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Projects with Significant Impact Underway

Posted: March 7, 2019

As spring arrives and moves into summer, two projects with big impacts will be shifting from the planning and preparation stages into implementation – and the implementation phase of one or both will impact you!

Windows 10 is Replacing Windows 7


Windows 7 – a strong and stable operating system that replaced Windows XP for many of us – was released in 2009.  After a good run, Microsoft is ending support of this OS in January, 2020. Once Microsoft stops patching this OS, it will become vulnerable to malicious hackers.  Those of you who were Penn Staters in 2014 remember that we had the same situation with Windows XP.  Because of the risks associated with an unsupported operating system, it is necessary for us to make Windows 10 the College’s only Windows operating system before the end of the year.

At the end of the 2014 project, Penn State banned XP computers from its network to preserve security, and we have no reason to doubt that the same action will happen with Windows 7 in December.  Therefore, Ag IT is anxious to work with all faculty and staff using Windows 7 computers.  We expect to upgrade all eligible computers to Windows 10 by the end of the year, and to retire many others that are just a little too old to run with Windows 10.

If you manage any computer (office, laptop, lab) that runs Windows 7, you will be contacted by Ag IT to arrange a time for upgrading.


Shifting to a Central Domain


Today we have a mixed environment for our computers and their management.  Many computers are in the Access Domain hosted by the University, while others are in the AG Domain hosted by, well, the College of Ag!  Yet other computers are loners – a little standoffish – and not affiliated with any domain.  This makes for a cumbersome experience for you over time as more passwords get introduced for different services – what password to use? When to change it?  What was the last one?  Am I able to use this computer?

All of Penn State is moving to one, centrally managed domain.  All Penn State services will (over time – not immediately!) be accessed with just one ID and password.  And, there will be a consistency among all computers across all colleges, campuses and business units.  If you work with other University units, move employment around the University or hold dual appointments, one domain will simplify your life.

This is another project with some urgency – the Penn State Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) plans to have everything out of the Access Domain, and decommission it by December 15, 2019, and expects to see all other domains (like our AG Domain) to be retired at the same time.

Much work remains to be done, though much has been accomplished.  Teams in the College and in central University IT have been at work to make this complicated process as seamless to you as possible.  As we move into summer and fall, watch for more information.