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IT Spotlight


As of January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer release updates for any versions of Windows 7, including critical security patches. Berkeley Lab IT strongly recommends that all systems be upgraded to Windows 10 without delay.

What should I do?

In most cases, upgrading your system to Windows 10 is straightforward, and may not even require you to buy a new Windows license.  Options and instructions for upgrading your system are available at go.lbl.gov/windows7.

Can IT help me with my upgrade?

Yes, IT can upgrade your system for you. The cost to perform a Windows 10 upgrade is $250 (additional license costs may apply). To get started, email help@lbl.gov.

What if my system is too old to run Windows 10?

IT can help you get a new or used computer. Visit go.lbl.gov/get-a-computer to browse our standard models, and to submit an order. The cost to deploy a workstation is $250.

What if I need my system to keep running Windows 7?

Many computers run equipment or software that is not compatible with Windows 10, and which cannot be replaced or upgraded. Please report such systems to IT by submitting a Windows 7 Exception Request.

What will happen if I don’t upgrade my system?

If and when a critical vulnerability is exposed in Windows 7, LBL IT will block all Windows 7 systems from the network. The most recent vulnerability of this type was discovered in May 2019; fortunately Microsoft had not yet ended support for Windows 7.

Microsoft released on May 14, 2019 the warning to immediately update and reboot your system due to a Microsoft Remote Desktop Services vulnerability, see Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (CVE-2019-0708). Users are advised this is an extremely dangerous vulnerability and should be addressed right away.

This affects the following operating systems:

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 for x64-based Systems SP1

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-based Systems SP1

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 for x64-based Systems SP2

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems SP2

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems SP2

  • Microsoft Windows 7 for x64-based Systems SP1

  • Microsoft Windows 7 for 32-bit Systems SP1

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 SP2 x86

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition SP2

  • Microsoft Windows XP SP3 x86

  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition SP2

  • Microsoft Windows XP Embedded SP3 x86

Users should know that if their systems are not patched appropriately and an attack is launched against this vulnerability, LBNL will temporarily block access to RDP (3389/tcp) from outside the Laboratory. If this occurs, users must use VPN to access Remote Desktop Services hosted Lab systems.

Users can refer to Cyber Security’s announcement, Critical Remote Desktop Vulnerability. Any questions or concerns can be directed to security@lbl.gov.

Advice: Always keep your system and all software up to date and REBOOT at least once a month.

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Some Windows users are reporting problems restarting their computers after applying the latest Windows updates (KB4493472 (Windows 7, Server 2008R2) and KB4493446 (Windows 8.1, Server 2012R2)).

If your Windows system is having trouble, here are the basic steps to fix the issue. Please note that you will need to have administrator rights on the computer and have working knowledge of the Windows operating system.  Please feel free to Request Help if you would prefer to not fix the issue yourself:

  1. Restart in safe mode, see https://go.lbl.gov/WindowsSafeModeBoot. Methods include:

    1. Reboot and hold down the F8 key and select safe mode OR

    2. Before reboot use the msconfig tool to set safe mode on startup OR

    3. Before reboot use the command prompt and issue safe mode commands

  2. Once in safe mode, disable the Sophos Anti-Virus service

    1. Open the Control Panel

    2. Choose System and Security

    3. Choose Administrative Tools

    4. Open the Service icon

    5. Locate the Sophos service and open “Properties” by double-clicking

    6. Choose “Disabled” for the Startup Type

    7. Click OK to confirm your choice

  3. Restart the computer normally (Boot into normal mode)

  4. Uninstall the Windows KB4493472 or KB4493446 updates depending on your operating system

    1. Open the Control Panel

    2. Click “Uninstall a program” from the Programs icon

    3. Select “View installed updates” on the left window pane

    4. Scroll down the list and search for the update(s)

    5. Highlight and click “Uninstall”

    6. Confirm you want to uninstall the update by selecting “Yes” button

    7. Click “Restart Now” button

  5. Enable the Sophos Anti-Virus service

    1. Open the Control Panel

    2. Choose System and Security

    3. Choose Administrative Tools

    4. Open the Service icon

    5. Locate the Sophos AntiVirus service and open “Properties” by double-clicking

    6. Choose “Automatic” for the Startup Type

    7. Click OK to confirm your choice

  6. Restart the computer normally again for good measure

Users can minimize this sort of impact in the future by utilizing the IT User Support WSUS (Windows Server Update Services) server rather than Microsoft. Request this support via Request Help.

On April 29, 2019, the certificate for the LBL server that handles eduroam authentication will expire.  Once this certificate expires, you will not be able to use eduroam. You will need to update your eduroam profile if you plan to continue using this service.  After April 29, 2019, you will not be able to use eduroam until you update your profile.

What do I need to do?
To update your profile you must first remove your existing eduroam profile (if you have one) and download a new profile from http://cat.eduroam.org/

If you have any issues with the installation or would like some assistance, please contact the IT Help Desk at help@lbl.gov or (510) 486-4357.

The IT User Support Group would like to notify all Asus users to update their computers as soon as possible.

Asus recently announced the need to patch their computers due to potential “ShadowHammer” malware, see http://go.lbl.gov/AsusShadowHammer. Asus Live Update servers were hacked and malicious code was implanted in their servers. It has been cited that at least 1 million downloads of the malicious code were distributed and hundreds of thousands of installs have been executed.

Asus has a diagnostic tool to determine if you have been infected. Further details are explained on the company’s website, http://go.lbl.gov/AsusLiveUpdateNews. Please take action and protect your computers and your work.

Additional methods to protect your systems:

  • Install a backup application like Druva inSync to protect your data if a rebuild is in order

  • Download and install BigFix so IT User Support can identify if you have been infected

If you desire support, please Request Help.

In early March Google confirmed a serious Chrome security issue. This security vulnerability is a memory management error that can enable the execution of malicious code on a user’s computer, see Google reveals Chrome zero-day active attacks.

IT recommends that users immediately update Chrome by restarting it. Users should verify they are running at least version 72.3.3626.121. The current version is 73.0.3683.86. For your reference Google provides Chrome update instructions here.

Thanks to BigFix, the IT Workstation Support Group will be distributing a communication to users who still have the vulnerability. If you wish to receive proactive communications regarding the health of your computer, you can Download BigFix and install it. If you have further questions about BigFix, please Request Help.


Lab IT has released Microsoft’s latest update to Windows 10, version 1809 (see What’s new in Windows 10, version 1809 for IT Pros). This update is recommended for all Windows 10 users.

  • Installing this update will require a couple of reboots, so be prepared for it to take some time.

  • During the update installation, users will see progress updates with messages such as:

    • Preparing to update…..

    • Downloading…..

    • Installing Update…..

  • This entire process can take up to an hour, but you can continue to work during this time.

  • Windows will notify you that you need to reboot. The reboot can take up to 15-20 minutes to complete, so you may want to choose the option to schedule the reboot for later.

  • After the initial reboot, Windows will automatically reboot a couple of times as part of the update process.

If you want to install this update now, please follow the directions at Get the Windows 10 October 2018 Update.

For general information regarding Windows updates, see Microsoft’s site, Update Windows 10.

Remember: always keep your operating system up to date, your applications patched, and your system rebooted at least once a week!

You asked, we listened! We’re bringing LabTech to you!

April 1 @ 10AM
Bldg. 84 Lobby

Come see us to learn how IT can help you with all your computing needs. We will be offering no-cost consulting on:

  • Scaleable, cost efficient centralized IT services
  • High Performance Computing
  • Virtualization
  • Storage Solutions
  • Software Training
  • Desktop/Laptop/Mobile support
  • Backup and Multi Factor Authentication guidance

For more information see scienceit.lbl.gov.

What is a browser cache?

A browser uses a local cache (pronounced “cash”) to store copies of recently accessed website information to quickly display data to a user at a later time. Having pages and images cached prevents the browser from having to re-download content, which can greatly increase the speed at which pages are loaded.

Why should you periodically clear the cache?

Sometimes browser performance seems sluggish because the cache gets large and bloated. Websites can also behave erratically if the content on the server has changed from that in the cached copy. This can result in page loading errors, performance issues, and in some cases, security issues. For example, a recent change to the login page for the Lab’s FMS was resolved by clearing the cache. 

Clearing your cache is like rebooting your computer. This is usually the first step to diagnosing a browser issue with a website. Next time you visit a website, your browser will download and cache the latest data. 


Microsoft ceased mainstream updates for Windows 7 on January 13, 2015. Since then, Windows 7 continues to receive extended security updates; however Microsoft will cease all updates to Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. This is detailed in the Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/13853/windows-lifecycle-fact-sheet).

IT User Support typically deploys workstations with a planned three-year service life. Because security updates to Windows 7 will stop in less that two years, Windows 7 systems are no longer being deployed. In particular, IT User Support will only deploy new and repurposed systems running Windows 10.  All repurposed systems that originated with a Windows 7 license will be required to upgrade to Windows 10. Windows 10 licenses can be purchased from our software download site, https://software.lbl.gov, for $138.62.

All users should begin to plan for replacing all WIndows 7 installations by February, 2020.

Users may want to consider switching to Chromebooks for office and remote work. These lightweight and inexpensive systems work with all Google G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 applications, and provide remote access capabilities to Windows systems. Chromebooks are very easy to use, and provide excellent security, and cost much less than a comparable Windows laptop.

Users can contact IT User Support for more information by clicking the link below.

REQUEST HELP

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This project was possible because IT identified affected systems with BigFix. To get BigFix for your computer, please visit software.lbl.gov.

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