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Do you use NPCS computers for teaching? New desktop coming soon

(13 May 2016)

This summer will see the introduction of an all new desktop environment to student and teaching computers across the University. When we begin the next academic year, all NPCS machines (student and teaching machines) will have been upgraded to the Durham University Desktop Environment (DUDE). If you use NPCS machines when teaching, read on to find out more. If you don’t, look out for more information later in the year when we roll out the new desktop to staff computers.

What is the new desktop environment?

When you use a University managed computer, the way it looks, feels and works is all part of your desktop environment. As part of the New World Programme, the University’s ambitious five-year plan to upgrade, protect and improve our IT services, our current desktop services are soon to be replaced by a modernised and much improved service – the Durham University Desktop Environment (DUDE).

Users will benefit from improved performance, the latest operating system (Windows 10) and Office 2016 software, shorter login times and a consistent experience regardless of which computer you’re using. DUDE will allow you to access the applications you need no matter where you are in the University. 

When is it being introduced?

The rollout to NPCS machines will happen between July – October 2016, with exact dates to be confirmed with each department. A rollout to staff machines (MDS) will follow later in 2016, running through to 2017.

What do you need to do to prepare?

We’re preparing software applications for the new desktop environment and you can see the ones we’ve prepared so far here:

We’ve asked academic departments to let us know about any additional teaching applications they need included in the new desktop environment. If you use teaching applications that aren’t included on the list and you haven’t already fed into the process of gathering this information, please contact your Head of Department who will have received a message from CIS about this. Please be aware that if we don’t receive information about applications that are needed for teaching, they won't be included for the start of term. 

We’ve also asked for volunteers from each department to have their computer upgraded early so they can test it and let us know of any issues, and so they can offer informal help to colleagues. Again, if you’d like to know more about this opportunity, let your Head of Department know and we’ll get in touch.

Where can you see what the new desktop will look like?

You can find out more about the features and benefits of DUDE and see a preview of what it looks like, on our web pages here:

If you’re not familiar with Windows 10 and Office 2016, you can also try DUDE on one of the existing pilot machines located around the University. You’ll find a list of where they are on the website too.

With almost 3,000 students trialling the service in a pilot at the end of last year, we’re confident that DUDE will give users a much improved service. If you have any questions about the new desktop environment, you can email us on 

Have something to include?

Please liaise with the designated contact for your department or college. For further guidance, email

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