computerVirus
UAB IT has new recommendations for antivirus software for both home use by faculty, staff and students and for campus users.

Microsoft Forefront is no longer supported by Microsoft, which means there will be no new updates to guard against new viruses.

UAB IT recommends that faculty, staff and students use Microsoft Security Essentials on their home machines that have Windows 7 and Vista. Machines using Windows 8 or higher have Windows Defender built in.

Mac users should continue to use Sophos anti-virus, which faculty, staff and students can download for free through UAB IT.

Learn more about antivirus software here.
Thursday, 23 July 2015 09:05

UAB IT releases guidance on Windows 10

Microsoft is scheduled to release Windows 10 on July 29, 2015. Many UAB employees will want to upgrade to the new version, or will be receiving new systems with Windows 10 already installed.

While Windows 10 will add many new features, Windows 10 does not work with many applications at UAB. Most software developers have not released compatibility updates or new versions of their software for Windows 10, and many software incompatibilities are expected.

UAB IT recommendations and guidance:
Because of these issues, UAB IT recommends that Windows 10 not be installed at this time. If Windows 10 is required and is used on a touch-enabled device, UAB IT recommends you use Windows 8 "classic view."
  • UAB IT will offer only limited support for Windows 10.
  • New systems that are ordered from Dell may included Windows 10 by default in the near future, but departments/schools should consider re-imaging those decices using an approved Windows 7 image prior to deployment.
  • Upgrade support for special business cases and exceptions will be evaluated as needed.
  • Windows 7 should remain the primary operating system on university-owned computers until the issues with Windows 10 are resolved.
  • We foresee retiring Windows 7 within three years and moving to Windows 10 as the primary operating system on university-owned computers.

Compatibility Review

Results of our compatibility review of Windows 10 and UAB IT services.

Service Compatible with UAB IT services? Notes
Adobe Creative Suite No All Adobe Creative Suite products are not currently compatible with Windows 10. During installation, the applications stalls and must be ended manually.
Internet Explorer 11 Yes Internet Explorer (IE) 11 is one of two browsers available on Windows 10. The other is the new Edge browser.
Microsoft Office 2013 Yes No published issues.
Banner No Possible use of IE 11 in enterprise mode — no guidance from Banner or Microsoft.
Oracle No On Microsoft compatibility list. This does not include any UAB applications in the Oracle system.
Software Center (SCCM) No Software Center and other software management tools do not successfully install on Windows 10. (They will be available on the next update from Microsoft.)

UAB IT will continue to test the subsequent releases of Windows 10 with the various services and most frequently used software titles. Once we have confirmed that Windows 10 is compatible with most, if not all, services and software that the product is ready for mainstream distribution, this section will be updated with information on how to obtain the new operating system.

If your school or department IT professionals are interested and available to participate in any evaluation and testing related to Windows 10, please contact Sterling Griffin.

Anticipated hardware requirements
Recommended minimum hardware requirements for Windows 10:
  • Processor: 1.5 Ghz (gigahertz) dual core or better
  • RAM: 8 GB (gigabytes) or more
  • Free hard disk space: 30 GB or more
  • Graphics card: Microsoft Direct X 9 graphics deveice with WDDM driver or better
Adobe FormsCentral is retiring July 28, but UAB IT can help in the transition. UAB IT offers Adobe Acrobat for download at a discount.

After July 28, users of Adobe FormsCentral will no longer be able to create new forms or collect responses using FormsCentral. Adobe recommends that users immediately export responses to a file type of your choice — and convert your FormsCentral forms to PDFs, if desired. You will NOT be able to do so once FormsCentral expires.

Adobe Acrobat can be used to collect form data automatically and compile it in a table format. Data can be exported to a spreadsheet for further analysis or to create charts for summary reports.

Adobe Acrobat is offered through UAB IT. Learn more here.

To learn more about the retirement of Adobe FormsCentral, please read the Forms Central FAQ or Adobe Forums.
Tuesday, 21 July 2015 08:30

Microsoft releases critical patch

Microsoft on Monday released a critical patch outside of its normal patching cycle. 

The update fixes a vulnerability in Windows that could allow an attacker to execute code on a system if they can convince the user to open a specially crafted document, or have them visit an untrusted webpage that contains embedded OpenType fonts. 

The update, which requires a system reboot, was released to all UAB IT Desktop-supported machines at 4 p.m. Monday. Users have 72 hours to let the patch install and reboot the system. Users should get a notification bubble pop up at the system tray. After 72 hours, if a user has not allowed the patch to install, it will install automatically and the system will be forced to reboot.

UAB IT urges users to find an opportune time to let the patch install and allow the reboot occur to help protect UAB systems and information.
Friday, 10 July 2015 11:25

Dropbox file limit doubles to 4GB

FileSharing DropboxUAB IT’s SPARK initiative, which has generated more than 60 ideas since its inception last month, inspired an easy win for campus: an increase in the size limit for files uploaded to the UAB Dropbox.

The UAB Dropbox will now accept single file uploads as large as 4 gigabytes, doubling the previous size allowed.

Ed Harris, assistant director of systems and server support for UAB IT, said he was inspired to increase the limit by a comment on SPARK from Dan Willson, senior systems analyst for the Office of Public Relations and Marketing.

The easy fix is the kind of win for UAB that Curtis A. Carver Jr., vice president for information technology, was hoping for with the new SPARK site — along with bold new ideas in technology.

“We invite everyone in the UAB community to share your ideas with us,” he said. “We’re looking for at least 100 technology-related wins for UAB, and those ideas can be small or large.”

Dropbox allows campus users to share documents that are larger than the size limit allowed by campus e-mail.

The UAB Dropbox averages about 10,000 uses per year, mainly to transfer spreadsheets and other office documents.
Thursday, 09 July 2015 12:08

Windows 10 preview set for July 23

Windows10
Windows 10 is coming July 29, and UAB IT is hosting a preview of the upgrade with Microsoft representatives.

Those representatives will be on site at noon Thursday, July 23, at Cudworth Hall (CEC 140) for a Windows 10 overview.

Windows 10 has familiar features, including an expanded Start Menu, and your pinned apps and favorites will be integrated in the upgrade. Windows 10 also includes Microsoft Edge, a new browser designed to give users a better web experience.

Learn more about Windows 10 features here.

Portions of two streets on campus will be closed for one more night, Friday, July 10, as part of the completion to a project to upgrade UAB's fiber network.

Crews were delayed and will finish paving Friday night.

From 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., the following roads will be closed: 

  • Ninth Avenue South between 17th Street South and 19th Street South
  • 18th Street South between University Boulevard and Ninth Avenue South

Access to the following buildings may be partially or fully affected:

Rust, Research Support Building, Southeastern Biosafety Lab (SEB Lab), 1715 Building, Ninth Avenue Office Building, School of Nursing, School of Public Health, Learning Resource Center, and 19th Street Parking Deck.

The City of Birmingham will be milling and paving those streets following an upgrade to the underground fiber hub.
As part of the initative to protect UAB's assets and inventory servers and workstations, UAB IT is making Microsoft SCCM available at no cost to all areas of campus.

Having all of the asset information on campus managed by a single system is critical to maintaining a secure computing environment. For those areas without any tools UAB IT will work with you to implement SCCM on all systems; for those areas that already have SCCM implemented, we will work with you to integrate your instance with the enterprise; and for those who have implemented a different solution, we will work with you to import information to the Campus SCCM database on a regular basis. 

A kickoff meeting for the initiative will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 9, at the Finley Conference Center.

IT managers should contact UAB IT about who will represent their areas at the kickoff meeting.
Excellence, service, security and shared governance are among the hallmarks of a new set of strategic imperatives UAB IT is committed to meeting, Vice President for Information Technology and CIO Curt Carver said.

The strategic imperatives enhance Carver’s vision for UAB IT.

“My vision for UAB IT is a world-class IT organization that effectively balances cost efficiency, agility and innovation,” he said. “Our relationships with our customers, business partners and vendors are long-term relationships that allow us to move at the speed of trust. This vision does not depend on one person but instead on a dedicated team where everyone is an agent of innovation and aligned to support the University of Alabama at Birmingham.”

The department’s strategic imperatives include:
  • Create a secure computing environment for all UAB members through appropriate policy, training and technology.
  • Build an IT shared governance structure with particular focus on partnership with the Health System.
  • Create a world-class IT organization so that if our customers could choose any provider, they would choose UAB IT.
  • Generate business value though reduced costs, process innovation or revenue generation.
  • Innovate UAB through partnerships with institutional business owners, with a focus on academic and research operations.
  • Foster an institutional data-driven decision-making culture that allows UAB to make informed and optimal decisions.
  • Enhance the community of information technology excellence for the economic, social and cultural benefit of Birmingham and beyond. 
At the same time, UAB IT is striving to be more transparent in its interaction with UAB customers and IT professionals across campus. The SPARK initiative invites faculty, staff and students to share their technology ideas and vote on the ideas of others. The reThink Project will change how UAB IT interacts with its customers, and IT professionals in other departments and schools will be invited to participate in the project. And the UAB IT Financial Transparency and Accountability Project will give IT customers a better understanding of their IT costs.
Tuesday, 30 June 2015 10:58

Windows Server 2003 to reach end of life

UAB IT is actively working to migrate servers across campus that are using Microsoft Windows Server 2003, which will reach end of life after July 14, 2015, meaning it will be unsupported by Microsoft.

Servers that are not migrated could cause problems with compliance and compatibility as well as increase costs for maintaining aging hardware.

To facilitate this transition, the UAB Enterprise Information Security Office (EISO) is actively working with Windows Server 2003 system owners to ensure a plan is in-place and actively being worked to migrate or retire affected systems.

If your department has affected servers, you should hear from UAB IT staff soon. If you have questions or concerns, call (205) 975-0842 or email datasecurity@uab.edu.

You can request an exception by filling out the Exception Request Form and submitting to AskIT.