Texas State computers will move away from Windows XP starting April 8 and begin using the Windows 7 operating system.
Microsoft will be ending support and security for all Windows XP computers nationwide, forcing the university to upgrade, said Benjamin Rogers, director of Client Services at Texas State. About 20 computers will be retired of the 200 machines still currently using Windows XP because they cannot be upgraded, Rogers said.
ITAC will communicate with each department’s technical support personnel to identify which computers need upgrading, Rogers said. The computers’ files will be backed up and hard drives will be wiped for the installation of the new operating system, Rogers said. Departments without technical support can go to ITAC to back up files, wipe hard drives, install Windows 7 and put files back on the computers.
“It’s a pretty simple process,” said Cable Hott, senior user services consultant at Texas State.
Some computers are too old to run Windows 7 and have been running Windows XP for the past 12 years, which is the “big issue,” said Frank Williams, senior information security analyst.
“We’re going around, looking at the labs and the areas which require Windows XP and finding other ways, solutions for them, like how to migrate them to the 7th or 8th edition if necessary,” Williams said.
It is rare to find computers on campus that will not run XP, Rogers said.
Most software developed in recent years has not been made compatible with XP, since it is such an old operating system, Hott said.
Some computers cannot be replaced, like a microscope in a lab that can only run on XP, Williams said. Those that cannot be replaced will be on a closed network.
“The systems we’re looking at have been around since the early 2000s,” Rogers said. “The life cycle of campus computers is about three to five years.”
Rogers said his department has been working on the transition for a few years.
Security is a big concern when making the switch, Rogers said. If a hacker knows when a computer is going to be vulnerable, they can get into the machine’s files and other data.
“It’s not just the IT department being the ‘big brother’ and saying, ‘You have to do this by this day,’” Rogers said. “It really comes down to security, we just want to make sure everyone is protected.”
No old, unpatched operating system will be able to run on campus in order to make sure everyone is protected from viruses or hackers, Rogers said.
“It’s all about security, we’re just trying to help people out,” Rogers said.