[ISN] Failed Windows XP Upgrade Downs 60,000 UK Gov't PCs
isn at c4i.org
Mon Nov 29 02:01:04 EST 2004
By John Lettice
The Register - special to eWEEK.com
November 27, 2004
Most of the desktop computers in the UK's Department for Work and
Pensions were paralyzed for four days on Monday, when a failed upgrade
took them offline. The outage, covering 75 percent to 80 percent of
the DWP's 80,000 PCs, is one of the largest in the UK government's not
entirely impressive IT history.
And possibly one of the most costly. According to staff reports, the
outage occurred on Monday afternoon, disconnecting staff e-mail,
benefits processing, and Internet and intranet connectivity. According
to one, a limited network upgrade from Windows 2000 to Windows XP was
taking place, but instead of this taking place on only a small number
of the target machines, all the clients connected to the network
received a partial, but fatal, "upgrade."
Another source says that the DWP was trialing Windows XP on a small
number ("about seven") of machines. "EDS was going to apply a patch to
these. Unfortunately the request was made to apply it live and it was
rolled out across the estate, which hit around 80 percent of the Win2K
desktops. This patch caused the desktops to BSOD and made recovery
rather tricky as they couldn't boot to pick any further patches or
recalls. I gather that [Microsoft Corp.] consultants have been flown
in from the U.S. to clear up the mess." EDS is also thought to be
flying in fire brigades.
If these claims are true, the DWP could face grave difficulties in
rolling all of its machines back to their previous, working state.
Staff from Microsoft and EDS are reported to have been working around
the clock to dig the department out of the pit, while speaking on the
"Today" program Friday morning, a spokeswoman amusingly insisted that
the department's systems had not in fact fallen over. They were
working; it was merely the case that "80 percent of desktop computers
are not connecting through to the mainframe systems."
So that's cleared that up then. She added that the emergency payments
system was "working perfectly." The emergency system appears to have
kicked in on Wednesday, and the department was preparing a press
release on the matter Thursday. There was no sign of it when this
story was published.
Reports coming in on Friday however suggest that at least some of the
DWP's systems are coming back online.
More information about the ISN