UCIS Continues to Install Office 2000

Posted: February 17, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Emily Yaghmour

University Computing and Information Systems (UCIS) has completed the installation of Office 2000 on more than half of the 4,000 PCs at George Mason, says Joe Hutchison, director of Central and Distributed Systems at UCIS.

UCIS decided to upgrade to Office 2000 for several reasons, Hutchison says. First, the current version of Office 97 is not Y2K compliant. In addition, almost all of the new machines purchased by the university come with Office 2000 already installed. Installing Office 2000 on all of the other machines ensures that everyone is using the same version of the software suite. Standardizing software applications across the university is important because documents created on one version often cannot be read on another version, making it difficult to transfer documents between users. Ensuring that everyone is using the same version of a software application also improves overall UCIS support of the product. In addition, Hutchison says, Office 2000 makes it much easier to post Microsoft Office documents like spreadsheets on the Internet.

When UCIS began the rollout of Office 2000 in early December, other applications were simultaneously upgraded or installed: GroupWise, Norton Antivirus, Netscape Communicator, and Novell ZenWorks. These additional applications provide improved protection against computer viruses and the ability to centrally download new applications as they become available.

However, upgrading or installing these five software applications has taken between two and seven hours per workstation, requiring considerably more time than upgrading or installing a single software package. In addition, upgrading or installing multiple applications increases the number of problems that are likely to occur. This is particularly true if the computer is more than three or four years old, as older computers have more limited memory and hard drive space, Hutchison says.

To speed the process and minimize inconvenience to customers, UCIS has decided to focus on installing only the Office 2000 software suite for the remaining workstations. Installing Office 2000 alone still takes about an hour per computer and even longer if problems arise, he says. The installation of those additional applications will be completed for the remaining workstations before the fall semester.

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