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Met Police laggards still have 18,000 Windows XP machines in use

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Why?

So, what are the main reasons for slow progress?

Is it just cash? Or is it the usual mix of bureaucracy and resistance to change that large organisations seem to ooze?

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Re: Why?

Probably a bit of both but it is no secret that successive cuts since 2010 have hindered councils' ability to invest. At the same time police forces have been forced to taken on additional work partly thanks to government edicts, but more due to heavier cuts in things like social services.

Of course, no problem now that unlimited funds have been found down the back of a sofa in Downing Street. Financially there is no doubt that the UK is living beyond its means but loose monetary policy has thus far insulated the public purse from this (low interest rates have effectively given the government a larger budget). At some point, whoever is in government, is going to have make some very tough and unpopular choices,

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Devil

Re: Why?

You never know - they might include attempting to wrest a few shekels from people based in the UK hiding their funds overseas?

But maybe not - a step too far?

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Re: Why?

Source: I was the desktop tech lead consultant during another police force's Windows XP migration

Multiple reasons for the long delay:

Internally the police use alot of bespoke software, either written specifically for them by a 3rd party or their own in-house devs who have long since retired, left or been made redundant. Try finding a download link to Windows 8/10 drivers for a taser. for instance.

All of their builds need to be signed off at the highest security level, ditto for any changes then made. It's a process of producing a build, getting it signed off, getting it tested, having a change requested, making the change, getting the whole build signed off again etc etc.

I don't know about MET however in my force they were also trying to implement hot desking at the same time, so we also had to engineer and deploy full data/environment/application roaming at the same time as the operating system upgrade.

And finally; why not go straight to Windows 10? Because the contracts for the XP migration were all signed years ago before 10 was avaliable. It's taking this long just to get on to 8.1.

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WTF?

Re: Why?

Try finding a download link to Windows 8/10 drivers for a taser. for instance.

Wow! I had no idea you plugged tasers into computers to use them. That's shocking. Do they have a USB interface?

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Re: Why?

That's shocking.

Please tell me that was intentional...

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Re: Why?

"Because the contracts for the XP migration were all signed years ago before 10 was avaliable."

I'm sure that the supplier of the 'upgrade' to 8.1 had no idea and could not forsee that Win 10 would be released when it was.

Many years ago when I was involved in writing a spec for a hand held 'equipment manual reader' device, using COTS, for the military, we told the customer that details of the hardware, OS and software should not be settled until a year before delivery, for obvious reasons.

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Re: Why?

Problem will be that changing an OS involves unknown risk. Some key software may no longer work, work differently in some way, or no longer interface with other systems. Fixing these issue can take large globs of cash. Much of the software in use will have been certified and require re-certification which will account for more globs of cash.

It ain't as simply as upgrading your home machine or the machines in some 10 desk office.

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Re: Why?

" don't know about MET however in my force they were also trying to implement hot desking at the same time"

Ahh yes, hotdesking. The eternal fad that provably doesn't work, almost all companies revert within a short period of time at a cost of millions and still just doesn't seem to die. I suspect it won't properly until some of those consults out there do. Let's hope they encounter the BOFH or one of his apprentices.

I bet the argument was: "Police officers spend most of their time on the street and are not all in the station at the same time, so why have a desk for all of them?". Which ignores the fact that on busy day's when shit hits the fan, all 3 shifts can be in the station at the same time trying to get all their arrest records and mountains of paperwork sorted before finally heading to bed 23 hours after clocking in. (Imagine the London riots for instance). And things take a turn for the worse if all those people don't even have a place to sit and work anymore.

The same argument in offices doesn't work either. A building has to fit nearly all of your peak load. It's acceptable some of the sales guys on laptops have to find a windowsill to work in but almost all of your peak load should be able to sit at a desk and get work done. Otherwise you are losing money.

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Re: Why?

"So, what are the main reasons for slow progress?"

Our force advertised the project manager job in charge of the whole migration. They offered the princely salary of £30,000.

That gives you some idea of why things might not go to plan.

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Re: Why?

Yes, they do have a USB port. It's used for updating firmware, and for downloading the audit trail (charging, loading, check in/out, discharge) of the weapon.

https://uk.axon.com/products/evidence-lite

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why?

Yeah you kind of nailed it there. Used to work with the company that provided that IT support for the MET. A lot of the software was still being ported over when I left almost a year ago and a lot of it wasn't even ready. Not sure about the drivers as I wasn't apart of that team but the company was transparent enough to tell us updates etc.

They've been hot desking for a long time, I was there for almost 3 years and it was a thing that was normal to them even when I started.

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Re: Why?

They have internal storage to record when and where the taser was fired for compliance and potential later use in court.

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vir
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Bespoke Software

Such as an encryption bypass tool, which I'm sure will only be used at the utmost end of need.

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Flame

Re: Why?

"resistance to change"

yes. people resist change, especially when it's CHANGE for the SAKE OF CHANGE. You know, like the perfectly fine XP UI that everybody got to know really well, being twisted and manipulated into the Win-10-nic we all know (and generally hate/dislike) today.

I think cops are busy being cops, not IT professionals, and as such don't want to WASTE THE TIME it takes to re-learn what they already know. I think that speaks well enough for itself.

The ONLY ones who "benefit" from "all of that re-learning" is MICROSHAFT. For everyone ELSE, it's a HUGE PAIN IN THE ASS!!!

And don't forget the psychological effects of the 2D FLATSO FLUGLY.

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Devil

Re: Why?

Do they have a USB interface?

Some special cattle prods might have.

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Re: Why?

If you are implementing hot desking with shared desktop PCs, you need to use roaming user profiles. Almost every new release of Windows introduces a different profile version -- you can't apply a Windows 8.1 profile to a Windows 10 user, for example, without strange things happening.

With clever design you can use Microsoft's roaming profile mechanism for different user OS versions. Users can have access to personal and shared file stores, but desktop settings will vary because you have a different profile for each OS version. Third party profile managers might provide a better experience.

If you foul up the initial design, you'll have a lot of work on your hands to support two desktop OS versions concurrently.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why?

Inside knowledge:

We were working on that, then everybody was diverted into sorting out a big mess known as Brexit.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why?

Must admit, i'd never thought it through, but there must be some way of working out the time it was fired etc for culpability reasons.

It would make sense that it includes some kind of logger.

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Anonymous Coward

It appears that several thousand machines have also been junked

The difference may just be the number left in the back of taxis, or stolen from an officers car whilst he attends a spit roast.

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Anonymous Coward

It's criminal they are still using XP considering how often it locks up.

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Vic
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Joke

It's criminal they are still using XP considering how often it locks up.

So ... potential savings on custody officers?

Vic.

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Telemetry

Better get the Win 10 licencing right so lots of telemetry can be disabled, a lot of sensitive data on police PCs, do not want the default "send all the typing" Win 10 telemetry mode in use

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just eight London police machines are running Windows 10

Considering the general level of data slurping that goes on with W10 I consider this a good thing™

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Anonymous Coward

Could be completely fine depending on how they are configured.

More likely they are struggling to update legacy application with unhelpful suppliers and an IT department reduced to 3 outsourced part timers

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Stop

Back in April the London mayor set up an "online hate crime" unit at a cost of £1.7m.

or just under one thousandth of a DUP.

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Re: Back in April the London mayor set up an "online hate crime" unit at a cost of £1.7m.

£1.7m would buy you 17 copies of Windows XP (Professional Capita) Edition. The one that can only be installed onto a new Dell that has been reverse-engineered to make it XP compatible with 128Bit encryption. As financial units go that equates to a 1/1000th of a DUP, which Capita will tell you is 'cheap at the price'

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Re: Back in April the London mayor set up an "online hate crime" unit at a cost of £1.7m.

And I am not sure why that even got a mention unless it were an insinuation Khan should not have done that, that it was somehow a waste, not the best use of such money.

The Met Police budget may be tight, they are facing cuts, but it's still around £3 billion. £1.7m is just a small part of that.

The Met said it had cost over £12 million just to put coppers around the Ecuadorian embassy to stop Assange fleeing.

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Anonymous Coward

re: one thousandth of a DUP.

a.k.a. a "milliDUP".

DUPs, like Farads are unlikely to be used in anything but the fractional form.

So milliDUPs, and microDUPs ...

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TRT
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Re: re: one thousandth of a DUP.

I can't help but think of this particular game.

But the best way to get the DUPs to go through the right door is to run at them... waving £1bn.

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Unhappy

"or just under one thousandth of a DUP."

Should have just outsourced all the hate crime to the DUP.

I hear they can do it wholesale.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Back in April the London mayor set up an "online hate crime" unit at a cost of £1.7m.

One thousandth of a DUP?

Yes and just as effective.

More political window dressing by the Mayor to deflect from his shortcomings. As is SOP for Politicians of all parties.

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Though the force appears to have met its revised target of getting 14,000 machines running Windows 8.1 – 14,450 are now running the OS – another 2,458 are still running XP, 7, 8.1 and 10. These are said to not be networked, and police sysadmins are apparently unable to separate out which ones are running what.

A remarkable precise number for non networked PCs (and don't try to persuade me that their inventory is up to date)

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"A remarkable precise number for non networked PCs"

Don't confuse precision with accuracy.

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FAIL

Welcome to bureaucracy

The land where everyone feels mighty important and no one is responsible. Because if you follow the rules like a good drone you're the man or woman the system can depend on!

Yeah, only too bad that it often results in situations as described in this article.

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At least they are wannacry-safe ^^

Many people don't want to pay taxes, but they want official services to be fully operational when they need them, something demagogues swear it is possible to achieve... till a catastrophe happens.

Luckily for the demagogues, voters have a short memory.

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Y'know, the more I read about Public Service IT the more I'm convinced that we're going to hell in a handcart. How can so many people keep getting it so badly wrong, so consistently? Seriously?!

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Good IT, public or private, is pretty rare.

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I did a VERY short stint in gov IT.

Never again. Never again.

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Windows 8.1 is actually a great choice for the following reasons:

Extended support until January 2023

It's not Windows 10

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They are not the only ones

Still doing xp rebuilds this year till the win 7 rollout has finished. Bespoke software is the reason for this

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TRT
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They were just hoping...

That Microsoft would keep going beyond Windows 7 and 8 and produce Windows 999.

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Anonymous Coward

Someone really needs to strap on a pair and decide to ditch Microsoft from Government IT altogether.

There's no reason they can't require all new custom software to be written in a portable language like Java.

It would only cost a few million to create an official UK distribution of Linux or BSD, require all UK public bodies to use it and offer training courses so that each department can have real experts in that operating system. It would save hundreds of millions if not billions in the long run.

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Anonymous Coward

Dear AC, you really have no idea just how much bespoke shite we run

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Anonymous Coward

I do actually.

And the point is to replace it with platform independent software.

I bet they are replacing Windows XP custom software with software that will only run on Windows 8 or 10 etc. Repeating the stupid cycle.

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XP in >2017? Really?

It's slowly getting to a point where Insurance Companies should void any claims made by those who are too ignorant to understand why you don't run a Six-teen Year old in production. Also in the event of the lose, or outright theft of private User Data, due to such ignorance should be fined out of existence. If only to be made an example of.

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FAIL

So, so wrong

This is just wrong. Insanity level, wrong.

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Re: So, so wrong

You'd rather they run Windows 10 with all the "telemetry"?

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TRT
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Re: So, so wrong

Who watches the watchmen?

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Re: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Vimes.

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