Software Patching on Campus Windows Computers

In an effort to maintain a more secure computing environment and provide the latest available features, OIT will be utilizing some new tools that allow us to do a better job of updating some of the common software programs installed on college owned Windows computers.  We are in the process of testing a parallel infrastructure for Mac computers and will provide information on this work as it becomes available.

If you are a user of College-owned Windows computers, please read through the following information about this update process:

  1. This process only impacts Windows based computers.
  2. Patching will begin on Monday March 12, 2013.
    The updating process occurs over the course of several days.  As computers check in, a software client will perform a scan to see if the update is required.  This will be an on going  process.  When software patches are released from the software developer, OIT will perform some initial in-house testing.  When testing is complete, OIT will push the software patches to campus computers.
  3. We will update the following programs on a regular basis:
    1. Adobe Acrobat Reader
    2. Adobe Flash Player
    3. Java
    4. Mozilla Firefox
  4. OIT will schedule updates both regularly and on an as-needed basis. Software developers for the products above release updates frequently in order to patch security holes, fix bugs, and enable new features.  In order to minimize the impact of waiting for updates on campus users, OIT will use a release schedule to apply updates to campus computers. Software patches which address security concerns will have priority over patches that offer only enhanced features.

What to expect when the updates occur:

  • If your computer already has an equal or newer version of the software we are attempting to push, no changes will be made.
  • If you have a laptop, and it is not currently connected to the network with a network cable, the patching process will begin the next time you connect your computer to the network.  OIT recommends that laptop users make an effort to connect these computers to the campus network regularly to ensure the security of their working environment.
  • If your computer is powered up but not logged in ( and connected to the network with a network cable), the updates will install without any notification or user intervention.
  • If you are logged in to the computer, you may receive a notification in the lower right corner of your screen. The product we are using to deploy updates is called the KACE Appliance.  The notification will look similar to the following image. You may also receive a notification indicating that a reboot is necessary to complete the installation process.

Kace Task Message Image

If you have any questions regarding this process, please contact the IT Support Center by creating a ticket at http://itsupport.smcm.edu or by calling x4357.

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