Desktop and Laptop Support
- 1 What is the policy for laptop support in MCS?
- 2 How do I get a laptop?
- 3 What kind of laptop can I get? What Operating System should I run?
- 4 Should my Windows laptop be in the MCS Windows Domain?
What is the policy for laptop support in MCS?
Systems will support any laptop that meets the following criteria
- It was of a configuration specified or approved by Systems. For the past six years (and longer), this means it is an IBM Thinkpad. It should be noted that asking Systems to order a laptop for you does not imply it is approved by Systems. We usually warn you if you're ordering something that is non-standard, and that you are on your own for support.
- It is using either the Operating System that came with it, or an Operating System installed by Systems. If it is a dual boot system, Systems will only support the OS that meets the above criteria, and no others.
- Systems must have root/Administrator level access to the machine.
- Any hardware or peripherals must be ones that come with the laptop, or are specifically allowed by Systems.
- The software is software installed or recommended by Systems.
- If it is a particularly old laptop, using an old Operating System, we may recommend upgrading the laptop or the Operating System. ANL and DOE regulations require that machines running Windows ME, 98, 95 or earlier are to be phased out as soon as possible, as they do not pass security requirements.
What it means when we say Systems will support your laptop
- As with any machine in the division not under our direct control, the operator or other specified person is the primary point of support for the machine. If the primary point of support cannot solve the problem, Systems will work with the user/support contact to get it solved.
- We will do our best to solve any problem in a non-destrtuctive manner. We will never intentionally erase any data without explicit permission from the user.
- If it is determined to be a hardware problem, we will work with the vendor/support contract holder to get it fixed. We have no control over how fast this happens once it leaves our building. We may or may not have a loaner machine available. If a loaner machine is available, it may not be the same type as is being repaired.
- After a reasonable amount of time trying to solve the problem, we may recommend any of the following as a solution: Reinstall the offending application, upgrade the Operating System, reinstall the Operating System, completely erase the hard disk and rebuild the Operating System from the System Restore utility of the laptop. Some of these solutions may result in a loss of data. Users are *strongly* encouraged to back up their laptops via TSM software available on the Windows Software Page.
- If the "System Restore" option is chosen, this will result in the laptop being returned to the state it was in when delivered from the factory. If so desired, Systems can install a standard set of Applications on the machine. Systems can also assist in recovery of data from the TSM backup solution. These options will require significantly more time, and the laptop will be out of commission longer.
What are your responsibilities as a Laptop User?
- Please keep your machine updated with the latest software patches from Windows Update.
- Please ensure you are running Antivirus software. Systems provides PC-Cillin from Trend Micro.
- Please install any applications recommended by Systems, and keep up to date with any announcements from Systems.
- Do not install any applications you are unsure of without consulting Systems first.
- Users are *strongly* encouraged to back up their laptops via TSM software available on the Windows Software Page.
- Do not open any email attachments unless you are expecting the attachment and you know what it is.
- Keep your laptop secure via methods available. Password protected screensavers, hard disk passwords and BIOS passwords are recommended, and Systems will assist with this.
- Keep your laptop physically secure. Systems will provide you with a laptop lock if requested. Do not leave your laptop unattended. If you lock it down, lock it down in a secure manner (around a table leg does is not secure).
How do I get a laptop?
Well, first of all, you need funding to buy it. We don't get involved with that. Next, you can find the one you want and send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org telling them what to order for you. If you want it to be a supported laptop, the best place to look is Lenovo's Thinkpad site. Or, you can tell us your system and price requirements and we'll spec one out for you.
Please set reasonable expectations as to how long it will take for the laptop to arrive. It can be more than a month!
What kind of laptop can I get? What Operating System should I run?
The short answer is whatever you want and have funding for. If you want it to be supported by Systems, it will be a system we specify (a Thinkpad), running Windows XP.
Laptops running linux or Apple Powerbooks are entirely unsupported, as are any laptops not approved by Systems.
Should my Windows laptop be in the MCS Windows Domain?
At the moment, it's entirely up to you. Some people choose to run their laptops outside the MCS domain, which requires running special commands to authenticate against our servers. The Login link to the left provides a script generator for this.
Our current recommendation is to run the laptop in the MCS Windows Domain. This makes authentication much easier. In this situation, the first time you login, you login, you will either need to be in MCS on a wired connection, or running the VPN. Subsequent logins to not have this requirement, unless you wish to change your password or use MCS Windows resources. Systems can assist you with your laptop joining the domain.
In either case, you will have Administrator access.