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Computing and Information Services

CIS News

Downloaded Office 2013 free with your University log-in details? Update to Office 2016 available from 09/02/16

From the 9th February, Microsoft will be updating Office2013 to Office2016 on a phased basis to Durham students who have downloaded the Office packages for free using their University user name and password. If this applies to you, you'll need to take action: read on to find out what you need to do.

This is a phased update from Microsoft and exact dates are not available, so from the 9th February be on the look-out for a notification from Microsoft to update your Office packages to the latest version. When it is available for you to install, you will receive a notification in the menu bar of the Office application you are in (e.g. Word, PowerPoint, etc.). Follow the steps indicated to upgrade; if you decide not to update straight away, you can close the notification but it will re-appear until you carry it out.

Please be aware that if you have additional software which enables plug-ins in Word such as Visual Studio or Dragon Software, these will not function until the features are added by either Microsoft or the maker of the software in question.

If you need some help familiarising yourself with Office 2016 take a look at Microsoft's quick start guides here: 

or search for 'Office 2016 quick start guides' in your chosen search engine (e.g. Google, Firefox, etc.). 

If you have purchased Office 365 and want to find out how you upgrade to Office 2016 (if you haven't done so already), take a look at this information on Microsoft's support pages: 

or search for 'how do I get office 2016 office 365' in your chosen search engine (e.g. Google, Firefox, etc.). 

Documents you have created in Office 2013 packages will still work in Office 2016.

(8 Feb 2016)

Are you up to speed with the New World Programme?

The New World Programme, the University’s ambitious five-year plan to improve IT services, is in a phase of increased delivery which will continue throughout 2016 and 2017. This is the first of our monthly news roundups which brings together highlights from our work in January, and includes useful links to make sure you’re in the know about your new IT infrastructure and services.

A phase of increased delivery

It’s a busy time for the New World Programme as the new infrastructure and services we’re delivering are really taking shape. Read our feature in Dialogue Magazine to find out what we’ve achieved so far and what’s to come this year.

Students come out in force to trial new desktop

An impressive 2,750 students have tested a streamlined managed desktop service. DUDE (Durham University Desktop Environment), will see users benefiting from shorter login times and a consistent experience regardless of which physical computer they’re using. Longer term, it will give students and staff more flexible access to applications and tools. 

View our infographic summary of the pilot here to learn more. 

Excavation work at Upper and Lower Mountjoy

If you’ve visited the Mountjoy sites in the last couple of weeks, you might have noticed the digging of trenches to accommodate cabling for the University’s improved network infrastructure. It is anticipated that the work will be completed by the end of April, although this will depend on weather conditions.

Find out more about where and when work is taking place.

Students share their experience

Students shared their views and ideas on mobile technology at a focus group run in partnership with Durham Students’ Union. The collaboration project, part of the New World Programme, is delivering a suite of tools to enable students and staff to work effectively with others – within the University and anywhere in the world.

Find out more here.

In the media: NWP’s Alaric Pritchard on technology and learning

In a feature article on the Huffington Post, Alaric Pritchard, Project Manager for the collaboration project, discusses how technological advancements have changed the teaching and learning landscape. Learn more here.

Phone service fit for the future

After three remaining analogue telephone systems were decommissioned in early January, the University now has a single voice platform and can begin to plan further developments of the service to support world-class teaching and research.

Find out what might be in store in the future here.

Visit to learn more about the New World Programme. Send us your questions

(5 Feb 2016)

IT disruption: 27th & 28th February 2016

Major IT maintenance activity will be taking placing over the weekend of the 27th & 28th February which will result in a number of IT services being unavailable. If you are likely to require University IT services over that weekend, please read on for full details of the services affected.

Despite efforts to schedule this out of term time, a combination of scheduled University activities and deadlines to enable other critical maintenance work vital to protecting security and resilience of services, has meant that this has not been possible. As the work is taking place during term time, the dates were discussed and approved by the University's Chief Operating Officer. We have already made departments aware and are working with them to provide alternative arrangements wherever possible.

The work will commence on Saturday 27th February and is anticipated to complete on Sunday 28th February. The exact times are still to be confirmed however it is expected to be the whole weekend.

Impact on the availability of IT Services

These services will not be available:

  • All Library services (including catalogue, borrowing services and Discover)
  • duo (the University's virtual learning environment)
  • Access to storage (e.g. J: and S: drives)
  • University desktop services (MDS and NPCS)
  • Remote access (including Virtual Private Network and mdsanywhere)
  • HR People + and its related systems
  • Content Management System for University websites
  • Skype for Business
  • ZendTo file transfer
  • Audio visual services in classrooms and meeting rooms

As duo and the University’s desktop services (in computer classrooms) will be unavailable during this weekend, we would recommend that academic staff confirm whether they have deadlines for these dates and move them if at all possible.

The following services will have limited availability:

  • University websites (e.g. these will be static, read only pages, dynamic functional content (e.g. booking forms, requests for information, etc.) will not be available.
  • Email: there will be delays to emails sent and received during this time.
  • High Performance Computing: a reduced level of service

These services will be available:

The work is a necessary first phase to update an outdated and limited service (NIS: a legacy directory system for Unix) with a modern, fit-for-purpose replacement. For those of you who use NIS, this work will not be removing the master data source.

We also have further work planned for the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd of April and information will be circulated to you with more details in the next few days.

We apologise for the inconvenience this activity will cause, we will be taking steps to keep disruption to a minimum. Any changes to timings will be published in reminders here in Signposts, on the CIS home page and via our Twitter feed in the coming weeks – to make sure you have the latest information please check these regularly.

(29 Jan 2016)