May 2021: Dual-Boot No Longer Offered. Alternative Access to Windows Labs Available

Background

Apple introduced supported dual-boot functionality when they adopted Intel processors about 10 years ago. Since then, IT has offered dual-boot Macs in classrooms and labs as a way to deliver macOS and Windows and allow faculty and students a choice as to which platform they are comfortable with.

Upcoming Changes

Starting this summer, we will no longer be offering dual-boot as an option in classrooms, labs or on faculty and staff computers. There are three main reasons why this offering is being removed.

  1. With Apple's switch away from Intel processors, we can technically no longer provide dual-boot on new Macs. While Windows 10 is available for ARM processors (the base processor type of Apple's M1 processor), Apple does not provide a way to enable dual-boot on their new machines.
  2. Security of Bowdoin computers and Bowdoin data is a top priority for IT and for the college. For the past several years, while we've provided patches and updates as best we could to the Windows OS on dual-boot computers, due to complexities in the dual-boot environment, we are no longer confident that we'll be able to maintain, patch and upgrade Windows on macOS in a timely manner. Removing Windows from our Macs will eliminate the risk and complexities around patching.
  3. Providing a dual-boot environment is extremely labor-intensive. A lot of work is involved with building, testing, deploying, patching and upgrading the 500+ dual-boot computers in use in our computer labs and classrooms. While this is the least important on the list, it can't be ignored that by removing dual-boot functionality, staff can focus their efforts on continuing to create a safe, well-performing computer environment.

Windows Still Available to Labs and Classrooms

While we are removing the dual-boot functionality from campus computers, we will continue to provide Windows to faculty and students in an alternate way. With the help and feedback from several faculty as well as through experience gained over the past year of remote teaching and learning, we will be offering Windows OS as a Microsoft Virtual Workspace. Clients will be able to log in to macOS and then launch the Microsoft Remote Desktop app from the Dock. Once launched, a Windows lab computer will be available to connect to. This new virtual environment is built to perform better than the Amazon Workspaces that have been used over the past two years and utilize Bowdoin login information so no additional account is necessary. An added benefit is that accessing this virtual space can be done from anywhere with no need to physically walk to a computer lab if work needs to be done with an application that only runs in Windows such as ArcGIS.

The virtual Windows lab environment is still being built, however we do have a virtual space available for any faculty or student to test. You can access the environment from:

For more information on how to connect to the environment, see the "Related Articles" section on this page.

More Information

If you would like more information or would like to provide feedback, please contact Sam Tarr, IT's Sr. Desktop Systems Engineer and Lab Manager at starr@bowdoin.edu.

 

Details

Article ID: 132192
Created
Thu 5/20/21 10:56 AM
Modified
Thu 8/19/21 12:58 PM