iastate.edu/computing/standards/support-2003-10-01.html.

If you have a computer running Windows 98 and would like to upgrade to Windows 2000, please contact the Computer Hotline at 515-294-1725. In order to upgrade your operating system, you will need at least a Pentium II (333 MHz) computer with 128 Mbytes of memory. If you only have 64 Mbytes of memory, you can upgrade to 128 Mbytes.

The procedures for upgrading your computer to Windows 2000 are on-line at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Comp/Support/win2000update.html. You will need to login using your "X1" account to view these procedures. You still need to contact the Computer Hotline to get a computer account name assigned (described in the procedures).

If your computer can not be upgraded to Windows 2000, you need to plan on purchasing a replacement computer at your earliest opportunity.

You can continue to use computers running Windows 98 with their existing applications, however, they may not be able to run new applications or upgrades to existing applications. Also, if your computer develops problems, we will not be able to support it.

I hope that we have just a few computers still running Windows 98. Over the last two years, we have made every effort to upgrade computers to Windows 2000 or to replace computers through the Group Purchase Program.

Please note that my intent is to provide ISU Extension the best support for its information technology needs. This requires us to periodically evaluate our existing technologies and to upgrade both our capabilities and our support services as warranted. Continuing to support the Windows 98 operating system will increasingly jeopardize both Extension's ability to effectively conduct business and our ability to sustain your information technology environment.

Questions concerning this announcement can be directed to Floyd Davenport at floyd@iastate.edu. Questions about the process for upgrading existing computers to Windows 2000 can be directed to the Computer Support Hotline at 515/294-1725.

Posted by dcoates at 03:45 PM
July 30, 2003
Tips for Easy Screen Viewing

So, you have a new desktop or a new laptop and you love it...except you can't quite make out the tiny text and icons on the screen. Never fear, Extension IT is here to save the day!

Here are a few simple tips that will get you on the road to easier viewing.

Tip # 1: Enable large or extra-large fonts on your screen. To do this, right-click anywhere on your desktop and select Properties. Click on the appearance tab near the top of the Display Properties window. The last drop-down list in the window has 3 options; Normal, Large Fonts and Extra Large Fonts. It may take a bit of experimenting to see what your eyes like best, but it's worth it. When you find a style you like, click on the Apply button.

Don't close that window yet, there's more...

Tip #2: Enable large icons. Go to the same Display Properties window and once again click the Appearance tab. There is a button labeled "Effects..." that you can click and it will give you some options, of which one is to Use large icons.

One more and we're done...

Tip #3: On the same "Effects" window you have open, there is a drop-down list for smoothing the edges of screen fonts. Select "ClearType" and make sure the checkbox for "Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts" is checked. Now click OK, then Apply, and enjoy your new computer!

If you are still having problems viewing your screen, call the Hotline at (515) 294-1725 and we can work through some more advanced topics with you that MAY help.

Posted by at 03:45 PM
July 11, 2003
New Scout CD

You will be receiving a new Scout CD in this week's transmittal packet (July 11, 2003). The CD contains Scout programs--Eudora, VirusScan, FTP and others. There is also a folder on the CD which contains new printer drives, Internet Explorer, and application updates. The disk includes a new version of VirusScan for Windows 2000 and XP machines (VirusScan Enterprise 7.0). Instructions for installing and configuring this new version of VirusScan are available online.

Note: We have not included a Windows 98 version of Scout on this CD. If you need to install Scout applications on a Windows 98 computer, use the previous Scout CD sent in the December 13, 2002 transmittal packet.

Posted by dcoates at 11:32 AM
June 13, 2003
Switching to Internet Explorer

If you're getting a new computer this year, you might want to consider switching from Netscape to Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer will come already installed on your Windows XP Professional machines.

You can import your Netscape bookmarks into Internet Explorer by following these instructions.

Posted by dcoates at 01:59 PM
What Operating System do I have?

There are a number of ways to tell what operating system you have. For example, if you have to press Ctrl-Alt-Del to get to the login screen when you first start up your computer, you have Windows 2000 or Windows XP.

One method that works on Windows 98, 2000, and XP machines is to right-click (click with the right mouse button) on the My Computer icon on your desktop. Select Properties. The operating system will be listed along with other System Properties.

Posted by dcoates at 01:56 PM
February 20, 2003
Windows 2000 Updates

If you want to update your computer from Windows 98 to Windows 2000, you will need to verify that you meet the minimum requirements:

--Pentium II 233 Mhz
--128 Mg of memory
--At least 1G of available free HD space

If you do meet these requirements, refer to the complete instructions for upgrading to Windows 2000 for further information. Upgrading your computer is a significant undertaking and we recommend consulting with the Extension Computer support hotline (515/294-1725) before beginning an upgrade project.

Instructions on upgrading to Windows XP will be coming.

Posted by dcoates at 11:55 AM
February 05, 2003
Never Forget

Remember that new computers (Windows 2000/XP) will have an administrator account. You will use this account to install and uninstall programs.

If your machine was setup on campus an administrator account and administrator password has been setup. The account name is 'administrator'. The password for this account is listed on the salmon-colored Checklist--New Computer Setup sheet that you received with the computer.

If you setup the computer in your office, you assigned a password to the administrator account yourself.

It's very important that you remember this password. You will need it to uninstall existing programs and install new programs on your machine. You may also need it to troubleshoot and repair problems that may arise.

You can change the administrator password to one that's easier for you to remember.

However, it's also important to keep the following in mind: the administrator account and password provide important security for your machine. Administrator passwords should be at least 6 characters, include a combination of alphanumeric characters (upper and lower case), numbers, and other characters, and not be a word commonly found in the dictionary.

Posted by dcoates at 09:45 AM
Losing Time Redux

Recently, we've had a number of people report to the Computer Support Hotline that their computers are losing time (generally, they notice this when they get a kerberos error 37).

There is a menu option in Sidecar (accessed by clicking on the gold key in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen) to 'Synchronize times'

If this problem is occuring on a regular basis, you might want to refer to this previous TechNews entry on uninstalling and reinstalling VirusScan

Posted by dcoates at 09:33 AM
December 17, 2002
Installing Netscape 7.0

If you currently have Netscape 4.77 on your machine and you want to install Netscape 7.0, you should follow these instructions:

Because there are significant changes between 4.77 and 7.0, you must install Netscape 7.0 as a new program. The new version has a different main file located in a different place than the old version.

--Log in as Administrator (on a Windows 2000 or XP machine)
--Insert the Scout CD
--Click on Configure. Select Advanced
--Install Nescape 7.0
--When Scout asks 'Have you installed this before...' Click 'No'
--Select the default location for installation
--Once installation is completed, reboot your machine, log in with your own Net-ID and run Netscape 7.0
--When asked, convert your 4.77 profile to Netscape 7 (this will transfer your settings and bookmarks

Once Netscape 7.0 is up and running and your 4.77 data has been converted, log in as administrator again, go to Settings, Control Panels, Add/Remove Programs and uninstall Netscape 4.77

If you're currently using Internet Explorer instead of Netscape, there is no reason to switch to this new version of Netscape. If you want to convert from Netscape to Internet Explorer, we have instructions for converting.

Posted by dcoates at 10:04 AM
New Scout CD

A new Scout CD was sent to field offices in the December 13th transmittal packet. We send the Scout CD out on a regular basis for use in new computer setups and re-installing programs. If you are not experiencing any ongoing problems, you will not need to use the Scout CD at this time.

The new CD contains up-to-date versions of:

*Adobe Acrobat
*Aladdin Expander
*Eudora Pro
*Telnet (Host Explorer)
*VirusScan
*FTP (WS_FTP)

Netscape version 7.0 is available in the Advanced section of the Scout CD. To get to the Advanced section, click on 'Configure.' Under 'Package Versions,' select 'Advanced.' Click 'Done'. You will need to follow the setup instructions to install Netscape 7.0 properly.

The Scout CD also includes installation versions of Internet Explorer, HP Print drivers, and other service packs and updates. These can be found from the desktop by double-clicking on 'My Computer,' double-clicking on the Scout CD, and the double-clicking on the 'Other' folder.

Posted by dcoates at 09:31 AM
December 10, 2002
Changing Administrator passwords

If your new computer was setup on campus, we recommend that you change the administrator password once you receive it. The password should be at least 6 characters and should include a combination of letters (both upper and lower case), numbers, and other keyboard charaters.

For example: 3R7%tyJok

To re-set your administrator password:

Type Ctrl-Alt-Delete
Click on Change Password
For User Name, type Administrator
For Log onto, select your local computer name (it will be the one that ends with (this computer))
Type in:
--Old Password
--New Password
--Confirm New Password
Select OK

Be sure that the new password is one you can remember or that you have stored in a secure place.

Posted by dcoates at 03:02 PM
Administering Windows

Windows 2000 machines have several layers of security that older versions of Windows didn't have. For example, when you log into your computer, you see your files. If someone else logs into your computer, they see their files, but not yours. This added security means that you may have to log onto your computer as the local administrator, rather than with your regular Net-ID when you want to install some software, change system settings, add or remove printers, etc.

When your computer is set up (whether you set it up in your office or Extension Information Technology set it up on campus), you'll be asked to set an administrator password (or one will have been set for you). It's important to store your administrator password in a secure location which you can remember. This is a password you will need at some point to perform the items listed above. If your computer was set up on campus, you will receive a 'New Computer Setup' sheet with the machine. Listed on this sheet will be the computer's name and the Administrator password.

If you experience problems, please contact the Extension Information Technology (IT) Support Hotline, (515) 294-1725.

Posted by dcoates at 01:57 PM
October 22, 2002
Making the Switch to Internet Explorer

As some of you have probably noticed, the version of Netscape Communicator currently provided with Scout is 4.77. This is not a particularly new version of the program and you may find that there are some web pages that it cannot read correctly.

One solution to this issue is to switch to using Internet Explorer 6. The Scout CD that you currently have in your office (dated May, 2002 and sent in the June 14, 2002 transmittal package) contains a copy of Internet Explorer 6. If you are using Windows 98 or Windows 2000:

--Insert the Scout CD in the CD drive
--In My Computer, double-click on Scout_5_2002
--Double-click on the folder labeled 'Other'
--Double-click on the folder labeled 'Internet Explorer'
--Double-click on 'iesetup' or 'iesetup.exe'
--Follow the instructions for installing Internet Explorer 6

Once you've installed Internet Explorer (IE6), you will want to:

Make IE6 your default web browser

Import your Netscape bookmarks

If you have questions about transitioning from Netscape to IE6, contact the EIT computer support line at 515/294-1725. Or you can send email to EIT at eit@iastate.edu

Posted by dcoates at 08:58 AM
July 23, 2002
New Laptops and LCD projectors

To hook your new Dell Latitude laptop to an LCD projector, you will need to connect the projector cable to the monitor port on the back of your laptop. Use the Function (Fn) key and the key labelled CRT/LCD to toggle between the laptop screen and the projector screen.

If you've done this, waited for the projector to warm up, and checked your LCD projector manual to see if you've connected the cable to the correct port on the projector, you may need to change the resolution of the laptop (older LCD projectors can't read the higher resolution output of newer laptops).

To change the resolution:

--If available, check the projector documentation for the maximum resolution of the projector (usually listed under specifications in the form 800x600, 1280x1024, etc)
--On the laptop, right-click on the desktop (not on an icon)
--From the menu, select Properties
--Select the Settings tab
--Under Screen Area, move the gauge along the scale from 'More' to 'Less'
--Click 'Apply' and (remembering to toggle the CRT/LCD option) check to see if you have an image
--Continue to adjust the resolution until it works
--When you're finished with the presentation, repeat the steps (except this time move from 'Less' to 'More') above to return your laptop to its former resolution

NOTE: Reducing the resolution will affect the appearance of the laptop screen. Older projectors with very low resolution capabilities may simply not work well with newer computers.

Posted by dcoates at 04:41 PM