Windows use in medical spaces (Re: vintage computers in active use)

Dave Wade dave.g4ugm at
Sat May 28 03:48:07 CDT 2016

1) We always staged updates internally using WSUS which allows limited testing.
2) GPO's are not a good way to deliver critical updates, but they are what you get "out of the box" and "systems centre"  is an arm and leg in dollars...

> -----Original Message-----
> From: cctalk [mailto:cctalk-bounces at] On Behalf Of Alex
> McWhirter
> Sent: 27 May 2016 23:06
> To: General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts <cctalk at>
> Subject: Re: Windows use in medical spaces (Re: vintage computers in active
> use)
> Where Windows generally fails in my experience is in the idot proofing /
> automation mechanisms. I can really only comment on Windows 7 as it's what
> we use in production on our client boxes.
> Granted this is a different environment where all machines have access to the
> internet and thus Windows updates / aplication updates.
> Group Policy is something I struggle with regularly. Automatically feeding
> Group Policy updates to clients is not always straightforward, especially when
> you need to push application updates to fix important security or functionality
> bugs. Yes, you can gpupdate /force, but that's only seems to work about 50% of
> the time and requires user intervention on an admin account.
> I've seen issues with the Print Spooler randomly crashing from a partially install
> printer through group policy. Some kind of event happens similar to a power
> outage at some point and the printer only partially installed. According to
> Windows and the group policy management utilities the printers were
> successfully installed, but all of the driver utilities didn't quite make it causing
> the Spooler to freak out. When something like this happens event log is almost
> useless because it just tells you the prinint spooler crashed from an uknown
> error.
> Windows update seems to regularly stop working when a malformed update
> package is downloaded. You would think it could just checksum it and delete
> the package rather than failing to install it a few hundred times before a user
> complains that their workstation won't stop installing upates. I even had a case
> where a failed update created new registry keys every time it tried to install
> and after a few months of not being able to do so the machine slowed to be
> unusable. Roaming profiles is an absolute mess, and folder redirection Works
> decently as long as you disable offline files on all of the clients. Otherwise
> windows will just randomly decide that it can't connect to the server and only
> show the users their offline files.
>  Windows deployment services on the other hand Works absolutely great and is
> perfect to put fresh installs on the machines that died from various other issues
> with windows and / or malware.
> This is starting to somewhat turn into a rant, and in all honesty for most things
> Windows does a pretty good job. Pretty much all the issues I outlined would
> only affect people using Windows as a workstation OS. Embedded applications
> generally don't have updates or network connectivity, and thus are probably
> fine.
> That being said my *nix machines have never given me an issue that wasn't
> easily fixed since they were put in place. I almost forget about them
> sometimes.
> Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device
> -------- Original message --------
> From: Rod Smallwood <rodsmallwood52 at>
> Date: 5/27/2016  5:37 PM  (GMT-05:00)
> To: "General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts"
> <cctalk at>
> Subject: Re: Windows use in medical spaces (Re: vintage computers in active
>   use)
> On 27/05/2016 22:04, Ali wrote:
> >
> >> It makes me wonder how many patients have had to wait on care or
> >> didn't get proper care because of an IT screwup related to Windows. I
> >> have to say just _seeing_ Windows on machines in the ER made me
> >> livid. I found it breathtaking they were that caviler about getting
> >> people checked in, keeping records straight, etc... I guess I
> >> shouldn't have visited the sausage factory, so to speak...
> >>
> >> Then again, folks in hospitals probably should be more concerned with
> >> patients than with their IT tools. Ugh. Still. Windows? I'd have felt
> >> better about paper forms. At least they don't blue screen.
> >
> > I would say very few. You have to remember critical systems are not
> > running a general windows system i.e. people are not surfing the web
> > on them and installing the latest games recommended by friends from
> > facebook. Windows on its own is very stable. I.E. if you take a clean
> > install of windows SW on recommended HW and just use the built in apps
> > and never go on the internet it will run without any issues. Medical
> > HW makers are basically using recommended HW, building one application
> > on top of the OS, and test the hell out of it. Since they limit the HW, SW, and
> modality of use it runs stable.
> >
> > Almost all (maybe 80%) of your medical HW is probably running some
> > flavor of windows.
> >
> > Pyxis/Omnicell: Windows CE
> > Sonosite: Windows 2K or XP
> > EMRs: Windows XP or 7 (usually virtualized through Citrix).
> >
> > Heck DOS is still around too!
> >
> > The more specialized equipment (fluoro machines, MRI/CT, etc.) usually
> > have their own OS although I am seeing C-Arms w/ windows back bones
> > now a days as well. As the focus is going toward cost saving more and
> > more generalized HW/SW is being used. After all why re-invent
> > everything for each device when you can use windows to run the HW,
> > network, input, etc. and just have the medical device (e.g. ultrasound
> > probe) act like a peripheral with its own drivers.
> >
> > Where windows causes an issue for the hospital is in the general
> > business areas (HR, accounting, administration, etc.).
> >
> > -Ali
> >
> Please can we have some specific instances of  Windows causing problems.
> Not unqualified people at home or students but real production environments
> with qualified support on hand.
> I used every version of windows from 1 to 10.  yes XP and millennium too
> I wrote time and mission critical food distribution related software for the ten
> years before I retired in vb and then (oo)  I would have seen just about
> every possible bug in windows and in developing applications under it.
> Lets hear what others experienced.
> Rod

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