64bit Support for Landesk and FHC suite of applications.

Issues related to the use and operation of Family History Centers
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carljokl
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64bit Support for Landesk and FHC suite of applications.

Postby carljokl » Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:08 am

I am in the process of replacing some dated, donated computers in our family history centre. I have got a pack of OEM Licences for Windows 7 business to go on the computers I am building but I opted to go with the 64bit version due to it being potentially more future proof and the computers having 4GB of RAM (which cannot be accessed in its entirety on a 32bit O/S).

I have not opened the pack box yet as I am now considering whether I might be better going with 32bit. As far as I am aware, the latest figures seem to indicate that more computers are shipping now with 64bit Windows 7 that 32bit (and so it seems safer and more mainstream to go 64bit now). However I don't know if Landesk or any of the core Family History software has any issues running on a 64bit O/S. I know 64bit Windows drops support for legacy 16bit DOS applications however I doubt any of those still need to be used. I don't know if anyone has experience of running the Landesk install onto a 64bit O/S?
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Biggles
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Postby Biggles » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:00 am

You might be better off looking/posting on the Family History Center Support forums. Link below, but please keep us posted on what you find out.

https://www.familysearch.org/learn/forums/en/forumdisplay.php?f=50

Here is one post I found, regarding Windows 7. Dated January 2010

"FHC And Windows Upgrade Paths
I assist the FHC Director with the computers. This is not an official calling, the last Bishop asked me to take care of the FHC computers since we have so many (7 computers).

All of the computers are old, to the point he cmos batteries were dying etc, so three of us in the ward bought/donated seven new replacement computers for the FHC. As expected, they all came with Windows 7. We found out later that things like LANDESK will not work on Windows 7. We have requested the WinXP image through the Stake President to downgrade to WinXP, and we are waiting for that.

This brought many questions to my mind of what we are going to do in the future, so I thought I would try posting them here.

1) Stake President says that the Church is moving away from FHCs in general. He did not seem pleased that we bought the computers. The FHC Director says the idea of closing the FHC is 25 years away. Does anyone really know?

2) Microsoft is pushing towards 64bit and the next version of Windows will push to 128bit. Are we preparing for the inevitable move to 128bit?

3) If the plan is to move toward web based family history, how will we support people that still can't get something better than dial-up internet?

4) The biggest problem I have with the new computers isn't LANDESK but HP not providing printer drivers for Windows 7. The constant lag of drivers is getting annoying. There was a driver lag for Vista and now yet again with Windows 7. How will be preserve useful peripherals like our perfectly good printers, if the OS keeps moving and the manufacturer's never provide updated drivers?

This is all I can think of now, but I know I have had other questions come to mind."

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carljokl
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Postby carljokl » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:28 am

The two computers that are already there don't actually have Landesk installed but if I were to do things cleanly I was going to install it. The computers are ex-home computers running Windows XP home. If the new computers run the same way then they will be really just web terminals, in which case the O/S will not matter too terribly. I didn't want to go down the XP path because it is end of line and cannot be actively bought.

As regards Family History Centres, I see the problem that they are not used so much due to so many having Internet access at home. One thing which is still relevant though is the access to expertise. My strategy is to try and make them easy for individuals to bring their own Laptops when it is open to work on with assistance from the Family History Director.
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Biggles
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Postby Biggles » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:47 am

I've actually just rechecked the Family Search:Landesk Support webpage (link below) and yes the latest version of Landesk does support Windows 7. Nothing mentioned about 64bit though.

http://remote.familysearch.org/support.html

Check out the Additional Support Files link at the bottom of the page.

I recently installed a brand new FH supplied computer in our FHC, it was supplied with W7, but I was provided with the XP imaging disk and instructed to use that. However, I did find that I could do all the installation at home, putting on all software and updates that were needed before taking it to the FHC. That meant it could be set up and everything checked. The only time needed was for the physical installation of the computer, in the FHC.

If anyone is tempted to use the software, on a permanent basis at home, be warned the IP addresses are monitored.

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carljokl
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Postby carljokl » Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:02 am

If it is designed to work with Windows 7 and 64 bit windows can run 32 bit software I hope it might work. I am thinking of using an existing 64bit computer as a test to try installing Landesk and seeing if it works.
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Postby jdlessley » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:53 am

A Google search turned up several sites that discussed the compatibility issues of going forward from a 32 bit Windows system to a 64 bit Windows system. Most 32 bit software will work fine on a 64 bit Windows OS. The exceptions are 16 bit applications and kernel programs. Anti-virus programs fall into that group. The 32 bit Deepfreeze program deployed for use on Church provided FHC computers will not work.

A good site to start checking for compatibility is the Windows 7 Compatibility Center. You can check both software and hardware by name for compatibilty. Hardware drivers are a big issue when converting. Some manufacturers such as HP are slow to develop drivers for newer OSs. Printers are the biggest concern for a family history center. If a piece of hardware such as a printer is not found on the Windows 7 Compatibility Center site the manufacturer's site can be checked also.

The Windows 7 Compatibility Center site listed both the LANDesk Management Suite version 8 and version 9 as being compatible.
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Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

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carljokl
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Postby carljokl » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:48 am

I haven't opened the OEM Licence pack as yet, do you think I should swap them for 32 bit licenses? As regards Anti Virus, I could install Avast which has had 64bit support for some time. As these are not Church provided computers I am not sure the requirement to use the exact same software as the Church supplied ones is as stringent. I have used Avast myself for a long time and been fairly happy with it.
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russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:19 am

carljokl wrote:As regards Anti Virus, I could install Avast which has had 64bit support for some time. As these are not Church provided computers I am not sure the requirement to use the exact same software as the Church supplied ones is as stringent. I have used Avast myself for a long time and been fairly happy with it.


First of all, you may want to read the license for Avast. The way I read it, neither the free version nor the consumer version of Avast would be legal in a FHC.

As I read the church policy, it appears you should be running LANDesk on all FHC computers. And once installed, I'd guess that it would automatically try to install the church's AV.

You can contact Family History support. But unless they are ready to support 64 bit, I think you'd be better off sticking with 32 bit for now. I think it's going to be awhile before new software is written only for 64 bit.
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Postby carljokl » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:13 am

I am still waiting for the Foxconn NT-A3500 units that the new systems will be based on so I may be able to swap OEM packs when I do that.
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carljokl
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Postby carljokl » Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:01 am

I had attempted to swap the OEM pack for a 32bit one but the Technical Support department argued that 32bit applications should work fine and I was mentioning specifically Anti-virus software. I also checked printer drivers an HP have 64bit Windows 7 drivers for the LaserJet 1300 that the FHC uses. I may need to keep investigating other 64bit Anti-virus options.
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