Device Lifecycle – Summer update

Invitation to All Staff

During August and September, the Device Lifecycle team is inviting any staff member whose only computer is a desktop PC, or who is using a laptop more than 3 years old to find out if they are eligible to receive a new Surface Laptop 5 (or for current Mac users, a MacBook Air).

What do you get?

A brand new Windows or Mac

A docking station and cables (if needed)

A laptop carrying case

Plus! A personalised 121 deskside set-up service


The Device Lifecycle team

Device Lifecycle News – June update

Image showing a computer with the words device lifecycle printed across the middle. An arrow encircles the computer to represent a circular process.The first six months

The Device Lifecycle team has been working with departments across the University since December 2022. In this time we have delivered and set up new Surface 5 laptops for over 350 staff members.

“My teams are thrilled as Toshibas and Pros/Gos were driving them mad. We didn’t have the budget for replacements – so thank you!”

We anticipate that as more and more areas across campus are set up to accommodate Surface devices, demand will continue to be high among staff members who decide to switch their desktops and older laptops to the standard laptop.

“I was very reluctant to lose my desktop but the whole experience was excellent and the device works seamlessly as a desktop would.”

Feedback after the first six months

Feedback from colleagues has been overwhelmingly positive, with most calling out the personalised deskside set-up support and the provision of a high specification device to all users as particular highlights.  

“Excellent communication throughout the roll out. Penny explained the process well and desk set ups were carried out smoothly by IT staff.”

Not everyone completed one, but where we received a feedback form from an area following a rollout, we can see what you think of our service:

Bar charts showing initial consultation: 7 marked as excellent and 1 as good, deskside rollout 8 marked as excellent, overall experience 7 marked as excellent and 1 as goodIn every case we have been marked as “Good” or “Excellent”.  

Bar chart of what you found most useful, 7/8 for deskside support, 7/8 for free laptop, 6/8 for being able to contact the team directly, and 5/8 for having all cables and a dock included with the new device.

We also asked what you found most helpful:

  • Deskside 1-2-1 setup support
  • Free high specification laptop
  • Direct contact with the team, without having to go through the Service Desk
  • Docks and monitor cables included

We are enormously pleased with the feedback, which we hope will help secure funding for the next financial year. 

What are we up to now?

In the lead up to the summer break, the team are working to arrange allocation of new devices to staff in several Schools, including PCLS (Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences), School of Literature and Languages, SPEIR (School of Politics, Economics and International Relations), as well as UMASCS (University Museums and Special Collections Services).

The Lifecycle team is fully booked up over the summer vacation, and are now booking appointments in September 2023. 

Over the summer we will be organising purchasing new stock of Surface Laptop 5s, as all our existing devices are allocated.

Further information

If you have any questions or need any advice, please contact the Device Lifecycle team who will be happy to help.

Request your Curriculum Software now for Autumn 2023

Many software logosIn Digital Technology Services (DTS) we review all software packages each academic year. Our Application and Deployment team are now preparing to package software required for classes for the next academic year (23/24).

If you use any software in your teaching, we need your requests for curriculum software for the next academic year by 16th June.

What is happening?

For your software to be available for the start of Autumn term, you need to complete a software request form now for each software package required for your classes. You do not need to request Microsoft Office.

DTS coordinates curriculum software requests from within and across all Schools to ensure app configuration and any additional requirements requested are included in the deployed app, so please make sure you complete a form even if you think someone else might.

What do I need to do?

Complete the Software Request form on the DTS Self Service Portal 

(If the above link does not work, from go to: Place a DTS request – Request software – PC and classroom support – Request software for labs/Apps Anywhere)

Apps Anywhere home page

This form can also be accessed directly from Apps Anywhere by selecting the “Request Software” tile.

Important information about completing the form

A complete form will enable DTS to action and work on your request without coming back to you if we have all the required information, including any licensing and test steps. If any fields are incomplete there is a delay while we try to contact you for this information and we may not be able to action your request in the specified time.

Please don’t put “same as last year” as we will need to look back through requests to see what you requested last year, and it also makes it difficult to coordinate this with new requests from across the schools.

Points to note:

  • An individual form is required for each software package.
  • You do not need to request Microsoft Office. 
  • You must complete the form whether the software has been used in previous years or not.
  • Please complete all fields in the form with as much information as possible so we can process requests promptly.
  • If you are planning on using new software, please discuss this with your DTS Business Relationship Manager (BRM) before completing the form.
  • Where possible, all software is made available via Apps Anywhere.
  • All software requested should be at a supported version, ideally the latest version (for the latest fixes and patches)

DTS do not make any assumptions about what software is needed for next year and anything not requested may be retired from Apps Anywhere.


This information is required by Friday 16 June. Requests after this deadline cannot be guaranteed for the start of Autumn term. 

How can I find out the progress of my request?

Submitting the request form creates a ticket. You can view the progress of your ticket either by clicking the “Track my ticket” link in your confirmation email, or through “My logged calls” on the DTS Self Service Portal.

Further information and contact

If you have any questions, please contact the team through the IT Service Desk or your BRM through Ask a Question.

Emails: Advice for senders

How to stop your email being sent to the Junk Email folder or reported to us as phishing

If you receive an email that you are worried about, DTS are always happy to take a look and advise. Often these turn out to be legitimate emails which have raised red flags with the recipient as a potential phishing attempt. We also see people reporting missing emails, as the emails are being diverted to email Junk folders or sent to Microsoft Quarantine because they have been flagged as spam. 

Junk Email folder in Outlook

Junk Email folder in Outlook

Here we look at a few ways you can make sure emails you send avoid being deleted, quarantined or marked as spam or junk. 

Following these tips will help friends and colleagues determine whether your email is genuine. 

What can I do?

Help emails reach their intended recipient by following these tips: 

  • Proofread your emails and check grammar
  • Have a coherent and relevant subject line:
    • Don’t use CAPITALS, emojis 😀 or exclamation marks !!!!! in the subject line
    • Single word subject lines such as Urgent! or Information? are more likely to get sent to junk.
    • Avoid spam filter trigger words in the subject line e.g. Urgent!, Limited Time!, Available?
  • Don’t send the email content as a picture which may get blocked
  • Limit the number of colours and fonts you use, which also helps with Digital Accessibility. 
  • Address the email to the person you are emailing, e.g. Hi John
    • If you are bulk emailing, consider using mail merge to address people separately
  • If you have a link in an email, particularly to personal details, provide an alternative route to that information. For example, a link might say “Access your staff account“. If you add “or go to the Staff Portal and click the link to the Staff Self Service”, you are giving people an option of finding their own way without relying on the link. 

Emails from or on behalf of the University occasionally get trapped by the Microsoft spam filter. If you are sending emails, here is some additional guidance.

  • Sign off from a named person, rather than a department or team. This gives people a point of contact and someone they can look up on the staff directory.
  • Add your University email signature to the end of the email
  • Use the correct language and spelling for University terms; see the UoR House style guide
  • Send from an email address where possible.

If an email will come from an external email address (for example a third party who are providing a service), make sure you check what they are sending also follows this guidance. 

Someone typing on a computer keyboard


You should pay particular attention to your email content if you are sending an email out to many people at once (which may look like spam), or if you want people to click a link (which may look like phishing).

Why does it matter?

Apart from the obvious that you want people to read your emails…

If people report University of Reading emails as spam to Microsoft, then all emails from will start to be scrutinised and potentially held in quarantine. The same is true from a personal email address.

Further reading

We have a Cyber Security section on the DTS website, which also includes information about spotting phishing attempts.

Also check our Digital Accessibility Resources  which can help further with content and displaying images.


If you have any queries or require any advice, please contact the IT Service Desk.

Device Lifecycle News – April update

What are the drivers behind the 2023 Device Lifecycle Programme?

Image showing a computer with the words device lifecycle printed across the middle. An arrow encircles the computer to represent a circular process.The 2023 Device Lifecycle Programme is a University directive stemming from the New Ways of Working (NWoW) strategic pathway. In order to support the Smart Working framework, where staff are able to work on campus or at home, the University aims to provide all staff with one portable device to cater for flexible working.

As well as supporting the NWoW strategic pathway, the policy for a single, University-managed device allows for improved and efficient staff technical support in addition to a more robust cyber security model and compliance.

IT security breaches can be extremely costly. Older devices and a diverse range of equipment manufacturers cannot be managed centrally for security patches and software upgrades. Staff IT equipment must be fully managed with up to date software to be compliant with audit and risk standards such as Cyber Essentials Plus and ISO27001.

Finally, aging devices require more frequent maintenance and support, leading to low staff satisfaction with recurring issues such as poor performance and lack of software compatibility.

DTS have been tasked by the University with replacing old and unmanaged devices with new Surface Laptops (or MacBook Air).

What does this mean in practice?

Any staff member who is not currently using a UoR laptop is entitled to receive an upgrade to a Surface Laptop 5 i7 (at no charge to their department).  Current Mac users are entitled to a MacBook Air (at no charge to their department).

These DTS-supplied devices will be replaced at no charge if they become faulty, or at the end of their lifetime.

How can you receive a new laptop?

The Device Lifecycle team works with your entire team or department to co-ordinate the set-up of new devices for all staff members in scope for replacement. Contact the Device Lifecycle team to discuss.

What will be happen to devices which are replaced?

We are working on a new disposal strategy which will focus on reuse, recycling and recouping money for the University.  In addition, any equipment (especially Surface devices which are only a few years old but are no longer fit for the job function) will be reused within the University.

Further information

If you have any questions or need any advice, please contact the Device Lifecycle team who will be happy to help.

Changes to email lists: External lists (Mailman)

As part of our ongoing project to improve our services and ensure they meet current requirements, we are replacing the Mailman email distribution list service. You can read more about why we need to move away from Mailman in our post Changes to email distribution lists.

We have already migrated over 400 lists to Microsoft Outlook Distribution Groups. These are lists which contain internal members only.

Moving from Mailman Lists to LISTSERV

Listserv smallWe are now ready to tackle moving our external facing Mailman lists to a new managed email service called LISTSERV.

LISTSERV has been running since 1986. Thousands of organizations worldwide use LISTSERV to manage email newsletters, discussion groups, email communities and opt-in email marketing campaigns that reach millions of subscribers.

Key information for existing list owners

The migration of lists and users will be done automatically by DTS over the next few weeks. If you are a list owner, we will email to let you know when your list migration will take place.  This email will also contain your new email list address.

There are a few steps we would like you to take to smooth the transition for yourselves and for your members.

  • Familiarise yourself with the new interface (demo at Moderator interface)
  • Notify members of the changes: We advise you to notify your members of the change of email address for your list.
  • Update moderation and list settings: We have configured the new list moderation to be fairly restrictive, however you can make changes to these settings as you please.
  • Use the new email address: We encourage you to use the new address as soon as possible. There will be a grace period of two weeks where both email addresses can be used.
  • Send emails to both lists for two weeks: to allow all members to ensure that they have been successfully migrated, and that emails from the new service are being correctly delivered (and not sent to spam/junk).

I’m subscribed to a Mailman list, what do I need to do?

First of all, wait until you are advised by your list moderator that the list email address has changed!

  • Familiarise yourself with the new interface (demo at Subscriber interface)
  • Use the new email address: Please note that for the first two weeks after the migration, all email sent to the old address will redirect to the new list. An autoreply will notify the sender of the new email address to use.
  • Create a LISTSERV account so you can access your settings and check your subscription status has migrated successfully. You must use the same email address as the email address used by your existing list.

Instructions, demos and FAQ

Instructions for list owners and subscribers can be found here: KI 1816 LISTSERV Information. We have also published an FAQ on the same page.

There are demos of the new LISTSERV interface you can try out:

Further information and Contact

If you have any questions or need any advice, please contact the Mailman migration team via the IT Service Desk.

Eduroam Wi-Fi update 22/12/22

Eduroam logo

What do I need to know?

The Eduroam wi-fi security certificate has been renewed, which in some cases requires re-authentication when you join for the first time.

What do I need to do?

If you are using wi-fi on campus for the first time after 22/12/22 and you are having issues connecting, you should “forget” the Eduroam wi-fi network on your device and then re-join Eduroam, re-entering your username and password (particularly iOS users). If you get a message e.g. “Do you want to accept this new certificate”, please accept the new certificate.

If forget and re-join doesn’t work, please go to and download a new certificate for your device before connecting (you may need to use mobile data to do this if you have no other connections available to you).

Further help

If you still can’t get on to wi-fi, please visit our Service Desk on the first floor in the Library at Whiteknights where we can help in person. Alternatively, raise a ticket with the IT Service Desk.

Service Desk Opening hours: Christmas vacation 22/23

Here are the DTS Service Desk opening times during the Christmas & New Year vacation.

Email and the IT Self-Service Portal will remain open; however, we will not be working as standard. New and existing tickets will not be actioned, but we will be monitoring urgent systems and services.

Day Date Telephone IT Service Desk Library Greenlands
Friday 9 Dec 0800-1800 0800-1800 0800-1700 0800-1800
Weekend Sat 10 & Sun 11 Dec: Closed
Monday 12 Dec 0800-1800 0800-1800 0800-1700 0800-1800
Tuesday 13 Dec 0800-1800 0800-1800 0800-1700 0800-1800
Wednesday 14 Dec 0800-1800 0800-1800 0800-1700 0800-1800
Thursday 15 Dec 0800-1800 0800-1800 0800-1700 0800-1800
Friday 16 Dec 0800-1800 0800-1800 0800-1700 0800-1800
Weekend Sat 17 & Sun 18 Dec: Closed
Monday 19 Dec 0800-1800 0800-1800 0800-1700 0800-1800
Tuesday 20 Dec 0800-1800 0800-1800 0800-1700 0800-1800
Wednesday 21 Dec 0800-1800 0800-1800 0800-1700 0800-1800
Thursday 22 Dec 0800-1800 0800-1800 0800-1700 0800-1800
Friday 23 Dec Closed
Sat 24 Dec to Sun 1 Jan: University closed
Monday 2 Jan Closed
Tuesday 3 Jan 0800-1800 0800-1800 0800-1700 0800-1800
Wednesday 4 Jan 0800-1800 0800-1800 0800-1700 0800-1800
Thursday 5 Jan 0800-1800 0800-1800 0800-1700 0800-1800
Friday 6 Jan 0800-1800 0800-1800 0800-1700 0800-1800
Saturday 7 Jan Closed Closed 0900-1700 Closed
Sunday 8 Jan Closed Closed 0900-1700 Closed
Monday 9 Jan 0800-1800 0800-1800 0800-1700 0800-1800

From Monday 9th January, all services are back to operating normally – term time opening hours.

DTS Annual Survey 2022


Each year DTS carries out a short survey to make sure we are fulfilling our role in supporting the University staff and their digital requirements.

We are pleased to launch the 2022 annual DTS Survey today. In this year’s short survey, we hope to get an idea of what staff members would like from their DTS department, whilst gaining an idea of how we are performing in day-to-day support tasks.

Previous years’ feedback has allowed us to implement the popular Teaching and Learning priority phone line for those calling from teaching and learning environments, the IT Status Hub, the implementation of a new phone system with place in queue and call back functionality, a wider selection of Self-Help guides, and a campus-wide Wi-Fi refresh amongst other initiatives.

With the feedback received this year, we plan to use this input to implement further improvements as well as hosting roadshows, focus groups and workshops to allow you to help shape our way forward. Further details of this will be shared via the DTS website in 2023. 

The survey will remain open until the Christmas break, please encourage your colleagues to respond. We look forward to your responses and sharing the findings in the future.

Blackboard issues 7/11/22

Update: 7/11/22. This has now been resolved

There was a problem with the overnight import of enrolment data from RISIS into Blackboard, which meant that many students’ enrolments on Blackboard courses became disabled – i.e. students could not see the courses on which they were enrolled.

Any assessments due today will need to have their deadline extended by 24 hours.
Programme Administrators are already aware of this, and of what steps need to be taken.

DTS have identified the problem and we are in the process of resolving it. We will be running the enrolment scripts again and expect this process to be complete for all students by around 11:00 7/11/22.

The announcements in Blackboard regarding this will be updated when we are sure the issues are all fixed.

In the meantime, you can check the IT Status Page for updates.