Support for Laptops

This page attempts to record the major points raised during the discussion on laptop support in the 12th of December 2007 operational meeting. Feel free to add further points and comments as you see fit but please remember to identify yourself when you do so.

  • The frontline support team have seen a large number of users coming to them with laptop issues recently. They have been unable on occasions, either through lack of time or lack of knowledge to assist these users who have occasionally reacted badly to this. The laptops have varied greatly in make, OS (XP, Vista, Mac-OS and Linux have all been seen) and whether the laptop is School hardware or has been bought independently by the user. Issues have ranged from hardware failure to virus infection and problems using DICE services. Note that despite the title of this page, this is not exclusively a laptop issue, users have asked for help with desktop machines as well.

  • At present, there isn't a member of the computing team with responsibility for maintaining a current knowledge of laptop OSs such as would be required for dealing with many of these enqiries. Thus there isn't a single person to whom frontline support can escalate these issues. Note though that each Unit is responsible for ensuring as far as possible that the services it is responsible for work correctly with all supported OSs. The effort needed for the new building has meant that not enough attention has been paid to this recently, this will hopefully change when we are installed in the Forum.

  • IS have produced a managed Laptop Platform similar to the Managed Desktop Platform and based on Windows.

  • Our users have a range of technical skills. Those at the bottom of the range may have little need or inclination to manage the packages and configuration of their machines and may find the Managed Laptop Platform suitable. Those with advanced technical skills will rarely need our aid. The problem lies with those in between who may have the desire to manage the configuration and software on their machines but not necessarily the skills to do so successfully. Resolving these issues can be extremely time consuming. It would be instructive to determine, perhaps by means of a survey, the balance between these various types of users within the School.

  • The intention is to have an innovation meeting early in the new year to discuss this issue.

  • Even if it is decided available resources do not permit us to commit to in depth support of laptops, research groups may still request support from the Research and Teaching Unit and be charged appropriately. If there proved to be a big demand for this, more effort can be allocated to the RAT Unit.

  • IS currently offer a laptop support service for students. We should investigate what sort of support they are prepared to offer to Schools.

  • All purchases of laptops for grants etc should go through Sheila. The existance of the Select laptop should hopefully cut down on the variety of hardware we are called upon to support.

-- CraigStrachan - 12 Dec 2007

Topic revision: r1 - 12 Dec 2007 - 16:41:25 - CraigStrachan
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