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Comment: Help! Windows 7 is upon us

Install Windows 7 on your computer. And transfer your terabytes of data on to a usb before the IT people arrive. In this featured comment a PhD student of biology worries about 'the transition'

On 31 October we received our first email about three big projects planned in the ‘upcoming months’ by SCIENCE IT.

1) an update of the current email and internal network to a more secure and faster one
2) install new phone systems which work with Lync
3) make sure all computers are not older than 4 years old and have Windows 7 installed.

In the same email we were told that the update of the network would not affect any of us, nor our email, and not our network drives. Also, computers older than 4 years old would be replaced with new ones, and the others would get an upgrade to get Windows 7 installed. Newer computers with Windows 7 would not be affected by any of this. In case the upgrade was needed the computer would be formatted during the upgrade.

No longer connected

For three months we did not hear back on this.

Then, on 21 January 2014, we received an email that stated who would be affected by the plans and when this would happen. According to the schedule, the upgrades should happen (and are happening) this week (27-31 January), which has left us with one week to make a backup of the computer, save any files that needed to be saved and prepare for the ‘day of transition’ (as it is called by the SCIENCE IT section).

Only this Monday 27 January, SCIENCE IT sent around student assistants with sheets explaining ‘how to perform a backup’ and safely store important files. Included was also a sheet we are supposed to sign to show that we have prepared our computers for the transition. If the sheets are not signed, the computers will not be touched. But after the transition of the networks, they will not be able to connect to it, according to the description on the sheet. Furthermore, the upgrades will be done on all the computers, also the ones that already have Windows 7 installed.

See the head of Science IT’s response to this featured comment here.

Need Linux for genomic data

We are completely and totally aware of the importance of such a transition, as well as the effort (whether it is financial or work-related effort) by the University of Copenhagen in improving IT service. But a couple of very serious problems arise from this.

First of all we, the scientists working with the computers, have never been asked what our needs are, in terms of special IT requirements, and more importantly what is needed for our work-related analyses.

Taking myself as example, I have parallel to Windows 7 also Linux on my computer in order to analyze genomic data. This is also the case for others in my lab, and, I imagine, other labs have a similar situation with different and/or multiple operating systems.

Are we a special case?

Because SCIENCE IT is only supporting Windows operating systems, it took me, and several other colleagues, quite a while to get this up and running. Given these facts, if the computer is now going to be formatted, it means we would have to do everything all over again, including the risk of losing a lot of data from the Linux part of the computer, and our special painful-to-reinstall software.

Furthermore, we run the risk that non-Windows operating systems will not be able to connect to the network. In this, we would like to hear more on how SCIENCE IT will deal with such special cases!

Yes, we are aware this may not be the general trend at other UCPH sections, but still we are a good proportion.

Please clarify

Another issue is the fact that a detailed and required explanation on what exactly is going to be done regarding server connection, our H drives and more technical questions has, unfortunately, never been delivered. Only that they will be formatted and a new image is going to be installed on them. We wonder, in fact, about the necessity of such format for a brand new (or less than 10 months old) PC!? And if so, why it is necessary, and how this will improve our operating system(s)?!

We are eager to make this transition and to do upgrades in the best possible way, as it should be. We don’t want it to be a waste of time and effort, for both sides.

But we feel we should have light shed on the above points.

See the head of Science IT’s response to this featured comment here.

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